Historical Figures

Historical figures in Insect Physiology.[Well-known to have made outstanding contributions to the field and to have influenced others]

  1. Bodenstein, Bill suggested by Bill Bowers

  2. Dethier Vincent

  3. De Wilde

  4. Dobzhansky

  5. Fraenkel Gottfried suggested by Bill Bowers

  6. Fukuda S.

  7. Hadorn

  8. Hinton H.E. suggested by Tom Miller

  9. Karlson

  10. Keilin

  11. Koch J.H.

  12. Kopec

  13. Tomsen E.

  14. Ramsay

  15. Roeder suggested by Bernd Heinrich and Henry Hagedorn

  16. Scharrer Berta Jerrel Wilkins and Marc Kowden

  17. Schneiderman, Howard A. sugg by Bill Bowers

  18. von Frisch

  19. Weis-Fogh Torkel suggested by Henry Hagedorn

  20. Wigglesworth Sir Vincent B.

  21. Williams Carroll

1. Bodenstein, Bill

Bodenstein, Dietrich H. F. A.  

February 1, 1908-January 5, 1984

Dietrich Bodenstein's career were his zest for life, his love of beauty in science, and his enthusiastic encouragement of his younger colleagues. His boundless energy and his uncompromising commitment to scientific truth set him apart from many of his contemporaries. To know Dietrich was to experience a force of nature. Dietrich Hans Franz Alexander Bodenstein was born in East Prussia on February I, 1908. He grew up on the family estate at Corwingen, at that time an almost feudal survival of an earlier Europe. During his youth he roamed the forests and fields of the estate with his rifle and insect net in search of natural history specimens for his personal "museum." It was only natural, therefore, that when he entered the University of Konigsberg in 1926 he began his studies with Otto Koehler, the distinguished observer of bird behavior. While still a student he published his first paper on a moth that he had found for the first time in East Prussia. In 1928 Dietrich moved to the University of Berlin, where he became a research assistant in experimental morphology at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology. It was there that he came under the influence of Professor Mangold, at a time when the most exciting results were forthcoming on the control of development in amphibians. Typically, it was the larger questions and not the experimental material that challenged Dietrich's imagination. Encouraged by Mangold, he began to investigate that most challenging problem, control of molting and metamorphosis in insects. It was a study that was to occupy him to the end of his life. In his last scientific papers, published from 1978 to 1981 on work done while on an Alexander van Humboldt fellowship at the University of Marburg, Dietrich used modern chemical and immunological techniques to confirm his previous deductions on the role of ecdysone in the control of development. In 1933, however, Dietrich's work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was interrupted by the rise of National Socialism in Germany. Warned by Mangold that he might be in political trouble with the Nazis, Dietrich accepted a position as Research Associate at the Institute of Marine Biology in Rovigno, Italy. From there he moved to a similar post at Stanford University, where he worked from 1934 to 1941. During this time he not only continued his studies on insect hormones, but also collaborated with Victor Twitty in experiments on the role of ectodermal structures in the development of amphibia. Dietrich's growing scientific reputation was recognized with a Guggenheim fellowship, which he held in the Department of Zoology at Columbia from 1941 to 1943. From there he moved briefly to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven before settling down as an insect physiologist at the Army Chemical Center at Edgewood, Maryland, a position he held from 1945 to 1958. There he met and married his lifelong companion, Jean Coon Bodenstein. 

DIETRICH H. F. A. BODENSTEIN 51 It was while Dietrich was at Edgewood that a curious lapse in his scientific career was made good. The declining fortunes of his family had prevented him financially from being examined for the doctoral degree, and up until 1953 there had never been a convenient moment to bring Dietrich's formal title into line with his undoubted stature in the scientific community. It was his former mentor Professor Otto Koehler who made the arrangement for Dietrich’s doctoral examination to be held at the University of Freiburg in that year. Nothing was skirted in the process. Dietrich presented a bound copy of his publications numbering some fifty-nine items and was duly examined by each member of the professorial of the faculty of science. To no one’s surprise he was duly awarded the degree of doctor of philosophy. Indeed, his election to the National Academy of Sciences followed only five years later, in 1958. From 1958 to 1960 Dietrich served as embryologist with the Gerontology Branch of the National Heart Institute, based in the Baltimore City hospitals. He then entered the final stage of his career, accepting the Lewis and Clark Professorship and the chairmanship of the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia. He took over a tiny department, badly housed and poorly equipped. On his retirement from the chairmanship in 1973, the department had trebled in size. It was housed in, and indeed beginning to outgrow, a modern, well-equipped laboratory building. Moreover, with his genius for personal relationships, Dietrich had assembled a group of colleagues who shared his enthusiasm for modern biology, especially those aspects of the subject clearing with genetics, biochemistry, anti, above all, development.  

Dietrich continued actively in research after giving up

1961 with R. R. Cowden. A cytochemical investigation of striated muscle differentiation in regenerating limbs of the roach, Periplaneta americana. Embryologia 6:36-50 (Mangold Festschrift).

