Barbara McClintock: Geneticist (Women in Science) by J. Heather Cullen

By J. Heather Cullen

Offers the lifestyles and occupation of the geneticist who in 1983 used to be offered the Nobel Prize for her research of maize cells.

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Before she went to Missouri in the following summer, though, McClintock used the money that had been awarded to her with a 1933 Guggenheim Research Fellowship to visit her friends at Cal Tech and make a trip to Germany. Like most of her peers, McClintock did use the Guggenheim to continue her studies—but she made sure to choose faraway and interesting places in which to conduct those studies. Germany had been a hub of scientific activity since the early part of the 19th century. Because most scientific journals were written in German, every undergraduate science student took German classes in college.

There were 77 similar scholarships offered to graduates in the borough of Queens, 37 of which went to girls. Her mother’s thinking, of course, did not change Barbara’s mind. Barbara graduated from Erasmus High School in 1918, at only 16 years of age. She knew she wanted to go to college, but to her it mattered little where she went. Dr. McClintock had been called to serve as a surgeon in the army in Europe, and his departure meant there was little money coming in. Certainly there was not enough for them to be able to send Barbara to college.

Mendel died in Brünn on January 6, 1884. ” His foresight proved as true as his scientific vision — today he is regarded as one of the great biologists of the 19th century. In the spring of 1900, three botanists, Hugo de Vries of Holland, Karl Correns of Germany, and Erich von Tschermak of Austria, reported independent verifications of Mendel’s work which amounted to a rediscovery of his work. They all, knowing nothing of Mendel’s work, came to the same results through their own independent experiments.

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