Today’s Notable U. S. Birthdays
Thomas Hunt Morgan – American geneticist and first Nobel Prize winner in the field of genetics.
Thomas Hunt Morgan (September 25, 1866 – December 4, 1945) was an American geneticist and embryologist. Morgan received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1890 and researched embryology during his tenure at Bryn Mawr. Following the rediscovery of Mendelian inheritance in 1900, Morgan’s research moved to the study of mutation in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In his famous Fly Room at Columbia University Morgan was able to demonstrate that genes are carried on chromosomes and are the mechanical basis of heredity. These discoveries formed the basis of the modern science of genetics. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 he was the first person awarded the Prize in genetics, for his discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity.
Jenney’s grandfather, Levi Jenney (1778-1849), was a shipping Captain. His father, William Proctor Jenney (1802-1881), was the owner of a shipping company, which allowed Jenney to travel as a young man. Jenney first began his formal education at the Lawrence Scientific school at Harvard in 1853, but transferred to get an education in and architecture. He graduated in 1856, one year after his classmate, Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. In 1861, he returned to the US to join the Union Army as an engineer in the Civil War, designing fortifications for Generals Sherman and Grant. By the end of the war, he had become a major, and was Engineer-in-Charge at Nashville’s Union headquarters. After the war, in 1867, Jenney moved to Chicago, Illinois and began his own architectural office, which specialized in commercial buildings and urban planning.