Summary of The Making of a Scientist in English

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The Making of a Scientist by Robert W. Peterson About the Author

PETERSON, ROBERT W.
Author NameRobert W. Peterson
Born1925, United States
Died11 February 2006, Salisbury, Pennsylvania, United States
NationalityAmerican
EducationUpsala College

Theory on How Cells Work:

At the age of twenty-two, Ebright excited the scientific world with a new theory on how cells work. Richard H Ebright and his college room-mate explained the theory in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’. It was the first time that this important scientific journal had ever published the work of college students. For Richard Ebright, his first achievement in science started with butterflies.

Fond of Collecting Butterflies:

Richard Ebright started collecting butterflies when he was just in kindergarten. He was also fond of collecting rocks, fossils and coins. He became an eager astronomer too. He sometimes gazed at stars all night.

Mother Encouraged Interest in Learning:

Richard Ebright’s mother encouraged his interest in learning. She took him on trips, bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras and other equipments. She helped him in many ways. Richard was just in third grade when his father died. Richard was her Mother’s whole life. They spent almost every evening at the dining table. Richard wanted to learn. He earned top grades in school. By the time he was in the second grade, Ebright had collected all twenty-five species of the butterflies found around his hometown. Then, his mother bought him a children’s book called The Travels of Monarch X. The book told how monarch butterflies migrated to Central America. It opened the world of science to the eager collector.

Tagging Butterflies:

The book invited readers to help study butterfly migrations. Readers were asked to tag butterflies for research by Dr Frederick A Urquhart of the University of Toronto, Canada. Ebright started raising a flock of butterflies. He would catch a female monarch, take her eggs, and raise them in his basement through their life cycle.

County Science Fair:

In the seventh grade, he entered the County Science Fair and lost. It was a sad feeling for him. But it aroused the competitive spirit in Ebright. For his eighth grade project, Ebright tried to find the cause of a viral disease that killed all monarch caterpillars every few years. This time he won. The next year, his science fair project was to test the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarchs because monarchs don’t taste good to birds. Ebright proved that viceroy butterflies do taste good to birds. This project was placed first in the zoology division and third overall in the County Science Fair. In his second year in high school, Ebright showed that the gold spots on a monarch pupa produced a hormone necessary for the butterfly’s full development. This project won him first place in the County Fair and an entry into the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Theory about Cell Life:

Ebright got the idea for his new theory about cell life. He found out that the cell can ‘read’ the blueprint of its DNA. DNA is the substance in the nucleus of a cell that controls heredity. Thus, DNA is the blueprint of life.

Other Interests:

Richard Ebright had time for other interests too. He became a champion debater and public speaker. He became a good canoeist. He also became an expert photographer, particularly of nature and scientific exhibits. He praised his social studies teacher, Mr Weiherer. He had opened abright’s mind to new ideas.

Competitive–To be the Best:

Richard Ebright was competitive but not in a bad sense. He was not interested in winning for winning’s sake or winning to get a prize. He wanted to be the best. The making of a good scientist was present in Ebright. He had a first rate mind. He had curiosity. He had the will to win for the right reasons. The book The Travels of Monarch X, opened the world of science to him. He had never lost his scientific curiosity.

Theme

The Making of a Scientist is the story of a scientist named Richard H Ebright. It is an interesting study
of how Ebright became a scientist. After the early death of her husband, Ebright was everything for his
mother. He used to get top grades in school. At a very early age, when he was just in the second standard, he had already collected 25 species of butterflies found around his hometown. The book The Travels of Monarch X, gave him a thorough knowledge about the monarch butterflies. In the second year of his high school, Ebright began to search an unknown hormone in the gold spots of butterflies. In later years, he discovered how a cell could read the blueprint of its DNA.

