History of Biological Science

The evolution of Biology and the contribution of Scientist.

History of Biological Science

History of Biological Science


335 BC: Aristotle's Biology

Aristotle is a notable contributor in biology. This Greek philosopher contributed much to biology along with some other major fields. Many modern standards do not agree to praise him but his contributions to biology are immense and undeniable for sure. At first, he tried to classify animals based on their blood color; red or not. He classified the red colored animals as vertebrates and the animals with other color blood as cephalopods. He is the first to recognize the similarities between humans and apes. 


1665: Robert Hooke 

He used a microscope to have a deep look at a piece of cork. He sees many tiny chambers there and names them cells. In his book Micrographia, he publishes cells, fleas, and other small creatures' sketches.




1668: Francesco Redi

He took Aristotle’s idea of flies’ birth from rotten meat and started to experiment on it. He used flasks containing rotten meats and kept some them closed and some other opened. He discovered flies’ larvae in the open ones and came to the conclusion that flies born from flies, not from the rotten meat. 



1674: Anton van Leeuwenhoek

To examine blood, insects, yeasts and many other tiny objects, he made a simple microscope with one lens. Microscope gave him the scope to find out bacteria for the first time. He modified his creation and the magnification rate was 270 diameters. With this, he observed algae, protozoa, and other one-celled organisms. Truly he added a new dimension in biology and for this, he is often regarded as the father of biology.


1735: Carolus Linnaeus

We know him best for his classifying the animal kingdom. In his ‘Sistema Natura’ he classified every species from botany to zoology. He classified them by maintaining their genera followed by their orders and classes. He observed the distinctive characteristics and then classified them according to their similarities. 


1745: John Needham

He experimented with chicken broth. After boiling the broth, he found no instance of microbial in it. But he found them later. This experiment proved that life could be generated spontaneously.




1768: Spallanzani

He re-experimented Needham’s process with flasks and he found no life. This experiment again proved that life comes from life. 





1772: Joseph Priestly

Joseph Priestley is best known for the discovery of oxygen. He ran a set of experiments to discover it. He also proved that gases participate in photosynthesis. 




1779: Jan Ingenhousz 

Jan Ingenhousz discovered that the green parts of plants give off oxygen in the presence of the light and give off carbon dioxide in the presence of the darkness. That means the soil is not the only one to breed plants but the air is also.



1796 Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner is the pioneer in comparative anatomy and morphology. He developed the smallpox vaccine from cowpox in 1776 and laid the foundations of modern immunology as a science.




1801 J B de Lamarck

J B de Lamarck was a French naturalist who had at first the idea that evolution occurred and proceeded in accordance with natural laws. Lamarckism or soft inheritance is his theory gaining him popularity. It is a theory of inheritance. 



1827 Robert Brown

There are small and random fluctuations in every particle. Robert Brown, a Scottish botanist made this discovery and we know this motion as Brownian motion.




1839 Theodor Schwann

Cell theory is the contribution of Theodor Schwann, a German physician, and physiologist. His theory relates that all animals are made up of cells. Cells are the units of structure, physiology, and organization in all creatures. Cells act as a building block for constructing organisms.


1845 Alexander von Humboldt

A German naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt worked on botanical geography. It was foundational to the field of biogeography. His five-volume work, Kosmos published in 1845 was an attempt to unify the various branches of scientific knowledge. 


1858 Rudolph Virchow

Another German physician and biologist, Rudolph Virchow enriches biology with his ideas and now we know him as the father of modern pathology. He states that any disturbance at the cellular level causes diseases. By finding the alterations in any individual's cellular level, we can treat the occurred disease. 


1859: Charles Darwin 

Before the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, ‘The Origin of Species’ people had a different view of life. The book was highly controversial because it rejected many religious beliefs at that time. His idea of evolution that apes are human’s forefather proved untrue by modern scientists. But animals change themselves in the changing environment, reproduce and thus continue their existence is proven.  


1864: Louis Pasteur

Vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurization are some of the aspects in which Louis Pasteur worked. His vaccines prevented diseases like rabies and anthrax. He also established the pasteurization process that prevents bacteria from contaminating milk and wine.



1866: Gregor Mendel’s Law of Genetics

An Augustan priest, George Mendel was pretty ahead of his time to experiment on pea plants and crossbreed them to find out the laws of genetics. However, it took thirty years for the others to take his work seriously and thus declared George Mendel as the Father of Genetics as a recognition of his work. 


1879: Walther Flemming

German biologist, Walther Flemming was a founder of cytogenetics. Chromosome’s behavioral description during mitosis is his major contribution. Flemming proposed that all cell nuclei derive from another predecessor nucleus. 




1908: Godfrey Hardy and Wilhelm Weinberg

Every living being changes according to the environmental changes to fit them with. Allelic frequencies (allele means a variant form of the given gene) are the root cause of the changes. As Godfrey Hardy and Wilhelm Weinberg proposed this genetic equilibrium, it is named as the Hardy-Weinberg principle. 



1915: Katsusaburo Yamagiwa and Koichi Ichikawa 

After applying coal tar to the skin of rabbits as an experiment for detecting cancer, Katsusaburo Yamagiwa and Koichi Ichikawa discovered that asbestos, coal tar, and tobacco are responsible for cancer.




