Article ID: CBB001553633

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


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.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Alfonso Lucifredi; (2018)
L'eredità di Mendel : all'origine della genetica (/isis/citation/CBB911718694/)

Book Tudge, Colin; (2001)
Impact of the Gene: From Mendel's Peas to Designer Babies (/isis/citation/CBB000102136/)

Article Teicher, Amir; (2014)
Mendel's Use of Mathematical Modelling: Ratios, Predictions and the Appeal to Tradition (/isis/citation/CBB001510272/)

Book Henig, Robin Marantz; (2000)
The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics (/isis/citation/CBB000330840/)

Article Hans-Jörg Rheinberger; (2015)
Re-discovering Mendel: The Case of Carl Correns (/isis/citation/CBB876750608/)

Article M. Susan Lindee; John J. Mulvihill; (2020)
Celebrating Mendel's 200th Birthday July 22, 2022 (/isis/citation/CBB298704434/)

Book Edelson, Edward; (2001)
Gregor Mendel and the Roots of Genetics (/isis/citation/CBB000500034/)

Article Kemp, Martin; (2002)
Peas without pictures: Gregor Mendel and the mathematical birth of modern genetics (/isis/citation/CBB000301254/)

Book Gregor Mendel; Alessandro Volpone; (2024)
Le opere biologiche di Gregor Mendel per il lettore moderno (/isis/citation/CBB782751816/)

Chapter Marcello Buiatti; (2015)
La storia del gene (/isis/citation/CBB572210343/)

Article Müller-Wille, S.; Orel, V.; (2007)
From Linnaean Species to Mendelian Factors: Elements of Hybridism, 1751-1870 (/isis/citation/CBB000771333/)

Book Rushton, Alan R.; (2009)
Genetics in Medicine in Great Britain 1600 to 1939 (/isis/citation/CBB001020882/)

Article Orel, Vítezslav; (2010)
Science Studies and Mendel's Paradigm (/isis/citation/CBB000954439/)

Book Carlson, Elof Axel; (2004)
Mendel's Legacy: The Origin of Classical Genetics (/isis/citation/CBB000550906/)

Authors & Contributors
Tudge, Colin
Orel, Vítězslav
Deichmann, Ute
Mulvihill, John J.
Alfonso Lucifredi
Teicher, Amir
Science and Education
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Perspectives on Science
Mendel Newsletter
Codice Edizioni
Trafford Publishing
Oxford University Press
Jonathan Cape
Houghton Mifflin
Mendel's law
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
Great Britain
Royal Society of London

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment