Antony van Leeuwenhoek (1632 - 1723), a Dutch microscopist famous for his advances in microscope design and construction. Leeuwenhoek is known to have made over 500 microscopes, most of which were simply powerful magnifying glasses, not compound microscopes like the type used today. Leeuwenhoek's skill at grinding lenses, together with his naturally acute eyesight and great care in adjusting the lighting where he worked, enabled him to build microscopes that magnified over 200 times, with clearer and brighter images than any of his colleagues could achieve. Using microscopes of his own design, Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe sperm, algae, bacteria, mineral crystals, fossils and red blood cells. Leeuwenhoek's observations laid the foundation for the fields of bacteriology and microbiology.
van Leeuwenhoek- Brief Biography (University of California, Berkeley)