Talk:Antonie van Leeuwenhoek/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2



Anton van Leeuwenhoek was born in the 1600s and died in the 1700s im not sure of the exact year ,but i know that it was around those times. In school they taught me about Antnoy, and then i loved science.

Naming conventions for this page

We should change the title of this page forthwith from Anton to Antony, since Anton was a name not used by Leeuwenhoek.

Naming conventions for this page

His name was Antony. This is how he always signed himself. The name "Anton" was invented by some US sources and it has been often used in America, it was not a name ever used in his lifetime. All the variants belong to other writers. The name should be corrected to Antony. User:buddyjones

(This article has been moved from Antoni van.... to Anton van... Old comments are at Talk:Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. They are no longer relevent to the current article.)

Hmm, if the name is to be Anglicised it should be "Anton of Lionscorner".

Sup Anonymous person -- please sign in future -- it's rude not to do so.
No, it's not. But I consider it rude to berate somebody over something that is not wrong. branko
The point is not to Anglicize everything -- that would often be just plain stupid. The point is to use the form most familiar to English speakers -- which is something different and changes with time. For example, 100 years ago, most scholars writing in English referred to the guy crowned emperor in 800 Charles the Great. Today, common English usage is Charlemagne. I hope this makes sense to you. It isn't necessarily logical, but it is appropriate. JHK
I'm just an anonymous user browsing through Wikipedia and I came across this page and I was wondering..
Why is this page under the 'wrong' name? Anton??
Is there any way to change the name of the article to his proper name? (I already noticed the redirect but this is just... wrong. Why isn't Anton van Leeuwenhoek a redirect to Antoni van Leeuwenhoek?)
Should ask first before changing it?
I agree, for me it is also Antoni. I don't know what the official naming policy is, but I guess it would be best to spell the name in its native language. I happen to be dutch, and to me Antoni seems the most natural. Some of the confusion might be caused by the spelling changes in the last few centuries, so Antony or Antonie might also be possible. If you google for "van leeuwenhoek" (i.e. only dutch sites) the spelling most encountered is Antoni, see e.g. (AvL hospital). Another less scientific sample: google for Antony vL has 34000 hits versus 20000 for Anton vL. Cheers, Bas
The part about Anton redirecting to Antony seems perfectly sensible. You're supposed to learn something from this encyclopedia, so why not teach people that type 'anton' that it's supposed to be 'antony?' I know Anton is the angelicised verion, so more people in the world would be 'familiar' with it - but if it redirects to the correct name, why not use that correct name for the main article? Stijndon
What I understand from Talk:Antoni van Leeuwenhoek is that the consensus was to move this article from Van Leeuwenhoek's official Dutch name (Antoni) to the name that is closest and most recognizable in modern English. I personally would have favoured Anthony over Anton though. Aecis praatpaal 00:26, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm making all the capital V's of "Van Leeuwenhoek" lowercase if they don't begin a sentence. John Bergan (talk) 05:37, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Where to find Vermeer images for this article

There are many documentary images of the Vermeer Geographer through Are any of these available to illustrate this article? Wetman 01:28, 13 Jan 2004 (UTC)

    It is also (now) in the commons ...  Aaron hoffmeyer (talk) 22:37, 1 July 2008 (UTC)


Unlike what you said, Antoni wasn't the first to discover capillaries. Actually, Marcello Malphigi (1628-1694) was first to discover them and study them using a microscope, finishing William Harvey's blood circulation circle.

However, Leeuwenhoek believed that he was first to discover them. That is because he had a lack of education in science. Elitejeff123 00:50, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Missing text

In one of the paragraphs, some text appears to be 'missing'. The sentence makes little sense this way: After this important invention and his through use of it, ... Could the editor that added this lihlllllllllllih he was Gay (or someone else?) please correct this? I don't know what you were trying to say. For the time being, I edited the sentence a bit.JoanneB 11:20, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

I fixed it, it was supposed to say "thorough use," which confuses the hell out of readers when it misses an "o." My fault. Stijndon
I get it now, thanks! Now that I see it, I'm wondering why I didn't think of that before. Oh well... JoanneB 21:55, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Age of Leeuwenhoek

The article states that Leeuwenhoek was 92 years when he died. However during my recent visit to Delft to see his grave , it is inscribed his age as 90 years, 10 months and 2 days on his dying day ( stone was ordered by his daughter)
The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) . 11:29, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Okay I am changing Leeuwenhoek's age , at time of death, from 92 to 90 years.
The preceding unsigned comment was added by Yodadude (talk • contribs) . 19:32, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
The math (subtracting the DOB shown in the article from the DOD shown in the article) equals 90 years old. Sounds good to me.
-Scott P. 00:08, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

