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18 votes
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Woman who contributed to Watson & Crick's discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA

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 ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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16 votes

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

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.
Gerald Edgar's user avatar
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11 votes

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

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 ...
MrsWhitson's user avatar
9 votes
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What did ancient near eastern protoscience believe about germination?

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 ...
Margaret Friedland's user avatar
9 votes

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

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), ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
9 votes

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

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 ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
8 votes

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

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 ...
citrus128's user avatar
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8 votes

Has science fiction ever caused scientists to do real research?

Paul Krugman's research was caused by Isaac Azimov's Foundation novels. (For this answer, you have to accept economics as a science and you have to accept "caused scientists to do real research" in ...
user10089's user avatar
8 votes
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Natura non facit saltus (nature does not make jumps), who said that?

The Latin quip was derived from Aristotle's History of Animals, where it is rather specific to the context of the "scale of life". Hence Linnaeus's and Darwin's references are more on point than more ...
Conifold's user avatar
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8 votes

The contribution of Rosalind Franklin to the Watson–Crick structure of DNA

Answer in Summary The essential features of the structure of DNA proposed by Watson and Crick in their 1953 Nature paper were a helix with the sugar–phosphate backbone at the outside two anti-...
David's user avatar
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7 votes
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Who first suggested that "junk" DNA may perform epigenetic functions?

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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7 votes

When did people realize that the eye was a lens?

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 ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
7 votes

Why didn't Mendel's experiments draw attention until the 20th century?

Elizabeth B Gasking summarised the reasons in 1959, but you're not reading it without a Jstor account. Sometimes a paper is overlooked because we think about its relevance from the wrong perspective. ...
J.G.'s user avatar
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7 votes
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How did Jenner and his contemporaries understand vaccination before germ theory of disease?

The germ theory dates to late middle ages, and was favored by Avicenna among others, although it did not gain much currency in Europe until the mid 19th century. But it was not needed to discover the ...
Conifold's user avatar
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7 votes
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How sensitive was the frog galvanoscope?

A frog galvanoscope does not measure voltage. Instead it detects electricity that same way that I detect my static charge after walking across a carpet in winter - by a short current flow. The current ...
David Bailey's user avatar
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6 votes
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With what microscope and pollen was the Browinian motion discovered?

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. ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
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What is the connection between Lamarck's Mediterranean mussel and the province of Gallia?

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 ...
njuffa's user avatar
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6 votes
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What is the history of linear vs logarithmic scales?

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
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Who was the Northern California pioneer of genetics?

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 ...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 602
6 votes
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Did Darwin say that the human menstrual cycle length was influenced by the tides?

Yes. The menstrual cycle is surely one of the "some of our functions" that Darwin speaks of in this passage from Chapter VI of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex: The ...
Viktor Blasjo's user avatar
6 votes
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Why did Linnaeus equate the phoenix, the mythical bird, with Phoenix, a palm genus?

The real etymology is lost, I am afraid, but various speculations have been offered since antiquity and continue to this day. In Egypt the tree was known since at least 2600 BC. Egyptians already used ...
Conifold's user avatar
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6 votes
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Who identified the four basic types of animal tissue?

This is only a partial answer. A good source on the history of animal morphology is Russell's Form and Function, freely available on Project Gutenberg. It seems that the crucial step from Bichat's 21 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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5 votes
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How was Mendel's work rediscovered after being forgotten for 45 years?

The story is told in the Wikipedia article. Mendel's work was not "forgotten" but rather "ignored" because it did not fit in the mainstream science of that time. But some people go ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes

What insight of Watson and Crick was missed by Franklin?

Franklin did realize that the structure was the double helix independently, but she did not have time to construct a detailed model based on the diffraction data by the time Watson and Crick ...
Conifold's user avatar
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5 votes
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Explanation of the three peaks in Google ngram for 'syphilis'

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 ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 8,503
5 votes

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

That air is a substance, which is breathed in, was known already in antiquity. Aristotle even suggests that, unlike fire, it has weight in De Caelo [On the Heavens] Book IV.4: "Earth, then, and ...
Conifold's user avatar
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5 votes
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Was Lord Kelvin at any point a proponent of vitalism?

Kelvin did not merely believe that vitalism warranted serious scientific consideration, he thought it to be "absolutely forced by science". In less strong terms, it was a popular idea at the ...
Conifold's user avatar
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5 votes

When did the idea of thoughts occuring in the human head originate?

We should note that the underlying evidence behind the spiced up modern titles like "seat of the mind, "seat of intelligence", etc., is generally very obscure, and Wikipedia's phrasing is copied ...
Conifold's user avatar
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