1962 Regeneration in insects. Symposia Genetica et Biologica Italica 9:3-19 (Celebrazione Spallanzaniana). Humoral conditions and cellular interactions in the development of the insect eye. In Insect Physiology (Proceedings of the Twenty-third Biology Colloquium, Oregon State Univ., 1962), ed. V. Brooks, pp. 1- 12. Corvallis: Oregon State Univ. Press.

1963 With R. C. King. Autonomy of fu and fes ovarian implants. Drosoph. Inf. Serv. 37: 65. With F. M. Butterworth and R. C. King. Adipose tissue of Drosophila melanogaster. I. An experimental study of larval fat body. J. Exp. Zool. 158: 141-54.

1965 With R. C. King. The transplantation of ovaries between genetically sterile and wild type Drosophila melanogaster. Z. Naturforsch. 20b: 292- 97. With P. A. Smith and R. C. King. Autonomy of fu and fun ovarian implants with respect to rate of tumor production. J. Exp. Zool. 159: 333-36. With M. L. Wolbarsht and fI. G. Wagner. Origin of electrical responses in the eye of Periplaneta americana. In The Functional Organization of the Compound Eye, ed. C. G. Bernhard, pp. 207-17. Stockholm: Wennergren Symposium.

1966 With R. C. King and S. K. Aggarwal. The comparative submicroscopic cytology of the corpus allatum-corpus cardiacum complex of wild type anci fes adult female Drosophila melanogaster. J. Exp. Zool. 161: 151-76. With R. C. King and S. K. Aggarwal. The comparative submicro- scopic morphology of the ring gland of Drosophila melanogaster during 85. 65 the second and third larval instars. Z. 7ellforsch. 73: 272-

1967 With F. M. Butterworth. Adipose tissue of Drosophila melanogaster. II. The effect of the adult internal environment on growth, protein deposition, and histolysis in the larval fat body. J. Exp. Zool. 164: 251- 66.

1968 With W. S. Klug and R. C. King. Oogenesis in the suppressor of FIairy-wing mutant of Drosophila melanogaster. I. Phenotypic char- acterization and transplantation experiments. i. Exp. Cool. 167: 151- 56. With F. M. Butterworth. Adipose tissue of Drosophila melanogaster. III. The effect of the ovary on cell growth and the storage of lipid and glycogen in the adult tissue. i. Exp. Zool. 167:207-17. With E. Shaaya. The function of the accessory sex glands in Periplaneta americana (L). I. A quantitative bioassay for the juvenile hormone. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 59:1223-30.

1969 With E. Shaaya. The function of the accessory sex glands in Periplaneta americana (L.). II. The role of the juvenile hormone in the synthesis of protein and protocatechuic acid glucoside. J. Exp. Zool. 170: 281-92. With F. M. Butterworth. Adipose tissue of Drosophila melanogaster. IV. The effect of the corpus allatum and synthetic juvenile hor- mone on the tissue of the adult male. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 13: 68-74;

1971 Milestones in Developmental Physiology of Insects. New York: Appleton- Century-Crofts.

1972 For the 70th birthday of Ernst Fladorn. In Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation, vol. 5, eds. [I. Ursprung and R. Nothiger, pp. 7-9. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 

1975 With P. Schweizer. Aging and its relation to cell growth and differentiation in Drosophila imaginal discs: Developmental response to growth restricting conditions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 72:467 78.

1978 With K. Scheller and P. Karlson. Effects of ecdysterone and the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene on protein, RNA and DNA synthesis in wing discs of Calliphora vicina. Z. Naturforsch. 33c: 253-60.

1979 With I. Koolman and K. Scheller. Ecdysteroids in the adult male blowfly Calliphora vicina. Experientia 35: 135.

1981 With K. Scheller. Effects of ecdysterone and the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene on protein, RNA and DNA synthesis in brains of the blowfly, Calliphora vicina. Zool. fahrb. Abt. Allg. Zool. Physiol. Tiere 85: 1-l9. 

Representative terms from entire chapter:
juvenile hormone analogue, juvenile hormone, biographical memoirs, Kaiser Wilhelm institute, Periplaneta americana, accessory sex glands, zur analyse der, growth hormone, Drosophila melanogaster, nitrogen mustard, ring glands, embryonic amphibian development, larval fat body, Alexander van Humboldt, Kaiser Wilhelm, hormone analogue methoprene, van Humboldt Award, national heart institute, Oregon State Univ, army chemical center, Edward Mccrady iii, Baltimore city hospitals, insect development, accessory sex, imaginal discs, pupal molt, Calliphora vicina, sex glands, Wilhelm Institute.


2. Dethier, Vincent G.

Biologist and author, To Know a Fly; The Hungry Fly; Man’s Plague.

Every serious student of insect physiology should read To Know a Fly, the account of a prospective graduate student that was asked to figure out a way to measure how much a fly drinks. Anyone teaching sensory perception could refer to Dethier’s work on labellar hairs on the blowfly.