Disputed authenticy Oldenburgh letter

The Oldenburgh letter is apocryphal: I contacted the Royal Society, and they had no record of the correspondence. Furthermore, they pointed me to the University of Western Ontario User-Magi Page, which clearly shows the letter is fictional.--Ardm2 12:39, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, I removed the letter. Can anyone verify the story on the inspection team that visited Van Leeuwenhoek? China Crisis 08:20, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Dear Ardm2,
You have clearly found someone at the Royal Society of London who feels that the Oldenburg letter was a spoof, and who minimally perused the Royal Society’s official records to see if a copy of this letter might be found there, and who also supplied you with the URL of a certain website that this person felt might disprove the authenticity of the Oldenburg letter in question. You have also apparently visited this certain website, and as a result of your visit there, you have decided that the conclusions of this contact person from the Royal Society were probably correct in his or her assessment of the situation. I can see how you might arrive at this conclusion, however there are three things that it appears to me that you may have slightly overlooked;
  1. In so far as I can tell from what you have written here, this anonymous commentator from the Royal Society was not claiming that the Royal Society keeps in its possession a record of all correspondences between Oldenburg and Leeuwenhoek. Unless you might be able to provide a specific and verifiable name of someone from the Royal Society who is claiming both that the Royal Society does have such a complete record of all such correspondence, and that this letter is definitely not in this record, then it seems to me that this point is inconclusive at best.
  2. After visiting the spoof website that you referred to, I also found there what appeared to me to be numerous genuine historical documents alongside several documents that were clearly spoof documents. It seemed to me that these genuine documents may have been posted there only because they seemed to amount to historically legitimate spoofs. Thus, unless you might be able to provide a definitive letter from the owner of that site that he himself constructed this letter as a spoof, it would also seem to me that the fact that the Oldenburg letter can be found on that site does not conclusively prove that it is not a historically legitimate letter.
  3. Finally, you have not yet provided any documentation that might disprove the credibility of the source site for the letter itself (as linked to at the bottom of the article). The source site for the letter was the Warner Moll/ van Leeuwenhoek Website, authored by credentialed molecular biologist Warner Moll.
I do appreciate your effort to increase the accuracy of this article, however, unless you might be able to address the questions that I have raised above about your assertions, I must let you know that I do believe that the Oldenburg letter should be restored to the article. Thank you for working together to improve Wiki's accuracy.
-Scott P. 05:58, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Dear ScottP,
Thanks for your reply. I welcome very much any criticism of my claims, as my only aim is for us to construct an accurate document together. However I believe you are misguided in your response to my letter.
As a general note, it is impossible for anyone to disprove the existence of a document. One can always claim someone wrote something but it was never recorded in the proper archives or is still hidden away somewhere. Surely the onus is on a submitter to provide proof that the reference exists.
If someone, including yourself, can point me to a book, or can show me a picture of a letter properly authneticated by suitable experts, I will gladly submit. However you have done no such thing.
As to your specific points:
1) My correspondence wasn't with any old chap at the Royal Society. The Royal Society is an open, public institution, with published correspondences and dedicated archiving staff. The archivers searched the records, and they could "find no trace of a letter sent from Oldenburg to van Leeuwenhoek for the date 20 October 1676". Actually, you could have used the few minutes you spent replying to me checking the royal society archive for yourself ( ). As I have said, it is impossible for me to prove the document doesn't exist, because it's possible (though exceedingly unlikely) that the document fell between the cracks. It is now your duty to PROVE me wrong, rather than claim that I might be.
2) This point actually scares me because it goes right to the heart of whether an experiment such as wikipedia can be successful. ALL the letters on that page are spoofs; that should be clear to anyone who visits. Before contributors just go copying and pasting everything they find on the web, a minimum of critical judgement should be applied. I have, frankly, no inclination to make a fool of myself by asking Mr Chet Raymo (the author of the spoof letters) whether those letters are genuine or not. Again, you are welcome to contact him to prove me wrong.
3) This is again misguided. I'm sure Warner Moll's a good old bean; but the letter he cites is not to be found in the official archives. As such, it is for him to provide a source for the letter, otherwise any responsible encyclopedia cannot accept this material. Your implication that as a molecular biologist he knows what he talks of is an argument from authority; the weakest of all arguments.
I suppose there are many differing editing philosophies on wikipedia. I personally find it incredibly damaging to find spurious and outright false information on a page. I believe one page of accurate, fact-checked and referenced information is better than 1000 pages of dubious veracity. In other words, leaving possibly true but unchecked information out of wikipedia is a lesser sin than putting verifiably false claims in. With regards to the particular document I am contesting, the sheer outrageousness of the letter should have prompted even more rigorous fact-checking than for a run of the mill document. I thank you for your thoughtful reply but stand firm until you can prove me wrong.
--Ardm2 10:52, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Ardm2 that the letter is a fake. But actually it is not really an issue for the Wikipedia article: it should not be included anyway, real or fake. It suffices to state that at first the discoveries of Leeuwenhoek were met with scepticism; there are enough sources to back up this statement. China Crisis 07:54, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Dear Ardm2 and China Crisis,
I will postpone reinserting the letter until more suitable verification and supporting documentation of its authenticity can be found and posted here. I agree that most of the other letters found on that page do appear to be spoofs. This letter in and of itself does not appear to be quite so clearly so. You are correct in that good and proper documentation is always the best support of such a thing.
-Scott P. 01:07, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I have asked Warner Moll for clarification. He replied that he will check his sources and get back to me. China Crisis 07:09, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

On the followig webpage:

I will come closer to this matter.

