biology

The Fruit Breeding of Thomas Andrew Knight

The Fruit Breeding of Thomas Andrew Knight

On August 12, 1759, English horticulturalist and botanist Thomas Andrew Knight was born. Knight initiated the field of fruit breeding, experimental horticulture while also studying plant physiology with botanical experiments. He made studies on the movement of sap in plants, the nature of the cambium, and phototropism in tendrils. To investigate the geotropism of roots and stems, he invented a machine, rotating to simulate gravity with centrifugal force in either horizontal or vertical…
William Bateson and the Study of Heredity

William Bateson and the Study of Heredity

On August 8 1861, English biologist William Bateson was born. Bateson was the first person to use the term genetics to describe the study of heredity, and the chief populariser of the ideas of Gregor Mendel following their rediscovery in 1900 by Hugo de Vries and Carl Correns. William Bateson graduated from St John’s College in Cambridge in natural sciences. He traveled to the United States in order to study embryology…
Davidson Black and the Peking Man

Davidson Black and the Peking Man

On July 25, 1884, Canadian anatomist and paleoanthropologist Davidson Black was born. Black is best known for his postulation of the existence of a distinct form of early man, Sinanthropus pekinensis, popularly known as Peking man and now Homo erectus pekinensis. It is believed that Davidson Black already enjoyed to collect fossils along the banks of the Don River when he was a child. Further, he probably became friends with…
Albert Calmette and the Antituberculosis Vaccine

Albert Calmette and the Antituberculosis Vaccine

On July 12, 1863, French physician, bacteriologist and immunologist Léon Charles Albert Calmette was born. Calmette discovered the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, an attenuated form of Mycobacterium bovis used in the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis. He also developed the first antivenom for snake venom, the Calmette‘s serum. Calmette was born in Nice, France. He wanted to serve in the Navy and be a physician, so in 1881 he joined the School of…
Ludwik Fleck and the Thought Collective

Ludwik Fleck and the Thought Collective

On July 11, 1898, Polish and Israeli physician Ludwik Fleck was born. Fleck did important work in epidemic typhus in Lwów, Poland, with Rudolf Weigl and in the 1930s developed the concepts of the “Denkstil” (“thought style”) and the “Denkkollektiv” (“thought collective”). The concept of the “thought collective” defined by him is important in the philosophy of science and in logology (the “science of science”), helping to explain how scientific ideas…
Frank Rattray Lillie and the Fertilization Process

Frank Rattray Lillie and the Fertilization Process

On June 27, 1870, American zoologist and an early pioneer of the study of embryology Frank Rattray Lillie was born. Lillie is known for his discoveries concerning the fertilization of the egg (ovum) and the role of hormones in sex determination. He was instrumental in the development of the field of embryology. He identified the influence of potassium on cell differentiation and elucidated the biological mechanisms behind free-martins. Frank Lillie studied endocrinology and…
Mary Jane Rathbun and the Crustacea

Mary Jane Rathbun and the Crustacea

On June 11, 1860, American zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was born. Rathbun established the basic taxonomic information on Crustacea. For many years she was the Smithsonian’s complete department of marine invertebrates where she studied, cataloged, and preserved specimens. Through her basic studies and published works, she fixed the nomenclature of Crustacea and was the recognized, and the much sought after, authority in zoology and carcinology. Mary Jane Rathbun was a…
Raymond Pearl and Biometry

Raymond Pearl and Biometry

On June 3, 1879, American biologist Raymond Pearl was born. Pearl is regarded as one of the founders of biogerontology. Moreover, he is one of the founders of biometry, the application of statistics to biology and medicine. He also pioneered studies in longevity, changes in world population, and genetics. Raymond Pearl earned his PhD in zoology for his work on the behavior of planarians from the University of Michigan. Along…
Sir David Bruce and the Malta Fever

Sir David Bruce and the Malta Fever

On May 29, 1855, Scottish pathologist and microbiologist Sir David Bruce was born. Bruce investigated Malta fever (later called brucellosis in his honour) and African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in animals). He discovered the first protozoan parasite transmitted by insects, which was later named Trypanosoma brucei after him. David Bruce was born in Melbourne, Australia, to David Bruce, a Scottish engineer and his wife Jane Russell Hamilton,…
Robert Yerkes and Psychobiology

Robert Yerkes and Psychobiology

On May 26, 1876, American psychologist, ethologist, eugenicist and primatologist Robert Mearns Yerkes was born. Yerkes is known for his work in intelligence testing and in the field of comparative psychology. He is refered to as a principal developer of comparative (animal) psychology in the U.S. and pioneered in the study both of human and primate intelligence and of the social behavior of gorillas and chimpanzees. Robert Yerkes first attended…
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