Over the years microbiologists have helped shape society. There are a range of microbiologists that are considered founding fathers of the field. Here are some quick biographies of 5 key microbiologists.
1. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
Van Leeuwenhoek has been hailed as the 'father of microbiology'.
He was an entrepreneur, who established his own linen business and in search of a high quality magnifying lens, to be used for inspection of thread used in the linen, ended up devising a new technique of creating lens which can provide magnification up to 500 times. He used the improved design of microscope to make many significant discoveries. Van Leeuwenhoek discovered 'protozoa' - the single-celled organisms and he called them 'animalcules'.
2. Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist who developed the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax. He is also given credit for the invention of 'pasteurization' which is the process of treating milk to stop bacterial contamination.
3. Robert Koch (1843-1910)
Koch laid the foundation for the study of bacteriology in the modern age and helped in explaining the causes and possible cures of different bacterial diseases including anthrax and tuberculosis (TB). Whilst investigating anthrax Koch discovered that the anthrax microbe produced spores that survived for a long time after an animal had died, he also proved that these spores could then infect other animals.
4. Joseph Lister (1827-1912)
Lister was a British surgeon who introduced the principles of sterile surgery, which transformed surgical practice in the 1800s. Lister successfully introduced carbolic acid (now known as phenol) to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds.
5. Jonas Salk (1914-1995)
Salk discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. Salk's vaccine composed of 'dead' polio virus. He administered the vaccine to volunteers who had not had polio (including himself, his wife and their children). All developed anti-polio antibodies and experienced no negative side effects.
There are many more than just on this list but I just wanted to give a little bit of information. Thanks for reading :)