the making of a scientist
Richard H. Ebright published theory of how cells work in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science at the age of twenty two.
Richard H. Ebright grew up in Reading in Pennsylvania. There he was not able to do anything. He was not able to play football or baseball too. But he said that there he could do one thing – collect things. So he collected things.
In Kindergarten, Ebright collected butterflies. He also collected rocks, fossils, and coins. He would observe sky at night too. He would live with his mother, who encouraged his interest in learning. She would take him on trips, bought him telescope, microscope, cameras, mounting materials, and other materials required for learning. He lost his father when he was in third grade. Her mother would call him Richie. Her mother would discuss with him every night and give him mental exercise instead of physical exercise which he wanted to learn.
By the time he was in the second grade, Ebright had collected all twentyfive species of butterflies found around his hometown.
Richard said that this would have been end of his butterfly collection. But her mother gave him a children’s book called “The Travels of Monarch X.”That book, which told how monarch butterflies migrate to Central America, opened the world of science to Richard.
At the end of book readers were invited to help study butterfly migration They were asked to tag butterflies for research by Dr. Frederick A. Urquhart of the University of Toronto, Canada. Anyone who found a tagged butterfly was asked to send the tag to Dr Urquhart.
If you tried to catch them one by one, you won’t catch very much. So Richard rose a flock of butterflies. He would catch a female monarch, take her eggs, and raise them in his basement through their life cycle, from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult butterfly. Then he would tag the butterflies’ wings and let them go. For several years his basement was home to thousands of monarchs in different stages of development.
In got a hint of what a real science is when he entered a county science fair, and lost. He said that, it was a sad feeling to sit there and not get anything while everybody else had won something,” Ebright said. His entry was slides of frog tissues, which he showed under a microscope. He realized that winners had tried to do real experiments. And he decided that for the next year, he has to do something extraordinary than others. So he asked to Dr Urquhart for suggestions and back came a stack of suggestions.
For his eighth grade project, Ebright tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills nearly all monarch caterpillars every few years. Ebright thought the disease might be carried by a beetle. So he rose caterpillars in the presence of beetles. But he didn’t get any real result. But he went ahead and showed that he had tried the experiment.
The next year his science fair project was testing the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarchs. The theory was that viceroys look like monarchs because monarchs don’t taste good to birds. Viceroys, on the other hand, do taste good to birds. So the more they look like monarchs, the less likely they are to become a bird’s dinner. Ebright’s project was to see whether, in fact, birds would eat monarchs. He found that a starling would not eat ordinary bird food. It would eat all the monarchs it could get. (Ebright said later research by other people showed that viceroys probably do Copy the monarch.) This project was placed first in the zoology division and third overall in the county science fair.
In his second year in high school, Richard Ebright began the research that led to his discovery of an unknown insect hormone. lndirectly, it also led to his new theory on the life of cells. The question he tried to answer was simple: What is the purpose of the twelve tiny gold spots on a monarch pupa?
“Everyone assumed the spots were just ornamental,” Ebright said.“But Dr Urquhart didn’t believe it.”
To find the answer, Ebright and another excellent science student first had to build a device that showed that the spots were producing a hormone necessary for the butterfly’s full development.
This project won Ebright first place in the county fair and entry into the International Science and Engineering Fair. There he won third place for zoology. He also got a chance to work during the summer at the entomology laboratory of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. As a high school junior, Richard Ebright continued his advanced experiments on the monarch pupa.That year his project won first place at the International Science Fair and gave him another chance to work in the army laboratory during the summer.
short questions & answers
Q.1 What was Ebright’s achievement? What has been it compare to?
Ans. At the age of 22 he excited the scientific word with his theory of how cell works. This has been his achievement which was compared with making the big leagues and hitting.
Q.2 How did Ebright collect as a child? Why?
Ans. Ebright had a sharp mind and curiosity to know. His mother helped in his learning. She took him on trips she bright him telescope. Microscopes, cameras and other equipment.
Q.3 What book opened the world of science to Ebright? What was the book about?
Ans. It was a children book called the “Travels of monarch X” that book told how monarch butterflies migrate to Central America.
Q.4 How did Ebright raise a flock of butterflies?
Ans. Ebright would catch a female monarch and take her eggs. He would raise them in his basement through their life cycle.
text book questions & answers
1. How did a book become a turning point in Richard Ebright’s life?
Ans. Richard Ebright was interested in collecting butterflies. By the time he was in the second grade, he had collected all the twenty-five species of butterflies found around his home town. This would have been the end of his butterfly collecting. But at this point his mother got him a book called “The Travels of Moarch X’. This book told him about the migration of monarch butterflies to Central America. This book aroused his interest in Monarch butterflies and opened the world of science to him. This proved to be turning point in the life of young Richard Ebright. He began to raise Monarch butterflies in the basement of his home, and study them in different stage of their development.
2. How did his mother help him?
Ans. His mother encouraged her to learn things. She took him on trips. She bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials, and other equipment.
3. What lesson does Ebright learn when he does not win anything at science fair?
Ans. Edbright realizes that mere display of something does not mean science. To win at a science fair he will have to do real experiments.
4. What experiments and projects does he then undertake?
Ans. He make experiments to find out what causes the viral disease that kills nearly all monarch caterpillars.
He undertakes a project to test the theory that vicerory butterflies copy monarches to survive.
5. What are the qualities that go into the making of a scientist?
Ans. Sharp mind, curiosity and the will to win for the right reasons go into making of a scientist.
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