"A man has always to be busy with his thoughts if anything is to be accomplished." "My work, which I've done for a long time, was not pursued in order to gain the praise I now enjoy, but chiefly from a craving after knowledge, which I notice resides in me more than in most other men."
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek identified his religion as Dutch Reformed Calvinist, and believed that his discoveries only added to the miracle of creation He did not have much interaction with the church over scientific issues, even though some of his discoveries were very new for their times. On one occasion, after presenting his discoveries of single-celled organisms to the Royal Society, the church was called to help determine whether Leeuwenkoek would have been able to see them.
Antonie van Leeuwenkoek was the only person to use the type of microscope he did. While most scientists, including Robert Hooke, who wrote a book called Micrographia, which provided inspiration and methods for Leeuwenkoek, were using compound microscopes that did not have very strong magnification, Leeuwenkoek was able to use his skills of lens grinding from his work in the textile industry to create powerful single-lens microscopes that could magnify things 200 to 300 times.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek saw many small things through his microscope that had never been seen so clearly, or at all, before. These include single-cell organisms, red blood cells, bacteria, sperm, and even the human lymphatic system. All of these discoveries paved the way for the development of microbiology, an new form of biology.
Antonie van Leeuwenkoek was borne in the town of Delft, Holland. He received no formal education, and spent most of his young life after school as an apprentice to his family businesses. Because of his limited education, Antony could only speak Dutch, putting him at a disadvantage to being able to communicate with the broader scientific community.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is the somewhat improbable father of microbiology. A moderately educated owner of a textile business, he learned how to make his own unique microscopes which offered unparallelled magnification. Using these microscopes he made a number of crucially important scientific discoveries, including single-celled animals and plants, bacteria, and spermatozoa.