Editor says, what if Antonie van Leeuwenhoek had been blinded by a childhood fever? muses Jeff Provine on This Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s). This article is part of the Jeff Provine Blog thread.
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Editor says, in reality Leeuwenhoek was sighted. He became the apprentice of a cloth merchant and eventually set himself up as a draper, where he saw a magnifying glass with a 3x power. Inspired, Leeuwenhoek would develop more and more powerful microscopes over his lifetime, building over 250 of them and grinding 500 lenses. Considered an amateur by the scientific elite, his discoveries with microscopes capable of 275-500x magnification included: bacteria (called "animacules"), protists, spermatozoa, and great expansions on the work of Robert Hooke. Editorial comments are entered in [light green] typeface.