Posted on July 22, 2017
On this date in 1888, two baby boys were born far away from one another. Selman Waksman was born in the Russian Empire - a region that is now in Ukraine. Kirk Bryan was born in New Mexico.
They both ended up living on the East Coast of the United States, working in two different universities, for much of their adult lives. Waksman worked mostly at Rutgers University, and Bryan worked mostly at Harvard.
And although neither Waksman nor Bryan made the kind of discoveries that made them household names, they both contributed to our understanding of life, the universe, and everything - and, like other scientists, they helped us creep and leap forward.
Scientists studying geomorphology try to understand why landscapes look the way they do.
The word comes from geo- (Earth) and morpho- (form), and geomorphologists study the physical and biological processes that create landforms such as mountains, canyons, deltas, valleys, and so forth.
Bryan's specialty was arid regions - in other words, deserts. His most important contribution might have been in influencing and motivating students; of the four geologists who have received the National Medal of Science, three were students of Bryan!
Check out this short video about a very simple introduction to geomorphology.
Today's other famous birthday ended up going into biochemistry, and Waksman specialized in the study of organisms that live in soil.
He invented the word antibiotics, and he discovered more than 20 antibiotics, and he created procedures that others have used to develop others, as well.
He even created the first effective treatment for tuberculosis. Waksman won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Here is a short video that is pretty darned motivating - I wanna study biochemistry!!!
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