sobota, 29 października 2011

Nationality of science in one example

Quantum theory was split up into dialects. Different people describe the same experiences in remarkably different languages.  
-  David Finkelstain

It’s not easy, especially when you are a student and your head is full of laws and unquestionable facts,  to remember that science is discontinuous process and not a solid structure. It’s a very interesting mind game to try to “figure out again” the basic physical laws for example “How to prove that light is a wave”). So as a young chemist-biologist I know what cell division is. But who (and maybe more importantly “how?”) discovery cell division ?

Of course the  answer to this question is not easy. Different kinds of cell division were discovered by many biologists (Otto Butschli, Eduard Adolf Strasburger, Waclaw Mayzel and many more). One of them - Eduard Strasburger is an especially interesting person for me. This may result  from fact that I’m a Polish scientist I always want to learn about famous Polish scientists (It’s not so hard because it’s not a numerous group). So when I read notes on the internet I found that: “it was a Polish scientist (on a Polish website), “ein deutscher Botaniker” (on a German) and “it was Polish-German scientist” (on an English website). Why is there not only one answer to his “scientific nationality” ? To answer that it’s necessary to look at the biography of professor Strasburger.

He was born in Warsaw, At this time there was no real Poland only a Congress Poland a puppet state of the Russian Empire. Strasburger studied natural sciences in Paris, Bonn and Jena but after receiving his PhD he taught at the University of Warsaw. His most important work Textbook of Botany ( originally Lehrbuch der Botanik für Hochschulen ) made in the University of Bonn (even now after more than 100 years Textbook of Botany is one of the basic textbook on botanic courses at university). But from the other hand many of his articles  were written in Polish. This give an image of a really cosmopolitan researcher that can’t be simply classified as Polish or German- his work helps to change  the World.


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