Science Birthdays, January 10

It is also the birthday of Lazzaro Spallanzani, born in 1729; he was one of the earlier researchers to disprove spontaneous generation.  He showed that microbes move through the air and they could be killed by boiling.  His critics argued that his experiments destroyed the “life force” that was required for spontaneous generation, however his work paved the way for Louis Pasteur to put the theory to rest with his research which did not involve boiling the actual organisms.  You will have to wait till December 27th to hear about Pasteur’s theory that is his birthday.

Martin Lichtenstein, born in 1780 was a physician, herpetologist and zoologist as well as an explorer; he discovered many new species of amphibians and reptiles. He was killed in a duel while at sea.              

Katherine Blodgett, born in 1898 invented low reflection invisible glass.

Norman Heatley, born in 1911, was a member of the team that developed penicillin.  Although discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. Flemming saw little use for the discovery.  Heatley was a junior scientist on the team, but it was him that suggested transferring the active ingredient of penicillin back into water by changing it’s acidity, thus purifying it.  

Sune Bergstrom, born in 1916 received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning prostaglandins and related substances.

Robert Woodrow Wilson, born in 1936 was an astronomer who along with Arno Allan Penzias, discovered cosmic microwave background radiation or CMB.

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