Stop-motion Lego documentary about early microbiologists

I can't say I ever wanted to knuffle Antonie van Leeuwenhoek before, but this adorable video may have altered my thinking. Using stop-motion Lego animation, this short documentary—made by the owner of Brickfilms site—offers a great short history of the two Fathers of Microbiology: The aforementioned van Leeuwenhoek and the better-known* Louis Pasteur.

For extra fun, the dialogue for both men is recorded in their native tongue (with subtitles), so there's none of that awkward "pretending everybody in history spoke English" thing. Plus, you'll learn how to say "wee beasties" in two languages.

Want more microbiology videos? I really must recommend microbiologist and blogger Cesar Sanchez's playlist.

*The film also inadvertently answers the question of why Pasteur is more of a popular figure. When you single-handedly save the beer industry from dangerous bacterial contamination ... well, let's just say that being the first guy to see single-celled organisms doesn't quite measure up.

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  1. I know van Leeuwenhoek best from the old SNL “Bad Musical” skit: “Leeuwenhoek, Leeuwenhoek, Leeuwenhoek/ Whotta Kook!”

  2. I think whoever wrote that fell asleep in their organic chemistry class.

    Alcohol, mainly ethanol, found in your run of the mill wine (pasteur’s family made wine), has not stereocenter, and therefore does not present in handed forms (no matter which way you hold it, ethanol is the same as its mirror image).

    In fact, Pasteur discovered this phenomenon working on Tartaric acid, a wine making byproduct which builds up on the sides of wine barrels.

    he noticed that when made in a laboratory by synthetic procedures, tartaric acid does not rotate light, while tartaric acid from wine barrels does rotate light. This is how he figured out that there must be something unique about the wine making process that makes it selective towards one stereoisomer.

  3. I’m ashamed to be Dutch, this is even worse than the Dutch scene in Samurai Champloo. We just can’t seem to do voice-overs :( …

    Oh, and: *knuffle -> knuffel
    I knuffel
    You knuffelt
    We knuffelen

  4. What, no love for Robert Koch? Generally Pasteur and Koch are mentioned together as the founders of microbiology. Koch created the famous postulates which helped distinguish microbes merely correlated with disease with those causal.

  5. I think the part I liked best was the scientist in the background during the opening dialog repeatedly hitting one of the microscopes with a hammer.

  6. Yeah, the Lego video is fun!
    Thanks for mentioning my microbiology playlist, Maggie. In case anybody is interested, I have other playlists with more science-related videos, see my blog.

  7. Just a note: The current owners of brickfilms.com have nothing to do with the making of this film. It was made by Josh Leasure, who ran the site for a while in the mid ’00s. Josh has been out of the game for a while.

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