Questions tagged [biology]

For questions relating to the study of life and life-related processes.

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4
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1answer
66 views

Was Lord Kelvin at any point a proponent of vitalism?

Vitalism is the notion now discredited as pseudoscientific that there is some fundamental cleavage between living and non-living matter. This blog post contains some quotes that suggest Lord Kelvin ...
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1answer
60 views

When and why was the symbol w introduced for biological fitness

$w$ the visually similar $\omega$ are often used to represent biological fitness in population genetics models. (Sometimes $W$ is used for absolute fitness, and $w$ for relative fitness.) These ...
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153 views

What did scientists think was the function of breathing before the discovery of atmospheric gases?

Before we knew about gases in the atmosphere, what did scientists think was the function of breathing?
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1answer
73 views

How did Quetelet discover that the body mass is proportional to the squared height?

The Body Mass Index (BMI) compares body masses on the assumption they scale with height squared, not cubed, an example of allometry. BMI is due to Lambert Quetelet. Why did he settle on this power law?...
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1answer
88 views

Who coined the term “immune system”?

Who coined the term "immune system"? The OED lists the following as its earliest example of the term "immune system": 1943 Science 30 Apr. 406/1Complement..is removed by the addition of an ...
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44 views

Coverage of a topic by scientific research through time

I'm interesting of how scientific research covers a specific topic in a time. Scientific field: biology, cellulosic ethanol production Like: ...
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3answers
109 views

What were the early uses of differential equations for modeling chemical reactions?

What are some of the original examples of uses of differential equations for modeling and analyzing chemical reactions, particularly those relevant to biochemistry, involving proteins and enzymes? ...
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5answers
483 views

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research? Science fiction here means fiction that tries to explain things in the world rather than speculate about the future or unexplorable ...
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4answers
2k views

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

All in the title: When did scientists realize that our eye functions like a lens/magnifying glass?
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1answer
152 views

Who helped Watson and Crick discover DNA?

I remember learning in school that Watson and Crick were attributed with discovering DNA, but also that there was a woman who helped a lot with the experiments who is rarely mentioned. Who is this ...
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1answer
325 views

Was it a major cultural event when Van Leeuwenhoek discovered unseen animals under the microscope?

In the 17e century van Leeuwenhoek discovered with his microscope new kind of animals and cells. How was this discovery of van Leeuwenhoek received by the ordinary people when there seemed to be more ...
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1answer
140 views

Who used “Tabellenstatistik” as a derogatory term in the history of biogeography?

I recently read the book "The secular ark" by Janet Browne on the history of plant geographical studies. In the chapter "A Science of Patterns", a subsection entitled "Tabellenstatistik" is included, ...
5
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1answer
123 views

How was Mendel's work rediscovered after 45 years of forgotten?

According to the book Complexity: A Guided Tour, Mendel's model "was published in a rather obscure journal and was not appreciated as being of great importance until 1900, after which several ...
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2answers
74 views

Has Alphonse Pyramus de Candolle's “Géographie botanique raisonné” ever been translated into German or English?

Alphones Pyramus de Candolle (1806-1893), the son of Augustin-Pyrame de Candolle (1778-1841), has been an important figure (as was his father) in the development of plant geography. The younger ...
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3answers
182 views

Where and how did scientists of the 18th and 19th century learn foreign languages?

I'm always amazed by the the apparent amount of foreign languages that scientists in the 18th and 19th centuries seem to have possessed. With the end of Latin as the main scholarly language, ...
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1answer
49 views

How important were reprints of scientific articles in scientific practice and communications before the copier, the computer and the internet?

Reprints of articles from scientific journals seem to have been an important part of scientific practice before the copying machine and the internet. Authors of articles were given a number of those ...
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365 views

Who first suggested, contra the central dogma, that “junk” DNA may perform epigenetic functions?

There were in last several years papers in Science regarding DNA that does not code for any protein ("junk" DNA) as having epigenetic aspects, namely, switching on and off other genes and thus ...
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1answer
76 views

What insight of Watson and Crick was missed by Franklin?

Their papers were published on the same issue of Nature back to back. Moreover, helix was also mentioned in Franklin's paper. So, what important insight or contribution of Watson and Crick was missed ...
3
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1answer
72 views

Francis Crick and the usefulness of “genes” as compared to molecular biochemistry

In lecture 12 of Professor John R. Searle's U.C. Berkeley class, "Philosophy of Mind", he remarks: https://youtu.be/P1wZZPoPfUE?t=18m22s We no longer talk mysteriously about how heredity works....
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2answers
120 views

Most known teachers of specific branch of Science

After acquainting myself with the works of Richard Feynman in Physics: " The Feynman Lectures on Physics" and partially with the works of Donald Knuth in Programming: "The Art of Computer Programming",...
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61 views

Raymond Cattell and History of Personality Traits Prior 1947

I find that papers reference Raymond Cattell suggesting 16 or 22, etc, traits, by factor analysis (basically regression), including all five of the modern reproducible traits (openness to experience, ...
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0answers
37 views

Why was brood parasitism known about in the middle ages?

The Wikipedia article on Cuckold indicates that the biological phenomenon of brood parasitism was known in the middle ages. (I suspect it may have been known in other cultures as well, but I can't say ...
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54 views

What is the connection between Lamarck's Mediterranean mussel and the province of Gallia?

The scientific name of the Mediterranean Mytilus is Mytilus galloprovincialis, with Lamarck being reported as the creator. I wonder where this name comes from, in particular what is the (supposed) ...
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1answer
74 views

Why Edward Turner Bennett died early

I'd like to know, why Edward Turner Bennett, English zoologist, died at that early age (39 years) and was it in any connection to his work (like killed by some animal or as an effect of some disease, ...
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1answer
92 views

Who originated the biological senses of palindrome and pseudopalindrome?

