Science history

  • Happy birthday, Calvin Blackman Bridges

    Alice McCarthy, January 11th, 2011 | Filed under

    In an earlier post we took note of the birthday of Nettie Maria Stevens, noted female geneticist whose research on chromosomes of the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster furthered understanding of chromosomal sex determination.

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  • Lost letters in a modern age

    Alice McCarthy, October 14th, 2010 | Filed under

    Reading about the discovery of the lost letters from DNA researcher Francis Crick to colleague Maurice Wilkins made me think about what kind of paper trail today’s leading scientists are leaving. (Wilkins shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Crick and James Watson for their work on the DNA model.)

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  • Palladium catalyst scientists awarded Nobel in chemistry

    Alice McCarthy, October 7th, 2010 | Filed under

    When I called Jeremy Duvall and Damian Young, two of the Broad's organic chemists, to talk about the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners, I was checking in with them to discuss the relevance of the work recognized. What was surprising to me was that the work from the winners represents not just some piece of obscure chemical synthesis minutia. This was chemistry that we use on a daily basis here at the Broad.

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  • Robert Edwards honored as a Nobel laureate

    Anne Buboltz, October 4th, 2010 | Filed under

    Today, Robert G. Edwards, a British physiologist who spent much of his career at Cambridge University, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for developing in vitro fertilization (IVF), a technique used to help people conceive children. The procedure involves mixing eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish, and then returning the embryo to the womb to resume development.

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  • Penicillin: An arms race against bacteria begins

    Haley Bridger, September 28th, 2010 | Filed under

    Today, most people don’t have to worry about developing a lethal infection from a tiny cut, but up until the early 20th century, infection was a severe health problem. It was not until a fateful observation in 1928 that scientists could begin a full-scale defensive campaign against bacteria. On Sept. 28 of that year, Alexander Fleming noticed that a mold growing on an old Petri dish appeared to stop the growth of bacterial colonies.

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  • Gregor Mendel's 188th!

    Alice McCarthy, July 20th, 2010 | Filed under

    Since I work at a world-class institution where I encounter genetics and genomics research daily, it is only right to acknowledge the birthday of Gregor Johann Mendel (1852-1884), the Austrian friar whose puttering in the garden led to more than just the day’s edibles.

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  • Happy birthday, Nettie Maria Stevens

    Haley Bridger, July 7th, 2010 | Filed under

    Today is the birthday of Nettie Maria Stevens (1861-1912), whose discoveries helped researchers understand chromosomal sex determination. In the early part of the 20th century, many biologists believed that as an embryo develops, factors that a baby is exposed to during gestation (such as the mother’s diet) influence whether the baby will be male or female. But Stevens and her colleagues helped demonstrate that the chromosomes we inherit determine sex, and that this happens at the moment of fertilization, not over the course of development.

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  • Darwin refused to be scooped

    Alice McCarthy, June 30th, 2010 | Filed under

    As we begin the second half of 2010, a look back in the timeline of interesting – we hope – dates in science reveals that on July 1,1858 Charles Darwin first went public about his views on the evolution of species.

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