Special Sub-Topic: All in the Name of Spineless Science
|This German naturalist and explorer published his first scientific paper aged just 21, in 1790. Over his many years of exploring and documenting the furthest reaches of the Earth, many geographical features, including an ocean current, and several species of flora and fauna were named after him. In 1946 the oldest university in Berlin was named after him and his brother. Who was this man? |
Alexander von Humboldt. There are dozens of creatures named after Humboldt. These range from a tiny species of yeast, Pichia humboldtii, right up to the "Red Devil" Humboldt's squid, Dosidicus gigas, which can be almost six feet long and weigh 100lbs.
Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach was a German surgeon in the nineteenth century. He is remembered for his pioneering work on various facial surgeries, and he was the first surgeon to operate successfully on a childhood squint.
Ulrich Friedrich Wilhelm Joachim von Ribbentrop was the German foreign minister during World War II. He was tried for war crimes at Nuremburg in 1946, and executed later that year.
William Baffin was the English navigator who explored around the Canadian coast in the early seventeenth century, searching for the fabled North West Passage. Baffin Island and Bay are named after him.
|This Italian orphan graduated from the University of Bologna and went to Kew Gardens in London to work, before heading off on expeditions to the remote islands of Indonesia aged just 22. In 1869 he founded the "New Italian Botanic Journal", and in 1908 he published "Asiatic Palms". When he died in 1920, he left his extensive botanical collection to Florence University's Natural History Museum. A species of tarantula is named after him. Who was he?|
Odoardo Beccari. Acanthopelma beccarii is the tarantula species named for Beccari. Also named for him are several plants including the Bornean orchid Bulbophyllum beccarii, which is one of the largest orchids in the world.
The other three options were all Italian botanists too, and Allioni does have some species of plants named after him. He lived a century before Beccari.
|This founder member of the National Geographic Society was born in 1845, and pioneered the science of malacology (the study of molluscs).
He was among the very first people to survey Alaska; in addition to a sheep and a porpoise, several species of molluscs are named after him. Who was he?|
William Healey Dall. Dall's extensive collection of recent and fossilised molluscs and echinoderms was bequeathed to Harvard when he died in 1927. Molluscs named for him include Dallinia, Notoplax dalli, and Hanleya dalli.
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was a Swiss doctor of medicine and botanist, who took up the study of icthyology under the tutelage of Alexander von Humboldt.
Jared Potter Kirtland was also a malacologist and naturalist, and has a species of snake and a species of warbler named after him.
Charles Melville Scammon was the captain of the ship Nightingale, on which Dall made his first expedition to explore Alaska. Scammon Bay in Alaska is named for him.
|If you ever visit the Arts and Industries Building of the Smithsonian Institute, you will pass a memorial statue dedicated to the man who was Secretary of the Institute from 1878 until his death in 1887. He also founded and led the United States Fish Commission, and co-founded the Woods Hole Marine Laboratory.
Also remembered for his pioneering walking expedition to explore the mountains of Pennsylvania, when he walked 400 miles in just three weeks, who was this man? |
Spencer Fullerton Baird. Among other things, the Tanner crab species Chionoecetes bairdi is named after Baird.
John James Audubon was a famous ornithologist.
George Brown Goode was the author who compiled the authoritative bibliography of works pulished by Baird, and Thomas Mayo Brewer was one of Baird's co-authors on his definitive work "History of North American Birds", published first between 1875 and 1884.
|This man actually coined the term "invertebrate", and in 1801 he published his signature work "Système des animaux sans vertèbres" in which he devised one of the first systems for the classification of invertebrate creatures. The theory of "soft inheritance" is also sometimes called after him, and the Bluefire jellyfish and a species of honeybee are both named after him too. Who is he?|
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. The honeybee named for him is called Apis mellifera lamarckii, and the Bluefire jellyfish has the scientific name Cyaneia lamarckii.
Alphonse Milne-Edwards was a doctor of medicine and carcinologist.
Pierre Jean George Cabanis was a physiologist.
