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European Scientists in
the 19th and 20th
How Did European
Scientists in the 19 and
20th Centuries Contribute
to World Science?
Scientists Make Their Mark
On The World
Charles Darwin
(February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882)
Charles Darwin
British Naturalist…ornithologist.
Born in Shrewsbury, England
Proposed the theory of natural selection – animals with
favorable traits will survive and reproduce
Developed concept that related species descended from
common ancestors
Proposed concept that life is not static, but evolving
Conducted most of his work after he returns from the
Galapagos Islands, studying the beak sizes of different
Finch species
Charles Darwin
1831: Graduated from University of
Cambridge with a degree in theology
1831-1836: Sailed aboard the HMS
1839: Filled notebooks with careful
observations of animal and plant
H.M.S. Beagle
No, not that beagle!
The Voyages of HMS Beagle
H.M.S. Beagle
The natural history of these islands is eminently
curious, and well deserves attention. Most of the
organic productions are aboriginal creations, found
nowhere else; there is even a difference between the
inhabitants of the different islands; yet all show a
marked relationship with those of America, though
separated from that continent by an open space of
ocean, between 500 and 600 miles in
width…Hence, both in space and time, we seem to
be brought somewhat near to that great fact—that
mystery of mysteries—the first appearance of new
beings on this earth.
- Charles Darwin from Voyage of the
Charles Darwin
First person to challenge the “catastrophe”
theory was English geologist Sir Charles Lyell
 Catastrophe theory stated that organisms
were individually created and
In Principles of Geology, Lyell declared that
the earth is constantly changing due to affects
of natural forces
Argued that species are specially created
Natural Selection
Darwin incorporated work done by
Thomas Robert Malthus, a British
 An Essay on the Principle of
Population (1798)
Darwin applied Malthus’ theory to
animals and plants
Charles Darwin
1859: Published On the Origin of
1871: Published The Descent of Man
and Selection in Relation to Sex
1872: Published The Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals
Charles Darwin
I have called this principle, by which
each slight variation, if useful, is preserved,
by the term Natural Selection.
- Charles Darwin from
The Origin of Species
From Darwin’s study of
Galapagos Finches
Charles Darwin
This principle of preservation, or the survival
of the fittest, I have called Natural Selection.
It leads to the improvement of each creature
in relation to its organic and inorganic
conditions of life; and consequently, in most
cases, to what must be regarded as an
advance in organization. Nevertheless, low
and simple forms will long endure if well
fitted for their simple conditions of life.
- Charles Darwin from
The Origin of Species
Natural Selection
Darwin’s theory stated:
 Young compete for survival (e.g. food,
 Young that survive produce a new
generation with more favorable
 These natural variations are passed on
by heredity.
 Each generation will adapt and improve
over time
• Evolution of species
An albino
of reproducing
What’s this?
Schematic representation of how antibiotic
resistance is enhanced by natural selection. The top
section represents a population of bacteria before
exposure to an antibiotic.
The middle section shows the population directly
after exposure, the phase in which selection took
The last section shows the distribution of resistance
in a new generation of bacteria. The legend
indicates the resistance levels of individuals.
Charles Darwin
Theory of natural selection was later used as
justification for imperialism and the destruction
of weaker races and peoples
 Social Darwinism
Herbert Spencer
"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase which is a
concept relating to competition for survival or
“Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their
kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic
animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of
But, excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so
ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
Social Darwinism is the
idea that Darwin’s theory
can be extended and
applied to the social
domain of humans,
i.e. just as competition
between individual
organisms drives biological
evolutionary change
through the survival of the
fittest, competition between
individuals, groups, nations
or ideas drives social
change in human societies.
The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly
an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was
originally acquired as part of the social instincts.
We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak
surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at
least one check, namely that the weaker and inferior members
of society do not marry so freely, and this check might be
indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining
from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than
“Welfare and insane asylums were allowing "inferior" humans to
survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more "superior"
humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon
taken, society would be awash with "inferiors."
• The simpler aspects of social Darwinism followed
the earlier Malthusian ideas that humans,
especially males, need competition in their lives in
order to survive in the future…
• and that the poor should have to provide for
themselves and not be given any aid…
• most social Darwinists supported better working
conditions and salaries, to give the poor a better
chance to provide for themselves…but!!!
• society had to point out those who are capable of
succeeding from those who are poor out of
laziness, weakness, or inferiority.
• Malthus’s theory; The "Principle of Population"
depended on the idea that population, if
unchecked, increases at a geometric rate (i.e. 1, 2,
4, 8, 16, etc.), whereas the food-supply grows at
an arithmetic rate (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.).
“We are not alone”
Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring
A poster from a 1921 eugenics conference proudly
displayed which U.S. states had by then
implemented sterilization legislation.
Marie Curie
(November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934)
Marie Curie
Polish-born French Chemist
Studied radioactivity and discovered
the radioactive elements radium and
 Radioactivity  spontaneous
decay of certain elements into
other elements and energy
Marie Curie
First woman to win the Nobel
Won the 1903 Nobel Prize in
physics with her husband,
Pierre Curie, and Antoine
Henri Becquerel.
Won the 1911 Nobel Prize in
chemistry .
