Sunday, June 13, 2010

Camp Curie: Monday: Ecology / Nature


Monday:  Ecology / Naturalist
Alice Eastwood - Botany
Rachel Carson – Silent Spring
Maria Sibylla Merian  - entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
Cornelia Hess Honegger -- entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
Janine Benyus - Biomimicry (small introduction)

------------------------------------------

 Alice Eastwood - Botany
Originally Canada, but migrated to the US, and spent most of her career in CA
 

Alice Eastwood (1859-1953), Naturalist

She was born in Toronto Canada, and moved to Colorado during her high school years. She worked several jobs to help her family while in school and yet still graduated at the top of her class.  Because college was too expensive for her to go,
she began teaching at her old high school after graduation for a decade - which left her summers to do nothing but exploring the Rocky Mountains collecting plant samples, documenting, and illustrating them.  It was risky at the time.  The area was not fully settled, and it was a huge risk.  She was even robbed a few times, but it did not detour her.  She shortened her skirts so she could explore the area better and reach more unreachable places.  She was so well known for this that when the famous natrualist Alfred Russel Wallace visited the area, he requested her to be his guide.  

In 1893, Alice Eastwood moved to California where she met and she befriended Katherine Brandegee, curator of the Academy’s Herbarium, who convinced Eastwood to come and work for her at the California Academy of sciences, San Francisco.  That same year she published a book, A Popular Flora of Denver Colorado, the first of some 300 plus illustrated books and articles she would write about plants from all over the country over her lifetime.  She took over Brandegee’s position in 1895, and spent from then until 1909 organizing and enlarging the collection.  

One of the most valuable things she did when she was there was to separate and protect the rarest of specimens in her office.  When a major Earthquake hit in 1906, she managed to save those plants.  The earthquake had managed to collapse the stairs, so she and a friend climbed 6 floors of iron railing to get to her office and lower the specimens down by ropes, and escape with them right before the fires hit their building.  She saved 1,497 plants (the rarest of collection) but everything else, including her entire personal collection that she had been working on since her teens, was destroyed. 
When asked about her personal loss she said:
She spent the next 6 years rebuilding the collection, and by 1949, 43 years after the disaster, she had gathered over 340,000 different specimens and rebuilt the herbarium. She retired from the academy when she was 90 years old, and died 3 years later from cancer.

She published over 300 articles about botany over her lifetime.


 Eastwoodia elegans -->  a type of sunflower she discovered

Resources:
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404708007.html
http://www.huh.harvard.edu/libraries/archives/EASTWOOD.html
"Alice Eastwood." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved June 27, 2010 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404708007.html

Some of her favorite species
west American Liliaceae - Erythronium revolutum
















Castilleja














Rachel Carson – Silent Spring
 1904 - 1964,  USA

 Image taken from:  http://csc.gallaudet.edu/soarhigh/carson.gif



 


Rachel Carson (1907-1964) Environmentalist / Marine Biologist
If there was ever a person who changed the world, it was Rachel Carson.  She published several articles, and 5 books, 2 of which we best sellers for years at a time, but it was her book, Silent Spring in 1962, that gave our poisoned environment a voice. 
Carson grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania.  As a child, she was completely consumed by her interest in wildlife and her mother encouraged this.  She put herself through school, originally intending to get a degree in English, but her love for nature could not be stifled, and she graduated in the top of her class with a Zoology degree.  Later she gained her Masters with a focus in Marine Biology. 
In 1936, she found herself with a full house to support.  Her father had died and her mother moved in with her, along with her 2 nieces, which she adopted when her sister died.  She took a job at the United States Bureau of Fisheries, and was only one of two women working there in non-clerical jobs, writing for radio during the great depression, and eventually becoming editor and chief for all their publications.

She was already gaining fame with both of her best selling books, The Sea Around Us (1951), and The Edge of the Sea (1955), but it was the next project that she took on which solidified her place in the history books, and changed the world.  After World War II and the increase use of pesticides - Rachel, changed her focus, due to the pleas of her friend, Olga Owens Huckins.
Carson went on to report the dangers of pesticides on all life.  In 1957, Huckins and her husband were alarmed when the morning after their bird sanctuary was sprayed by the government with DDT, said to control the mosquito population, several song birds were found dead with anguished and tortured physical expressions.  Huckin’s begged for her help to spread the word of the dangers of this seemingly “harmless” pesticide.
Carson spent 4 years collecting data to support her findings, and wound up synthesizing several alarming reports that had never been put together before, building an insurmountable defense against the use of pesticides. 
“The More I learned about pesticides, the more appalled I became.  Everything, which meant most to me as a naturalist was being threatened.”   - Carson.
 


When her book was first published in 1962, many papers and people who financially profited from DTT declared her hysterical, extreme, emotionally fanning words, obsessive, etc.  They tried to write her off as an over reactionary woman, out of control and out of her mind.  Yet, the more evidence that came in, and the more national attention it drew, the more it became clear that she might be one of the few rational people left around. 
She testified before Congress in 1963, calling for new regulations to protect humans and other life forms against chemicals likes these in favor of health and well being of living things.
She died a year later (1964) of breast cancer, but her cause lived on.   

Due to her one little book, she drove the urgency for something to be done.  It inspired the development of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 1970, and the banning of the use of DDT in 1972.  She became a catalyst for change, and that energy still persists today.
Unfortunately, so does the reason that ecological concern still is a fire hot issue of concern.  Back in 1992, (12 years ago) it was estimated some 2.2 billion pounds of pesticide were used in this country.  That amounts to some 8 lbs of pesticide per person (man, woman and child), each year.  This industry has not slowed, but only grown over the years.  There is much work that needs to be done.
 




Her list of Books:
 Under the Sea-wind (1941). 
The Sea Around Us, (1952) 
The Edge of the Sea (1955).

"Help Your Child to Wonder," (1956) 
"Our Ever-Changing Shore" (1957)
Silent Spring (1962) 
I





RESOURCES:
http://www.scienceclarified.com/Co-Di/DDT-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane.html











Maria Sibylla Merian  - Entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
April 2, 1647 – January 13, 1717)
German
 Image taken from: http://www.answers.com/topic/merian-maria-sibylla

When Maria Sibylla Merian was little, her father died and her mother married a painter who encouraged Maria to draw and paint.  She continued to do so into adulthood, marring her step father's painting assistant even - and going on to paint and even teach such skills to others.  Yet it was her husband's constant infidelity that caused her to leave and divorce him - but gave her the opportunity to travel around the world (most famously South America) and explore her own work even further.
Her studies lead her to focus on gardens and insects -with a particular interest in Caterpillars and butterflies. Prior to her work - people thought that butterflies and Caterpillars arose from spontaneous generation, but it was her observations and illustrations that changed this.  Her sketchbooks were later published into a series of books, and she became well known.  Still - in 1715 she had a stroke, which left her paralyzed, destitute and homeless.  She died 2 years later with nothing.


Her books:
Neues Blumenbuch -- New book of flowers  (1675)
Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandlung und sonderbare Blumennahrung -- The Caterpillar, Marvelous Transformation and Strange Floral Food  (1678)
Resources:

Cornelia Hess Honegger -- entomologist and Scientific Illustrator
 Zurich, Switzerland, (1944  - present)

"A scientific illustrator and artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger was born in 1944 in Zurich, Switzerland. She worked for 25 years as a scientific illustrator for the scientific department of the Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich. Since 1969, she has collected and painted bugs in the suborder Heteroptera. Her watercolors act as an interface between art and science and pay witness to a beautiful but endangered nature. Since the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied, and painted morphologically disturbed insects she finds in the fallout areas of this and other nuclear plants. Since the early 1970s, her work has been shown in various galleries and museums in Switzerland, as well as at prestigious institutions such as the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Chelsea Art Museum in New York, and the Kunsthaus Nürnberg. For more on Cornelia click here."  Bio taken from:  http://www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org/Ourwork/events/visualizing-science

Her Bio has been Taken & copied directly from her site:  http://www.wissenskunst.ch/en/biographie.htm
"Since the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied and painted morphologically disturbed insects, which she finds in the fallout areas of Chernobyl as well as near nuclear installations. As a result of her studies, she is convinced that in  
regions where the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, or from normally working nuclear power plants, hits ground, the vegetation is contaminated, and a certain percentage of the insects, like leaf bugs, become morphologically disturbed.
Her first research trip, in the summer of 1987, brought her to the regions worst hit by the Chernobyl radioactive cloud: the south of Sweden and the southern part of Switzerland, known as the Ticino. She captured leaf bugs in those regions, insects that were two generations removed from the Chernobyl accident, and studied their health with her binocular microscope. She concluded that the fallout from Chernobyl had caused a significant number of morphological malformations among Heteroptera leaf bugs, Drosophila fruit flies, and plants. 
 

