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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
- About Us
A Trick of the Eye
17 December 1997 8:00 pm
Jan Purkinje, a histologist and physiologist whose findings led to important insights into how the body works, was born on this day in 1787. Purkinje is famous for explaining visual phenomena: the Purkinje effect describes how blue objects appear brighter than red objects in dimmer light. And Purkinje's images are the threefold reflections seen in the eye of another person, caused by an object reflecting from the cornea's surface and both sides of the lens.
Purkinje also discovered the large nerve cells with numerous dendrites in the cerebellum. He was the first to identify unusual muscle fibers in the membrane lining the heart, now known to conduct the pacemaker stimulus. He was also the first to spot the sweat glands by sight, not smell. In his spare time, Purkinje improved techniques for preparing tissue samples, using a microtome--an instrument that slices tissues into very thin samples.
[Source: Roy Porter, Ed. The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists, Second Edition. Oxford University Press. 1994.]