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Bedside Rounds

A tiny podcast about fascinating stories in clinical medicine. 


Aug 28, 2019

Germs are regarded today with a combination of fear and disgust. But mankind’s first introduction to the microbial world started off on a very different foot. In this episode, as part of a larger series contextualizing germ theory, we’ll talk about the discovery of animalcules and how they forever changed our conception of the natural world -- and what causes disease. Plus, a new #AdamAnswers about the influence of Bayes Theorem on medicine!



  • Albury WR, Marie-Francois-Xavier Bichat, Encyclopedia of Life Science, 2001. 
  • Ball CS, The Early History of the Compound Microscope, Bios, Vol 37, No2 (May 1966).
  • Findlen P, Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything. 
  • Feinstein AR, “An Analysis of Diagnostic Reasoning,” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 1973.
  • Forsberg L.Nature's Invisibilia: The Victorian Microscope and the Miniature Fairy, Victorian Studies 2015.
  • Gest H. The discovery of microorganisms by Robert Hooke and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Fellows of The Royal Society. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of Lond, 2004. 
  • Hall, GH, The Clinical Application of Bayes Theorem, The Lancet, September 9, 1967. 
  • Howard-Jones N, Fracastoro and Henle: A Re-Appraisal of their Contribution to the Concept of Communicable Diseases,” Medical History, 1977, 21: 61-68.
  • Lane N, The unseen world: reflections on Leeuwenhoek (1677) ‘Concerning little animals’. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 19 April 2015. 
  • Lawson I, Crafting the microworld: how Robert Hooke constructed knowledge about small things, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of Lond, 2015.
  • McLeMee S, Athanasius Kirchehr, Dude of Wonders, The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 28, 2002. 
  • Van Leeuwenhoek A, Observations, communicated to the publisher by Mr. Antony van Leewenhoeck, in a dutch letter of the 9th Octob. 1676. here English'd: concerning little animals by him observed in rain-well-sea- and snow water; as also in water wherein pepper had lain infused (
  • “Little worms which propagate plague,” J R Coll Physicians Edinb, 2008. 
  • Van Zuylen J, “The microscopes of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek,” Journal of Microscopy., 1981.

Music from, "Wholesome," “Pookatori and Friends,” and  by Kevin MacLeod ( License: CC BY