A textile dealer discovers bacteria

The first scientist to have studied and described bacteria was Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723). He was a textile dealer who lived in Holland ad used magnifying glasses to assess the quality of fabrics. In 1668, during a business trip to England, he bought some very powerful magnifying glasses with which he built a rudimentary microscope. His curiosity led him to observe a bit of everything and this is how he happened to see microbes for the very first time. In his writings, van Leeuwenhoek described bacteria as strange round-shaped beings. At first, there were many problems classing these new organisms since they were so peculiar they could not be included in either group of the living kingdoms: the vegetal and the animal kingdom. One century after van Leeuwenhoek, Carolus Linnaeus designed a new kingdom to include all the known micro-organisms that he called chaos.

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