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The Fathers of Biology

October 11, 2022
written by Sidra Batool

Biology is all about structure and function. It studies living things, how they work, what they are made up of, and how they work together.

Since the beginning of its existence, many scientists have contributed to the development and advancement of science. Some have done so voluntarily and others by chance.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the many names of scientists who have been recognized for their contributions to the field of biology and their discoveries.

Herophilus-Father of Anatomy

Herophilus was born in the Greek city of Chalcedon. He learned medicine in Greece and later in Alexandria, Egypt.

Herophilus was the first person to perform human dissections, and because of his important anatomical discoveries, he was considered the father of anatomy.

• Despite the prohibitions of the time against the dissection of humans, Andreas Vesalius is considered to be the “Father of modern human anatomy”.

• Anatomy as a subject wasn’t given another chance until after 1800 when Herophilus performed his experiments. Anatomy continued to be a forbidden field for more than 200 years.

Theophrastus – Father of Botany

Theophrastus is Known as The father of botany. He is recognized for his books on botany (i.e.  “Historia Plantarum” explaining the history of plants.

He developed an integrated system of studying plants, their growth, and their characteristics to learn more about plant physiology. This work laid the foundation for further studies of all living things.

It took more than 1,800 years to figure out everything Theophrastus discovered about plants and herbs.

Gregor Johann Mendel-Father of Genetics

In 1856, Austrian monk and scientist, Gregor Johann Mendel, is credited with the discovery of genetics. He worked on pea plants (Pisum Sativum), and for his work, he is known as the Father of Genetics.

Mendel proposed the three laws of inheritance that explained how traits are inherited. He proposed laws of segregation, independent assortment, and dominance.

Mendel had to grow over 10,000 peas to prove his theory. It took him more than eight years to do it. At that time, Mendel’s work wasn’t appreciated much, its principles are fully appreciated now. His work laid the foundation for the understanding of genetics.

Carolus Linnaeus- Father of Taxonomy

Carolus Linnaeus is the “father of taxonomy”. His system for identifying, naming, and classifying living organisms is the foundation for modern biology.

Linnaeus published a book in 1735 called the Systema Naturae that takes into account his detailed classification of living organisms.

Aristotle- Father of Zoology

One of the greatest thinkers of all time is Aristotle. He was an excellent philosopher and natural scientist, and he excelled at both of them. 

His approach and theories may seem quite primitive compared to the modern method, but his discoveries have helped build the fundamental knowledge in zoology.

In addition to being called the “Father of Biology”, Aristotle is sometimes called the “Father of Zoology”.

Aristotle was one of the first people to write about the history, movements, growth, and parts of animals.

Wendell Stanley-Father of Virology

Wendell Stanley is known as the father of virology. His work on the crystallization of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) is what makes Wendell Stanley the father of virology. Stanley won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1946.

This award is given every year to the top researcher in virology. Stanley Cohen is a virologist, so he’s a biochemist first and foremost.

Robert Koch-Father of Bacteriology

Robert Koch discovered the bacterium Bacillus anthracis in 1876, which launched the new scientific field of bacteriology.

Robert Koch pioneered the microscopic techniques of staining, culturing, and observing microorganisms. His work has helped us to understand how some pathogens cause disease.

Koch was called the “Father of Bacteriology” for his discoveries.