She published her work in the magazine of the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger in January 1988. Swiss scientists, however, expressed criticism of her research, insisting that the fallout in Western Europe from the Chernobyl accident was too small to cause morphological disturbances in insects.
After this attack from the Swiss scientific community on her findings, Cornelia became even more intrigued about the effects of radiation on the health of insects. She wondered whether the insects living in the environs of Swiss nuclear power plants, which emit significantly lower levels of radiation than the fallout from Chernobyl, would therefore be healthy. 


In 1989 Cornelia made her first trip to collect leaf bugs in the environs of the Swiss  nuclear power plants Gösgen and Leibstadt, in the canton of Aargau. In 1989 she continued her studies in the environs of the British nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield. In the following years she concluded studies around the French nuclear reprocessing plant La Hague, the nuclear power plants Krümmel and Gundremmingen in Germany, and Three Mile Island in the U.S., as well as the Nevada atom bomb testing area and the Hanford plutonium factories in Washington State. In 1990 she traveled to Chernobyl itself.
Based on her studies, she has concluded that normally working nuclear power plants — as well as other nuclear installations — cause deformities in Heteroptera leaf bugs, and are a terrible threat to nature. Her field studies were centered at first in her native Switzerland, since she felt she should  
begin by taking a broom to her own house. Her watercolors of morphologically disturbed insects and plants, as well as her publications, document her findings in a very convincing and impressive form.

Cornelia has learned that there is an official science that claims that the low amounts of radiation emitted by nuclear installations are harmless. The risks of low-level exposure are ignored or insufficiently studied by scientists connected to government institutions and universities. Scientists who have researched the effects of low-level exposure to radiation — like the scientists in Belarus, Ukraine, and Germany who studied the effects of the Chernobyl radioactive cloud on children’s health — are not given opportunities to publish their findings, or are ostracized within the scientific community.  
All over the world, scientists who study the effects of radioactivity have little opportunity to publish their findings or persuade their governments about its deathly effects, as those governments quickly approve counter-studies. Cornelia therefore asks for truly independent studies — from university scientists not dependent on government funding — but she also wishes to reach the man and woman in the street to alert them to the problem." 
 
Her Bio has been Taken & copied directly from her site:  http://www.wissenskunst.ch/en/biographie.htm

RESOURCES:
http://www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org/Ourwork/events/visualizing-science
http://www.wissenskunst.ch/index-en.php

Janine Benyus - Biomimicry (small introduction)

"Janine Benyus is dazzlingly brilliant naturalist and the author of six books, including the groundbreaking Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. She is co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, which helps designers, engineers and community leaders "consult life's genius for more graceful ways to live on earth."  Image and bio taken from:  http://www.blackwoodland.org/bioneers/national_speakers.htm










Acid Rain Experiment
Start with 3 plants - In this case we are using the imatient




























They will each get a 1/2 cup of fluid


the Black will get 50% water, 50% lemon juice (Acid)








the brown pot will get 100% water



















 the Green will get 75% water, and 25% lemon juice  (Acid)


















and this is the 50% water - 50% lemon juice - which is WAY TOO MUCH.  Nearly killed the plant in hours.  so we'll do less in class.
 A week later - things happen  - but it seemed like more of it had to do with mold than it did with acid.  The 50% lemon juice tried to die instantly, flimsy leaves, they wilted, and stopped growing all together.








OTHER WOMEN SCIENTISTS TO BE MENTIONED:

Katherine Brandegee (maiden name Layne)(1844-1920), Naturalist

Katherine Brandegee (Layne, her maiden name at the time) married to a cop in 1866 but when he died of alcoholism in 1874, she decided follow her own interests and started her life over.  She enrolled in medical school at the University of California, Berkeley in 1875.  She was the third woman ever to do so.  Do to discrimination, she did not get very many patients, and decided then to shift her focus on her long time passion for plants.  She studied them with the intent developing new medical drugs. 
She went to the Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, working in the Herbology lab. She did such a complete job organizing, and documenting the plants that the curator turned his job over to her when he retired in 1883.  During her stay there, she met, and fell in love with her true-life partner, Townshend Stith Brandeggee.  They married in 1889, and spent their honeymoon walking from San Diego to San Francisco collecting plants for their own collection.  She left the academy into the hands of Alice Eastwood in 1895, and spent the rest of her life traveling the southwest collecting plants species in fair and fowl health. 
It was said that she could have published the most in-depth book about plants that had ever been, but her fear of failure held her from doing it, and thus, she never did.  
 


















No comments:

Post a Comment

Video Bar for Art and Science discussions

Loading...