3. De Wilde


4. Dobzhansky


5. Fraenkel, Gottfried S.


Born: April 23, 1901

Elected to NAS: 1968

Died: October 26, 1984


Thomas Hartmann, President, International Society of Chemical Ecology


“It was not only the ancient atmosphere during the medieval banquet at the Pope’s Palace in Avignon where I received the symbols of office, but also the uniqueness of the 1999/2000 term that makes me look back to the very beginning of our discipline and the Society. Plant chemical defense was first recognized at the end of the nineteenth century. The Austrian physician and botanist Anton Kerner von Marilaun devoted long chapters in his textbook (1890) to the "Schutzmittel" (protective means) of green leaves, roots or flowers against herbivores. At about the same time Ernst Stahl published his often quoted classical paper (1888) about chemical protection of plants against snails, and Léo Errera (1886) related the observed localization of plant chemicals in peripheral tissues to defensive functions. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, any ecological functions for plant chemicals were rejected or simply ignored by most biologists. Plant secondary chemicals were considered to be waste products resulting from metabolic degradation, or formed as byproducts of plant metabolism. It was not until the second half of the last century, in North America, that entomologists such as Gottfried Fraenkel (1959) and Paul Ehrlich and Peter Raven (1964) "rediscovered" and emphasized in their classical papers the ecological importance and evolutionary impact of plant chemicals in insect-plant interactions. This was one of the major landmarks of modern chemical ecology. There have been, of course, many other important events and developments that greatly shaped the research agenda in the following decades, for example the isolation of bombykol in Adolf Butenandt’s laboratory (1959) which marked the beginning of insect pheromone research, and the rapid development of organic and analytical chemistry. Consequently, a number of foreseeing scientists, among others Gerald Rosenthal, Robert Silverstein and John Simeone, brought together the various chemical and biological fields of chemical ecology and founded our Society of Chemical Ecology, with the first annual meeting being held in Austin (Texas) in 1984.”


6. Fukuda S.


7. Hadorn


8. Hilton H. E.


9. Karlson


10. Keilin


11. Koch J. H.


12. Kopeč, Stefan


Int. J. Dev. Biol. 40: 93-96 (1996), ©UBC Press

On the hormonal control of insect metamorphosis. A historical review

Peter Karlson*

Marburg, Germany

FROM THE INTRODUCTION: Already in 1917, Stefan Kopec found that the brain exerted a hormonal control of moulting (Kopec, 1917, 1922). The first report appeared in a Journal of the Academy in Cracow, a rather hidden place; but the second paper in the "Biological Bulletin, Woods Hole" found also little resonance. The reason may have been that at that time, it was hard to believe that the brain produced a hormone. Kopec himself then turned to other problems of insect physiology. 


In 1934, Wigglesworth (1934, 1936) started his investigations on the control of moulting and metamorphosis in the blood-sucking bug Rhodnius prolixus. After a blood meal, the processes leading to moulting begin. This can be prevented by decapitation, a corroboration of the postulate of Kopec that the brain produces a hormone involved in the control of moulting. A series of very ingenious parabiosis experiments gave additional evidence.

Insect Endocrinology: A Tribute to Stefan Kopeć

by Karel SLÁMA 

Institute of Entomology, Academy of Sciences, Drnovska 507, 16100 Prague 6, Czech Republic (slama@entu.cas.cz). 

            Stefan Kopeć was born in Warsaw in 1888. He studied at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, where he received his PhD. in 1912. He held the post of Senior Instructor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cracow from 1915 to 1918, and then became Head of the Department of Animal Genetics, and later of the Department of Experimental Morphology, at the Institute for Agricultural Management in Pulawy, Poland. In 1929 he was made Director of the Institute. In 1932 he became Chairman of the Department of Biology of the Medical School at the University of Warsaw, a post he held when World War II began. He became a member of the Polish Underground, was taken prisoner in February, 1941, and in March, together with his son, was shot. His research interests were in the areas of developmental physiology, nutrition, insect endocrinology, and developmental genetics (This brief description of  biographical data with the reprinted paper by Kopeć  (1922) were published in the book edited by D. Bodenstein in 1971).

           The great Polish biologist Stefan Kopeć has a credit for discovering invertebrate hormones. His name is among the names of those immortal scientists who sacrificed their life for  freedom, verity and humanity. At present (in 1994) it is believed that the era of insect hormone research, started by Kopeć  in 1917, is passing away with the recent decease of "the father of insect physiology", Sir V. B. Wigglesworth.  

            Historically, all major scientific discoveries were born under certain favourable environmental circumstances and advanced knowledge in the field. This is true also with respect to the discovery of insect hormones by S. Kopeć. The beginning of twentieth century was generally characterized by a rapid progress in endocrinological studies. The common topics were the effects of thyroid hormones on the metamorphosis of Amphibia,  adenotropic actions of the pituitary hormones and, with the development of Allen-Doisy test for estrogens, the way was opened for successfull isolation and structure elucidation of the vertebrate steroid hormones. 

