Bacteria were first reported on September 17, 1683, by Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who had observed single-cell organisms in human dental plaque. CBS Sunday Morning tells the story and gives you a look at what he likely saw when he made his notes. He probably had no idea how many we would eventually estimate to share the earth with us.
Bacteria have been attracting a tremendous amount of attention in our modern world. Scientists, and now even governments, are growing increasingly concerned about microbes that are resistant to the drugs we use to fight them and the illnesses they can cause.
Other research attention is turning not toward fighting bacteria, but in learning more about what they do to benefit us, and how we can help that system. Only briefly mentioned in the video, the microbiome is the community of microbes we carry in and on our bodies, and is the focus of intense biomedical research.