Tag Archives: science

Berzelius, father of Swedish chemistry

  Jons Jakob Berzelius. Engraving by Charles W. Sharpe and published by William Mackenzie, 1860. After Johan Olaf Sodermark. Smithsonian Libraries Image Gallery via Wikimedia. Public domain. Born in 1779 in East Gotland in the southern part of Sweden, Jons Jacob Berzelius descended from an old Swedish family in which many of his ancestors had […]

Book review: Civilization and the Culture of Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Civilization and the Culture of Science: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1795–1935 by Stephen Gaukroger. The word civilization has both Latin and French origins: civitas (city) and civis (citizen) in Latin, and civilise (civilized) in French. In 1923, physician, philosopher, and theologian Albert Schweitzer wrote […]

Dr. Fritz Kahn and medical infographics

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace). A human head in profile divided into offices, staffed by little men, and areas of industrial production. Artwork by Fritz Kahn in Das Leben des Menschen; eine volkstümliche Anatomie, Biologie, Physiologie und Entwick-lungs-geschichte des Menschen (Kosmus publishers, Stuttgart, 1926). Chromolithograph. Via the […]

Xenotransplantation—giving animal organs to humans

Dr. Alexis Carrel. Photo originally published by Bain News Service, June 1922. From Flickr Commons project and The Evening World via the Library of Congress George Grantham Bain Collection. Via Wikimedia. No known restrictions on publication.  In the early 1990s a distinguished scientist predicted that within twenty years thousands of lives would be saved by […]

Serendipity in science and medicine

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Photo by Tyler Merbler. Via Flickr. CC BY 2.0. The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!”, but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov   Horace Walpole (son of the first British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole) coined the word […]

O Superman

John Rasko Carl Power Sydney, Australia   Christopher Reeve comes to South Park to demonstrate all the hope and horror of embryonic stem cells. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, “Krazy Kripples,” South Park, season 7, episode 2 (2003). The key scene is available here. The creation of human embryonic stem cells in 1998 sparked enormous […]

John Hunter, his wolf dogs, and the inherited smiles of Pomeranians

Stephen Martin United Kingdom   Fig 1. Title of Hunter’s Royal Society wolf dogs paper. © Author, from original, CC-BY 4.0 John Hunter, 1728-1793, was a polymathic doctor. Besides being an anatomist and clinician, he was also interested in early genetics, exemplified by his “Observations tending to shew that the Wolf, Jackal, and Dog, are […]

“Am not I a fly like thee?” Drosophila melanogaster and the human genome

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   A fruit fly displaying its large red eye. Among Thomas Hunt Morgan’s many contribution to the burgeoning science of genetics, he observed some male fruit flies had a mutant white eye. By cross-breeding males with mutant white eyes with females with the dominant trait and, subsequently, […]

Was Moses an alchemist?

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   Worshiping the golden calf, as in Exodus 32:1-35. Illustration from a Bible card published 1901 by the Providence Lithograph Company. Via Wikimedia. “And he took the (golden) calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the […]

Trijntje Keever—a tall tale

Orit Pinhas-Hamiel Hamiel Uri Tirosh Amit Ramat Gan, Israel   A life-size painting of Trijntje Keever. Unknown Painter. 1633. Via Wikimedia. There is a life-size painting in the city of Edam in The Netherlands that portrays a girl who is exceptionally tall with disproportionately long hands. The artist is unknown, but the name of the […]