            As far as invertebrate hormones was concerned,  the initial situation was quite confusing. In his first experiments, Kopeć (1911) removed the brains from the late last instar caterpillars and found that brain was not essential for initiation of insect metamorphosis. Moreover, isolated posterior pupal body fragments of the beetle Tenebrio molitor underwent normal pupal-adult transformation, in spite of the complete  absence of any possible hormone from the cephalic region. These unhappy, but true findings of V. Janda sen. in 1913, revealed that hormones were not responsible for the adult transformation in Tenebrio.  It was a real misfortune that Janda had chosen for these experiments just an exceptional Coleopteran species and stage which, as we know today very well, shows high degree of autonomic developmental regulations.  

            The subsequent studies of S. Kopeć  were more fortunate. He was working with the caterpillars of the gypsy moth, a lepidopteran species where hormonal control of development was clearly expressed. In addition, he was very well prepared  and experienced for carrying out the delicate transplantation techniques. Between 1908 and 1912 he performed and published a series of anatomical, morphological and physiological studies, mainly on the development of reproductive organs, the effects of castration and on the effects of organ transplantation in larvae of Lepidoptera (Kopeć, 1908-1912a). Subsequently, in the period between 1912 and 1917, he published several papers with insect physiological topics that are very actual even now. These included, for example: functions of insect nervous system during insect metamorphosis (Kopeć, 1912a); regeneration of appendages, larval organs and imaginal discs in Lepidoptera (Kopeć, 1912b,1913); or, studies on independent development of the secondary sexual characters from that of the gonads (Kopeć, 1915). As you can see from the list of references below, the reports were published in German or English language, in the authoritative at that time German biological journals,  Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanik der Organismen and  Zoologisches Anzeiger

            The historically most important conclusions of S. Kopeć were published in extensive, 50-page publication on insect metamorphosis (Kopeć, 1917a), which contained a detailed description of all his previous findings obtained on regulation of  metamorphosis in Lepidoptera. The paper was published in Polish by Jagellonian University Press in Cracow. A three-page abstract of the main results from this paper was simultaneously issued in English translation in Bulletin international de l' Academie des Sciences de Cracoviae (Kopeć, 1917b). 

            The findings presented in the original paper by Kopeć (1917a) were later reprinted  in several papers in English, appearing mainly in Journal of experimental Zoology (Kopeć, 1922b, 1922c, 1923) and in Biological Bulletin (Woods Hole) (Kopeć, 1922a, 1924, 1926). For better illustration of the complexity of the original Kopeć,'s (1917a) work, we may read the headings of individual chapters: 1) Nervous system and musculature; 2) Nervous system and regeneration; 3) Developmental relationships between the brain and the eyes; 4) Nervous system and epidermis; 5) Nervous system and metamorphosis - a) Effects of the brain on initiation of metamorphosis, - b) The nature of the effects of brain on metamorphosis, - c) Autonomy in later processes of metamorphosis; 6) Metamorphosis of the Malpighian tubes and intestine; and, 7) Physiological differentiation of the wings. In addition to the above mentioned, 3-page English abstract (Kopeć, 1917b), most of the literature references to Kopeć's findings were related to the article in Biol. Bull. (Kopeć, 1922a), which has been also reprinted in the book by Bodenstein (1971). 

            The achievements of Stefan Kopeć (1917a, 1917b) in the field of hormonal control of insect metamorphosis can be best exemplified by his own statements: ..."For the normal process of metamorphosis the presence of the brain, at least up to a certain moment, is indispensable. The specific function of the larva's brain is thus to provoke and to regulate in the larval organism the beginning of histolytical processes which are characteristic of the stage of transformation into the chrysalis-form...“  We have to realize that this superficially simple conclusion was derived from extensive experiments in which he removed brains from a large number of last instar larvae of the gypsy moth. After removal of the brain  before certain critical period, the brainless larvae ceased to develop and metamorphose. Conversely, after reimplantation of the brain, the metamorphosis has been reinstalled. From this he concluded that: ..." The brain accordingly would have to play the rôle of an organ with internal secretion. Other parts of the nervous system exert no influence whatever on the general process of metamorphosis...." 

            With the contemporary endocrinological knowledge, the above statements are quite  clear, but this was far from being so at that time. It has been already mentioned that in an earlier paper, Kopeć (1911) still did not know about the limited developmental periods of sensitivity, which led him to conclude that the brain was not essential for stimulation of metamorphosis. It is possible that he realized this point from the data known in Amphibians, which were the favourite objects of endocrinological studies at that time. The knowledge of Amphibian physiology is documented by several papers he published in this field (cf Kopeć, 1922d). Kopeć  was a personal friend of Prof. E. Babák of Charles University in Prague, he was familiar with his findings on frogs. Kopeć (1917a, 1922a) confirms this knowledge of Amphibian endocrinology by the following statement:"...Babák (1905) examined the brain of the toad and came to the conclusion that the hind part of the brain affects metamorphosis, since, when it is removed, the processes are arested. He lays stress on the fact that the removal of the brain affects the changes described only in case the animal is operated upon before the first pair of limbs have grown. Babák (1913) believes that here we have the influence of hypophysis by means of chemical stimuli... ." 

