Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible

On September 10, 2014, this video and a short article about it was featured in the Opinion section of the New York Times online. As Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible, it is still available on the Times’ web. It was also carried in the Dutch press, the NRC Handelsblad: Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek zag als eerste het onzichtbare. In addition, the Times posted it to their Op-Docs YouTube channel and Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck posted it to their portfolio on Vimeo.

The video was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The narrators are Lodewijk Palm, historian of science at the Descartes Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and long-time editor-in-chief of the 19-volume Collected Letters of Leeuwenhoek, Bonnie Bassler, microbiologist at Princeton, and Douglas Anderson, historian of science at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York, and proprietor of Lens on Leeuwenhoek.

Antony van Leeuwenhoek

This film (click screenshot above), two and a half hours long, is directed by J.C. Mol. The actual film is in the collection of the Eye Museum in Amsterdam. However, they have posted it to YouTube: Antony van Leeuwenhoek.

It's a silent film with title cards, in Dutch, to explain what's going on. There is a brief biographical section, but most of the film is an attempt to see what Leeuwenhoek saw. It shows drawings that accompanied letters, sometimes the text from the letter describing the microbe, and then the same microbes through modern lenses. A couple of the sequences were shot through one of the surviving Leeuwenhoek microscopes.

The credits say that W. H. van Seters helped to make the film.

Through van Leeuwenhoek’s Eyes: Microbiology in a Nutshell

This video (click screenshot above) created by Dr. Lesley A. Robertson shows what the first visual encounter with microbes probably looked like ‘Through van Leeuwenhoek’s Eyes’. This is the winning piece from the FEMS Image Contest, which challenged entrants to create a powerful piece of media showing microbiology in a nutshell.

‘Original and esthetic’, was the enthusiastic comment of the jury on Lesley Robertson’s submission.

Lens Making in the 1600s

In 2016, the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, has released a video, Lens making in the 1600's (screenshot below), showing Leeuwenhoek's techniques. Making microscope lenses in the 1600s, a page on the Corning Museum's blog, explains the experiences of the museum's expert glass blowers who tried to re-create Leeuwenhoek's technique. It was made for the museum's 2016-17 exhibit, Revealing the Invisible: The History of Glass and the Microscope.

The remarkable discovery of microbial life

Ed Yong narrated this Vox video, The remarkable discovery of microbial life (screenshot below), to help publicize his 2016 book I Contain Multitudes.

Lens on Leeuwenhoek

In 2008, the whole Lens on Leeuwenhoek project was conceived as a four-minute video about the life and work of Antony van Leeuwenhoek. Seven years later, it has grown into this comprehensive web and a series of short videos, the first of which is on YouTube (click screenshot above).