biology

The Botanical Collections of José Celestino Mutis

The Botanical Collections of José Celestino Mutis

On April 6, 1732, Spanish priest, botanist and mathematician José Celestino Mutis was born. Between 1783 and 1808, Mutis tirelessly led an extraordinary endeavor to collect and illustrate the plants of Colombia, assembling one of the richest botanical collections in the world of his time. José Celestino Mutis – Becoming a Botanist José Celestino Mutis began studying medicine at the College of Surgery in Cádiz. There, Mutis also studied physics, chemistry, and…
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Charles de l’Écluse and the Dutch Tulips

Charles de l’Écluse and the Dutch Tulips

On April 4, 1609, Flemish doctor and pioneering botanist Charles de l’Écluse, L’Escluse, or with his Latin name Carolus Clusius passed away. He is considered perhaps the most influential of all 16th-century scientific horticulturists. He travelled and collected botanical information throughout Europe, and introduced new plants from outside Europe. In the history of gardening he is remembered not only for his scholarship but also for laying the foundations of Dutch tulip breeding…
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Charles Elton and  the beginning of Modern Animal Ecology

Charles Elton and the beginning of Modern Animal Ecology

On March 29, 1900, English zoologist and animal ecologist Charles Sutherland Elton was born. Elton‘s name is associated with the establishment of modern population and community ecology, including studies of invasive organisms. In 1927, Elton published his now classic book Animal Ecology, in which he took up the concept of food chains that had been originally introduced by the African-Arab scientist and philosopher Al-Jahiz in the 9th century. “Food is the burning…
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Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

On February 23, 1603, Italian physician, philosopher and botanist Andrea Cesalpino passed away. He classified plants according to their fruits and seeds, rather than alphabetically or by medicinal properties. He helped establish botany as an independent science and also made contributions to medical science and physiology. Andrea Cesalpino – Early Years Andrea Cesalpino was probably born on June 5, 1525. However, some sources suggest also 1519 as his actual year of birth.…
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Joseph Jackson Lister – Perfecting the Optical Microscope

Joseph Jackson Lister – Perfecting the Optical Microscope

On January 11, 1786, British amateur opticist and physicist Joseph Jackson Lister was born. In 1826, Lister designed possibly the most important optical microscope ever made. It used an achromatic objective lens corrected for chromatic and spherical aberrations, the resulting image was at the time the clearest produced by any microscope. Joseph Jackson Lister – Family Background Joseph Jackson Lister was the son of a London wine merchant and Quaker. He attended school until 1800 and was then…
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Rudolf Leuckart and his Research in Parasitology

Rudolf Leuckart and his Research in Parasitology

On October 7, 1822, German zoologist Karl Georg Friedrich Rudolf Leuckart was born. He is known to be one of the initiators of modern parasitology. Leuckart described the complicated life histories of various parasites, including tapeworms and the liver fluke, and demonstrated that some human diseases, such as trichinosis, are caused by multicellular animals of the various wormlike phyla. “Nowhere is it more true that “prevention is better than cure,” than in the case of…
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Sergei Winogradsky and the Science of Bacteriology

Sergei Winogradsky and the Science of Bacteriology

On September 1, 1856, Ukrainian microbiologist, ecologist and soil scientist Sergei Nikolaievich Winogradsky was born, who pioneered the cycle of life concept. He helped to establish bacteriology as a major biological science. Sergei Winogradsky Background Sergei Winogradsky was born in Kiev, which belonged to the Russian Empire, into a family of a wealthy lawyer. The young man finished his secondary education with the gold medal and entered the Imperial Conservatoire of Music in…
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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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