(For instance with reference to the vision of Clifford Dobbell and others). - To begin with, I am not the source of the socalled letter, I just cited it, after reading on the web. The letter was placed on the web by the Boston Globe, Monday, Sept.21 1992 p.30. (Science column by Chet Raymo).

I guess this "socalled letter" of mister H. Oldenburg ("doubting the discoveries of Van Leeuwenhoek, and giggling") is a "joke" and I was misguided, indeed. - However I do think that there could be a reason or motive for this "apocryphal letter" or whatever it should be, if one does taken into account the reaction of the scientific world of that time and the attitude of the Dutch scientist Christaan Huygens and his letter to Oldenburg (see my comment in the above link). -

Warnar Moll 2006-03-07 15:35:24

Finally, the truth of the "Oldenburg letter", straight from the "horse's mouth"

Dear Warnar, Ardm2 and China Crisis,

I have just emailed and called Dr. Chet Raymo, the author of the original article that seems to have started all of this. Dr. Raymo is out of the country til Mar. 15th, but perhaps if we are lucky, we will have some hard info on whether or not this letter is a spoof. If it is a spoof, it certainly is a good one, I'll grant that to whomever might have composed it! At any rate, I have invited Dr. Raymo to comment here on this question. I will be interested to find out how badly I may or may not have been spoofed!


-Scott P. 18:38, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear mr P. Scott,
Thank you very much for your comment. On my webpage
I just placed some comment of Clifford Dobbel and others about this matter.
I am very curious about the reaction of Dr. Chet Raymo. I tried to contact him myself but I failed. I am looking forward to his vision.
Warnar Moll: 2006-03-09 08:24:06

Dear Warnar,
Apparently, wherever Dr. Raymo is in the world right now, he is reading his email. He recently replied to my email. Here is a copy of his reply:

       At 03:46 PM 3/8/2006, Chet Raymo wrote:
       Scott, I assume the letter you are talking about was part of a  
       three-letter, carefully flagged spoof that I ran as my Science Musings  
       column in the Boston Globe on September 9, 1992....  I haven't a clue how to navigate 
       Wikipedia, but you are free to post this reply.  Ah, the lovely anarchy of the 
       As far as I know, youse guys are the first ever to take it seriously.   But I guess it is 
       this serious self-correcting stuff that makes Wikpedia so reliable.

So, I concede, I have been duly spoofed! This whole exercise has been good for me. From now on I will be more careful to be certain of the accuracy of a source before I take someone else's word for an item's accuracy and post something that might prove controversial. I sincerely thank each of you for your parts in uncovering the truth of this matter, thus bringing us all a small step closer to the truth.
-Scott P. 14:10, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm glad we've got this one sorted out now; thanks for everybody's efforts! China Crisis 16:56, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! And now the apotheosis

The truth is that Oldenburg, after he had received the Van Leeuwenhoek letter of 9th october, added himself the following words:

"This phenomenon, and some following ones seeming to me very extraordinary, the Author hath been desired to acqaint us with his method of observing, that others may confirm such Observations as these"

Compare the following publication: "De Van Leeuwenhoekbrief van 9 oktober 1676, de geboorte van de microbiologie", pp 9-10. Uitgegeven ter gelegenheid van de jaarwisseling, door de Koninklijke Nederlandse Gist- en Spiritusfabriek NV Delft, 1960 (Editors)



Dear Warnar,
I ran the Dutch quote you posted above through the translator at [1] and this is what I got:
Van Leeuwenhoekbrief of 9 October 1676, the birth of the microbiologie, pp 9-10. Spent on the occasion of the turn of the year, by the royal Dutch hops - and spirits factory.
Is that an accurate translation? So then is it correct that they actually first thought that Leeuwenhoek was 'hitting the sauce a bit too much', or as they say, 'drinking enough spirits to begin seeing the spirits'? If this is what they were saying, then maybe a quote from that fully documented lettter would fit into this article. No? Please elaborate if you might.
-Scott P. 21:17, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Scott,

I ran the quote in Babelfish Altavista

What was the result ?: Something like this

Van Leeuwenhoekbrief of 9 October 1676, the birth of the microbiologie, pp 9-10. spent on the occasion of the turn of the year, by the royal Dutch leaven - and spiritusfabriek digs plc, 1960

Hahaha ! Be in high spirits !

You should read this:

Van Leeuwenhoek letter of 9 October 1676, the birth of the microbiology, pp 9-10. spent on the occasion of the turn of the year, by the royal Dutch leaven - and spirits factory DELFT Ltd, 1960

- Anyhow, the factory (DSM, Gist-Brocades) was orignally Dutch, but today it is an UK company (because they like the Dutch beer so much, I presume!).

