Adriaen Coorte was a Middelburg artist who studied under Melchior d’Hondecoeter in Amsterdam around the year 1680. He seems to have been relatively unknown except in the town of Middelburg until his works were revived by Dutch art historian Laurens J. Bol in 1952. In 1958, Bol arranged a popular exhibition of 35 Coorte works at the Dordrechts Museum, which ensured his art will not be forgotten by future generations.
The island of Texel, off the north coast of the province of North Holland, The Netherlands, is the first island forming the Texelreede (Texel Roads) which for centuries formed a sheltered haven for ships leaving the many ports in the Zuider Zee. It was particularly busy during the Golden Age, and therefore is also home to many shipwrecks. A recent discovery here of a wardrobe with much of the contents still intact is being lauded.
‘Rarely, if ever, has such a big discovery been made in a maritime context’, says Maarten van Bommel, Professor of Conservation Science and chair of the section Restoration and Conservation of Cultural Heritage at the UvA.” (Source)
I am looking to restart this blog on a casual basis, with the goal of sharing items on and around the Dutch Golden Age, with a focus on science. art and culture. It will no longer be Leeuwenhoek-centric, (although he remains one of my personal heroes of science), but rather it will generally share how that era continues to reverberate in society today. It will probably retain the bias I have for Delft, but that is to be expected.
I’m presently looking for a new blog name, so suggestions will be accepted! (…and yes, The Dutch Golden Age has already occurred to me, and may still be used.)
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Centraal, the blog, is now officially retired. I began this site originally because I was disappointed that Holland, and the town of Delft, in particular, had made no concrete attempt to recognize van Leeuwenhoek and his impact on early science. As far as I know, this has not changed. However, with the proliferation of blogs and websites, I can rest assured that at least in the digital world, Leeuwenhoek will not be forgotten.
Particularly, there is one website that has excelled in the life and times of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. I want to encourage all visitors to this blog to visit the excellent Lens on Leeuwenhoek site: it is by far the best resource for all things Leeuwenhoek. And please, look to the sidebar here for many more links to fascinating history of science sites.
I have not stopped blogging entirely. I will be opening a photography website soon, and I have just launched a new site called Splendor Awaits, which will reveal my primary interests: bugs and macro photography. Eventually, I hope to continue my fascination with the history of science at Splendor Awaits, particularly in regards to the history of entomology. No doubt Leeuwenhoek will be part of my life again then!
Every three years, the Royal Society recognises excellence in the fields of microbiology, bacteriology, virology, mycology, parasitology, and microscopy by offering the Leeuwenhoek Lecture prize. For more on this lectureship prize, visit Leeuwenhoek Lecture at the Royal Society.
National Geographic is running a special series on population – and who is leading the way on population estimates?
Though his tiny peephole gave him privileged access to a never-before-seen microscopic universe, he spent an enormous amount of time looking at spermatozoa, as they’re now called. Oddly enough, it was the milt he squeezed from a cod one day that inspired him to estimate, almost casually, just how many people might live on Earth. Nobody then really had any idea; there were few censuses. Leeuwenhoek started with an estimate that around a million people lived in Holland. Using maps and a little spherical geometry, he calculated that the inhabited land area of the planet was 13,385 times as large as Holland. It was hard to imagine the whole planet being as densely peopled as Holland, which seemed crowded even then. Thus, Leeuwenhoek concluded triumphantly, there couldn’t be more than 13.385 billion people on Earth—a small number indeed compared with the 150 billion sperm cells of a single codfish!
Not very accurate, but he was the first to consider our planet’s population.
Read 7 Billion for more on Leeuwenhoek and population at National Geographic.
The Guardian has an article on the greatest discoveries in zoology:
At BBC Wildlife magazine, a panel of judges has been mulling over the question. Today, the results of their deliberations are published as the top 10 breakthroughs in zoology. The list in full is below, in descending order. How have they fared?
The 17th century Dutch scientist Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek made some of the best microscopes of his time, using them to discover microorganisms, or “animalcules”. His work led to dramatic re-evaluations of the causes of disease and improvements in hygiene.