An interest in the study of the study of living nature appeared in man as soon as he became aware of himself. We will briefly consider how the development of the science of biology took place, and we will name the names of some outstanding scientists who contributed to its development.
In the early stages, researchers studied the diversity of living organisms. They collected collections and made descriptions of the discovered plants and animals. This stage of the formation of biology as a science is called descriptive, and the discipline itself is called natural history.
Hippocrates (460 – c. 370 BC) – the founder of medicine. He gave the first relatively detailed description of the structure of humans and animals, pointed out the role of the environment and heredity in the occurrence of diseases.
Aristotle (384–322 BC) – laid the foundation for zoology. He completed a description of a large number of animals, proposed the first classification (he distinguished four kingdoms in nature: the inanimate (earth, water and air), plants, animals, man.
Theophrastus (372–287 BC) – the founder of botany. Compiled a description of about 500 plant species.
Guy Pliny the Elder (23–79) – the creator of the multivolume encyclopedia Natural History, which collected all the information about nature known by that time.
Claudius Galen (c. 130 – c. 200) – was the first to make a comparative anatomical description of humans and monkeys.
In the Middle Ages, the dominant ideology was religion, but despite the existing stagnation, knowledge about various living organisms continued to accumulate. The most famous scientist of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), was also engaged in the study of biological processes. He investigated the flight of birds, the work of the heart and the organ of vision.
During the Age of Discovery (in the second half of the 15th century), natural science began to develop rapidly, and biology was subdivided into separate sciences.
In the XVI-XVII centuries, botany and zoology began to develop rapidly.
The invention of the microscope at the beginning of the 17th century. made it possible to open living organisms invisible to the naked eye (bacteria, protozoa).
Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) proposed a system for classifying animals and plants using a binary nomenclature (double specific names).
Karl Maksimovich Baer (1792–1876) formulated the main provisions of the theory of homologous organs and the law of embryonic similarity, laying the scientific foundations of embryology.
Jean Baptiste Lamarck (1774–1829) proposed the first theory of evolution.
In 1839, Theodor Schwann (1818-1882) and Matthias Jacob Schleiden (1804-1881) formulated the first cell theory, which scientifically confirmed the unity of the living world and served as one of the prerequisites for the emergence of the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin (1809-1882). .), published in 1859.
In the XIX century. thanks to the works of Louis Pasteur (1822–1895), Robert Koch (1843–1910), Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (1845–1916), microbiology took shape as an independent science.
By the end of the XIX century. parasitology and ecology were formed as independent sciences (the German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) is considered the founder of ecology, who first used the term “ecology” in 1866).
In 1900, the laws of Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) were rediscovered, which gave rise to the development of genetics.
In the 40-50s of the XX century. Microorganisms began to be widely used as objects of research, and molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, bionics, etc. began to develop actively.
In the XX century. a line of applied research appeared – biotechnology – which will rapidly develop in the 21st century.