They are the biggest yeast manufacturers in the world.

In fact the Yeast factory (Gist-Brocades) was a daughter of DSM. DSM's history began in 1902, when the Dutch government started coal-mining operations (Dutch State Mines) in the province of Limburg. The original Gist-brocades was the result of a merger in 1967 of two long-established Dutch companies - "The Royal Dutch Yeast and Spirit Factory" founded in 1870 in Delft, and "The Royal Pharmaceutical Factory Brocades-Stheeman and Pharmacia" established around 1800. After the merger, the name was modernised by taking two key elements from the old name styles - Gist (the Dutch for yeast) and Brocades. British Fermentation Products was founded in 1932 in an old mill in Ipswich making some 20 tonnes of yeast per week. The company prospered and, after 25 years, was supplying 200 tonnes of yeast per week together with a large range of bakers' sundries to the bakers throughout the UK. In 1943, BFP obtained the patent for the yeast drying process. Since 1870, Gist-brocades had been exporting yeast into the UK and, at the end of 1958, decided that they would make yeast themselves in the UK and took over British Fermentation Products Limited. BFP now had the backing of one of the biggest yeast manufacturers in the world, whose knowledge and expertise stretched back to the last century. In 1998, Gist-brocades was merged with DSM and on 1st February 2000 BFP changed its name to DSM Bakery Ingredients UK Ltd. The two sites of Felixstowe and Aintree together form DSM Bakery Ingredients UK Ltd (DBI UK) which supply the baking industry.


Warnar Moll

So, while van Leeuwenhoek may not have been drinking spirits himself while he made his famous discoveries, he certainly was of great assistance to those who may in any way be "associated" with such "spirits" such as breweries, "brew" imbibers and even yeast manufacturers! : )
Warnar, I'm curious, might you have access to any letters from anyone that might have shown any skepticism towards van Leeuwenhoek at first at all? I can only imagine that there must have been some rather funny correspondence when van Leeuwenhoek first announced the existence of his "animalcules". If I were around at that time and first heard of this, I would have probably fallen off my chair! Just curious.
-Scott P. 13:45, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Documenting the Huygens letter to Oldenburg

Dear Scott P,

There is at least ONE letter from Christiaan Huygens to Oldenburg in which Huygens was very very sceptical about de discoveries of Van Leeuwenhoek. I will cite a passage of Clifford Dobbel´s excellent book:

According to Dobbel (In “Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and his little animals, page 172”) one can read the following concerning Christiaan Huygens. Christiaan Huygens, writing to Oldenburg in 1675, saying:

I should greatly like to know-how much credence our Mr. Leeuwenhoek's observations obtain among you. He resolves everything into little globules; but for my own part, after vainly trying to see some or the things he sees, I much misdoubt me whether they be not illusions or his sight; especially when he professes to discover the particles whereof water, wine, and other liquors, are composed.

I did not read this letter myself. Though, this letter is supposed to be kept in the library of the University of Leiden, Holland.

Brieven van Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) Aan Henry Oldenburg (ca 1615-1677) Jaar: 1668-1675 Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden . [Letters of Christiaan Huygens ( ) to Henry Oldenburg.....]


Perhaps it is possible to ask someone of this University i.e.: Dr. C.A.M. Jansen (Kees Jansen) He is an expert about the friend of Van leeuwenhoek: Reinier de Graaff. Or Dr. L.Palm (Lodewijk Palm) University Utrecht. If you like, I can send them an emailmessage and ask them how to get a copy of this letter. - PS: Never try to use an online translator! The are so bad and ugly !! It is impossible to translate texts from Old Books by that software !

Cheers , Warnar.

Dear Warnar,
I both hate and love online translators! Without them, in many cases I wouldn't even have the first clue as to what I am reading. With them I often gain just enough knowledge to be dangerous! At any rate, the letter you cite above sounds to me to be most excellent. If there were any way you might be able to cite source and page number, using emails or such, I would certainly be grateful. Also the relationship between Huygens and Oldenburg would be most helpful.
Thanks kindly,
-Scott P. 18:27, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

Dear Scott,

I will do so.

Did you already verify the link beneath about the Huygens letter to Oldenburg (by Dobbel)?

Cheers Warnar

Disputed authenticity van Leeuwenhoek inspection team

Can anyone verify the story on the inspection team that visited Van Leeuwenhoek?

-China Crisis 08:20, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

China Crisis, You can visit the BBC article on Leeuwenhoek for verification of this account.
-Scott P. 00:05, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

That is correct.
Yours sincerely
Warnar Moll, Friday, March 03, 2006

A proposal to get semi-protection against vandalism (sprotection) for the van Leeuwenhoek pages

After noting the frequent vandalism of this page and its article page, I am considering requesting for {{sprotected}} (semi protected) status for both this page and for the van Leeuwenhoek article page. Any comments or suggestions?

