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Biology and its Makers With Portraits and Other Illustrations

Biology and its Makers
With Portraits and Other Illustrations
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Title: Biology and its Makers With Portraits and Other Illustrations
Release Date: 2019-02-11
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Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
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BIOLOGY
AND ITS MAKERS

With Portraits and Other Illustrations

BY

WILLIAM A. LOCY, Ph.D., Sc.D.

Professor in Northwestern University

NEW YORK

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

1908

Copyright, 1908,

BY

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

Published June, 1908

ToMY GRADUATE STUDENTS
Who have worked by my side in the LaboratoryInspired by the belief that those who seek shall findThis account of the findings of some ofThe great men of biological scienceIs dedicated by
The Author

PREFACE

The writer is annually in receipt of letters from students, teachers,ministers, medical men, and others, asking for information on topicsin general biology, and for references to the best reading on thatsubject. The increasing frequency of such inquiries, and the wide rangeof topics covered, have created the impression that an untechnicalaccount of the rise and progress of biology would be of interest toa considerable audience. As might be surmised, the references mostcommonly asked for are those relating to different phases of theEvolution Theory; but the fact is usually overlooked by the inquirersthat some knowledge of other features of biological research isessential even to an intelligent comprehension of that theory.

In this sketch I have attempted to bring under one view the broadfeatures of biological progress, and to increase the human interest bywriting the story around the lives of the great Leaders. The practicalexecution of the task resolved itself largely into the question ofwhat to omit. The number of detailed researches upon which progress inbiology rests made rigid selection necessary, and the difficulties ofseparating the essential from the less important, and of distinguishingbetween men of temporary notoriety and those of enduring fame, havegiven rise to no small perplexities.

The aim has been kept in mind to give a picture sufficientlydiagrammatic not to confuse the general reader, and it is hoped thatthe omissions which have seemed necessary will, in a measure, becompensated for by the clearness of the picture. References to selectedbooks and articles have been given at the close of the volume, thatwill enable readers who wish fuller information to go to the bestsources.

The book is divided into two sections. In the first are consideredthe sources of the ideas—except those of organic evolution—thatdominate biology, and the steps by which they have been molded intoa unified science. The Doctrine of Organic Evolution, on account ofits importance, is reserved for special consideration in the secondsection. This is, of course, merely a division of convenience, sinceafter its acceptance the doctrine of evolution has entered into allphases of biological progress.

The portraits with which the text is illustrated embrace those ofnearly all the founders of biology. Some of the rarer ones areunfamiliar even to biologists, and have been discovered only after longsearch in the libraries of Europe and America.

An orderly account of the rise of biology can hardly fail to be ofservice to the class of inquirers mentioned in the opening paragraph.It is hoped that this sketch will also meet some of the needs of theincreasing body of students who are doing practical work in biologicallaboratories. It is important that such students, in addition to theusual classroom instruction, should get a perspective view of the wayin which biological science has come into its present form.

The chief purpose of the book will have been met if I have succeededin indicating the sources of biological ideas and the main currentsalong which they have advanced, and if I have succeeded, furthermore,in making readers acquainted with those men of noble purpose whose workhas created the epochs of biological history, and in showing that therehas been continuity of development in biological thought.

Of biologists who may examine this work with a critical purpose, I begthat they will think of it merely as an outline sketch which does notpretend to give a complete history of biological thought. The story hasbeen developed almost entirely from the side of animal life; not thatthe botanical side has been underestimated, but that the story can betold from either side, and my first-hand acquaintance with botanicalinvestigation is not sufficient to justify an attempt to estimate itsparticular achievements.

The writer is keenly aware of the many imperfections in the book. It isinevitable that biologists with interests in special fields will missfamiliar names and the mention of special pieces of notable work, but Iam drawn to think that such omissions will be viewed leniently, by theconsideration that those best able to judge the shortcomings of thissketch will also best understand the difficulties involved.

The author wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to severalpublishing houses and to individuals for permission to copy cuts andfor assistance in obtaining portraits. He takes this opportunity toexpress his best thanks for these courtesies. The parties referred toare the director of the American Museum of Natural History; D. Appleton& Co.; P. Blakiston's Sons & Co.; The Macmillan Company; The OpenCourt Publishing Company; the editor of the Popular Science Monthly;Charles Scribner's Sons; Professors Bateson, of Cambridge, England;Conklin, of Philadelphia; Joubin, of Rennes, France; Nierstrasz, ofUtrecht, Holland; Newcombe, of Ann Arbor, Michigan; Wheeler and E.B.Wilson, of New York City. The editor of the Popular Science Monthlyhas also given permission to reprint the substance of Chapters IV andX, which originally appeared in that publication.

W.A.L.

Northwestern University,
Evanston, Ill., April, 1908.