Message

The lesson gives the message that hard work always pays off. If one shows dedication, perseverance
and determination, success can’t be left behind. Richard was an exceptional child with rare qualities of
intelligent observation and keen interest in the nature of things. The traits of his successful career were
nurtured and honed during his childhood itself. These qualities are definitely desirable in every child and
the curiosity should never be curbed or discouraged. Providing logical answers to the queries goes a long
way to develop a scientific way of thinking and problem solving. Children learn to analyse the things and
come to logical conclusions and this is indeed the correct learning procedure.

Plot

The story ‘The Making of a Scientist’ is about Richard H. Ebright who grew up in the town of Pennsylvania,
USA. As he did not have much to do there, collecting things was his hobby. He used to collect butterflies
as a child in kindergarten. His curiosity made him one of the greatest scientists of the world. Justification of the Title The title of the story is “The Making of a Scientist” which aptly suits it as it is a journey of a student who tries to experiment and moves on to have a discovery. A scientist is not somebody who knows science but one who is curious to experiment and discover something new. Thus it is not something one may achieve in a day but a gradual process which one sees Richard Ebright undergoing.

Key Points (Train of Thoughts)

• At the age of twenty-two, Richard H Ebright excited the world of science with a new theory on cells. Richard’s scientific career started with butterflies.

• Ebright collected butterflies when he was in kindergarten.

• His mother encouraged his interest in learning.

• She took him on trips and bought telescopes, microscopes, cameras and other equipments.

• His father died very young and his mother became his only companion and motivator.

• By the time Richard Ebright was in the second grade, he had collected twenty-five species of butterflies found around his hometown.

• His mother gifted him a children’s book called ‘The Travels of Monarch X.’

• The book described how monarch butterflies migrated to Central America and opened the world of science for Richard Ebright.

• He sent tagged butterflies to Dr Urquhart, the writer of the book.

• Ebright raised a flock of butterflies in his basement and would tag the butterflies’ wings to send them to Dr Urquhart. • In the seventh grade, he entered the County Science Fair and lost.

• He wrote to Dr Urquhart for new ideas and received many suggestions for experiments.

• The next year, his science fair project was to test the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarch butterflies.

• The project was placed first in the zoology division and third overall in the County Science Fair. • In his second year in high school, Richard Ebright discovered an unknown insect hormone.

• He and his friend showed that tiny gold spots on butterflies produced a hormone that was necessary for the butterfly’s full development.

• This project won Ebright first place in the county fair and an entry into the International Science and Engineering Fair.

• He grew cells from a monarch butterfly’s wing in a culture.

• Ebright was able to identify the hormone’s chemical structure.

• He showed how the cell can ‘read’ the blueprint of its DNA, the blueprint for life.

• Richard Ebright graduated from Harvard with highest honours, second in his class of 1, 516.

• Ebright had time for other interests too.

• He was a champion debater, a good canoeist, and an expert photographer.

• Richard Ebright had great admiration for his social studies teacher, Richard A Weiherer who opened his mind to new ideas.

• Richard Ebright was competitive but not in a bad sense. He wanted to be the best.

• ‘The Travels of Monarch X’ opened the world of science to him and he never lost his scientific curiosity after that.

Character Sketch

Richard H Ebright

● A multifaceted genious; a great scientist, debater, canoeist, etc.
● Collected butterflies since childhood.
● Worked on monarch butterflies, the cell and its DNA.
● Inspired by his mother, Dr Urquhart and his teacher RA Weiherer

Richard H Ebright’s Mother

● Encouraged and inspired Ebright’s interest in learning.
● Bought him instruments, cameras; his only companions.
● Got him the book The Travels of Monarch X that changed Richard Ebright’s life.

Dr Urquhart

● Famous for work on monarch butterflies.
● Taught at University of Toronto, Canada.
● Helped Ebright with new ideas and suggestions.

Richard A Weiherer

● Social Studies teacher of Ebright.
● Respected and admired by Ebright.
● Turned Ebright’s energy towards the Debating and Model United Nations clubs.

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