-Scott P. 23:56, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Good idea (and may be Warnar will finally register :-)) Any idea what attracts vandals to this page? China Crisis 19:16, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
China Crisis, I just placed a request for this at: Current Requests for Protection, Anton van Leeuwenhoek. If you might be able to second my request there, I feel that such might add considerably to the likelihood of the article being semi-protected. Apparently some rather juvenile users must have found some sort of an odd fascination with microbes or some such strange thing, who knows? Thanks, -Scott P. 01:43, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Ok, it worked. China Crisis 10:46, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
When the page is unprotected, the {{ref|name}} should be added back after "Anton" in the first sentence. --Quuxplusone 21:07, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Quuxplusone, I fixed the reference to Anton. I also standardized the footnoting on the page. reinserted a section that had been vandalized some time ago, and a few other things. BTW, as a registered user you should be able to edit as well, even though semi-protected.
Thanks for pointing this problem out. -Scott P. 15:25, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

De Grootste Nederlander

Hi, everybody. I think it should be mentioned that he ended on the fourth place in the 2004 election of "De Grootste Nederlander" (The Greatest Dutchman). It shows his importance in the Netherlands and in the world. It suggest this fact under a new caption: trivia.

Thanks already

Citation style

There is a mixture of different citation styles (embedded links and footnote) in this page. Please read along WP:CITE to make a consistent style of citing sources. Cheers. — Indon (reply) — 15:33, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

GA Failed

Failed "good article" nomination

This article failed good article nomination. This is how the article, as of November 18, 2006, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: The article is very well written, the prose flows well, and it is easily understood.
2. Factually accurate?: The article does not present its sources, and, as pointed out on this talk page on November 3, the citation method needs to be standardized, preferrably using the cite book, cite journal, etc. templates. The problem with references is the primary reason for failing GA.
3. Broad in coverage?: Very thorough, for the most part I was not left with unanswered questions at the end. I would, however like to see a better description of van Leeuwenhoek's method of making lenses. I couldn't quite picture the process.
4. Neutral point of view?: No NPOV problems at all.
5. Article stability? No stability problems at all.
6. Images?: I'd like to see more images, but their absence would not prevent the article from qualifying for GA.

When these issues are addressed, the article can be resubmitted for consideration. Thanks for your work so far. --Neil916 (Talk) 16:34, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Galileo comparison

I removed this section from the intro that compares AvL to Galileo on the grounds that it is Original Research. If he is commonly compared to Galileo, please re-include it with a cite, otherwise it is analysis that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia.

Van Leeuwenhoek's early discoveries in the field of microbiology can be likened to Galileo's early discoveries in the field of astronomy. Both men used the newly improved optical technologies of their day to make major discoveries that entirely overturned traditional beliefs and theories in their respective fields, and both men were initially met with strong skepticism and resistance to the inevitable conclusions that their discoveries led to. Ultimately van Leeuwenhoek was more fortunate than Galileo in that his discoveries were eventually widely accepted and applauded in his lifetime, whereas Galileo's were not.

Ashmoo 04:22, 28 November 2006 (UTC)


Where did Van Leeuwenhoek get his degree in Geography from? Where was he educated? Who were some of his mentors? From when to when did he go to school? A website at the U Cal Berkeley says that he didn't get any higher education which would imply that this is either a misnomer or an imaginative thought. Stevenmitchell 13:11, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


Does this site help? It is listed in the post above- it states that "He seems to have been inspired to take up microscopy by having seen a copy of Robert Hooke's illustrated book Micrographia, which depicted Hooke's own observations with the microscope and was very popular. "--The preceding comment was signed by User:Sp3000 (talkcontribs) 07:12, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Berkeley source

The Berkeley source provides more clarity on the point that L's microscope was of a simple (single lens) design (yet effective if used with great care under ideal illumination), while compound designs more similar to modern designs predated L by two decades, they didn't work as well, at that point in their development. MaxEnt 11:49, 12 May 2007 (UTC)


What is this nonsense that Leeuwenhoek disproved abiogenesis? All he did was make people think that microbes generate spontaneously. It took Pasteur to clear than one up. -- 20:25, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Requested move

Anton van LeeuwenhoekAntoni van Leeuwenhoek — As is indicated in the note after the name in the lead section of the article, the first name Anton is a relatively recent "invention." There is no indication of its notability, but a quick Google test suggests that it's not very common. While there are many common versions of his first name, Antoni and Antonie seem to be most used. Van Leeuwenhoek himself used Antonij. The Dutch Wikipedia uses nl:Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, but I understand that the previous consensus was to use the English name that is closest to Antoni/Antonie/Antonij. That would be Antony or Anthony. But not Anton. —AecisBrievenbus 00:17, 28 June 2007 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.
  • Comment The question is not whether it was a "relatively recent invention" (the footnote on the subject gives no source for this, btw); but what is actually now used. The proposed spelling is that of several Dutch institutions; but excluding Huis, Hospital and Ziekenhuis leaves the three spellings about equally common in Google scholar. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:37, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Requests with so few contributors are also difficult to assess. I have done a few web searches, excluding the terms excluded by Pmanderson, and have come up with the following results:

  -nto- -ntho-
-n 23,700 0
-ni 20,200 44
-nie 321,000 251
-nij 38 1
-ny 15,800 571

This gives a clear mandate for Antonie, which is also the spelling used by Britannica, and the search results include a number of published biographies in scientific journals. This article has been renamed from Anton van Leeuwenhoek to Antonie van Leeuwenhoek as the result of a move request. --Stemonitis 08:10, 3 July 2007 (UTC) Wikipedia sucks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Questionable claim re: flame-drawn lenses

There is a questionable paragraph with no references. (It also contradicts an earlier statement.) The claim that Leeuwenhoek used flame-drawn spherical lenses is contradicted by S. Bradbury's book Evolution of the Microscope and numerous books/articles about Leeuwenhoek. Does everyone accept this paragraph solely on the force of the argument it contains? This is an important issue, and I'd like to see some evidence!

The article states:

"Leeuwenhoek's interest in microscopes and a familiarity with glass processing led to one of the most significant, and simultaneously well-hidden, technical insights in the history of science. By placing the middle of a small rod of lime glass in a hot flame, Leeuwenhoek could pull the hot section apart like taffy to create two long whiskers of glass. By then reinserting the end of one whisker into the flame, he could create a very small, high-quality glass sphere. These spheres became the lenses of his microscopes, with the smallest spheres providing the highest magnifications. An experienced businessman, Leeuwenhoek realized that if his simple method for creating the critically important lens was revealed, the scientific community of his time would likely disregard or even forget his role in microscopy. He therefore allowed others to believe that he was laboriously spending most of his nights and free time grinding increasingly tiny lenses to use in microscopes, even though this belief conflicted both with his construction of hundreds of microscopes and his habit of building a new microscope whenever he chanced upon an interesting specimen that he wanted to preserve." Claudeb (talk) 19:04, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I too am very interested in establishing the accuracy of the 'flame-drawn' lens technique. I have observed many times the natural inclination of a fine glass fiber to spontaneously contract and form a spheroidal globule when inserted into a hot enough flame, but whether such can perform as a microscope lens I don't know. I will try to find out more about this. Trigley (talk) 01:06, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I see the article mentions glass-bead microscope lenses being described by "D. L. Stong" in the 1950s; I have changed this to "C. L. Stong", which correctly denotes Clair L. Stong, for many years the author of the Scientific American "Amateur Scientist" column. I will look up the original column by Stong that describes this lens fabrication method. Trigley (talk) 02:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

The Geographer is in Wikipedia commons, so why not link to it?

Take a look ... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Leeuwenhoek

Does anyone have any idea how to pronounce his surname correctly in IPA? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:24, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

--- After little investigation I found it's [ˈleːw.ən.huk] but I am so unsure since I don't speak Dutch, I'd really appreciate any corrections before adding it to the article.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:32, 4 September 2008 (UTC) 
And I cannot write IPA, but in English, it would be L-ea-wen-Who-k, with the ea from fear, the wen from the name Owen, the who like the band "the who", and that's it. Hope this helps. But probably back then they said Lay-wen-Who-k, with the lay just like the verb. They still do in some parts of the country. Just pick an IPA that fits. Stijndon (talk) 21:40, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, then I think I was right, I'm adding it to the article. edit: Somehow I can't edit the article, I'd really appreciate if someone could do it for me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

NERDS (= —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:18, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


how did he became 90? how were his finances maintained? as the average life expectancy in 1723 was closer to 45 than it was to 60. Markthemac (talk) 00:17, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Rich people could afford the best food available. He could have been very careful, not a drinker or a smoker. He surely was not a exception in the Netherlands, who became 90.Taksen (talk) 09:48, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

up until the 1900's it was still not common in Europe in general to get over 60. Markthemac (talk) 03:30, 20 April 2009 (UTC)


Deleted my information, because of Clammage, what could be his profession? To me he seems lazy. Taksen (talk) 21:03, 13 August 2009

This article should be closed, because of vandalism, almost everyday. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek seems to be a very popular lemma to leave nonsense.Taksen (talk) 05:40, 17 September 2009 (UTC)


Guys, please, give pronunciation in the Dutch language. Thanks.--Rosswood40 (talk) 23:15, 20 December 2009 (UTC)


Does anybody know where the names Philips came from? I could not found a source that this was his name and not just his father's name. עדירל (talk) 13:29, 6 September 2010 (UTC)


The Man's name was Anton van Leeuwenhoek not Antonie van Leeuwenhoek sithlo (talk) 23:11, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I am a 50-year-old engineer. Anton is the name I know too.
If I had a copy of Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology here, I would consult it. I read it cover to cover in high school, and obviously found it useful. Varlaam (talk) 04:08, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

