Switzerland

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.[3,4] 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, suggesting that…
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Heinrich Harrer and the Eiger North Face

Heinrich Harrer and the Eiger North Face

On July 21, 1938, Austrian mountaineer, sportsman, and geographer Heinrich Harrer together with Andreas Heckmair, Ludwig Vörg, and Fritz Kasparek started ther first successful climb of the famous Eiger north face, which is the biggest north face in the Alps. The north face is considered amongst the most challenging and dangerous ascents in the European alps. A Top Sportsman Heinrich Harrer was born in 1912 in Hüttenberg, Austria-Hungary, in the district of Sankt Veit…
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Wilhelm His and the Invention of the Microtome

Wilhelm His and the Invention of the Microtome

On July 9, 1831, Swiss anatomist Wilhelm His, Sr. was born. His became known for the invention of the microtome, a tool used to cut extremely thin slices of material (even though others were also credited with the invention). By treating animal flesh with acids and salts to harden it and then slicing it very thinly with the microtome, scientists were able to further research the organization and function of tissues and…
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Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her Research in Death

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her Research in Death

On July 8, 1926, Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was born. Kübler-Ross was a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying (1969), where she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief. “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross [1] Youth…
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The Story of the Legendary Swiss Army Knife

The Story of the Legendary Swiss Army Knife

On June 12, 1897, the original Swiss Army knife was registered with the patent office as The Officer’s and Sports Knife. This knife featured a second smaller cutting blade, corkscrew, and wood fiber grips. Everybody knows the famous “Swiss Army knife”. But, what’s the history behind? The term “Swiss Army knife” was coined by American soldiers after World War II due to the difficulty they had in pronouncing “Offiziersmesser“, the German name.…
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Jean Senebier and the Discovery of Photosynthesis

Jean Senebier and the Discovery of 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. How do the Plants gain their Mass? Before Jean Senebier researched in the field of photosynthesis, other scientists had engaged in the field including Flemish chemist, physiologist,…
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Walter Hess and his Mapping of the Brain

Walter Hess and his Mapping of the Brain

On March 17, 1881, Swiss physiologist Walter Rudolf Hess was born. Hess shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1949 with Antonio Egas Moniz for his discovery of the functional organization of the interbrain as a coordinator of the activities of the internal organs. Youth and Education Walter Hess was born in Frauenfeld, Canton Thurgau, Switzerland to Clemens Hess and Gertrud Hess (née Fischer). In his early years, he was supported by his father who…
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Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

On January 27, 1888, Swiss-Norwegian geochemist, mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt was born. Goldschmidt is considered (together with Vladimir Vernadsky) to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry, as well as the developer of the Goldschmidt Classification of elements. “Every beginning is hard. At most stopping is sometimes even harder.” – Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, as quoted in [9] Victor Moritz Goldschmidt’s Early Years Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland,…
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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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Marie-Louise von Franz and the Psychology of Fairy Tales

Marie-Louise von Franz and the Psychology of Fairy Tales

On January 4, 1915, Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar Marie-Louise von Franz was born. Von Franz is renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts. Her research showed common themes in tales from many cultures, which she linked with experiences in daily life. “The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. “ —…
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