biology

Gorillas in the Mist – The Life of Dian Fossey

Gorillas in the Mist – The Life of Dian Fossey

On December 26, 1985, American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist Dian Fossey was killed. She is best known for her extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years in they mountain forests of Rwanda. Her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the mountain gorilla at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what…
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Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

On December 22, 1821, French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre was born. Being a prolific author, his greatest achievement lies in the polularization of insect natural history. Victor Hugo dubbed him “the insects’ Homer” and Edmond Rostand named him the “Virgil of insects.” Darwin cited him as “an incomparable observer.” Butterflies and Grasshoppers Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre was born in Saint Léons in Aveyron, France. He spent the first years of his youth at Le Malaval,…
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Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

Jan Ingenhousz and the Principles of Photosynthesis

On December 8, 1730, Dutch physiologist, biologist and chemist Jan Ingenhousz was born. He is best known for showing that light is essential to photosynthesis and thus became one of the scientists who significantly contributed to the discovery of photosynthesis. He also discovered that plants, like animals, have cellular respiration. “Mr. Ingenhouszen belongs to the small number of working physicists who possess the fruitful talent not only to pursue individual objects with admirable…
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Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

On July 27, 1787, American self-taught naturalist, entomologist, malacologist, herpetologist and carcinologist Thomas Say was born. A taxonomist, he is widely considered the father of descriptive entomology in the United States. Thomas Say – Early Years Thomas Say was the great-grandson of the co-founder of the American Philosophical Society, John Bartram (1699-1777), and the great-nephew of William Bartram (1739-1823). The whole family consisted of members of a Quaker sect. Say’s statement that he belonged…
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John James Audubon’s Birds of America

John James Audubon’s Birds of America

On April 26, 1785, French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter John James Audubon was born. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Why the Heck… OK, who the heck is john James…
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The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

Different kinds of birth control pillsImage: Ceridwen On August 18, 1960, the first contraceptive pill Enovid went on public sale in the U.S. But the contraceptive pill was not available to married women in all states of the U.S. until 1972. Especially the Roman Catholic Church holds a strong position against the contraceptive pill, because according to her teachings artificial contraception distorts the nature and purpose of sex. According to the Economist,…
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