Fathers of Detection
English scientist Thomas Moffet (1553-1604) drew pictures of fleas, lice and mites. He described a skin infection called scabies and even correctly identified sulfur as a way to combat the lice.
A German monk Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) looked through a crude microscope and saw worms in sour milk. He also saw what he called “animalcula" in the blood of people who died from the bubonic plague.
Then Antonie van Leeuwenhock (van LAY-ven-hook) (1632-1723), a Dutchman with no great education who made drapes and ground lenses, became the Father of Microbiology by making simple microscopes. He was inspired to take up microscopy after having seen a copy of Robert Hooke's popular illustrated book Micrographia, which described Hooke's own observations with the microscope.
Story has it that van Leeuwenhock scraped his own teeth, stuck the scum under a crude microscope and saw what he called living “animalcules." He went on to discover bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists (one-cell organisms), sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic nematodes, and much more. His research opened up an entire world of microscopic life to other scientists.