Antonio Van Leeuwenhoek is well known for his studies of microorganisms, sex and reproduction under the Microscope. Born in the Netherlands during the mid 16th century, he lived during a thriving period of time in Dutch History. This was known as the golden age, a time of economic, cultural and scientific prosper. Immigrants came to the Netherlands to escape religious prosecution. Amsterdam was bustling with writers, scholars, and wealthy merchants. Leeuwenhoek who was raised in the Netherlands started to perfect the recently invented microscope in the lat 1660’s. He continued to study small organisms, such as fleas, under the microscope. Leeuwenhoek soon discovered that there were millions of microorganisms everywhere. By putting corn meal under the microscope, he sat that it was invested with minute worms. These worms were causing sifters infectious diseases.
Leeuwenhoek is also known for his scientific advances in reproduction. He looked at seminal fluid under the microscope and realized sperm was made up of millions of microorganisms, which were documented as spermatozoa. This allowed him to further understand the process of reproduction, and theorized that the sperm entered the ovum. His scientific discoveries regarding spermatozoa and reproduction enable him to prove the popular belief of spontaneous generation of life incorrect. This was a theory that living organisms could come from non living objects. Such as mice could come from dirty hay. This theory was believed by the majority of people during the 16th and 17th century and was recognized by the church. Even though Leeuwenhoek did prove this theory incorrect he was not a major threat to the church because it did not disprove the theory of creationism. His discoveries were important for two main reasons. First, he was able to find the route of many infectious diseases by discovering microorganisms. Second, he was able to understand what actually occurred during reproduction and prove the theory of spontaneous generation incorrect. Leeuwenhoek is known as the father of microbiology, and was and was recognized by the English Royal Society.
Please look at this amusing video about how the sperm attaches itself to the ovum.
For more information on spontaneous generation: