Science Birthdays, July 20

7/20/1804        Sir Richard Owen,      zoologist, he coined the term dinosaur, he died in 1892 at age 88.

7/20/1822         Gregor Mendel,          botanist           childhood of poverty and hardship, son of a peasant,  he tended fruit trees and took the name of Gregor when he became a monk,  ordained a priest in 1847, he became a science teacher but failed the examinations three times, so he grew peas in the monastery garden, he wrapped plants to guard against cross pollination. He noticed there were always about three times as many tall pea plants as dwarf plants. He thought there were two kinds of tall pea plants, true-breeders and non-true-breeders, he sent a paper to Nageli, a noted biologist but was ignored, this most likely disheartened him, Nageli later published the work but did not mention Mendel, he published his first paper in 1865, he was appointed abbot of the monastery in 1868 and had little time to continue his work, he got fat and could not bend over to work in the garden, he became an amateur meteorologist, maintaining daily records of weather, his work remained ignored and unnoticed,  He died in 1884 at age 62 lonely and saddened never knowing that he would someday be famous, Darwin died in 1882 without knowing that Mendel’s ideas would have explained weaknesses in his theory, Nageli died in 1891 without knowing what a mistake he had made, it was not until De Vries came across Mendel’s paper in 1900 and brought notice to the scientific world.

7/20/1836        Sir Thomas Allbutt,    physician, He invented the clinical thermometer, he died in 1925 at age 88.

7/201897         Tadeusz Reichstein,   chemist, he developed the Reichstein process for synthesis of Vitamin C, he died in 1996 at age 99.

7/20/1919        Sir Edmund Hillary,   explorer, first to climb Mt. Everest, he died in 2008 at age 88.




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