Gregor Johann Mendel
Gregor Johann Mendel (1822–1884) laid the foundations for genetics – one of the most important sciences of the 20th century. A modest genius, whose discovery of the laws of genetics were far ahead of his time, was an extremely versatile personality.
Mendel was a priest and from 1868 abbot of the Augustinian Abbey in Brno, which supported science and provided the necessary facilities to Mendel.
Mendel was also an excellent teacher. He taught at a secondary school in Brno, where he presented the results of his observations in 1865.
Mendel conducted experiments on plant hybridization. This research led him to the establishment of the main laws of heredity.
Mendel enjoyed beekeeping since his very childhood. He invented new ways of overwintering of bees and he also tried the cross-breeding of bees.
Mendel made daily meteorological observations and kept records of them. He was one of the pioneers of weather forecasting.
Mendel was an outstanding pomologist. He cultivated vines and new species of fruit trees and regularly participated in pomological competitions.
Interesting facts about Mendel
He made peas famous
Mendel conducted his hybridization experiments mainly on garden pea (Pisum sativum). Its varieties could be easily distinguished by distinct external features. Mendel chose seven of these characteristics for his observations, ranging from the seed shape and colour to the stem length. During nine years, he grew 27,000 pea plants and made conclusions that are known as Mendel’s three laws of heredity.
He used mathematics
The genius of Mendel’s contribution to science was not restricted to helping reveal evolutionary mechanisms. His multidisciplinary approach is what fascinates us. Mendel achieved an unprecedented interconnection between theory and practice and used methods unknown to biological science of that time. He was one of the first to apply mathematical methods to biological research.
He did not receive recognition
When Mendel presented the results of his experiments in 1865, he met with little response. The world, which was overwhelmed by Darwin's theory of evolution, did not understand Mendel's work and its significance. Mendel's importance was rediscovered 16 years after his death, when his conclusions were confirmed and he earned the title of "father of genetics".
He described a tornado
Three times a day, at various sites of the monastery, Mendel carried out measuruments for the Meteorological Institute in Vienna. When monitoring the meteorologial situation in Brno and its surroundings, he recorded a weather phenomenon called a tornado, which swept over Brno in 1870. Mendel was the first meteorologist in the world to make a scientific description of this phenomenon.
He met Leoš Janáček
Mendel was not the only genius under the roofs of the Augustinian Abbey. Beginning in 1865, Leoš Janáček grew up and received his first education here. It was this future great musician he conducted the Requiem for the decesead Mendel at the Old Brno monastery in 1884.