English pronunciation

Is Layvenhook really the routine English pronunciation? I doubt I have heard that in 40 years, but then I did not specialize in microscopy.
I personally suspect that science teachers have liked saying Loowenhook. They were simply in the dark on this point?
Varlaam (talk) 04:16, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

Adding "van"

It is commonly said that — unlike in German, where "von" implies a nobleman — "van" in Dutch has no special implication.
Beethoven used "van" as he was in Germany, and Germans took his "van" as a "von".
So why does Leeuwenhoek feel the need to be van Leeuwenhoek?
Varlaam (talk) 04:34, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

He may not have "felt the need". For most Dutchmen, the "van" was literal. It's Dutch for "from", and if he (or an ancestor) came from a locality named "Leeuwenhoek", then the family would be "from Leeuwenhoek". This sort of surname can derive from a city, district, neighborhood, physical feature, or any other sort of landmark. The "van" in Dutch names is not about nobility; it's about family history and Dutch grammar. --EncycloPetey (talk) 04:04, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


I have semi-protected this article due to vandalism by unlogged in users. If any person wishes to make a valid edit to the article and is unable to, please get in touch with me. SilkTork *YES! 07:01, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

  • The part that says he is "probably at least acquainted" with the famous painter is followed by proof that he was executor of the painters will. I think that section should be cleaned up, it is kinda obvious he was "at least acquainted" (talk) 14:44, 24 March 2012 (UTC)


The word "animalcules" in the introduction should be turned into a link: animalcules. (talk) 14:41, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Dutch IPA

I have reinstated the changes to the Dutch IPA information made by (talk · contribs · WHOIS) ([2]), changing "ˈleːʋənˌhuːk" to "ˈleːʋə(n)ˌɦuk". All three contested changes, regarding (1) the optionality of the [n], (2) the absence of length on the [u], and (3) the use of [ɦ] rather than [h], are consistent with our page on Wikipedia:IPA for Dutch and Afrikaans, with our (well-sourced) article on Dutch phonology, and with the chapter on Dutch in the Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Fut.Perf. 06:30, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

How did he make his lenses?

One part of the article mentions that he made his lenses from tiny beads of melted glass rather than grinding them. Later on the article states that he ground several hundred lenses. Which is correct? Dposte46 (talk) 09:28, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

his best friends name was jade — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

I don't think this article complies with Wikipedia's editorial policy. It promotes what looks like a pet theory. We don't know for certain how Leeuwenhoek made his lenses. He said he kept some of his microscopes and techniques private. So it's quite possible that he used more than one technique. The current article asserts that Leeuwenhoek developed a novel flame-drawn technique that was only recently revealed through experiments. Instead, shouldn't the article state that there has been a great deal of speculation about Leeuwenhoek's techniques, and that recent experiments suggest one technique he might have used to make some of his best lenses? The current wording creates the impression that Leeuwenhoek misled everyone and that only now--centuries later--has the truth been revealed! Claudeb (talk) 16:59, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Here is an example of what I'm talking about:
Leeuwenhoek's interest in microscopes and a familiarity with glass processing led to one of the most significant, and simultaneously well-hidden, technical insights in the history of science. By placing the middle of a small rod of soda lime glass in a hot flame, Leeuwenhoek could pull the hot section apart to create two long whiskers of glass. Then, by reinserting the end of one whisker into the flame, he could create a very small, high-quality glass sphere.
This is presented as a confirmed fact, which it is not. The hypothesis and experiments that show it is plausible certainly merit inclusion. But the page should explain (as it does) that L. was somewhat secretive, that he probably kept his best microscope-making techniques confidential, and that recent experiments show that there is a flame-drawn method that could have been used to create his best lenses. Claudeb (talk) 20:13, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Am I missing something, or is this supposed to be of importance?

"In 1687 he reported his research on the coffee bean. He roasted the bean, cut it into slices and saw a spongeous interior. The bean was pressed, and an oil appeared. He boiled the coffee with rain water twice, set it aside (and probably drank it slowly)." (talk) 22:59, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I think it's supposed to be amusing. Technically, the parenthetical should probably come out, since this is an encyclopedia.Eperotao (talk) 00:51, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Pronunciation "Antonie van Leeuwenhoek"

I have made the last edit for the following reasons:

  • "Leeuwen(hoek)" is pronounced as [leːuə(n)] or as [leːwə(n)], but not als [leːʋə(n)];
  • I removed the .OGG file, because it has a bad pronunciation [ˈɑntoːni fɑn ˈleːvənhʊk] which is sloppy. There should be a better sound file. Hans Kamp (talk) 19:08, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
I need to know how to pronounce his name correctly, for an audio book. I do not know how to interpret "as [leːwə(n)], but not als [leːʋə(n)];"

Can someone help me out? Eperotao (talk) 01:20, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

New photos on Commons from the Royal Society Library

As part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Royal Society a special photo session in the Royal Society Library in London has resulted in Commons:Category:Royal Society Library, with over 50 photos of their treasures, mostly 17th century manuscripts, including several of one of the volumes of van Leeuwenhoek's letters. Please add these as appropriate. Thanks! Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 22:05, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, I've added one. Wiki at Royal Society John (talk) 22:15, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 3 September 2014