Auguste Ambroise Tardieu was a forensic scientist in the middle of the nineteenth century.
|This man's masterwork was Volumes 4 and 5 of "The Terrestrial Air-Breathing Mollusks of the United States", which he completed after the original author, (his father Amos) died. Their extensive shell collection is now in the museum at Harvard university. The blue glass snail was named after him; who was he? |
William Green Binney. The scientific name for the blue glass snail is Nesovitrea binneyana.
Augustus Addison Gould was the co-author of "The Terrestrial Air-Breathing Mollusks of the United States" first with Amos Binney, then with William. Volume 4 of this was published in 1859, and Volume 5 was published in 1878.
George Clapp and Leo Hertlein were both American malacologists.
|This 19th century British malacologist and conchologist was the first to publish a book using photographs of the various molluscs he documented. He discovered over 200 new species of molluscs, and his collections are among the largest held by the Leeds Museum in England. Who was he?|
Charles Thorpe Hanley. His full name was Sylvanus Charles Thorpe Hanley, and he lived from 1819-1899. Several of the specimens in his magnificent collection are the only extant examples of extinct species, and they are immensely important to scientists.
William Harper Pease was an American conchologist who voyaged to Hawaii in the 1840s. Several species were named after him, including the sea slug Philinopsis pease.
Henry Brougham Guppy was a botanist who classified many species of plants indigenous to the South Pacific, and in particular the Solomon Islands.
William Theobald Junior cowrote "Conchologia Indica: llustrations of the Land and Freshwater Shells of British India", first published in 1876, with Hanley.
|This man was a doctor of medicine and a geologist. It was his explorations, and the papers and books he published, that led Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first National Park in the United States, in 1872. Several mountains, a town in Colorado, a valley in Yellowstone, a snake, and a species of snail are named after him; who was he?|
Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden. The snail in question, Oreohelix haydeni, was so named in 1869. The town of Hayden, Colorado in the Yampa valley is also named after him .
William Henry Jackson was a photographer who accompanied Hayden on his geological surveys. His pictures were instrumental in bolstering Hayden's arguments to Congress in favour of establishing Yellowstone National Park.
Allan David Wilson was the expedition cartographer, and also one of the founders of the bank which would eventually become the Bank of America.
Fielding Bradford Meek was a paleontologist who accompanied Hayden on an expedition to Dakota in 1853.
|This French aristocrat was imprisoned during the Revolution, and in 1792 he was exiled to Madagascar where he took up botany. He became a world leading authority on the various species of orchids indigenous to the island and when he returned to France in the early 1800s, he donated his extensive collection to the Musée de Paris. As well as numerous plant species, the slate pencil urchin and a family of corals are also named after him. Who was he?|
Louis-Marie Aubert du Petit-Thouars. Louis-Marie Aubert du Petit-Thouars published several definitive books detailing the flora of Madagascar and the neighbouring Bourbon islands. The slate pencil urchin has the scientific name Eucidaris thouarsii, and the corals, indigenous to Antarctic waters, are called Flabellum thouarsii.
Jean-Baptiste Édouard Bornet was a French naturalist best remembered for his studies of red algae.
Louis Augustin Guillaume Bosc was a doctor of medicine, and also wrote on the subject of agronomy.
Pierre Marie Auguste Broussonet was an eighteenth century Professor of Botany at Montpellier university in France.
|This English baronet went with Captain James Cook on his first voyage from 1768- 1771. He was a founder member of the African Association, and also a member of the Society of Dilettanti, which later founded the Royal Academy. As well as an entire genus of plants, the common clubhook squid is named after him; who was he?|
Joseph Banks. The scientific name of the common clubhook squid is Onychoteuthis banksii. Banks was elected to the Presidency of the Royal Society in 1778, and made a Baronet three years later. He was an advisor to King George III of England, and by 1797 was the head of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.
The other three options were all Presidents of the Royal Society at one time or another. Other notable Presidents of the Society include Sir Isaac Newton and Humphrey Davy.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction