biology

Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

Gregor Mendel and the Rules of Inheritance

Gregor Mendel (1822 – 1884) 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. In the 1840s, Mendel enrolled at the university, but soon gave…
August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

Friedrich Leopold August Weismann(1834 – 1914) On January 17, 1834, German evolutionary biologist Friedrich Leopold August Weismann was born. He is considered the second most notable evolutionary theorist of the 19th century, after Charles Darwin, and one of the founders of neo-Darwinism. Adam Weismann grew up in a very religious home, with his father being a teacher and theologian. Weismann started receiving piano lessons at the age of 14 and…
Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

Hardy–Weinberg principle for two alleles On January 13, 1908, German physician and obstetrician-gynecologis Wilhelm Weinberg delivered an exposition of his ideas on the principle of genetic equilibrium in a lecture before the Verein für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg. He developed the idea of genetic equilibrium independently of British mathematician G. H. Hardy. Wilhelm Weinberg studied medicine at the Universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Munich, Germany. He returned to his birth…
Georges Cuvier and the Fossils

Georges Cuvier and the Fossils

Georges Cuvier(1769 – 1832) 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. The young Georges Cuvier was well educated and received additional classes by his…
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…
Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

Illuminated Copper-engraving from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian On April 2, 1647, the German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian was born. Even though she is not very well known for her achievements, she made significant contributions to entomology through the observation and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. The fact that Maria Sibylla Merian is not well known throughout the scientific community is probably caused…
Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

The Pachyderm, from Conrad Gesner ‘Historiae animalium‘ (1551-58) On March 26, 1516, Swiss naturalist and bibliographer Conrad Gessner was born. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria is named after him. He is considered as one of the most important natural scientists of Switzerland and was sometimes referred to as the ‘German Pliny’. Conrad Gessner was born and educated…
Crick and Watson decipher the DNA

Crick and Watson decipher the DNA

Detailed DNA structure On February 28, 1953,  American molecular biologist James D. Watson and English biophysicist Francis Crick announced to friends that they succeeded to determine the chemical structure of DNA. Already in the 19th century biochemists were able to isolate DNA and RNA from the cell nuclei mixed together. They later found out that DNA and RNA had to be distincted from each other. The nuclein was identified by…
Sir Francis Galton – Polymath

Sir Francis Galton – Polymath

Sir Francis Galton (1822 – 1911) On February 16, 1822, the cousin of Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton was born. Galton the polymath, was known for his fundamental contributions to anthropology, geographics, genetics, psychology, statistics, and eugenics. Born in the near of Birmingham, the cousin of Charles Darwin grew up in a family of educated relatives and friends, since the family had close contact to the Royal Society. The child…
Charles Darwin and the Natural Selection

Charles Darwin and the Natural Selection

Charles Darwin(1809 – 1882) On February 12, 1809, the English naturalist Charles Darwin was born. He popularized the term ‘natural selection’ as a milestone in modern biology, which was introduced in his masterpiece ‘On the Origin of Species‘ in 1859. Before Darwin, several theories spread globally, especially ancient philosophers, like the pre-Socratic Empedocles distributed their ideas concerning the variety of creatures. His theory that organisms developed incidental due to period…
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