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20

Some more pre-Charles Darwin discussions: Erasmus Darwin (Charles' grandfather): http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/Edarwin.html Jean-Batiste Lamarck: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism Robert Chambers "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" (heavily criticized at the time and with political undercurrents) James Hutton also wrote on the topic ...


18

In 1959, Alfred Wigner presented a talk on The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences. Many papers on the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in this field, that field, and some other field quickly followed suit. As an opposing point of view, the unreasonably effective (800+ papers, 30+ books) mathematician I.M.Gelfand noted ...


14

The first known discussion concerning evolution are, to my knowledge, pre-Socratic philosophers. A more well known ancient publication evoking the idea may be De Rerum Natura, by Roman philosopher Lucretius. This answers your title question, I don't have sufficient knowledge to satisfactorily address the question in the body of the text. It might be worth ...


13

This is an interesting case that might have never been discovered had it not been for another effect of high fluoride levels in water. Here's the (relatively well-known) history. In 1901, after graduating from dental school, Dr. Frederick McKay moved from the east coast USA to Colorado Springs, Colorado to start a dental practice. When he reached there, he ...


13

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke is often credited with the idea of communication satellites. link That was in 1945, long before any artificial satellite had been launched in reality.


12

Perhaps Aristole, as usual ... See Historia Animalium (translated by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson), Book II.8 : Some animals share the properties of man and the quadrupeds, as the ape, the monkey, and the baboon. The monkey is a tailed ape. The baboon resembles the ape in form, only that it is bigger and stronger, more like a dog in face, and is more ...


12

To add to the two previous answers: Bernard-Germain-Etienne de Lacepède in "Histoire naturelle des poissons" (Natural History of Fishes) 1798 wrote the following: Une espèce peut s'éteindre de deux manières. Elle peut périr toute entière, et dans un temps très-court, lorsqu'une catastrophe violente bouleverse la portion de la surface du globe sur ...


10

This is a correct observation. Chemistry and biology indeed contributed very little to mathematics itself. One of the examples of chemistry contribution is the "Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction". This was an experimental discovery whose explanation stimulated to some extent the development of the theory of dynamical systems (known as "chaos theory" in the ...


10

When Did Humans First Observe a Lens in an Eye? People probably realized that the eye contained a lens (at least the eye of a fish) as soon as they began fishing for dinner. So, sadly the discovery of the hard lump that is a fish lens was probably prehistoric. Here is a picture of a fish lens from an Instructable on fish dissection. http://www....


9

Even Weikart, whose book From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics and Racism in Germany greatly overplays the connection, admits that Darwin generally tried to stay away from discussions of social, political and economic issues. In an 1869 letter to Hugo Thiel Darwin wrote "you apply to moral and social questions analogous views to those which I ...


9

The Encyclopedia of Seeds: Science, Technology and Uses, edited by J. Derek Bewley, Michael Black, Peter Halmer, CABI International 2006 (Entry: History of seed research) cites some ancient descriptions along similar lines, both mythical and proto-scientific: For example, to the Greeks, parsley was associated with death: the notorious slow germination ...


9

Probably the Swiss physician Felix Platter (1536 – 1614) that - according to Olivier Darrigol's A history of optics : From Greek antiquity to the nineteenth century, Oxford University Press (2012), page 23 - in his : anatomic treatise of 1583 made the retina the sensor of the visual species, and the crystalline humor a magnifying glass (perspicillum). [......


8

Here are some prominent examples of unrecognized discoveries; the actual publications should be easily findable online. Note that I've only included omitted discoveries, not omitted individuals (such as Lise Meitner's omission for nuclear fission, or Chien-Shiung Wu's for parity conservation). I've also only included work whose inventor was still alive when ...


8

The woman you're thinking of is, notably, Rosalind Franklin. Her specialty was X-ray crystallography, and she worked with Maurice Wilkins and Raymond Gosling in the early 1950s, continuing their previous work, to apply X-ray diffraction to produce images of DNA. Watson and Crick's models were built and confirmed by data gathered by Franklin, Wilkins and ...


8

One such case comes to my mind: Jules Verne's novel Green ray (1882). Jules Verne popularized this rare phenomenon, and it seems that it has not been scientifically studied before. After Jules Verne novel, the green ray has been photographed and explained. See Wikipedia "Green flash" where there is a list of literature (Jules Verne included!).


7

I remember reading something about it in Bertrand's Russell's "A History of Western Philosophy". Although it's a disputed work in its historical rigour, it does point out some predecessors to Darwin's theory of evolution. Regarding Anaximander: There was evolution also in the animal kingdom. Living creatures arose from the moist element as it was ...


7

How about: (1) the logistic equation of Pierre François Verhulst (describing the change in a population over time, published 1838) leads to (2) Feigenbaum's work on chaos.


7

This is a great question as it touches on the history-in-the-making, a revolution in molecular biology taking place in our lifetime. In the last two decades the "central dogma" of molecular biology, formulated by Watson and Crick after the discovery of DNA in 1952-1958, has been overthrown. The neat picture of genes, exclusive containers of hereditary ...


7

Here's a very early bit of research. While it identifies the lens as critical to vision, it doesn't seem to recognize the lens as a focussing device From some classroom notes In the second century A. D., Galen had at least two different theories of the eye to choose from. He chose the extramission theory because it corresponded well with his image ...


6

Your friend told you an anecdote, possibly in jest, because the truth seems comically twisted beyond recognition. Historical events dating back to 1930-1960s did influence the development of Soviet science in ways more favorable to physics than to biology. Much has changed since then, including cultural attitudes and government funding, but those events did ...


6

Before the modern day scientists, there was the evolution concepts in the ancient cultures. For example consider the ancient vedic culture in India. Hinduism is the major religion in India, but it is only an extension of ancient Vedic culture which is widely known as Sanathana Dharma. Apart from religious rituals, Hinduism handles many more things. In one ...


6

I do not see how Mariner 4 mission could lead to any conclusions about the life on Mars. The crucial mission to my understanding was Viking 2 (1976) which landed on Mars and made biochemical experiments trying to find any signs of life. At that time almost nobody seriously expected that there is life on Mars. The presence and chemical composition of the ...


6

In biology, so far I've found Levinthal's Paradox. The transcript from a lecture given by Prof. Cyrus Levinthal can be found at the previous link. The gist of the paradox is this (not a quote; the indent is used for emphasis): There exists a multitude of shapes proteins can take, yet they manage to fold into the correct shape extremely quickly. The ...


6

This was almost certainly Luther Burbank. He was a horticulturist who started in Lunenburg, Mass and moved to Santa Rosa, CA in 1875. Burbank developed hundreds of fruit, vegetable, and flower cultivars . His most famous contribution is the "Russet Burbank" potato, which is the most commonly grown potato variety in the US today. Although his methods weren'...


6

Details of Brown's observations, concerning both the pollen and the microscope, are given by Pearle et al. in What Brown saw and you can too. The pollen was from the flower Clarkia pulchella, a.k.a. pinkfairy, ragged robin, or deerhorn clarkia, discovered on the return trip of the Lewis and Clark expedition by Lewis on June 1, 1806. He wrote in his ...


6

This mussel, indigenous to the Mediterranean but since spread across the globe by human activity, was first described in: M. Chevalier de Lamarck, Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres, Tome sixième, 1re partie, (Paris: February - June 1819), p. 126 (online) There the French name is given as "Moule de Provence". Provence is a region in the south of ...


6

While it may not be research exactly, the fictional cases of Sherlock Holmes did actually influence the way real world police agencies and detectives approached forensic science. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about Holmes using fingerprint identification roughly 10 years before the police started to rely on it. Also, Holmes did a lot of soil analysis ...


5

"Daisyworld" comes to mind as a thought experiment in ecology/earth-system science (it was also simulated on computer but it is really just a thought experiment). For those not familiar with it, it is an experiment designed by James Lovelock (of Gaia Theory fame) and Andrew Watson in 1983. The settings, from the paper itself: Daisyworld is a cloudless ...


5

According to the Weber–Fechner law in vision and hearing perception is close to proportional to the logarithm of the stimulus. This however has no direct influence on the use of scales since they are used for correlating two different observables ("stimuli"), and the preference for linear or logarithmic scale depends on the behavior of what is correllated, ...


5

I don't know if anyone can give the "correct rationale" for the peaks, but we can make some educated guesses. I agree with your explanations for the rise and peaks in the 1870s/80s and 1940s. The Contagious Diseases Acts were quite controversial since their passage, and the press for their repeal gained quite a lot of publicity. Additionally, penicillin was ...


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