            With his results on brain transplantation in Lymantria,  Kopeć (1917a) found striking similarities between hormonal control of metamorphosis in Amphibia and in Lepidoptera. Previous inconsistencies in his conclusions from 1911 were explained by alternation of the sensitive and insensitive developmental periods: "...The stimulus which is active in the transformation  influences the processes only in the case in which the organism has attained a certain well-defined state of development in which it is physiologically prepared to answer the inducement..." This recognition constituted a basis for future studies of developmental periods sensitive to hormonal stimuli, which was especially important with respect to insect juvenile hormone. We can also assume, finally, that by providing evidence for the endocrine functions of insect brain, Kopeć (1917a) created a general basis for the studies of neurohormones.

            The scientific achievements and the tragic fight for freedom and humanity by Stefan Kopeć deserve a great admiration and appreciation. After 80 years, there still remains much to be done in insect endocrinology. We know the structure of more than 4500 analogues of juvenile hormone without understanding their mode of action; we know more than 120 analogues of insect moulting hormone ecdysone, without knowledge why should these hormones be present in plants and what they do in vertebrates; we know dozens of neuropeptides with myotropic, heart-accelerating, diuretic and other activities,  which are frequently comming from the insect brain or corpora cardiaca. No! I am convinced that the era of insect endocrinology, which was started by Stefan Kopeć at the beginning of this century, is not passing away, it is continuing on.


Babák E. (1913) Einige Gedanken über die Beziehung der Metamorphose bei den Amphibien zur inneren Sekretion. Zentrbl. f. Physiol. 27 (from Kopeć, 1917a).

Bodenstein D. (Ed.)(1971) Milestones in Developmental Physiology of Insects.  Appleton Century Crofts, Meredith Corp., New York.

Kopeć S. (1908) Experimental Untersuchungen über die Entwicklung der Geschlechtsorgane bei Schmetterlingen. Bull. int. Acad. Sci.Cracoviae 893-918.

KopećS. (1910) Über morphologische und histologische Folgen der Kastration und Transplantation bei Schmetterlingen. Bull. Acad. Sci. Cracoviae (B), 186-198.

Kopeć S. (1911) Untersuchungen über Kastration und Transplantation bei                  Schmetterlingen. Arch. EntwMech. Org., 33,26-32.  

Kopeć  S. (1912a) Über die Funktionen des Nervensystems der Schmetterlinge während   der successiven Stadien der Metamorphose. Zool. Anz.40,353-360.

Kopeć S. (1912b) Regeneration of appendages in Lepidoptera. Chin. Sci. mat-nat.         B,1096-1102.

Kopeć S. (1913) Untersuchungen über die Regeneration von Larvalorganen und                   Imaginalscheiben. Arch. EntwMech Org.37,440-472.

Kopeć S. (1915) Nochmals über die Unabhängigkeit der Ausbildung sekundärer Geschlechtscharaktere von den Gonaden bei Schmetterlingen. Zool.Anz.,43, 65-74.

Kopeć S. (1917a) Badania do wiadczalne nad przeobra eniem owadów (Experiments on metamorphosis of insects) Rozprawy Wydzialu mat.-przyr. Akademii Umiej tno ci w Krakowie, 57 B, 15-62 (in Polish).

Kopeć S. (1917b) Experiments on metamorphosis of insects.  Bull. int. Acad. Sci.        Cracoviae (B),57-60.

Kopeć S. (1922a) Studies on the necessity of the brain for the inception of insect         metamorphosis. Biol. Bull.,Wood's Hole,42,323-342.

Kopeć S. (1922b) Physiological self-differentiation of the wing-germs grafted on         caterpillars of the opposite sex. J. exp. Zool.,36,469-475.

Kopeć S. (1922c) Mutual relationship in the development of the brain and eyes of Lepidoptera. J. exp. Zool.,36,459-466.

Kopeć S. (1922d) Experimental studies on the influence of inanition on the development and the weight of amphibians. Bull. Acad. Polonaise des Sciences 42, 149-171.

Kopeć S. (1923) The influence of the nervous system on the development and            regeneration of muscles and integument in insects. J. exp. Zool.,37,15-25.

Kopeć S. (1924) Studies on the influence of inanition on the development and duration   of life in insects.  Biol. Bull.,Wood's Hole,46,1-21.

Kopeć S. (1926) Is the insect metamorphosis influenced by thyroid feeding? Biol. Bull.,   Wood's Hole,50,339-354.

Kopeć S. (1927) Über die Entwicklung der Insekten unter dem Einfluss der                Vitamin-zugabe. Biol. gen.,3,375-384. 

This article appeared on pages 11-15 of the proceedings book: Insects, Chemical, physiological and evnironmental aspects, Wydawnictwo Univwersytetu Wrocławskiego, ed. By Danuta Konopińska, University of Wrocłow, 1995.


