October 24, 2016
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s 384th Birthday
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, born today in 1632, saw a whole world in a drop of water. Considered the first microbiologist, van Leeuwenhoek designed single-lens microscopes to unlock the mysteries of everything from bits of cheese to complex insect eyes. In a letter to the Royal Society of London, van Leeuwenhoek marveled at what he had seen in a sample of water from a nearby lake: "little animals" that we know now as bacteria and other microbes.
In his rooms on the Market Square in Delft, Netherlands, van Leeuwenhoek was a DIY-er supreme. Like Galileo, he ground and polished his own lenses. Some of his lenses attained a magnification of more than 200 times, allowing him to examine capillaries, muscle fibers, and other wonders of the microscopic universe.
Doodler Gerben Steenks 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." Here's to celebrating a true visionary!