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Tuesday, 25 October 2016
The genius of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek cell theory and his microscope facts
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek cell theory is probably one of the most important discoveries in human existence. The man considered to be the world's first microbiologist, was born on this day in 1632.
Van Leeuwenhoek used his invention of the first single-cell microscope to analyse the composition of everything from cheese to the eyes of bugs. Throughout his career he sent more than 560 letters to the Royal Society and is credited with a vast number of discoveries, from the sperm cell to a rare disease that involves incessant hiccuping.
Van Leeuwenhoek, whose microscope could magnify the users' vision by nearly 300 times, has been honoured with a Google Doodle on the 384th anniversary of his birth.
So Who was Antoni van Leeuwenhoek?
Born and raised in Delft in the Netherlands, van Leeuwenhoek was the creator of the first single-lens microscope, which was used to make a vast range of discoveries in the field of molecular biology.
Throughout his career van Leeuwenhoek created more than 500 optical lenses and at least 25 single-lens microscopes.
His lenses were characterised by silver or copper frames with an optical zoom of 275 times normal vision. Some historians believe he may have created microscopes with as much as 500 times magnification.
The biggest microscope was about 5cm long and was held very close to the researchers eye while facing into the sun.
Van Leeuwenhoek, who died at the remarkable age of 90 in 1723, took the secret of how he made the revolutionary microscopes to his grave. Despite numerous attempts, it wasn't until 1957 that someone was able to recreate his method.
What he discovered with his microscope
Van Leeuwenhoek is often named as the world's first microbiologist thanks to the discoveries he made with his microscope.
Using the magnification of nearly 300 times normal vision, van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe the sperm cell, bacteria, the pattern of muscle fibres and capillaries.
Van Leeuwenhoek's disease
Having pioneered the study and exploration of microorganisms and structures, van Leeuwenhoek was struck with a rare disease. He suffered from uncontrolled spasms of his midriff, not dissimilar to hiccups, which he documented in detailed letters sent to the Royal Society.
The disease, which is now called van Leeuwenhoek's disease, inflicts the sufferer with muscle spasms that sound like short-breathed hiccups dozens of times per day. To this date, there is no cure for the ailment, which can result in an average rate of 150 diaphragm contractions per minute.
Van Leeuwenhoek eventually died from his symptoms on August 26 1723 at the age of 90.
Google is celebrating Van Leeuwenhoek's 384th birthday
Gerben Steenks, the 'Doodler' who created the image, noted, "I chose to make it an animated Doodle to show the 'before and after' experience that Antoni van Leeuwenhoek had — looking through a microscope and seeing a surprising new world."