botany

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…
Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

On June 30, 1817, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born, one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin‘s closest friend. Furthermore, he was assistant on Sir James Ross‘s Antarctic expedition and whose botanical travels to foreign lands included India, Palestine and the U.S., from which he became a leading taxonomists in his time. Joseph Dalton Hooker…
Leonhart Fuchs’ Herbal Book

Leonhart Fuchs’ Herbal Book

On May 10, 1566, German Botanist Leonhard Fuchs passed away. Fuchs is best known for authoring a large book about plants and their uses as medicines, i.e. a Herbal Book, published in 1542 in Latin, with about 500 accurate and detailed drawings of plants printed from woodcuts. Leonhart Fuchs became Magister Artium in 1524 and earned his doctor of medicine degree. During the next years, Fuchs practiced as a doctor in…
Jean Senebier and the Photosynthesis

Jean Senebier and the Photosynthesis

On May 6, 1742, Swiss pastor and naturalist Jean Senebier was born. Senebier wrote extensively on plant physiology and was one of the major early pioneers of photosynthesis research. He was the first who demonstrated that green plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen under the influence of light. Before Jean Senebier researched in the field of photosynthesis, other scientists had engaged in the field including Jan van Helmont, who measured…
Johann Gottlieb Kölreuter and the Study of Plant Fertilization

Johann Gottlieb Kölreuter and the Study of Plant Fertilization

On April 27, 1733, German botanist Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter was born. Kölreuter was a German botanist who pioneered the study of plant fertilization, hybridization and was the first to detect self-incompatibility. He was an observer as well as a rigorous experimenter who used careful crossing experiments although he did not inquire into the nature of heritability. Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter was the son of an apothecary in Karlsruhe, Germany. From early…
Katherine Esau and the Anatomy of Plants

Katherine Esau and the Anatomy of Plants

On April 3, 1898, German-American botanist Katherine Esau was born. Esau did groundbreaking work in the structure and workings of plants. She is best known for her research into the effects of viruses upon plant tissues, and her studies of plant tissue structures and physiology. Katherine Esau first started studying agriculture in Moscow, but after a year her family was prompted by the Bolshevik Revolution to move to Germany where she…
Wilhelm Pfeffer and Plant Physiology

Wilhelm Pfeffer and Plant Physiology

On March 9, 1845, German botanist and plant physiologist Wilhelm Pfeffer was born. Pfeffer’s work on osmotic pressure made him a pioneer in the study of plant physiology. With Julius von Sachs, he was a leader in systematizing the fundamentals of plant physiology. Wilhelm Pfeffer attended the University of Göttingen studying chemistry and pharmacy under the chemist Friedrich Wöhler who became best known for his synthesis of urea, under William Eduard…
Horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey

Horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey

On December 25, 1954, American horticulturist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey passed away. Bailey helped to create the science of horticulture. He made systematic studies of cultivated plants, and advanced knowledge in hybridization, plant pathology, and agriculture. He was a recognized authority on sedges, tropical palms, blackberries, grapes, cabbages, pumpkins and squashes, among others. He is particularly notable for his great encyclopedias (Cyclopedia of American Agriculture, in four volumes, 1907-9)…
Henry Nicholas Ridley and the Rubber Tree

Henry Nicholas Ridley and the Rubber Tree

On December 10, 1855, English botanist, geologist and naturalist Henry Nicholas Ridley was born. Ridley was instrumental in introducing rubber trees in the Malay Peninsula and for his fervour in promoting it became known as “Mad Ridley”. Henry Ridley grew up in Kent, he was educated at Tonbridge and later Haileybury. He graduated in 1878 and received a Burdett-Coutts scholarship that let him conduct research on fossil from quarries near…
Stephen Hales and the Blood Pressure

Stephen Hales and the Blood Pressure

On September 17, 1677, English clergyman Stephen Hales was born. Hales made major contributions to a range of scientific fields including botany, pneumatic chemistry and physiology. He was the first person to measure blood pressure. He also invented several devices, including a ventilator, a pneumatic trough and a surgical forceps for the removal of bladder stones. In addition to these achievements was a philanthropist and wrote a popular tract on alcoholic intemperance.…
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