Welcome to our series that brings you original content from individuals in the news. We’re calling it “From the Horse’s Mouth,” because these posts will let the authors speak for themselves. Not because they are horses.
The subject of a Google Doodle and various other honors, Antony Van Leeuwenhoek is considered the first microbiologist. Born in 1632, he designed single-lens microscopes and looked into everything from water to whiskers from his own chin to the muscles of cod-fish. Some of his original letters describing his findings to the Royal Society are archived in JSTOR and available here for free downloads (long “s”s and all), including his fascinating “Microscopical Observations Upon the Configuration of Diamonds, in which he challenges the prevailing views about what the inside of the Earth is like, based on what he sees when studying diamonds under his microscope. Take a look yourself: “I take the liberty of troubling you again with these my following Observations…”
A Second Letter from Mr. Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, F. R. S. to John Chamberlayne, Esq; F. R. S. upon the Same Subject as the Former
Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), Vol. 26 (1708 - 1709), pp. 499-502
Microscopical Observations upon the Configuration of Diamonds: In a Letter from Mr. Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, F. R. S.
Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775), Vol. 26 (1708 - 1709), pp. 479-484