biology

Clark Wissler and the Normative Aspect of Culture

Clark Wissler and the Normative Aspect of Culture

On September 18, 1870, American anthropologist Clark David Wissler was born. Wissler devised the age-area concept which held that the age of cultural traits could be found by correlating the diffusion of those traits throughout their associated area. He was the first anthropologist to perceive the normative aspect of culture, to define it as learned behavior, and to describe it as a complex of ideas, all characteristics of culture that are today…
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Augustine Pyramus de Candolle and the Biological Clock

Augustine Pyramus de Candolle and the Biological Clock

On September 9, 1841, Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle passed away. Candolle originated the idea of “Nature’s war”, which influenced Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection.[3,4] Furthermore, he recognized that multiple species may develop similar characteristics that did not appear in a common evolutionary ancestor; this was later termed analogy. During his work with plants, de Candolle noticed that plant leaf movements follow a near-24-hour cycle in constant light, suggesting that…
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Paul Bartsch Interest in Molluscs

Paul Bartsch Interest in Molluscs

On August 14, 1871, American malacologist and carcinologist Paul Bartsch was born, Bartsch was an authority on molluscs, but had broad interests in natural history including plants and birds. He was named the last of those belonging to the “Descriptive Age of Malacology. Paul Bartsch was born in Tuntschendorf, Silesia, and emigrated with his parents to the U.S.A in 1880, first to Missouri and then to Burlington, Iowa. During his school years, Paul…
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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 position. The…
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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 was born in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast, the son of William Henry Bateson, Master of St John’s College, Cambridge. He was educated…
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Davidson Black and the Discovery of the Peking Man

Davidson Black and the Discovery of 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. Collecting Fossils as a Child 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…
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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. From Naval Medical Corps to Institute Louis Pasteur Calmette was born in Nice, France. He wanted to serve in the Navy and be a physician, so in 1881…
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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 change over…
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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 was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His…
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Mary Jane Rathbun and the Secret Life of Crustacea

Mary Jane Rathbun and the Secret Life of 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. A Self-taught Zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was…
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