Detailed explanation of “The Making of a Scientist”, including definitions of difficult words. In addition, the explanation is followed by a lesson summary. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Chapter and do well in their exams.
The article of Richard H Ebright and his friend was published in the scientific journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’. He was only twenty-two years old at that time. It was the first time that the research work of college students was published. It was a rare honour for Richard.
Richard was the only child of his parents. They lived in Pennsylvania, USA. As there was no scope for playing football or baseball so he developed the habit of collecting things such as rocks, fossils and coins. He also took interest in the science of astronomy and also loved to gaze at the stars all night.
Richard lost his father when he was in third grade so his mother was his only, companion. His mother encouraged his interest in learning. She took him on trips and bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials and many other equipments. She also supported him in his hobbies. She also invited his friends to play with him. She helped him in learning at young age and he earned top grades in his school.
Richard was deeply interested in butterflies since his early childhood. When he was in second grade, he had collected 25 species of butterflies found around his hometown. His interest would have ended but his mother gift him the book ‘The Travels of Monarch X.’ This book described about the migration patterns of monarch butterflies to central America. It opened up a new world of science for Richard.
At the end of the book, Richard found an invitation for studying the migration of butterflies. Readers were told to tag butterflies for research by Dr. Frederick A Urquhart of University of Toronto, Canada.
Soon Richard started tagging monarch butterflies. The butterfly collecting season in his area lasted for six weeks in late summer. It was difficult to chase them one by one. Richard took a decision to raise a stock of butterflies. He would catch a female monarch and take her eggs. He studied their development from egg to caterpillar to pupa and to adult butterfly. Then, he would tag their wings and free them. He raised thousands of butterflies in the basement of his home. However, soon he started losing interest in butterflies.
Richard was in seventh grade when he realised, what true science is. He displayed his slides of frogs at the county science fair, but did not win any award. He realised the winners in the fair had tried to do real experiments. He decided that next year, he would also do a real experiment. For his next project, he wrote to Dr. Urquhart for ideas and received many suggestions. Soon, Richard achieved his first success.
In Richard’s eighth grade project, he had tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills monarch caterpillars. Richard thought that the disease might be carried by a beetle. He tried raising caterpillars in presence of beetles but he failed. However, he won a prize in the country fair. Richard’s next project was testing the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarch butterflies. Viceroys butterflies do so to protect themselves from birds as birds don’t like to eat monarchs while they like to eat Viceroys.
He also found that a bird starling would only eat monarch butterflies and not ordinary bird food. This project was placed first in the zoology division and third in overall county science fair.
In his second year of high school, Richard discovered an unknown hormone which also led to his new theory on the life of cells. By this project, his purpose was to know the reason behind the twelve tiny gold spots on monarch’s pupa. Richard along with another science students built a device which showed that the spots were producing a hormone necessary for the butterfly’s full development. This project won Richard first place in county science fair. He also got entry into the International Science and Engineering Fair.
There he won third place for zoology and also got g chance to work at the entomology laboratory of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research during summer.
When Richard was a high School junior, he continued his advanced research on the monarch’s Pupa. Later in high senior year, he grew cells from monarch’s wing in a culture. He showed that the cells would develop into normal butterfly wings scales only when they were fed by the hormones produced by the gold spots.
Richard joined Harvard University after summer. In his junior years, he got the idea of his new theory about cell life while looking at the X-ray photos of chemical structure of a hormone. He believed that his study could tell how the cell can read the blueprint of its DNA (It is the substance in the nucleus of a cell that controls heredity). Richard and his college room-mate James R. Wong worked all night constructing the plastic models of molecules. Later, they together wrote a paper explaining their theory.
Richard graduated with second position in a class of 1510 students. He became a graduate student researcher. He started experimenting to prove his new theory. His theory may create new ways to prevent some types of cancer and other diseases. Richard was not just a scientist. He was an all rounder. He was a champion debater and a public speaker. He was also a good canoeist and an outdoor person. He was also a great photographer. In his high school he was a part of the Debating and the Model United Nations Clubs. There, he found Richard A Weiherer, his social studies Professor whom he admired a lot.
Mr Weiherer (Ebright’s Teacher) praised Richard for his hard work. He also praised Richard’s healthy competitiveness which was just for the sake of doing his best. Richard had all the qualities that made him a true scientist. He had a first rate mind, curiosity and a will to win for all the right reasons.
|scout||a member of the scout
|adhesive||able to stick fast to a surface or object sticky|
|journal||a newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject||chase||to hurry after someone|
|making the big leagues||becoming part of a successful or important group||stack||large number|
|kindergarten||school for small children||starling||a dark brown or black bird that is common in Europe and the US|
|astronomer||a scientific observer of stars
|zoology||the branch of science that
involves the study of animals
and animal behaviour
|determination||firmness of purpose||ornamental||showy, decorative|
|eager||strongly wanting to do or
|entomology||a branch of science that deals
with the study of insects
|star-gazing||looking at the stars||culture||the growing of cells in a
specially prepared nutrient
|variegated||having patches, stripes or
marks of different colours
|scales||small, thin, horny or bony
|crescent||a shape that is curved, wide at its center and pointed at its two ends like a crescent moon||eureka||a cry of joy when one
|species||a group of animals or plants
that are similar and can produce young animals or plants
|blueprint||a design plan|
|fritillary||a butterfly with orange-
brown wings that are
chequered with black
|hormone||a natural substance
that is produced in the
body and that
influences the wayin
which body grows or
|types of butterflies found in
|pupa||an insect that is in the
stage of development
between larva and
|tedious||boring and too slow or long||canoeist||person paddling a canoe|
|exhibits||things||sake||for the purpose of|