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Google doodle honors van Leeuwenhoek, father of microbiology

Widely considered the first microbiologist, he also designed and ground his own designed single-lens microscopes.

As far as scientists go, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek may be the ultimate DIYer.

Van Leeuwenhoek, whose birth 384 years ago Monday in Delft, Netherlands, is being honored in an animated Google doodle. He is commonly known as the father of microbiology and widely considered the first microbiologist. He was first to observe and describe microorganisms, which he originally referred to as animalcules.

In a letter to the Royal Society of London in 1676, van Leeuwenhoek described observing "little animals" swimming in rainwater. Since he wrote no books on his discoveries, it was through his letters with the Royal Society that his achievements came to light.

In addition to his contributions toward the establishment of microbiology, van Leeuwenhoek is also known for his efforts to improve the microscope. He designed single-lens microscopes, which he ground and polished, to make the first documented microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa and blood flow in capillaries.