CONTENTS

PART I
The Sources of Biological Ideas Except Those ofOrganic Evolution
CHAPTER I
An Outline of the Rise of Biology and of the Epochs in itsHistory, 3
Notable advances in natural science during the nineteenth century, 3.Biology the central subject in the history of opinion regardinglife, 4. It is of commanding importance in the world of science,5. Difficulties in making its progress clear, 5. Notwithstandingits numerous details, there has been a relatively simple andorderly progress in biology, 6. Many books about the facts ofbiology, many excellent laboratory manuals, but scarcely anyattempt to trace the growth of biological ideas, 6. The growthof knowledge regarding organic nature a long story full of humaninterest, 7. The men of science, 7. The story of their aspirationsand struggles an inspiring history, 8. The conditions underwhich science developed, 8. The ancient Greeks studied natureby observation and experiment, but this method underwenteclipse, 9. Aristotle the founder of natural history, 9. Sciencebefore his day, 9, 10. Aristotle's position in the development ofscience, 11. His extensive knowledge of animals, 12. His scientificwritings, 13. Personal appearance, 13. His influence, 15.Pliny: his writings mark a decline in scientific method, 16. Thearrest of inquiry and its effects, 17. A complete change in themental interests of mankind, 17. Men cease to observe and indulgein metaphysical speculation, 18. Authority declared thesource of knowledge, 18. The revolt of the intellect against theseconditions, 19. The renewal of observation, 19. The beneficentresults of this movement, 20. Enumeration of the chief epochsin biological history: renewal of observation, 20; the overthrowof authority in science, 20. Harvey and experimental investigation,20; introduction of microscopes, 20; Linnus, 20; Cuvier,20; Bichat, 21; Von Baer, 21; the rise of physiology, 21; thebeginnings of evolutionary thought, 21; the cell-theory, 21; thediscovery of protoplasm, 21.
CHAPTER II
Vesalius and the Overthrow of Authority in Science, 22
Vesalius, in a broad sense, one of the founders of biology, 22. A pictureof the condition of anatomy before he took it up, 23. Galen:his great influence as a scientific writer, 24. Anatomy in theMiddle Ages, 24. Predecessors of Vesalius: Mundinus, Berangarius,Sylvius, 26. Vesalius gifted and forceful, 27. His impetuousnature, 27. His reform in the teaching of anatomy, 28.His physiognomy, 30. His great book (1543), 30. A descriptionof its illustrations, 30, 32. Curious conceits of the artist, 32.Opposition to Vesalius: curved thigh bones due to wearing tighttrousers, the resurrection bone, 34, 35. The court physician, 35.Close of his life, 36. Some of his successors: Eustachius andFallopius, 36. The especial service of Vesalius: he overthrewdependence on authority and restablished the scientific methodof ascertaining truth, 37, 38.
CHAPTER III
William Harvey and Experimental Observation, 39
Harvey's work complemental to that of Vesalius, 39. Their combinedlabors laid the foundations of the modern method of investigatingnature, 39. Harvey introduces experiments on livingorganisms, 40. Harvey's education, 40. At Padua, comesunder the influence of Fabricius, 41. Return to England, 42.His personal qualities, 42-45. Harvey's writings, 45. His greatclassic on movement of the heart and blood (1628), 46. Hisdemonstration of circulation of the blood based on cogent reasoning;he did not have ocular proof of its passage throughcapillaries, 47. Views of his predecessors on the movement ofthe blood, 48. Servetus, 50. Realdus Columbus, 50. Csalpinus,51. The originality of Harvey's views, 51. Harvey'sargument, 51. Harvey's influence, 52. A versatile student;work in other directions, 52. His discovery of the circulationcreated modern physiology, 52. His method of inquiry becamea permanent part of biological science, 53.
CHAPTER IV
The Introduction of the Microscope and the Progress of IndependentObservation, 54
The pioneer microscopists: Hooke and Grew in England; Malpighiin Italy and Swammerdam and Leeuwenhoek in Holland, 54.Robert Hooke, 55. His microscope and the micrographia (1665),56. Grew one of the founders of vegetable histology, 56. Malpighi,1628-1694, 58. Personal qualities, 58. Education, 60.University positions, 60, 61. Honors at home and abroad, 61.Activity in research, 62. His principal writings: Monographon the silkworm, 63; anatomy of plants, 66; work in embryology,66. Jan Swammerdam, 1637-1680, 67. His temperament,67. Early interest in natural history, 68. Studies medicine, 68.Important observations, 68. Devotes himself to minute anatomy,70. Method of working, 71. Great intensity, 70. Highquality of his work, 72. The Biblia Natur, 73. Its publicationdelayed until fifty-seven years after his death, 73. Illustrationsof his anatomical work, 75-76. Antony van Leeuwenhoek,1632-1723, 77. A composed and better-balanced man, 77. Self-taughtin science, the effect of this showing in the desultory characterof his observations, 77, 87. Physiognomy, 78. New biographicalfacts, 78. His love of microscopic observation, 80.His microscopes, 81. His scientific letters, 83. Observes thecapillary circulation in 1686, 84. His other discoveries, 86.Comparison of the three men: the two university-trained menleft coherent pieces of work, that of Leeuwenhoek was discursive,87. The combined force of their labors marks an epoch, 88.The new intellectual movement now well under way, 88.
CHAPTER V
The Progress of Minute Anatomy, 89
Progress in minute anatomy a feature of the eighteenth century.Attractiveness of insect anatomy. Enthusiasm awakened by thedelicacy and perfection of minute structure, 89. Lyonet, 1707-1789,90. Description of his remarkable monograph on theanatomy of the willow caterpillar, 91. Selected illustrations,92-94. Great detail—4,041 muscles, 91. Extraordinary characterof his drawings, 90. A model of detailed dissection, but lackingin comparison and insight, 92. The work of Raumur, Roesel,and De Geer on a higher plane as regards knowledge of insect life,95. Straus-Drckheim's monograph on insect anatomy, 96. Rivalsthat of Lyonet in detail and in the execution of the plates, 99.His general considerations now antiquated, 99. He attemptedto make insect anatomy comparative, 100. Dufour endeavors tofound a broad science of insect anatomy, 100. Newport, a veryskilful dissector, with philosophical cast of mind, who recognizesthe value of embryology in anatomical work, 100. Leydig startsa new kind of insect anatomy embracing microscopic structure(histology), 102. This the beginning of modern work, 102.Structural studies on other small animals, 103. The discoveryof the simplest animals, 104. Observations on the microscopicanimalcula, 105.
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