Antoni van Leeuwenhoek 1723–2023: a review to commemorate Van Leeuwenhoek’s death, 300 years ago: For submission to Antonie van Leeuwenhoek journal of microbiology

Lesley A. Robertson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

In the 300 years since Van Leeuwenhoek died, some of the details around his life and his work have provided material for discussion or dispute. As archives and libraries are being scanned and technology improves, information is becoming more readily available. This review therefore aims to take a new look at some of those discussions, and Van Leeuwenhoek’s possible experimental methods. Digital photography has made it possible to show exactly what can be seen through his simple microscopes, and how he could have obtained his results by, for example, modifying his microscopes and lighting. Equally, the completion of the series known as the Collected Letters, begun in 1931 with volume 1 published in 1939 and to be completed in 2023, allows researchers to see complete letters in English and modern Dutch. Theories about experimental methods can be tested and the results recorded photographically. Additionally, new, non-destructive techniques such as neutron tomography have improved the evaluation of the authenticity of surviving microscopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-935
Number of pages17
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology
Volume116
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Leeuwenhoek
  • Methods
  • Micro-photography
  • Modern equipment
  • Simple microscopes

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