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Portrait of the Dutch microscopist Antony van Leeuwenhoek, 1632-1723. Van Leeuwenhoek had no formal scientific training. He owned a drapers shop in Delft and also worked in local government. He became an enthusiastic microscopist, and during his life made over 500 single lens microscopes. He observed blood corpuscles, capillaries and spermatozoa, and with the help of his remarkable eyesight he was able to make the first detailed descriptions of micro-organisms including bacteria and protozoa. He was opposed to the idea of spontaneous generation, and was proved right a century and a half later. He lived, actively researching, to the age of 90.
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