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December 21 Science History


Learn about the history of science by reading about the significant scientific events that took place on this day in history.

1988 - Nikolaas Tinbergen died.

Tinbergen was a Dutch zoologist who was awarded a third of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research into the social behavior of seagulls and their relationship to man's social behavior. He related seagull learned and instinctual behavior to human behavior to illustrate similarities in survival behaviors.

1898 - Ira Sprague Bowen was born.

Bowen was an American astrophysicist who discovered the green lines in nebula spectra were due to ionized oxygen and nitrogen at low pressure and not some undiscovered element. The spectra from nebulae was previously attributed to an unknown element called nebulium.

1890 - Hermann Joseph Muller was born.

Muller was an American biologist who was awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work research on mutations and genetic effects of x-ray radiation. He showed how x-rays would break chromosomes and change individual genes. He used his work to illustrate the dangers of the cumulative effects of radiation.

1889 - Sewall Wright was born.

Wright was an American geneticist who is best known for his theories on population genetics of inbreeding and genetic drift. He was interested in the effects of inbreeding in cattle and expanded his work to entire populations, introducing the study of theoretical population genetics.

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