biology

Paul Müller and the Doubtful Qualities of DDT

Paul Müller and the Doubtful Qualities of DDT

On January 12, 1899, Swiss chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Hermann Müller was born. Müller received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. “We have discovered many preventives against tropical diseases, and often against the onslaught of insects of all kinds, from lice to mosquitoes and back again. The excellent…
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Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

On January 9, 1950, British geneticist Alec Jeffreys was born. In 1984, Jeffreys developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used worldwide in forensic science to assist police detective work and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes. Alec Jeffries – Youth and Education Alec John Jeffreys was born into a middle-class family in Oxford, UK, where he spent the first six years of his life until 1956, when the family moved to Luton,…
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Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

On December 28, 1894, American paleontologist and biologist Alfred Sherwood Romer was born. Romer was a a specialist in vertebrate evolution. He studied the evolution of early vertebrates in biological terms of comparative anatomy and embryology. He researched muscle and limb evolution, the development and evolutionary history of cartilage and bone, and the structure and function of the nervous system. Youth and Education Alfred Romer was born in White Plains, New York,…
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Maurice Wilkins and the Riddle of the DNA Structure

Maurice Wilkins and the Riddle of the DNA Structure

On December 15, 1916, New Zealand-born British physicist, molecular biologist, and Nobel Laureate Maurice Wilkins was born. Wilkins’ research contributed to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar. He is best known for his work at King’s College London on the structure of DNA. “It is essential for genetic material to be able to make exact copies of itself; otherwise growth…
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Evolution is not Reversible – Louis Dollo

Evolution is not Reversible – Louis Dollo

On December 7, 1857, French-born Belgian palaeontologist Louis Dollo was born. Dollo is best known for his work on dinosaurs. He also posited that evolution is not reversible, known as Dollo’s law. Together with the Austrian Othenio Abel, Dollo established the principles of paleobiology. Early Years Louis Dollo was born in Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. At the École Centrale de Lille, Dollo studied with the Jules Gosselet and the zoologist Alfred Giard. In 1877, Louis…
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Karl von Frisch and the Dancing Bees

Karl von Frisch and the Dancing Bees

On November 20, 1886, Austrian ethologist and Nobel Laureate Karl Ritter von Frisch was born. His work centered on investigations of the sensory perceptions of the honey bee and he was one of the first to translate the meaning of the waggle dance, which he described in his 1927 book “Aus dem Leben der Bienen” (The Dancing Bees). He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973, along with Nikolaas Tinbergen [10] and…
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Xavier Bichat – the Father of Histology

Xavier Bichat – the Father of Histology

On November 14, 1771, French anatomist and pathologist Marie François Xavier Bichat was born. Bichat is known as the father of histology. Although working without the microscope, Bichat distinguished 21 types of elementary tissues from which the organs of human body are composed. “Life is that group of functions which resist death.” – Marie François Xavier Bichat Francois Xavier Bichat – Youth and Education François Xavier Bichat was born the son of the doctor…
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Salim Ali – the Birdman of India

Salim Ali – the Birdman of India

On November 12, 1896, Indian ornithologist and naturalist Sálim Ali was born. Sometimes referred to as the “birdman of India“, Salim Ali was among the first Indians to conduct systematic bird surveys across India and several bird books that he wrote helped popularize ornithology in India. Along with Sidney Dillon Ripley he wrote the ten volume Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Salim Ali – Background Salim Ali was born into…
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Seymour Benzer and his Experiments in Behavioural Genetics

Seymour Benzer and his Experiments in Behavioural Genetics

On October 15, 1921, American physicist, molecular biologist and behavioral geneticist Seymour Benzer was born. Benzer is known for having developed a method for determining the detailed structure of viral genes. He coined the term cistron (1957) to denote functional subunits of genes. He also did much to elucidate the nature of genetic anomalies, called nonsense mutations, in terms of the nucleotide sequence of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. Seymor Benzer – Early Years Seymour…
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Wilhelm Wundt – Father of Experimental Psychology

Wilhelm Wundt – Father of Experimental Psychology

On August 16, 1832, German physician, physiologist, and philosopher Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt was born. He is one of the founding figures of modern psychology and was the first person to ever call himself a psychologist. In 1879, Wundt founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research at the University of Leipzig. This marked psychology as an independent field of study. Youth and Education Wilhelm Wundt is the youngest child of a Palatinate…
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