botany

David Douglas and the Douglas Fir

David Douglas and the Douglas Fir

On June 25 1799, Scottish botanist David Douglas was born. Douglas was one of the most successful of the great 19th century plant collectors. Today, he is best known as the namesake of the Douglas fir. He worked as a gardener, and explored the Scottish Highlands, North America, and Hawaii, where he died. David Douglas was apprenticed to the head gardener at Scone Palace, the seat of the Earl of Mansfield and spent several years…
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Catherine Furbish and the Native Flora of Maine

Catherine Furbish and the Native Flora of Maine

On May 19, 1834, American botanist Catherine Furbish was born. Furbish collected, classified and illustrated the native flora of Maine. She devoted over 60 years of her life, traveling thousands of miles throughout her home state and creating very accurate drawings and watercolour paintings of the plants she found. Catherine Furbish was born on May 19, 1834 in Exeter, New Hampshire, U. S. A., the eldest child and only daughter of Benjamin and Mary Lane…
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The Botanical Collections of José Celestino Mutis

The Botanical Collections of José Celestino Mutis

On April 6, 1732, Spanish priest, botanist and mathematician José Celestino Mutis was born. Between 1783 and 1808, Mutis tirelessly led an extraordinary endeavor to collect and illustrate the plants of Colombia, assembling one of the richest botanical collections in the world of his time. José Celestino Mutis began studying medicine at the College of Surgery in Cádiz. There, Mutis also studied physics, chemistry, and botany. He graduated from the University of…
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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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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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