“I think the biggest innovations of the twenty first century will be the intersection of technology and biology. A new era is beginning” Steve Jobs
Gregor Mendel was born 200 years ago (20 Jul 1822) and is with Charles Darwin in terms of helping us understand life on Earth. His experiments with peas and other plants led him to lay down the mathematical foundations of genetics, hypothesizing how elements allowed characteristics to be inherited by successive generations. His work led to the discovery of DNA and today's genome sequencing, gene editing with CRISPR etc and gene therapy.
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Oh and the 20th July 1969 also saw the first man to land on the Moon. We look forward to Artemis enabling humanity to (arguably) become a true spacefaring species and land the first woman on the Moon. See our #1XXTLIB42024 blog post here and related products here.
The ABC’s Science Show celebrating the father of genetics here April 2022
In Ockhams Razor, another ABC podcast, Frank Nicholas explores the background and implications of Mendels discoveries here
The UK’s Naked Scientists produced a great overview of G Mendels work, how it has been interpreted and implications here
A link to his original publication can be found here
Gregor Mendel His Life and Legacy by Daniel J. Fairbanks
The monarch butterfly and the monk reference characters in the Alfred P Sloan-award winning film “Son of Monarchs” directed by Dr Alexis Gambis, a biologist and filmmaker at NYU. (The Scientific American “Science Talks” podcast)
Exploring themes of humanity on Spaceship Earth (crossing the artificial lines we create around states), science and the evolution of monarch wings together with its use of technology, engineering and mathematics we get a super STEAM-powered artistic intersection that always pleases us here at Alltheus and inspired this design.
The hands gently support a monarch butterfly just as our good Earth supports us travelling around Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.
Notably the film did not treat CRISPR – related technology as a part of the science fiction dystopian genre but attempted to capture some of the rich complexity and questions that arise from CRISPR’s direct gene editing rather than having to go through selective breeding of, for example, peas used by the 19th century monk Gregor Mendel (& hence a green monks head!).
A great quote from the film is a toast from Mendel, the main character: “To CRISPR and the genetic revolution”. Here we note that Dr.s Emmanuel Charpentier & Jennifer Doudna were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020 for their pioneering CRISPR-Cas9 work and look forward to many more awards to female scientists pushing back the frontiers of humanity’s knowledge.
In the context of our planet it is also worth considering the mutualism that the web of life depends upon, which we are becoming increasingly aware of vs the dangers of poorly regulated and unlimited competition that is reducing diversity and resilience. Until and unless we can become a true space faring species, visualized here as a fleet of butterflies orbiting – or leaving – the Earth, and practically use the far less limited resources of the Solar System and, ultimately, beyond we must learn to live here without spoiling our nest too much more.