botany

William Withering and the Clinical Value of Digitalis

William Withering and the Clinical Value of Digitalis

On March 17, 1741, English botanist, geologist, chemist, physician William Withering was born. From his interest in botany, he paid attention to folk remedies used by herb-gatherers, and discovered digitalis, a very useful drug used to steady and strengthen heart action. William Withering’s career choice was first highly influenced by his father, an apothecary and his uncle, a physician. Withering began his studies at the University of Edinburgh in 1762 which included a large medical curriculum…
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Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastos of Eresos, who studied in Plato’s philosopher’s school, is most famous for his groundbreaking work on plants. Thus, he is often referred to as the ‘father of botany’. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. Theophrastus of Eresos was a native of Eresos in Lesbos and his given name was Tyrtamus. It is believed that…
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The Biosphere 2 Missions

The Biosphere 2 Missions

On September 26, 1991, the first mission of Biosphere 2 began. Biosphere 2 is an Earth systems science research facility located in Oracle, Arizona, built to be an artificial, materially closed ecological system, or vivarium. It remains the largest closed system ever created. Biosphere 2 was constructed between 1987 and 1991 by Space Biosphere Ventures and was named Biosphere 2 because it was meant to be the second fully self-sufficient biosphere, after…
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Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

On September 22, 1741, German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas was born. Pallas was a pioneer in zoogeography by going beyond merely cataloging specimens with simple descriptions, but included observations of causal relationships between animals and their environment. He looked for hidden regularities in natural phenomena over an extreme range of habitats. Pallas was born in Berlin, the son of Professor of Surgery Simon Pallas at the Collegium medico-chirurgicum in Berlin.…
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Amos Eaton and the Science of Education

Amos Eaton and the Science of Education

On May 17, 1776, American botanist, geologist, and educator Amos Eaton was born. He is considered the founder of the modern scientific prospectus in education, which was a radical departure from the American liberal arts tradition of classics, religious classes, lecture, and recitation. Amos Eaton was born in New Concord parish, New York. He was sent to Williamstown in order to study at Williams College and graduated in 1799. It is believed…
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Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

On February 23, 1603, Italian physician, philosopher and botanist Andrea Cesalpino passed away. He classified plants according to their fruits and seeds, rather than alphabetically or by medicinal properties. He helped establish botany as an independent science and also made contributions to medical science and physiology. Andrea Cesalpino was probably born on June 5, 1525. However, some sources suggest also 1519 as his actual year of birth. It is believed that his…
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John Lindley and his Love for Plants

John Lindley and his Love for Plants

On February 5, 1799, English botanist, gardener and orchidologist John Lindley was born. His attempts to formulate a natural system of plant classification greatly aided the transition from the artificial (considering the characters of single parts) to the natural system (considering all characters of a plant). He made the first definitive orchid classification in 1830. John Lindley was born in Catton, near Norwich, England, as one of four children of George Linley,…
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Gaspard Bauhin and the Classification of Plants

Gaspard Bauhin and the Classification of Plants

On January 17, 1560, Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin was born. He is best known for his contributions to the field of botany, and especially for his classification of plants. He was a disciple of the famous Italian physician Girolamo Mercuriale and he also worked on human anatomical nomenclature. Early Years Caspar Bauhin came from the Bauhin medical family, which had fled to Basel as Huguenots from Paris and Amsterdam; his father was…
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Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

On January 9, 1858, American botanist, bryologist, and educator Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (née Elizabeth Gertrude Knight) was born. She and her husband, Nathaniel Lord Britton played a significant role in the fundraising and creation of the New York Botanical Garden. She is best known for her lasting contributions to bryology, the study of mosses. Early Years Elizabeth Gertrude Knight was born in New York City, one of five daughters, to James and Sophie…
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Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet and his Battle against Phylloxera

Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet and his Battle against Phylloxera

On December 13, 1838, French botanist Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet was born. He is best remembered for his work dealing with plant pests, especially in the vineyards of France that were infested by the destructive Phylloxera in the 1860s. Millardet attended the Collège de l’Arc and later Besançon, he studied medicine as well as nature science at the University of Freiburg and Heidelberg before becoming professor of botany at the University of Strasbourg around…
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