Leuwenhok activity biography


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First of the
Microbe Hunters.

Biography ACTIVITY

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Leuwenhok activity biography

  1. 1. How does the title help you to understand the first paragraph? Leeuwenhoek:A. The word microbe is the clue tothe “new world” that is spokenabout in this paragraph. Were itnot for the title, the reader mightbe at a loss to understand theintent of the text. With it, howev-er, the reader is immediately First of the Microbe Huntersplunged into Leeuwenhock’sworld. excerpt from The Microbe Hunters Paul De Kruif FOCUS: CHARACTERIZATION I school, getting ready to choose a career, wanting to know — Two hundred and fifty years ago an You have lately recovered from an How does the obscure man named Leeuwenhoek title help you to attack of mumps, you ask your father understand the first looked for the first time into a mysteri- what is the cause of mumps, and he paragraph? ous new world peopled with a thou- tells you a mumpish evil spirit has got sand different kinds of tiny beings, into you. His theory may not impress some ferocious and deadly, others you much, but you decide to make friendly and useful, many of them more believe you believe him and not to won- important to mankind than any conti- der any more about what is mumps — nent or archipelago. because if you publicly don’t believe him Leeuwenhoek, unsung* and scarce you are in for a beating and may even remembered, is now almost as unknown be turned out of the house. Your father as his strange little animals and plants is Authority. were at the time he discovered them. That was the world about three hun- This is the story of Leeuwenhoek, the dred years ago, when Leeuwenhoek first of the microbe hunters .... Take was born. It had hardly begun to shake yourself back to Leeuwenhoek’s day, itself free from superstitions, it was two hundred and fifty years ago, and barely beginning to blush for its igno- imagine yourself just through high rance. It was a world where science Ω EFINITIONS µ ELPFUL unsung — not famous. 386 IMPLICATIONS OF LITERATURE / UNIT THREE386 IMPLICATIONS OF LITERATURE / UNIT THREE
  2. 2. (which only means trying to find truth naked eye showed them to you! But buy What metaphor does deby careful observation and clear think- lenses? Not Leeuwenhoek! There never Kruif use to describe sci- What metaphoring) was just learning to toddle on was a more suspicious man. Buy lenses? does de Kruif use to entific study?vague and wobbly legs. He would make them himself! During describe scientific A. He uses the metaphor of a baby study? Antony Leeuwenhoek was born in these twenty years of his obscurity he learning to walk; he implies that1632 amid the blue windmills and low went to spectacle-makers and got* the scientific study was in its infancy.streets and high canals of Delft, in rudiments of lens-grinding. He visitedHolland. His family were burghers* of an alchemists* and apothecaries* and put What do the details ofintensely respectable kind and I say his nose into their secret ways of getting lens-grinding tell usintensely respectable because they were metals from ores, he began fumblingly to about Leeuwenhoek?basket-makers and brewers,* and brew- learn the craft of the gold and silver- A. He was a perfectionist and felt What do the details of that he could do something betterers are respectable and highly honored in smiths. He was a most persnickety* man lens-grinding tell us about Leeuwenhoek? than others could. As the passageHolland. Leeuwenhoek’s father died early and was not satisfied with grinding lens- continues, we see that he spent anand his mother sent him to school to learn es as good as those of the best lens- enormous amount of time andto be a government official, but he left grinder in Holland, they had to be better energy to accomplish this self-school at sixteen to be an apprentice in a than the best, and then he still fussed imposed goal.dry-goods store in Amsterdam. That was over them for long hours. Next he mount-his university .… ed these lenses in little oblongs of copper What seems to have been At the age of twenty-one he left the or silver or gold, which he had extracted Leeuwenhoek’s primarydry-goods store, went back to Delft, himself, over hot fires, among strange motivator?married, set up a dry-goods store of his smells and fumes .... A. The primary motivator seems toown there. For twenty years after that Of course his neighbors thought he have been curiosity.very little is known about him, except was a bit cracked but Leeuwenhoek wentthat he had two wives (in succession) on burning and blistering his hands.and several children, most of whom Working forgetful of his family anddied, but there is no doubt that during regardless of his friends, he bent solitarythis time he was appointed janitor of to subtle tasks in still nights. The goodthe city hall of Delft, and that he devel- neighbors sniggered, while that manoped a most idiotic love for grinding found a way to make a tiny lens, lesslenses. He had heard that if you very than one-eight of an inch across, so sym-carefully ground very little lenses out of metrical, so perfect, that it showed littleclear glass, you would see things look things to him with a fantastic clear enor-much bigger than they appeared to the mousness .... What seems to havenaked eye .... Now this self-satisfied dry-goods been Leeuwenhoek’s primary motivator? It would be great fun to look through a dealer began to turn his lenses ontolens and see things bigger than your everything he could get hold of. He burghers — here, middle-class merchants. Ω EFINITIONS µ ELPFUL brewers — makers of ale and beer. spectacle makers — people who made eyeglasses. got — here, learned. alchemists — practitioners of a psuedoscience, who tried to turn base met- als into gold and attempted to find magical substances. apothecaries — pharmacists. persnickety — fussy about small details. LEEUWENHOEK: FIRST OF THE MICROBE HUNTERS 387 LEEUWENHOEK: FIRST OF THE MICROBE HUNTERS 387