13. Tomsen E.


14. Ramsay


15. Roeder, Kenneth David [March 9, 1908 – September 18, 1979.


KENNETH DAVID ROEDER was born in Richmond, a suburb of London, England, on March 9, 1908. His father, Carl David Roeder, grew up in Germany and was of Scots and German parentage; his mother, Grace (Phillips) Roeder, spent her childhood in Australia, her parents having migrated there from England. His first school was Bruce Payne School in Bishops Stort, Essex, where his education was strict and formal. From there he advanced to Bembridge School, Isle of Wight. The headmaster, Mr. Howard Whitehouse, who was a Ruskin enthusiast, active in the Liberal Party, and interested in American education, made this school a happy compromise between British and American systems and awakened Roeder's interest in ideas and pleasure in working with his hands. He leaned toward physics and chemistry through the enthusiasm of a science teacher, Mr. E. J. BaggaTey. In 1926 he entered St. John's College, Cambridge University, and received the degrees of B.A. (1929) and M.A. in 1933) . He was awarded an honorary doctor of science from Tufts University in 1952. As a child he had become "imprinted" on insects, and at the age of ten, learning from his father the joys of collecting insects and searching for moths, he amassed a large collection of British butterflies and moths. This zoological bent followed him to Cambridge where he was trained in classical zoology. His special interest was insect metamorphosis. At this time there was little interaction between the departments of zoology and physiology; nevertheless, he became interested in what was then called experimental zoology. He took Part IT of the Natural Science Tripos under the tutelage of James Gray and C. M. A. Pantin. He also received superb instruction in entomology and invertebrate zoology from L. E. S. Eastham F. A. Potts, and Stanley Gardener. In 1930 he was appointed teaching assistant at the University of Toronto. In 1931, in the nadir of the Great Depression, he returned to Europe and married Sonja von cancr~n of the Weiberhof, a farm in Bavaria, Germany.

He then moved to Tufts College as instructor in biology. He became successively professor of physiology (1951), chairman of the Department of Biology (1959-64), research professor on a National Institutes of Health Career Award 1964-75), and professor emeritus (1976) . In the summer of 1932, while he was enrolled in the physiology course at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, his interest in invertebrate nervous systems was stimulated by C. Ladd Prosser, the instructor in the course. The most significant outcome of a laboratory demonstration involving ablation on the brains of dogfish, worms, and lobsters was, from Roeder's point of view, the augmentation of certain kinds of behavior that followed reduction in the mass of central tissue. He decided to investigate this phenomenon with praying mantles as experimental animals. While at Toronto he had mailed fifty cents in response to an advertisement for eggs and had become intrigued with the behavior of these attractive insects.

Now, building upon what he had learned from Prosser he began to investigate the consequences of various brain lesions on behavior. He found that continuous copulatory activity in males and locomotion in both sexes could be released by removing specific parts of the brain. Control of behavior seemed to be exercised mainly through inhibition of inappropriate patterns. Roeder was invited to describe this work at the Cambridge Entomological Club at Harvard at this time when entomology in America concerned itself almost exclusively with taxonomy and natural history.

The potential of insects as "guinea pigs" for solving basic physiological questions was little appreciated. This was also a period in physiology when the work of Charles Sherrington and Jacques Loeb was generally interpreted dogmatically. Animals were conceived of as reflex input-output machines. 

On the other hand, E. D. Adrian had already described spontaneous electrical activity in the isolated nerve cords of caterpillars, and Prosser was finding the same phenomenon in isolated crayfish ganglia. The consensus of vertebrate physiologists of the time was that ongoing activity was just physiological "noise." In reflecting on these matters, Roeder sensed some connection between continuous sexual and locomotor activity in his operated mantids and the spontaneous electrical activity observed by Adrian and Prosser. About this time, George H. Parker at Harvard urged Roeder to become one of his graduate students. Roeder declined. He explained later that a friend who had gone from Toronto to undertake graduate work at Harvard was so busy taking courses which he did not care to take and having someone else tell him what experiments to do that he was not having any fun. Roeder valued his freedom highly and looked upon research as his play. He wanted to approach experiments on his own, free from the biases and preconceived ideas of others.


Roeder K.D. and Treat A.E. (1957) Ultrasonic reception by the tympanic organs of noctuid moths. J. Exp. Zool. 134 : 127-158.


During the 1950's, Kenneth Roeder and his colleagues studied the evasive behavior of moths in response to ultrasonic pulses emitted by their predators – echo-locating bats. This 1957 classic paper firmly established that the tympanal organs of noctuid moths are specifically tuned to the ultrasonic signals used by bats, and in the process, initiated a field of research to determine the neural mechanisms that mediate this evasive behavior. Since 1957, this paper has been referenced 111 times, for an average of about 4 times per year. As shown in the figure, there was a burst of activity in the late 1960's that can be attributed to 2 factors. First, in 1963, Roeder published his now famous book, Nerve Cells and Insect Behavior, which reached a large audience and spurred scientific interest in the moth auditory system. Second, advances in the technology of extracellular single unit recording allowed many labs to begin pursuing the central processing mechanisms involved in the escape response. Research interest in the area faded during the 1970's, but picked up again during the mid 1980's, again driven by advances in technology. Many groups, most notably the group lead by G.S. Boyan, have been recording intracellularly from identified interneurons and examining both their morphological and physiological characteristics. There is still a great deal left to be learned about the central auditory processing mechanisms of noctuid moths, but from the burst of activity in 1996 (5 citations by September), it appears that we are beginning an exciting time in the study of these interesting animals.  