In 1687 he reported his research on the coffee bean. He roasted the bean, cut it into slices and saw a spongeous interior. The bean was pressed, and an oil appeared. He boiled the coffee with rain water twice, set it aside (and probably drank it slowly).

remove the (and probably drank it slowly). (talk) 16:11, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Cannolis (talk) 22:57, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 27 February 2016

Please combine the first and second sentences. I believe that this would make the flow better. Thank you. 2602:306:3A0C:D0:31D1:6A73:1E68:4049 (talk) 01:11, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: Honestly don't think that will make it easier to read. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 01:27, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

muscular fibers and disease?

§ Techniques and discoveries lists among van Leeuwenhoek's main discoveries

with the note

A disease in the city of Kampen, Netherlands (1736), which originated (caused) by "little animals". These 'bloedloze dieren' (bloodless animals, the Invertebrata) are — most likely — the little animals described in the work of Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (Evert Valk, a physician about an epidemic in the city of Kampen during the year 1736)

What connection can there possibly be between these two? In fact there is none. The note originally annotated a list of van Leeuwenhoek's major discoveries, arranged in a single sentence; bacteria were listed second of four. When the sentence was reformatted to a bulleted list, the note was left in the same relative position: on the last item, the banding of muscular fibers. I have moved it to its proper place and added the appropriate citations (involving several hours of research and editing). --Thnidu (talk) 06:50, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

Recovery of specimens

In § Death and legacy, an hour or two ago I moved the ref from the middle of the ¶ to the end. In addition, I've just copied three refs from Brian J. Ford#Work that evidently document Ford's discovery of the specimens, though the refs are all in print journals that I haven't been able to check:

Biology History vol 5(3), December 1992
Title: Biology history.
Publisher: Cambridge : History of Biology Committee
ISBN/ISSN: 1353-8535
Worldcat says 3 libraries have it. They're all in London. I'm in Philadelphia; not going there.


The Microscope vol 43(2) pp 47-57
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Not going there either.


Spektrum der Wissenschaft pp 68–71, June 1998
Probably easier to find, but I'm not even going to try. My German is rusty and my scientific German never was much more than a hint.

--Thnidu (talk) 05:26, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Page locked; would like to fix some grammatical errors

There are a couple of minor grammatical/typographical errors that could be improved in this article. I propose:

He had strongly preferred to work alone, distrusting the sincerity of those who offered their assistance.[11]

should be:

He strongly preferred to work alone, distrusting the sincerity of those who offered their assistance.[11]

In note 12, the quotation marks have seemingly been misplaced.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Extemporaneousb (talkcontribs) 23:13, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Removed unreferenced statement

Hello all! I recently removed the following statement from the section "Techniques and Discoveries":

"Van Leeuwenhoek's discovery that smaller organisms procreate similarly to larger organisms challenged the contemporary belief, generally held by the 17th century scientific community, that such organisms generated spontaneously. The position of the Church on the exact nature of the spontaneous generation of smaller organisms was ambivalent."

It had been marked with a citation needed tag since September of 2010. I'm certainly no expert on Leeuwenhoek or science in the 17th c. but the statement seemed problematic for a few reasons:

  • The Spontaneous generation article appears to credit Charles Cagniard de la Tour and Theodor Schwann with seeing cell division in yeast and therefore concluding that smaller organisms also come from parental organisms.
  • Was the position of the church ambivalent? Again, the Spontaneous generation article seems to indicate the church favored the theory that life comes from parent organisms.
  • Was it generally held in the 17th c. by scientists that small organisms generated spontaneously. I assume many of these experiments which famously refute parts of spontaneous generation were being done because spontaneous generation was no longer being generally held to be true by scientists? The spontaneous generation article doesn't specifically follow when "scientists generally" seemed to shift against spontaneous generation, and I couldn't find the info elsewhere either.

Anyway, with all of that in mind and since the sentence had been tagged as needing a reference for 6 years, I figured I'd delete it. Happy to talk about it if anyone disagrees! Ajpolino (talk) 21:23, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

@Ajpolino: Well done! --Thnidu (talk) 22:51, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

Discovery of Bacteria

Good morning fellow writers. I just noticed that the discovery of bacteria in the mouth is dated 1676 which is incorrect. Leeuwenhoek wrote the letter in 1683 ( In 1676 he described animacules in rain water ( although it is questionable if those were bacteria or eukaryotic single celled organisms. WikiMOAR (talk) 08:56, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Edit request: Missing "also" in introduction

Currently the introduction says:

Most of the "animalcules" are now referred to as unicellular organisms, though he observed multicellular organisms in pond water.

Please amend this to:

Most of the "animalcules" are now referred to as unicellular organisms, though he also observed multicellular organisms in pond water.

Thanks. (talk) 16:14, 26 September 2016 (UTC)