- de Meij
- de Molijn
- van den Berch
- Hogenhouck family
- Civic career
- Scientific career
- Delft in Holland
While this was the shortest of the seven periods of Leeuwenhoek's publication history, it was pivotal. The Royal Society was so successful, its members' research so broad and deep, that what was seen as one -- natural philosophy, what we now call science -- was becoming too complex.
The first great division was between the researchers who used lots of mathematics and those who didn't. Astronomy, from Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo to van Leeuwenhoek's contemporaries Edmond Halley, Christiaan Huygens, and Isaac Newton, used mathematics to "see", to make sense of their numerical data, which was basically all they had. Biology and botany "saw" more directly. Human researchers sought patterns with their eyes, not with numbers.
Up through this period, the editors of Philosophical Transactions published articles, reviews, and letters of both types, what we'll call the physical sciences and the biological sciences. The editor after Oldenburg's death, Nehemiah Grew, was mostly a botanist. Robert Plot, who agreed to be editor after Hooke stopped Philosophical Collections, did research of both types. He was joined in his third year and volume by William Musgrave, a physician who wrote about human diseases.
In this three-year period, Leeuwenhoek wrote 19 letters, 11 of them to the Royal Society. He addressed two in 1683 to Christopher Wren, four to Francis Aston, and five to the members of the Royal Society in general. All were eventually extracted and published in the Philosophical Transactions in 12 different articles.
- the first two, January 22, 1683 (AB 70), and July 16, 1683 (AB 72), were addressed to Wren. Robert Plot published them in volume 13 of 1683 along with the letter from January 1680 from period 2.
- the next three -- September 17, 1683 (AB 76), December 28, 1683 (AB 79), and April 14, 1684 (AB 80) -- were addressed to Aston. Plot published the in volume 14 of 1684. A shorter extract from the letter of September 17, 1683, an entirely new translation with the figures reversed and missing one of them, was published in volume 17 by Richard Waller.
- of the next four, July 25, 1684 (AB 81), was addressed to Aston and January 5 and 23, 1685, and March 30, 1685 were addressed to the members of the Royal Society. William Musgrave published them in volume 15 of 1685.
- the next two -- July 13, 1685 (AB 85) and October 12, 1685 (AB 88), were published by Richard Waller in volume 17 of 1693. (See Period 5.)
The situation was such at the Royal Society that both secretaries, Aston and Hooke, resigned on December 9, 1685. They were replaced a week later by John Hoskins and Thomas Gale. Seven years were to pass before Leeuwenhoek would have another letter excerpted in Philosophical Transactions.
Interspersed with these letters, Leeuwenhoek addressed eight letters of the period's 19 letters to Anthonie Heinsius. Cole was not aware of their existence when he compiled his list in 1937. Their first publication was in Alles de Brieven / Collected Letters volume 4 in 1952.
January 22, 1683
December 13, 1684
|sister Catharina Philips Leeuwenhoek received legacy from great uncle Johan Sebastiaans van den Berch|
|December 20, 1684||cousin Geertruijt Huijchs Leeuwenhoek buried|