Science History

One year celebrating the most exciting stories in science history.

January 6th

In 1971 Berkeley chemists announced the first synthetic production of growth hormone. Nowadays hormones and cytokines are standard tools in medical practice as well as research.

February 8th

In 1951 the first immortalized cell line, today known as HeLa, was established. HeLa paved the way for many other immortalized cell lines and scientific history would be dramatically different without the unknowing sacrifice of Henrietta Lacks.

February 12th

In 1941 penicillin was first used in the treatment of a patient. This was the first time that an effective drug for the treatment of bacterial infections became available.

March 6th

In 1869 Dmitry Mendelejew presented his first version of the periodic table of elements to the Russian Chemical Society. Its relative simplicity made it a valuable didactic tool and the recognizable symbol of chemistry as a whole.

March 20th

In 1996, the government of the United Kingdom first announced the possible connection between the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD).

April 1st

In 1969, Thomas D. Brock and Hudson Freeze published their discovery and cultivation methods of a new species of thermophilic bacteria, which they named Thermus aquaticus.

April 16th

In 1956 Arthur Kornberg and his team of biochemists were the first to isolate and later characterize the enzyme which is now known as DNA polymerase I.

May 14th

In 1796, the English physician and scientist Edward Jenner tested the “world’s first vaccine” on the eight-year-old James Phipps.

May 20th

In 1747, James Lind, the ship surgeon of the HMS Salisbury, conducted one the first clinical trials in medical history and thereby finding a cure for scurvy.

June 5th

In 1981 Michael S. Gottlieb, an immunologist and assistant professor of medicine at the UCLA, and Joel Weisman, DO jointly reported an unusual and novel immunological condition in homosexual men that would later be named AIDS.

June 27th

In 1976 Y.G., a storekeeper at the cotton factory in Nzara, South Sudan, suddenly became ill with high fever, chest pain and headaches. This disease would be later named after the Ebola river.

July 27th

In 1921, Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best succeeded in isolating insulin from canine pancreases and thereby discovered the first effective treatment for diabetes mellitus.

August 7th

In 1975, César Milstein und Georges Köhler published their seminal paper on the production of monoclonal antibodies in continuous cell culture.

August 25th

In 2006 Cell published Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanaka's work on the induction of pluripotency in embryonic and adult fibroblasts.

September 14th

In 1900, Ashanti DeSilva became the first of only two participants in the worlds first approved gene therapy trial. The experimental setup of the trial as well as the interpretation of the results have been the object of considerable criticism, but despite its flaws this trial showed that gene therapy can be done.

To be continued...

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