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December 8 Science History

Science History of December 8

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

1947 - Thomas Robert Cech was born.

Thomas Robert Cech
National Institutes of Health
Cech is an American biochemist who shares the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Sidney Altman for their discoveries involving the catalytic properties of RNA. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) was known to pass on genetic information, but both men discovered it could also work as an enzyme to catalyze chemical reactions between cells. Cech was also part of the team that discovered telomerase reverse transcription (TERT) responsible for regulating the length of telemeres. Telemeres make up the end of chromosomes.

1818 - Johan Gottlieb Gahn died.

Johan Gottlieb Gahn (1745 – 1818)
Journal of Chemical Education, January 1932
Gahn was a Swedish chemist and mineralogist who first isolated the element manganese. He was active in the copper smelting industry and made several improvements in the smelting process. He also discovered phosphoric acid in bones with Carl Scheele and separated phosphorus from bones.

1730 - Johann Hedwig was born.

Johann Hedwig (1730 - 1799)
Wikimedia Commons
Hedwig was a German botanist who pioneered bryology, or the study of mosses. His work was compiled and published after his death in Species Muscorum Frondosorum. It was a comprehensive study of nearly all known mosses known at the time.

1730 - Jan Ingenhousz was born.

Jan Ingenhousz (1730 - 1799)
Wikimedia Commons
Ingenhousz was a Dutch scientist who was the first to recognize light was essential to plant respiration or photosynthesis. He discovered plants give off bubbles of oxygen when exposed to light, but not in the dark. He also discovered only the green parts of the plant take part in photosynthesis.
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