biology

August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

August Weismann – the Founder of Neo-Darwinism

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 was introduced into collecting butterflies and caterpillars, which highly…
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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 town, Stuttgart in…
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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 mother frequently.…
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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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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 prodigy received…
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Charles Darwin and the Natural Selection

Charles Darwin and the Natural Selection

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 of heat and cold was later highly…
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Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

Huxley’s illustration showing that humans and apes had the same basic skeletal structure 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. Charles Darwin began his studies on natural history in the 1820’s, where he first heard of the transmutation of species by Robert Grant. Further influences…
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Antonie van Leeuwenhoek – The Father of Microbiology

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek – The Father of Microbiology

Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723) On October 24, 1632, the Dutch tradesman and scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope, was born. He is commonly known as “the Father of Microbiology”, and considered to be the first microbiologist. That Van Leeuwenhoek made some of the most significant discoveries in the history of biology is rather surprising. Born in 1632, the son of a basket maker was not so fortunate to receive…
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Alfred Kinsey and his Scientific Interest in Sex

Alfred Kinsey and his Scientific Interest in Sex

Alfred Charles Kinsey at an interview photo: Bill Dellenbeck, ©Kinsey Institute On September 14, 1953, Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey published the second of his controversially discussed and provoking reports entitled ‘Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female‘. Kinsey’s work has profoundly influenced social and cultural values in the United States and many other countries. Alfred Charles Kinsey grew up in a strictly religious Christian family and even though he did not share his parent’s enthusiasm, Kinsey followed…
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Ernst Haeckel and the Phyletic Museum

Ernst Haeckel and the Phyletic Museum

On July 30, 1908, the ‘Phyletic Museum‘ was gifted to the University of Jena due to its 350th anniversary by Ernst Haeckel. The famous zoologist was best known for his approaches in evolution theory. The ‘Phyletic Museum’ is a unique institution, illustrating not only natural sciences, but also the entire development of life focusing on phylogeny and the theory of evolution. Also the junction of art and nature is an essential theme…
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