In which we see how it all began
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
—Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching
As scientific revolutionaries go, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek cut a singularly modest figure. Born in 1632 to a Dutch basket weaver, he took up trade as a draper, opening his own shop in Delft around the time of his twenty-second birthday. Here he would stay for the rest of his ninety-year-long life, and for the first two decades of his career he seemed set to lead the life of an unremarkable if respectable businessman. However, during that time he developed an unusual hobby that would not only change the course of his life but profoundly alter our very conception of the living world and our place within it. ...