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October 24 marked the 384th birthday of Antony van Leeuwenhoek. He was a Dutch scientist who is often called the father of microbiology. Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe and study microorganisms, such as bacteria and algae. He also developed many versions of the single-lens microscope. At this time, most microscopes could only make objects look 20 to 30 times larger. But some of Leeuwenhoek’s microscopes could magnify objects more than 200 times. He used the microscopes to look closely at everything from water samples to plant parts to animal tissue. His work introduced other scientists to the field of microbiology.

Read more about Leeuwenhoek’s life and work.

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