Buckminster Skeeter: Wanna buy a watch?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Non-Famous Discoverers

I have just finished the book The Seashell on the Mountaintop (well, I listened to it on CD - but that counts). It's a fantastic read about a lesser known pioneer of anatomy and geology named Nicholas Steno (pronounced stay-no). Steno has a huge vault of discoveries to his credit such as: identification of the salivary glands and tear ducts, contraction process of muscle tissue, identification of the heart as a muscle, identification of fossilized sharks teeth, defining the process by which fossilized marine invertebrates became that way, and his defining of the Steno's laws of stratigraphy- paving the way for the science of geology. I couldn't help but think that with all this man had found how is it I had never heard of him, or if I had I certainly do not remember him. When we were in school we had boat loads of names and dates memorized which we regurgitate on a test then forgot forever. Too bad.... These men worked their whole lives in pursuit of some huge, groundbreaking accomplishment just to be reduced to a name and date, easily forgotten. So I decided to dig a little and find a few other lesser known discoverers. Perhaps I can name-drop a few today and make myself look really smart.

William Buckland, 1822, found the first dinosaur fossil.

Sir Richard Owen, 1842, coined the term 'dinosaur'. Megalosuarus was the first named dinosaur.

Edward Jenner, 1796, performed the first vaccination - he used cowpox to vaccinate against small pox.

William Addis, 1780, first to mass produce the toothbrush.

Adolph Rickenbacher and George Beauchamp, 1933, among the first to mass produce the electric guitar.

Perry Spencer, 1947, working for Raytheon first discovered micowave's use as a cooking instrument. The first microwave oven produced for sale was 6ft tall and weighed 750 lbs. First food microwaved - popcorn.

Wallace Carothers, 1935, working for DuPont produces Nylon. First mass produced usage - toothbrush.

Peter Henlein, 1524, first pocket watch

Gabrielle Fallopius, 1580, first prophylactic condom.

Edwin Beard Budding, 1830, first lawn mower

Now these gents can rest in peace - they have been immortalized on a blog. No longer are their accomplishments only heralded in the classroom, quickly forgotten by apathetic students. No longer will they have to wait for the Discovery Channel to run out of shark or Egyptian documentaries to turn to their meager careers for tube fodder. Most of these men didn't make a dime on their discoveries yet we depend on them daily. That's the main reason I got out of the science field. I just knew I would be the first to discover and produce a device that captures a fart - without sound or smell - to be released at a more opportune time. What would I get for my discovery? Probably a cold shoulder from manufacturers, scientists, and the Discovery Channel. Years later everyone would have a Bucky Flatulence Catcher. Some half-wit with a blog would write an entry on my trials and tribulations.


Blogger mugwump said...

Poor Otto "Tit"zling was in the same boat. Had he patented his first brassiere, he would have been known as the inventor of the bra.

1:49 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Thomas Crapper never did get the credit he deserved for his role in designing/building flush toilets, either.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Buckminster Skeeter said...

But at least I've heard of him and remember his name - how could we not.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:55 PM  

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