Individual Discoveries and Inventions
Microscope and Telescope Discoveries
Two discoveries that came about because of the microscope
Blood types and polio
The most dreaded childhood disease in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was childhood Polio. Polio is passed on from person to person via the fecal-oral route. Typically it affects the spinal cord and children suffer the paralysis and atrophy of one or both legs. As early as the late 1600’s the scientist Leeuwenhoek discovered the presence of red blood cells as well as microorganisms in water and body fluids.
Karl Landsteiner was an American scientist and is credited for being the first person to identify the major blood groups in 1901. His studies of blood types prepared him for his later and perhaps more famous discovery. In 1909, along with Erwin Popper, Karl Landsteiner discovered the Poliovirus. His accomplishments led to his receiving the Nobel Prize Physiology or Medicine in 1930.
Landsteiner’s achievements are somewhat taken for granted today. Many people know their blood type but few know the name of the man who discovered the different types of blood. Prior to this discovery many people died from attempted blood transfusions. Landsteiner realized that people of the same blood group could share blood while people from different blood groups might be adversely affected. Today a simple blood test can reveal what blood type someone may be and can save their life by eliminating the possibility that they receive the wrong type of blood. Additionally blood type information is used in paternity suits, and crime scene analysis as a way to eliminate suspects as potential fathers or criminals. Landsteiner’s discovery of blood types is still impacting society in positive ways to this day.
Though his work with blood types is still relevant today, it was his success with discovering the Poliovirus that made the greatest immediate impact on the society that Landsteiner lived in. Polio...