Article ID: CBB001553633

Gregor Mendel, Franz Unger, Carl Nägeli and the Magic of Numbers (2015)

unapi

This paper aims to illustrate the influence of Franz Unger's (1800--1870) and Carl Wilhelm Nägeli's (1817--1891) anatomical and developmental works on Gregor Mendel's (1822--1884) use of numerical ratios in biological inquiry. All hypotheses concerning Mendel's sources of inspiration have hitherto overlooked the cytological teaching of Unger, his professor of botany. In the 1830s and 1840s, he was a pioneer of cell theory. His publications, including his university textbooks, are characterised by a particulate and quantifying approach towards vital phenomena. Special attention will be paid to Unger's and Nägeli's `law of plant growth', which shows some striking basic correspondences with Mendel's approach. This demonstrates, firstly, that mathematical thinking was not alien to mid-nineteenth century botany, and secondly, that Mendel's conceptions were influenced by an even greater variety of ideas circulating around 1850.

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https://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB001553633/

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Authors & Contributors
Tudge, Colin
Orel, Vítězslav
Deichmann, Ute
Mulvihill, John J.
Alfonso Lucifredi
Teicher, Amir
Journals
Science and Education
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Perspectives on Science
Nature
Mendel Newsletter
Publishers
Codice Edizioni
Trafford Publishing
Oxford University Press
Jonathan Cape
Houghton Mifflin
Hoepli
Concepts
Genetics
Mendel's law
Biology
Evolution
Cytology
Biographies
People
Mendel, Gregor Johann
Darwin, Charles Robert
von Nägeli, Carl
Fuller, Steve
Vries, Hugo Marie de
Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Antoine Pierre de Monet de
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
21st century
18th century
20th century, late
17th century
Places
Moravia
Germany
Great Britain
Institutions
Royal Society of London
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