1. GREGOR JOHAN MENDEL
An Austrian-born scientist whose experiments gave birth to the laws of inheritance as we know it. Growing up, Johan struggled with his education due to illness and financial constraints. He became a Friar and took on the name Gregor so he wouldn’t have to pay for his education.
while serving as a monk, Mendel started conducting experiments with pea plants to study seven major traits of plants.
From the results of his experiment, he proposed the Law of Segregation and the Law of Independent Assortment
A study that took 7 years and about 28,000 plants was criticized greatly as biologists at that time held on to the theories of blending inheritance which is now obsolete.
well, it wasn’t until 1900, 16 years after his death that three different researchers, each from a different county, published their work which proved that Mendel was right after all.
2. IGNAZ PHILIPP SEMMELWEIS
A Hungarian Doctor, pioneer of Antiseptic procedures, ”savior of mothers” . . . sadly, these titles were attributed to him, after his death.
Semmelweis worked in a clinic were the mortality rate was high in comparison to a second clinic in the area due to the puerperal fever that was rampant at that time.
Comparing the working conditions of the two hospitals, Semmelweis discovered that the difference between the two clinics was that, while the hospital he worked in involved doctors carrying out Autopsy, the other clinic was for midwives only. And due to the death of his friend who was accidentally poked with a student’s scalpel, Semmelweis was able to conclude that the high mortality rate was due to Contaminations from the doctors.
He then made a policy that student doctors wash their hand with chlorinated lime after autopsy work and before examination of patients. The result was a 90% drop in the mortality rate in the clinic.
Unfortunately, Semmelweis’s hypothesis that the only cause of the puerperal fever was uncleanliness on the part of the medical practitioners was both rejected and ridiculed at the same time. In fact, some doctors took offense at the suggestion to wash their hands and Semmelweis was consequently dismissed from the hospital for political reasons, and with harassment from the medical community in Vienna, he was forced to move out to Budapest.
Semmelweis began to write open letters against the doctors of his time, calling them ‘irresponsible murderers’. His wife and other friends thought he was running mad and so they took him to Asylum where he died 14 days later (possibly as a result of the severe beating from the guards)
Semmelweis’s findings were later accepted after Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease which explained all Semmelweis had been saying.
3. JOHANNES KEPLER
A mathematician and Astronomer, he proposed a heliocentric solar system. Kepler found it difficult to convince people in his era that the sun, and not the earth, was at the center of the solar system.
This rejection was due to religious beliefs by the Church at that time, and also, partly due to common sense- the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, surely, it goes around the earth.
well, Kepler made further progress on Copernicus’s work, but it wasn’t until decades after his death that his work formed part of the bases on which Sir Isaac Newton proposed his laws of gravitation.
4. AMEDEO AVOGADRO
We all probably know Avogadro’s law which states that equal volumes of different gases contain an equal number of molecules, provided temperature and pressure are kept constant.
This observation was published by Avogadro while he was working as a physics teacher at the college of Vercelli. As a result, he became the first scientist to realize that elements could exist as molecules.
Avogadro’s work, unfortunately, was ignored until 4 years after his death when another Scientist Stanislao Cannizarro presented them at a conference which was called to look into some scientific confusion at that time.
Even after the presentation, it took a decade for scientists to totally agree with it. Now Avogadro is a force to be reckoned with in Chemistry.