History of Urology Forum
Presentation Authors: William Berg*, David Schulsinger, Yefim Sheynkin, Stony Brook, NY
Introduction: Dictionary (1737) defined "Museum" as "a study or library or a college or public place for the resort of learned men”. Owned by royals or rich noblemen, rare scientific museums in the 17th century displayed only natural and historical rarities. In 1675, Leibnitz projected permanent expositions of modern progress in science for the encouragement of further studies. Unknown to many, the prototype of such museum was hidden in the house of unlike scientist in the Dutch city of Delft.
Methods: Review of historical papers and Transactions of the Royal Society of London
Results: In 1673, lens crafter and amateur microscopist Anthony Van Leeuwenhoek suddenly became a widely known scientist, whose observations were published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. This elite group of &[Prime]virtuous and learned men&[Prime] promoted empirical experimentation and offered its membership to accomplished scientists and educated men. Leeuwenhoek did not fit these requirements. He often has been dismissed as a dilettante, his work denigrated and disputed as superficial and chaotic .But his revolutionary discoveries and quality of microscopic observation were unparalleled.
Leeuwenhoek had profound impact on future medicine not only by his famous letters to Royal Society, but direct promotion of new science. Secretive about his work, Leeuwenhoek made huge number of microscopes for a simple reason. In his house, Leeuwenhoek created unique collection of selected microscopic specimens, each fixed to its own microscope and ready for presentation.
Leeuwenhoek hidden museum was open to educated visitors . He surprised them with hundreds of unreal objects from the brave new microscopic world. The collection was seen by people who later played an important role in the progress of medicine: six European kings, Russian Czar Peter the Great (the only one who got 2 microscopes as a present), celebrated physicians, scientists and philosophers: Ruysch, Gravesande, Huygens, De Graaf, Leibnitz, Locke, Boerhaave, Sloane, Swammerdam, Craanen
Conclusions: Leeuwenhoek magical collection unquestionably fired the imagination of anyone who saw it. After visiting Leeuwenhoek, medical student Johan Ham used microscope to discover spermatozoa. Boorhaave introduced physical methods into the study of medicine at the university. Charles II, Frederick I of Prussia, Peter the Great became founders and sponsors of new science academies in their countries. Leeuwenhoek collection played an important role in propagation of scientific research empowered by necessary financial patronage.
Source of Funding: None