October 16, 2011 - Happy Birthday to Biochemists!

You probably know that chemistry is the science of matter – of stuff.
Biology is the science of living things.

Which makes biochemistry the science of the stuff, the materials, that living things are made out of...

Henry C. Sherman, born in the U.S. on this day in 1875, did analysis of vitamins and minerals to figure out what they do for us and also how much we need of each one.

Sherman was a very careful experimental scientist, and he did each experiment many times before publishing. He was associated with Columbia University for 60 years, won many medals and honors, and was the author of ten books. I am shocked to tell you that there is no Wikipedia article about him! This is truly a first for me! There are Wikipedia articles on almost everything—including the high school down the street from me, the Korean-American actor who plays my favorite character in the TV show The Mentalist, the nearby shopping mall, and the author of some little-known books that were favorites of mine when I was a child!

So, if anyone wants a writing assignment that will contribute to the world, how about writing up Henry Clapp Sherman for the world's favorite freebie encyclopedia?

Cyril Ponnamperuma, born in Sri Lanka on this day in 1923, became a leading expert on the chemical origins of life.

Ponnamperuma moved from Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, to India, then England, and then the U.S., as he pursued higher and higher education and degrees. He became closely involved with NASA, becoming an “exobiologist,” one who searches for life beyond Earth.

Check out biochemistry at the Chem4Kids website. 
Experiments can be found at Home Biology
There are several kids' books about biochemistry, exobiology, and the closely related astrobiology. Here is one. 

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