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Brian J Ford
microscopist, science writer and broadcaster, and NESTA fellow
The discovery of microbes alters your life

By the age of 10, every child should have experienced the discovery of microbes. The sight of minute organisms swimming and moving under the microscope alters your life.

Just look at a speck of puddle water under a microscope. A speck of that green, slimy stuff is fine. Inside the droplet, you'll see the amazing, complex communities, that live out of human sight. These are living cells. We are made of living cells, and so are all the living things that we see around us. This sight changes your view of life forever. Everyone should see living cells in childhood.

Living cells were first seen in 1674 by Antony van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch draper. He had just worked out how to make microscopes, and he took home some water in a small glass tube, from a lake named Berkelsee Mere. Inside a drop of the water, he saw a lot of microbes swimming around. This marked the discovery of microorganisms - our first glimpse of the world of microscopical biology that is so important today.

Try it. He was amazed. You will be, too.

Brian Ford is author of books including The Secret Language of Life: How Animals and Plants Feel and Communicate (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and The Future of Food (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)). See his website.

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