biology

Rudolf Albert von Kölliker and the Origins of Embriology

Rudolf Albert von Kölliker and the Origins of Embriology

On July 6, 1817, Swiss anatomist and physiologist Rudolf Albert von Kölliker was born. He was one of the founders of embryology. His thorough microscopic work on tissues enabled him to be among the first to identify their structure. He showed that they were made up of cells, that did not freely come into being, but must develop from existing cells. Background Rudolph Albert Kölliker Rudolph Albert Kölliker was born in Zurich, Switzerland. His early…
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A. E. Douglass and the Dendrochronology

A. E. Douglass and the Dendrochronology

On July 5, 1867, American astronomer and archeologist A. E. (Andrew Ellicott) Douglass was born. He coined the name dendrochronology for tree-ring dating, a field he originated while working at the Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, by his discovery a correlation between tree rings and the sunspot cycle. A. E. Douglass Background A. E. Douglass was not the first, who suggested that a tree’s rings could determine its age. The first known record of…
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Rembert Dodoens and the Love for Botanical Science

Rembert Dodoens and the Love for Botanical Science

On June 29, 1516, Flemish physician and botanist Rembert Dodoens (Dodonaeus) was born. His seminal work Stirpium historiae pemptades sex sive libri XXX (1583) is considered one of the foremost botanical works of the late 16th century. He divided plants into 26 groups and introduced many new families. Rembert Dodoens Background Rembert Dodoens was born under the name Rembert Van Joenckema in Mechelen, Spanish Netherlands, today Flanders, Belgium. Later, he changed it…
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Ernst Boris Chain and his Research on Antibiotics

Ernst Boris Chain and his Research on Antibiotics

On June 19, 1906, German-born British biochemist and Nobel Laureate Sir Ernst Boris Chain was born. He is best known for being one of the founders of chemical and medical research on antibiotics, esp. on Penicillinum. “Science, as long as it limits itself to the descriptive study of the laws of nature, has no moral or ethical quality and this applies to the physical as well as the biological sciences.” (Sir Ernst Boris Chain,…
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Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

Barbara McClintock and Cytogenetics

On June 16, 1902, American cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock was born. She is one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists and received the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. “If chromosomes are broken by various means, the broken ends appear to be adhesive and tend to fuse with one another 2-by-2. This has been abundantly illustrated in the studies of chromosomal aberrations induced by X-ray treatment. It also occurs after mechanical rupture…
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Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

On February 8, 1865, German-speaking Silesian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel publishes his “Versuche über Pflanzenhybride” (Experiments on Plant Hybridization) in which he describes his experiments with peas, which later became the foundation of the so-called Mendelian inheritance of genetics. “It is willingly granted that by cultivation the origination of new varieties is favored, and that by man’s labor many varieties are acquired which, under natural conditions, would be lost; but nothing…
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Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

On January 9, 1858, American botanist, bryologist, and educator Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (née Elizabeth Gertrude Knight) was born. She and her husband, Nathaniel Lord Britton played a significant role in the fundraising and creation of the New York Botanical Garden. She is best known for her lasting contributions to bryology, the study of mosses. Elizabeth Gertrude Britton – Early Years Elizabeth Gertrude Knight was born in New York City, one of five daughters,…
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Johan Christian Fabricius and his Classification System for Insects

Johan Christian Fabricius and his Classification System for Insects

On January 7, 1745, Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius was born. He was a student of Carl Linnaeus [1], and is considered one of the most important entomologists of the 18th century, having named nearly 10,000 species of animal, and established the basis for modern insect classification. Johan Christian Fabricius – Early Years Johan Christian Fabricius was born in Tønder in the Duchy of Schleswig, where his father was a doctor. Already while still…
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Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

On November 24, 1859, famous biologist and founder of the science of evolution Charles Darwin published his seminal treaty ‘On the Origin of Species‘, which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. “And thus, the forms of life throughout the universe become divided into groups subordinate to groups.” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859) Evolution before Darwin In later editions of seminal book, Darwin traced evolutionary ideas back…
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Georges Cuvier and the Science of Paleontology

Georges Cuvier and the Science of Paleontology

On August 23, 1769, French naturalist and zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier aka Georges Cuvier was born. He was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century, and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils. “Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without…
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