Why Leeuwenhoek?

As an amateur microscopist I have long known of the contribution that Antoni van Leeuwenhoek made to the science of microbiology. During my last summer holiday my family and I were able to visit Delft, the city of my father. I was hoping to find a museum to commemorate the man and his great contribution to history. I was soon to be disappointed – except for a few faded panels and his grave markers there is little in Delft to show what a magnificent force he was in the early scientific world.

I want to use this blog to highlight the influence of Leeuwenhoek and the other scientists of Holland’s Golden Age. These early pioneers still influence our thoughts, inform our reason and delight us with their tenacity. It was people such as these that created the period we know as the Renaissance, the precursor to the Enlightenment – where scholasticism and faith give way to experimental science and reason. This blog will serve as an on-line museum and a central dispersion point for information on the Dutch Golden Age of Science.

The painting (1681) shows the Delft anatomist Cornelis s’Gravesande (1631 – 1691), as he gives a lesson. On his right is Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. Painting by Cornelis de Man (1621 – 1706). The painting hangs in Het Prinsenhof, Delft.


2 thoughts on “Why Leeuwenhoek?

  1. Enfin, j’ai retrouvé votre site. Grâce à vous, j’ai une très belle image de la peinture de Cornelis de Man.

    En France, il est paru en 1994 un très beau livre consacré à Antoni :

    Antoni van Leeuwenkoek – L’exercice du regard
    par Philippe Boutibonnes
    Éditeur : BELIN

    Philippe Boutibonnes était Professeur de Microbiologie à l’université de Caen. Il y a beaucoup de reproductions photographiques, hélas en noir et blanc.

    J’étais, comme lui, Pr de Microbiologie à l”université catholique de Lille. Retraité, je me pose toujours la question : Pourquoi a-t-il fallu attendre 1863 – et Pasteur – pour mettre un terme à la doctrine des générations spontanées ?

    Encore merci !

  2. Google translation:

    Finally, I found your site. Thanks to you, I have a very beautiful image of the painting by Cornelis de Man.

    In France, it was published in 1994 a beautiful book about Antoni:

    Antoni van Leeuwenkoek – Exercise of sight
    by Philippe Boutibonnes
    Publisher: BELIN

    Philippe Boutibonnes was Professor of Microbiology at the University of Caen. There are many photographic reproductions in black and white unfortunately.

    I like him, Professor of Microbiology at the “Catholic University of Lille. Retired, I always ask myself the question: Why did it take until 1863 – and Shepherd – to put an end to the doctrine of spontaneous generation?

    Again, thank you!

    You’re welcome!

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