As a lover of the history of science and medicine, one of my favorite topics to read and learn about is the discovery of germ theory. Up until the mid to late 1800s, diseases had numerous other theories, and the theory of miasma — meaning “bad air” — dominated as an explanation for cholera, plague and other infectious outbreaks.

Bacteria itself was seen and discovered with the development of the first microscopes in the 1600s. Dutch scientist Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek is credited as the father of microbiology, having created the early versions of our modern microscopes. Though he saw microbes with his inventions, the idea that these tiny organisms caused disease was yet to be discovered.

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