1928: Alexander Fleming

Alexander Fleming brought about a revolutionary change in medicine by discovering the first antibiotic.  As a result of his discovery of the antibiotic penicillin in 1928, Sir Alexander Flemming became Nobel laureate in 1945.




1932: Fritz Zernike

Dutch physicist, Fritz Zernike invented the phase-contrast microscope. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953 in physics. The microscope allowed scientists to research on the colorless or transparent lifeforms. This kind of experiment was impossible until the invention.  



1940: Herman Kalckar

We know him as the father of bioenergetics as he observed glucose metabolism in animal tissue and microorganisms at first. His discovery of ATP’s role in energy metabolism is also notable. 




1944: Oswald Avery

Oswald Avery proves that it is DNA, not genes are the ‘transforming principle’, the discrete units of heredity. At first, he worked on bacteria-related diseases but then he wanted to find the substance responsible for the transformation. With Colin MacLeod and Miclyn McCarty, he purified twenty gallons of bacteria and became sure that the substance was nothing but DNA


1952: Miller-Urey

Abiogenesis or the origin of life defines the natural process of life’s beginning from simple organic compounds. How the chemical origin of life survived on the early Earth was the subject of the experiment by Miller and Urey. after creating amino acids, they found that they can bond to one another. 


1953: Watson and Crick

James Watson and Francis Crick used X-Ray data and model building and their effort was successful. They were awarded the Nobel Prize along with Maurice Wilkins for their double helix DNA model. Rosalind Franklin’s photograph was of equal importance but she was deprived of the award as three scientists were already on the list. 


1965: Marshall Nirenberg cracking 'life's code'

Based on his research on nucleic acids and protein synthesis, Marshall Nirenberg and Matthaei experimented on E-coli bacteria. His research showed a repeating chain of uracil that forces another protein chain consisting of amino acid, phenylalanine. All his efforts paved him the way to sequence the code of life for the first time was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1968 with some other scientists.


1967: Lynn Margulis

In terms of evolution, Lynn Margulis’ contribution is no less important than that of Charles Darwin’s. Her endosymbiotic theory states that eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells lived in association with one another. Though the nature of their relationship varied in some cases, both got the benefit from that relationship.


1969: R. H. Whittaker

He proposed a classification system for all living beings according to five kingdom- Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.




1974: Donald Johanson

His discovery of an australopithecine skeleton leads him to resolve whether Australopithecus Africanus was bipedal. His idea was proved to be true after the discovery of fossil remains of ‘Lucy’, a female of the hominin species Australopithecus Afarensis. They were bipedal and consisted of anatomical differences from the quadrupeds.


1977: Development of rapid DNA sequencing techniques  

While deciphering the genetic code and spelling out the sequence of amino acids in proteins that were going on in the 1970s, Frederick Sanger came with the development in finding precise nucleotide sequences of DNA. He first applied his rapid sequencing techniques in the RNA and then moved to DNA. His sequencing technique was a milestone in this field and he got Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1980.


1979: James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis

Gaia Hypothesis is the collaboration of them. After interacting with the inorganic surroundings on the earth, organisms build a complex system to carry on their life on the planet. Both organisms and the abiotic environment influence each other.


1980: Hox Genes 

Hox genes are a series of genes that set the identity of insect bodies from head to tail. It paved the way for mutation.


1981: Martin Evans and Mathew Kaufman

They were the first to derive embryonic stem cells from mouse embryos. They revealed a new technique for deriving embryonic stem cells from these embryos.




1990: The Human Genome Project starts

After recommending a program to map the human genome, The National Research Council started the Human Genome Project officially in 1990. The mapping of the human genome is the key to advanced medicine. It is also helpful in the study of biology and the technical development of DNA analyzing. 


1996: Dolly, the cloned sheep 

Cloning from embryo cell was a common practice, but cloning from adult cells became successful after scientists of the Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned Dolly, the sheep from an adult cell. Scientists reprogramed the cell by altering the growth medium. They removed the nucleus from an unfertilized egg and injected the cell into it. After all this, they implanted the egg into a surrogate mother. Among the 277 attempts, Dolly was the one to see the light.


1996: 'Bermuda Principles' established

The leaders of the Human Genome Project attended the summit held in Bermuda in 1996. They all agreed that the information regarding genome sequence is vital for the advancement of healthcare and research. The 'Bermuda Principles', is the result of the summit which ensures genome data’s availability in the public domain within 24 hours of generation. 


1999: Human chromosome decoding

The major achievement in DNA research was found at the ending time of the 20th century. The researchers were able to unravel the full genetic code of a human chromosome for the first time in 1999. They considered chromosome 22 containing 33.5 million chemical components. In terms of deciphering and assembling, the sequence was the longest. It was a torchbearer to others to lead the research further. 


2003: Finishing the Human Genome Project 

The dream comes true in 2003 as the Human Genome Project was finally completed. Started 15 years earlier, this journey is proved to the longest and the most fruitful one. By 2001, scientists were able to find out a 90% sequence and in 2003 they completed 99% accurately. This project results in resolving 2.85 billion nucleotides among the 3 billion nucleotides and thus the scientists achieved the goal to find out Charles Darwin’s suspect that human characteristics are inherited.   


2009: Stem cells 

Scientists in Toronto created stem cells from adult cells in a better way than the previous techniques. They placed an adult cell into a stem cell after removing the necessary genes to reprogram the adult cell.