biology

Cyril Ponnamperuma and the Origins of Life

Cyril Ponnamperuma and the Origins of Life

On October 16, 1923, Ceylonese-American chemist and exobiologist Cyril Ponnamperuma was born. Cyril Ponnamperuma was a leading authority on the chemical origins of life. He built on the work of Miller and Clayton Urey studying chemical reactions in “primordial soup” experiments. Ponnamperuma focused on producing compounds related to the nucleic acids and offered a convincing theory about series of chemical reactions that gave rise to precursors of life on earth. Cyril…
Edward Murray East and the Hybrid Corn

Edward Murray East and the Hybrid Corn

On October 4, 1879, American plant geneticist, botanist, agronomist and eugenisist Edward Murray East was born. East is known for his experiments that led to the development of hybrid corn and his support of ‘forced’ elimination of the ‘unfit’ based on eugenic findings. “Genetics has enticed a great many explorers during the past two decades. They have labored with fruit-flies and guinea-pigs, with sweet peas and corn, with thousands of…
Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity

Thomas Hunt Morgan and the Chromosome Theory of Heredity

On September 25, 1866, American evolutionary biologist, geneticist, embryologist, and science author Thomas Hunt Morgan was born. He is famous for his experimental research with the fruit fly by which he established the chromosome theory of heredity. Thomas Hunt Morgan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 for discoveries elucidating the role that the chromosome plays in heredity. Thomas Hunt Morgan joined the State College of Kentucky, today known…
Carl Erich Correns and the Principles of Heredity

Carl Erich Correns and the Principles of Heredity

On September 19, 1864, German botanist and geneticist Carl Erich Correns was born. Correns is notable primarily for his independent discovery of the principles of heredity, and for his rediscovery of Gregor Mendel‘s earlier paper on that subject, which he achieved simultaneously but independently of the botanists Erich Tschermak and Hugo de Vries, and the agronomist William Jasper Spillman. Carl Erich Correns entered the University of Munich in 1885, where…
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…
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. 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,…
Paul Bartsch and the Molluscs

Paul Bartsch and the 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. During his school years, Paul Bartsch founded a natural history club at his home. It is believed that he further collected birds and prpared skins which he displayed…
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…
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