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Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Antoni van Leeuwenhoek layu-wen-hook was born in Delft a city in the western Netherlands on October 24 1632 His father was a basket-maker while his mothers family were brewers Antoni was educated as a child in a school in the town of Warmond In 1676 he served as the trustee of the estate for Jan Vermeer a famous painter who had had been born in the same year as Leeuwenhoek and is thought to have been friends with him Also some time before 1668 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek learned to grind lenses and made simple microscopes and began observing with them He seems to have been inspired to take up microscopy after having seen a copy of Robert Hookes illustrated book Micrographia which illustrated Hookes own observations with the microscope and was very popular Leeuwenhoek used double-convex lenses mounted between brass plates and held close to the eye He viewed objects on pinheads magnifying them up to 300 times this a lot better than any earlier compound microscopes In 1668 he confirmed and developed the discovery by Italian anatomist Marcello Malpighi of the capillary systems he showed how the red corpuscles circulated through the capillaries of a rabbits ear and the web of a frogs foot In 1674 Leeuwenhoek gave the first accurate description of red blood corpuscles Leeuwenhoek was not a good artist so he hired an illustrator to prepare drawings of the things he saw to go with his written descriptions Later he observed what he called animalcules which today are known as protozoa and bacteria in pond water rainwater and in human saliva In addition in 1677 he described the spermatozoa of both insects and humans He was the first to observe human sperm under the microscope Leeuwenhoek believed that sperm contained a child in miniature which grew larger inside the females body Two centuries of experiment and debate followed Then in 1879 with
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