First scientist to receive the
Nobel Prize in two different
The element curium, discovered in 1944, was named in
honor of Marie and Pierre
Marie Curie
1891: Attended the Sorbonne (now part of
the University of Paris) to study physics
and mathematics
1898: Discovered the radioactive elements
radium and polonium with husband,
Pierre Curie
1903: Received her doctorate degree in
physics from the Sorbonne
Marie Curie
1906: Became professor of general
physics and first woman to teach at the
1910 – Isolated pure radium metal with
chemist André Devierne
1914 – University of Paris built Institut
du Radium (now the Institut Curie)
Marie Curie
1914: Equipped ambulances with X-ray
equipment to be used on the front lines
of World War I
1918-1934: Directed the Research
Department at the Radium Institute of
the University of Paris
1934: Died from leukemia as a result of
long-term exposure to radiation
Marie Curie
We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one
knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was
one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work
must not be considered from the point of view of the direct
usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of
science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific
discovery may become like the radium a benefit for
- Marie Curie, Lecture at Vassar College, May 14,
Marie and Pierre’s
Nobel Prize
Albert Einstein
(March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)
Albert Einstein
Born in Ulm, Germany
Proposed theory of
relativity, a physical theory
of gravity, space and time
Most famous for equation
E = mc2
The element einsteinium,
discovered in 1952, was
named in honor of Albert
Albert Einstein
Proposed light can be considered
as consisting of particles under
certain conditions
Hypothesized that energy carried
by any light particle, a photon, is
proportional to frequency of
 Formula  E = hv
Albert Einstein
1905: Published papers on special
relativity, Brownian motion, and the
photoelectric effect
Photoelectric Effect
 Formation of charged particles
when light reflects off mass
Brownian Motion
 All particles move around randomly
Albert Einstein
Contradicted traditional view that light
energy was a result of a continuous
Instead, proposed that energy
contained within a light beam is
transferred in individual units, or
Special Theory of
1905: “On the Electrodynamics of Moving
 All measurements of time and space
depend on whether the two events occur
Developed a theory based on two
 Physical laws are the same under all
 Speed of light never changes
Albert Einstein
1909-1911: Taught physics at the
University of Zürich
1911-1912: Taught physics at
German-speaking university in
1912-1914: Returned to teach at
University of Zürich
Albert Einstein
1914: Became a professor at the
University of Berlin and director of
the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for
1916: Published a paper on general
relativity, extending his earlier
theory of special relativity
General Theory of Relativity
Interaction of bodies, or gravitational forces,
are explained by the impact of bodies on
geometry of space-time. Likened the
interaction to a ball being dropped on a
This theory accounted for previously
unexplained variations in orbital motion of
planets and predicted bending of starlight in
the vicinity of a massive body such as the
Proposed the inter-conversion of mass and
energy through the equation E = mc2
forgive me.
Unified Field Theory
Attempted to unify the
understanding of all physical
interactions, including gravity
and time.
Albert Einstein
1919: A solar eclipse confirmed Einstein’s
prediction that starlight bends in the vicinity of
a massive body such as the sun
1921: Won the Nobel Prize in physics for his
work on the photoelectric effect
1933: Began teaching at Princeton University
1939: Pointed out in a letter to President
Roosevelt that there was a possibility that
Germans were working on creating an atomic
Albert Einstein
In a letter to F.D.R.:
In the course of the last four months it has been made
probable—through the work of Joliot in France as well as
Fermi and Szilard in America—that it may become possible
to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of
uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large
quantities of new radium-like elements would be
generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be
achieved in the immediate future…I understand that
Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the
Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she
should have taken such early action might perhaps be
understood on the ground that the son of the German
Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin where some of the
American work on uranium is now being repeated.
Francis Harry
Compton Crick
(June 8, 1916 – July 28, 2004)
Francis Harry Compton Crick
British biophysicist
Born in Northampton, England
Co-discovered the double-helix
structure of DNA with James
Dewey Watson
Discovered that every three stairs on
the DNA ladder contain the code for
one amino acid
Shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in
physiology and medicine with
James Watson and Maurice Wilkins
Francis Harry Compton Crick
1937: Graduated from University
College, London, with a B.S. in
1947: Began to study biology at the
Strangewats Research Institute of the
University of Cambridge
1949-1977: Worked as a researcher at
the Laboratory of Molecular Biology
in Cambridge, England
Francis Harry Compton Crick
1951-1953: Discovered the structure of
DNA while working with James Watson as
a researcher at the Cavendish Laboratory of
the University of Cambridge
 Aided by X-ray images of biological
molecules made by Maurice Wilkins
and Rosalind Franklin
Francis Harry Compton
Letter to Cambridge
University discussing
the model of the
double helix.
Francis Harry Compton Crick
We wish to put forward a radically different structure
for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. This
structure has two helical chains each coiled round the
same axis…Both chains follow right-handed helices,
by owing to the dyad the sequences of the atoms in
the two chains run in opposite directions…The novel
feature of the structure is the manner in which the
two chains are held together by the purine and
pyrimidine bases…They are joined together in pairs, a
single base from one chain being hydrogen-bonded to
a single base from another chain, so that the two lie
side by side with identical z-co-ordinates.
- Francis Crick and James Watson, “Molecular
Structure of Nucleic Acids,” Nature, 1953
Francis Harry Compton Crick
1953: Completed his Ph.D. on the
structure of hemoglobin
During World War II, Crick worked with
explosive mines for the British Navy
1958: Took the double helix theory one
step further to propose and prove the
“central dogma”
The Central Dogma
From "Central Dogma of Molecular Biology“, Nature, 1970
The End