One would think that when DNA biology uses the word palindrome it would mean approximately the same thing as palindrome in other contexts. As I understand it, this is not true. Whereas, a normal ...
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1answer
121 views

With what microscope and pollen was the Browinian motion discovered?

It is said that Robert Brown discovered the Brownian Motion by looking at pollen grains with a microscope in 1827. I wonder, did he look at pollen grains from a flower? And what kind of microscope ...
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69 views

Study of embryos

I want to know how different stages of human development were elucidated. What experiments were done? Do they involve taking out zygotes, embryos, and fetuses at different stages? How could one study ...
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378 views

What did ancient near eastern protoscience believe about germination?

Two Bible verses seem to indicate that ancients believed germination was the death of a seed, and a resurrection or rebirth of that seed into a plant: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth ...
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1answer
38 views

How much had the rise of drons been connected with the study of birds?

I've read in "How do they fly" by Rudolf Dvořák that the main constraint from inventing some kind of remote-controlled flying machine that could go all directions was the lack of theoretical ...
2
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1answer
85 views

Who was the Northern California pioneer of genetics?

I was telling a friend about a pioneer researcher in genetics who did his work in Northern California around the late 1800s. I was thinking this was in Marin, Sonoma, or Napa County. When I tried to ...
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2answers
180 views

Explanation of the three peaks in Google ngram for 'syphilis'

Heres the google ngram for the word syphilis. I was wondering what these three peaks could be. Peak 1 - around 1870s - Repeal of the Contagious diseases act Peak 2 - around 1910s - Discovery of ...
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1answer
83 views

History of species identification before 1930

I am trying to research how new species have been recorded over time, but specifically in the period before the 1930s. Where would an academic who had discovered a new species get their discovery ...
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1answer
220 views

What is the history of linear vs logarithmic scales?

There are many examples where our senses are based off of log scales such as volume of a noise, ability to guess (i.e.) plus or minus a power of 10 with Fermi, and even when we measure pain on 1 to 10 ...
3
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1answer
197 views

How was Hardy tricked into creating the Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium

I know that G.H. Hardy hated applied mathematics, and I think I remember he was 'tricked' into discovering the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. How was he tricked into doing this, and what did Weinberg ...
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1answer
680 views

What ever happened to the methylphenidate synthesiser and his family?

Leandro Panizzon 1 2 3 synthesised methylphenidate or something like that back in 1944. Ritalin is named after his wife Rita. He doesn't seem to have a Wikipedia page or anything. What happened to ...
4
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1answer
94 views

Was Carl Linnaeus the first one to group humans and other apes together?

As the title says I was wondering if the first time humans and other apes were thought of as a group was in Linnaeus' work as this is the first explicit reference I am aware of. I know of course that ...
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1answer
84 views

Who first developed the idea of conservation of information in physics?

I've recently come across the idea of the "conservation of information" in the so called Black Hole Information Paradox. Yet this article claims that: Conservation of information is a term with a ...
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1answer
1k views

Darwin's theory of evolution quote?

A typical quote used to explain the theory of evolution by natural selection is: "Variation is a feature of natural populations and every population produces more progeny than its environment can ...
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2answers
2k views

Did Darwin ever express his views on eugenics?

Although Darwin died a year before the term "eugenics" was coined by his cousin, Francis Galton, Galton had already been working on the idea of using selective breeding to improve humans genetically ...
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1answer
34 views

How old is the idea of effector islands in fungi?

When was the word mesosynteny first used to describe the unique features of fungal genomes? How old is the discovery?
5
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1answer
711 views

Who invented the swan-necked flask?

In his experiments to disprove the theory of spontaneous generation, Louis Pasteur used a swan-necked flask. One source implies that Pasteur invented it himself, but I haven't been able to find ...
4
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1answer
166 views

What are some of the most important scientific works done that have not received a Nobel prize? [closed]

Many of the 'famous' papers in the scientific community have resulted in Nobel prizes, but certainly that represents only a small fraction of notably important papers throughout scientific history. ...
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2answers
192 views

Did the Soviet Union emphasize nuclear physics over biology?

Some friend from Georgia told me that in every village of the Soviet Union there was an expert in nuclear physics. By contrast, the Soviet Union did not invest into biology at all. As a consequence, ...
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85 views

On the history of population dynamics of territorial species

I am interested in the historical priority in population biology, essays or monographs, discussing the concept of territoriality prior to 1950. What is it? In the early 18th century discussions of ...
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4answers
1k views

What new mathematics was inspired by biology and chemistry?

While physics and astronomy sported mathematical models for centuries mathematical chemistry and biology appeared relatively recently. Most of the interaction seems to go one way, established ...
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99 views

How did the discovery of the platypus affect Linneaus' taxonomy?

I heard there was a lot of controversy in the royal scientific societies when the first specimens of platypus were shown. How did this affect the taxonomy of animals used at the time, if at all? Has ...
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1answer
125 views

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology?

How was the resemblance between apes and humans explained in pre-Darwinian biology? Who was the first biologist to note the resemblance?
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2answers
504 views

Are there historical examples of thought experiments in biology and chemistry?

Thought experiments, imaginary situations designed to ponder conclusions of a theory, have been used throughout history. There is even a Stanford encyclopedia article about them. But the famous ones ...
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1answer
279 views

When were mental disorders first recognized as diseases?

I want to know if, any old civilizations have considered mental disorders as real disease which could be cured? If not, then where it got this status in modern science?
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561 views

Before 1964, did scientists generally believe there was life on Mars?

Mariner 4 was the first spacecraft to return photographs of Mars from near the planet, making its flyby of Mars in 1964. Those photographs showed what appeared to be a barren, desert surface. ...