Alexander von Humboldt

Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg – Father of Micropaleontology

Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg – Father of Micropaleontology

On April 19, 1795, German naturalist, zoologist, comparative anatomist, geologist, and microscopist Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg was born. Ehrenberg was one of the most famous and productive scientists of his time. He has been called the founder of micropaleontology (the study of fossil microorganisms). He held that animals, of any size down to the tiniest, have organ systems in common, including muscles, reproductive organs, and stomachs. Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg studied theology at the University of…
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Ida Henrietta Hyde and the Microelectrode

Ida Henrietta Hyde and the Microelectrode

On September 8, 1857, American physiologist Ida Henrietta Hyde was born. Hyde is known for developing a micro-electrode powerful enough to stimulate tissue chemically or electronically, yet small enough to inject or remove tissue from a cell. The microelectrode has been said to have revolutionized neurophysiology. Ida Henrietta Hyde – Early Years Ida Henrietta Hyde grew up in Chicago, where she was sent to a public school. In 1871, the family home…
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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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Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

On December 6, 1778, French chemist and physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was born. He is known mostly for two laws related to gases, and for his work on alcohol-water mixtures, which led to the degrees Gay-Lussac used to measure alcoholic beverages in many countries. “I have not chosen a career that will lead me to a great fortune, but not my principal ambition. In fact, later in life he enjoyed comfortable income…
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Christian Leopold von Buch and the Jurassic System

Christian Leopold von Buch and the Jurassic System

On April 26, 1774, German geologist and paleontologist Christian Leopold von Buch was born. He is best known as one of the most important contributors to geology in the first half of the 19th century. His scientific interest was devoted to a broad spectrum of geological topics: volcanism, fossils, stratigraphy and more. His most remembered accomplishment is the scientific definition of the jurassic system. Leopold von Buch was the son of an ambassador…
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Lejeune Dirichlet and the Mathematical Function

Lejeune Dirichlet and the Mathematical Function

On February 13, 1805, German mathematician Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was born. Dirichlet is best known for his papers on conditions for the convergence of trigonometric series and the use of the series to represent arbitrary functions. He also proposed in 1837 the modern definition of a mathematical function. Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was born in Düren, halfway between Aachen and Cologne in Germany, a town on the left bank of the Rhine which…
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John Lloyd Stephens and the Archeology of Middle America

John Lloyd Stephens and the Archeology of Middle America

On November 28,  1805, American explorer, writer, and diplomat John Lloyd Stephens was born. Stephens was a pivotal figure in the rediscovery of Maya civilization throughout Middle America and in the planning of the Panama railroad. His exploration of Maya ruins in Central America and Mexico generated the archaeology of Middle America. John Lloyd Stephens was born in the township of Shrewsbury, New Jersey, as the second son of Benjamin Stephens, a…
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