biology

Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in: American entomology : A Description of the Insects of North America by Thomas Say 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 attended Westtown Boarding School near Philadelphia and his father discouraged him from the pursuit of natural history, trying to interest him instead in the…
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Rudolf Albert von Kölliker and the Origins of Embriology

Rudolf Albert von Kölliker and the Origins of Embriology

Rudolf von Kölliker (1817-1902) 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. 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

Drill to take samples for dendrochronology from trees Image by Wikimedia User Hannes Grobe 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 was not the first, who suggested that a tree’s…
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Rembert Dodoens and the Love for Botanical Science

Rembert Dodoens and the Love for Botanical Science

Rembert Dodoens (1516–1585) 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 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. Maybe, first of all you might ask, what is cytogenetics. Well, cytogenetics is a branch of genetics that is concerned with the study of the structure and function of the cell, especially the chromosomes. Chromosomes, as being a single piece of coiled DNA…
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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. OK, who the heck is john James Audubon and why…
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Royal Botanist Charles Plumier

Royal Botanist Charles Plumier

On April 20, 1646, French botanist Charles Plumier was born. He is considered one of the most important of the botanical explorers of his time. He made three botanizing expeditions to the West Indies, which resulted in a massive work Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera (1703–04) and was appointed botanist to king Louis XIV of France. Charles Plumier was born in Marseille and entered the order of the Minims, when he was 16…
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The Great Paris Academic Dispute of 1830

The Great Paris Academic Dispute of 1830

On February 15, 1830, the famous Paris Academy Dispute began between the naturalists Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and George Cuvier [5] about the possibility of biological evolution began with a speech of Saint-Hillaire comparing vertebrates with mollusces. Within 8 public debates the scientists argued about the possibility that nature not necessarily has to be static but might be subject to constant change. It was the most prominent scientific debate in the 19th century that heavily influenced…
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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. Mendel grew up in a farmer’s family and cultivated bees from early ages. From 1840 to 1843, he studied practical and theoretical philosophy and physics at the Philosophical Institute of the University…
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