The Journey from Spontaneous Generation to Biogenesis
Redi, Leeuwenhoek, Needham, Spallanzani, and Pasteur changed the way we think about life by trying to prove and disprove Spontaneous Generation or the idea that life could arise from nonliving matter. Redi disproved Spontaneous Generation. He only believed in Biogenesis which is that all life comes from life. Needham believed in Spontaneous Generation and wanted to prove it. Spallanzani wanted to know what caused microbes. Pasteur put an end to Spontaneous Generation and proved Biogenesis.
Redi was the first scientist to challenge the theory of Spontaneous Generation by demonstrating that maggots come from egg of flies. He believed that all life comes from life which is Biogenesis. Redi made a prediction that keeping flies away from the meat would prevent the appearance of maggots. He had one flask with meat in it that was covered with gauze and the other was uncovered. The flask that was uncovered had formed maggots , the flask that was covered didn’t. He proved that maggots arise from the eggs laid by flies, not by Spontaneous Generation. This supported the theory of Biogenesis.
Leeuwenhoek invented the first microscope and with that microscope he discovered microorganisms or tiny moving objects. Inferring that these objects were alive, he called them tiny animals. Needham claimed that Spontaneous Generation could only occur under the right conditions. To prove his thought, he boiled gravy, let it cool and then sealed the flask, later he finds the broth is filled with microorganisms. “These little animals”, he inferred, “can only have come from juice of the gravy.” Needham thought he proved Spontaneous Generation But what he didn’t know he had done wrong was leave the flask open to cool, that’s what caused the microorganisms to form in the gravy.
Spallanzani wanted to know what causes microbes to form in boiling broth. He wanted to prove that microbes come...
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