March 27, 2011

Happy Plant-Cells Day!

On this day in 1776, Charles-Francois Brisseau de Mirbel was born in France, and on this same day in 1817, Karl von Nageli was born in Switzerland.

They both grew up to be scientists who study plants (who are called botanists), and they both added to our knowledge of cell biology (which is called cytology).

Mirbel is actually considered a founder of the study of plant cells. He observed that each plant cell has a continuous membrane. Von Nageli studied cell division and pollen formation, and he may have been the first to describe chromosomes (which he referred to as “transitory cytoblasts”).

By the way, von Nageli was a bit of a mystic who, some science historians say, did a lot of harm by dismissing Gregor Mendel's work on genetics—even going so far as to discourage Mendel from experimenting further in the area.

Learn about plant cells!

Plant cells, just like all other cells, have many parts. Check out the cell parts at the Cells Alive website: move the mouse over the interactive diagram to see the various names for cell parts, and click one of the organelles (or its label) to find out more about that part.

Wait! Here is another interactive diagram that I like even better!

Do some puzzles with a cell theme. 

You can make an incredible edible cell with instructions found here. Or make a not-so-edible cell-in-a-baggie with instructions found here

Find more cell-model websites here.

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