Roeder Lecture  

Michael Dickinson, professor of bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, will deliver the 2003 Roeder Memorial Lecture on Thursday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Barnum 104. His topic will be "How Flies Fly: The Neurobiology of Aerodynamic Control."

The biology department has sponsored the annual lecture since 1980 in memory of and honor of Prof. Kenneth Roeder, a Tufts faculty member and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Roeder was a leader in the fields of neurobiology and behavior and was an outstanding teacher.

Fittingly, Roeder is the template used to choose each year's lecturer, who must be a scientist leading his/her field with the ability to share the excitement of research and to explain complex information to a general audience.  

With B. M. Twarog. Pharmacological observations on the desheathed last abdominal ganglion of the cockroach. Ann. Entomol. So c. Am. 50:231-37. With S. Rilling and H. Mittelstaedt. Prey recognition in the praying mantis. Behaviour 14:164-84. A physiological approach to the relation between prey and preda- tor. Smithson. Misc. Collect. 137: 287-306.

1960 With L. Tozian and E. A. Weiant. Endogenous nerve activity and behaviour in the mantis and cockroach. i. Insect Physiol. 4:45-62. With N. Milburn and E. A. Weiant. The release of efferent nerve activity in the roach, Periplaneta americana by extracts of the cor- pus cardiacum. Biol. Bull. 118:111-19.

1961 With A. E. Treat. The reception of bat cries by the tympanic organ of noctuid moths. In Sensory Communications, ed. W. Rosenblith. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

1962 With N. S. Milburn. Control of efferent activity in the cockroach terminal abdominal ganglion by extracts of the corpora cardiaca. Gen. Comp. End ocrinol. 2: 70-76. Neural mechanisms of animal behavior. Am. Zool. 2: 105-15.

1963 Nerve Cells and Insect Behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ethology and neurophysiology. Z. Tierpsychol. 20:434-40. Echoes of ultrasonic pulses from flying moths. Biol. Bull. 124:200- 10.

1964 Aspects of the noctuid tympanic response having significance in the avoidance of bats. J. Insect Physiol. 10:529-46.

1965 With R. S. Payne. Acoustic orientation of a moth in flight by means of two sense cells. Symp. Soc. Exp. Biol. 20: 251-72.

1966 With R. S. Payne and I. Wallman. Directional sensitivity of the ears of noctuid moths. [. Exp. Biol. 44:17-31. Acoustic sensitivity of the noctuid tympanic organ and its range for the cries of bats. J. Insect Physiol. 12: 843-59. Interneurons of the thoracic nerve cord activated by tympanic nerve fibers in noctuid moths. J. Insect Physiol. 12:1227-44. A differential anemometer for measuring the turning tendency of insects in stationary flight. Science 153:1634-36.

1967 Turning tendency of moths exposed to ultrasound while in stationary flight. J. Insect Physiol. 13:890-923.

1968 Three views of the nervous system James Arthur Lecture. New York: American Museum of Natural History. With A. E. Treat and I. S. Vande Berg. Auditory sense in certain sphingid moths. Science 159:331-33.

1969 Acoustic interneurons in the brain of noctuid moths. J. Insect Physiol. 15:825-38. Brain interneurons in noctuid moths: Differential suppression by high sound intensities. J. Insect Physiol. 15:1713-18.

1970 With A. E. Treat and I. S. Vande Berg. Distal lobe of the pilifer: An ultrasonic receptor in Choerocampine hawkmoths. Science 170: 1098-99.

1971 Insect flight behavior: Some neurophysiological indications of its control. Prog. Physiol. Psychol. 4:1-36.

1972 Acoustic and mechanical sensitivity of the distal lobe of the pilifer in choerocampine hawkmoths. J. Insect Physiol. 18:1249-64.

1973 Brain interneurons in noctuid moths: Binaural excitation and slow potentials. J. Insect Physiol. 19:1591-1601.

1974 Responses of the less sensitive acoustic cells in the tympanic organs of some noctuid and geometric moths. J. Insect Physiol. 20:55-66.

1975 Acoustic interneurons responses compared in certain hawkmoths. J. Insect Physiol. 21: 1625-31. Neural transactions during acoustic stimulation of noctuid moths. Adv. Behav. Biol. 15:99-115. Feedback, spontaneous activity, and behavior. In Function and Evolution in Behaviour, eds. G. Baerends, C. Beer, and A. Manning, pp. 55-70. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

1976 Joys and frustrations of doing research. Perspect. Biol. Med., pp. 231-45. 

Personal reminiscence by Tom Miller. As soon as it was clear that I would be working on the site and mode of action of acetylcholine on the cockroach heart for my dissertation research in the summer of 1965, I asked permission of my advisor, Bob Metcalf, to drive from Riverside, CA to the Boston, MA area to interview Kenneth Roeder at Tufts University, such was his attraction as an experimental scientist in insect physiology. He was still recuperating from a heart attack at his home in Concord, MA where he kindly asked me to dinner and showed me his experimental set-up at the back of his garage. His students trucked out electrophysiological equipment so that Roeder could continue working at home. I used that setting in describing acoustical communication between bat predators and moth prey when I started teaching insect physiology at Riverside in 1969.  

In the end, Ken was not able to offer any special advice about how to record from the cockroach heart, but he agreed that a transducer had to be devised. I already had some ideas about how to make one. On the same trip I met Ladd Prosser and Toshio Narahashi at Woods Hole, MA. Both were kind and gave me some time. I also visited the Biological Laboratories at Havard, but Carroll Williams was not there at the time.


16. Scharrer, Berta [Died July 23, 1995, 88 years old]


Pioneering Neuroscientist Berta Vogel Scharrer Dies

By Karen Young Kreeger

Berta Vogel Scharrer, who, with her late husband, Ernst Scharrer, is considered a pioneer in the field of neuroendocrinology--the study of the interaction between the nervous and endocrine systems--died of natural causes at her home in the Bronx on July 23. She was 88 years old. Scharrer, a distinguished professor, emerita, of anatomy and structural biology and of neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, was a founding member of the college in 1955 and conducted research there until a few months ago.

MUCH MISSED: Colleagues fondly remember Einstein's Berta Scharrer.

We're all going to miss her," says Jesse Roth, Scharrer's former student and a member of the college's first class of medical students. Roth is now the Raymond and Anna Lublin Professor of Medicine and director of the division of geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Berta Scharrer is best known for her almost seven decades of research on the neuroendocrinology of cockroaches. Using the South American cockroach as her primary model, she studied the role of neurosecretory cells in invertebrate development. "She did a series of experiments which showed the physiological role for neurosecretions," recalls Peter Satir, chairman of the anatomy department at Einstein. "In fact I believe that people felt that the [results of the] insect experiments were quite clear, whereas the vertebrate work at the time remained controversial for a longer while." She described her work in a review paper, B.V. Scharrer, "Insects as models of neuroendocrine research," Annual Review of Entomology, 32:1-16, 1987.

In 1928, Ernst Scharrer, while a Ph.D. student at the University of Munich, discovered nerve cells in the brain of fish that he hypothesized secreted hormones, a revolutionary idea at the time. The scientific dogma then was that cells could either conduct electrical impulses or secrete hormones, not both.

Two years later, in 1930, Berta Scharrer received her Ph.D. in biology from the University of Munich. She studied in the lab of Karl von Frisch, the bee behaviorist who won a Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology in 1973.

To hunt for neurosecretory cells--or nerve-gland cells, as Ernst Scharrer termed them--within the animal kingdom, the Scharrers divided the work. She took invertebrates and he took vertebrates. Throughout the 1930s, Berta Scharrer, working as a research associate at the Neurological Institute of the University of Frankfurt, discovered nerve-gland cells in many invertebrate species.

Though not Jewish, the Scharrers left Germany in 1937 for the United States because of the Nazi policies against their Jewish colleagues. Roth recalls a story about their life in wartime Germany: "Berta described that they often came to work with briefcases in both hands so they wouldn't have to give the `heil Hitler' business."

As a woman scientist in the 1930s and 1940s, Berta Scharrer did not have an easy path. During several years of Ernst Scharrer's fellowships throughout the U.S., Berta conducted her research without pay, although the Scharrers were equal research partners. It was not until they arrived at Einstein, when it opened in 1955, that Berta Scharrer was offered a paid professorship in the anatomy department. Ernst Scharrer was the department's first chairman.

By the 1950s, the neurosecretion hypothesis was more readily accepted by the scientific establishment, becoming the linchpin of the new field of neuroendocrinology. Together the Scharrers published in 1963 what is considered to be the seminal text in the field, Neuroendocrinology (B.V. Scharrer and E.A. Scharrer, Columbia University Press).

After her husband died in a swimming accident in 1965, Berta Scharrer became chairwoman of Einstein's anatomy department for two years. Her later research concentrated on elucidating the relationship between the immune and nervous systems in invertebrates. Satir calls her move into neuroimmunology "a remarkable transition."

In the last two decades she has been widely recognized in the U.S. and Europe for her scientific contributions: She received the National Medal of Science in 1985; was awarded several honorary degrees, including degrees from Harvard Medical School and Northwestern University; and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1967.


17. Schneiderman, Howard A. [February 9, 1927 - December 5, 1990]

From the University of California, Irvine, 1990:

Howard A. Schneiderman, Developmental and Cell Biology: Irvine


Dr. Howard A. Schneiderman, who was Chair of the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences and the first Director of the Developmental Biology Center at UCI and who went on to become a Senior Vice President of the Monsanto Company and a major figure in developing university-industry joint ventures, died on December 5, 1990 after a long struggle with leukemia.

Born in New York City on February 9, 1927, Schneiderman attended the Brooklyn Ethical Cultural School and Fieldston High School. He received his B.A. degree in mathematics and natural sciences from Swarthmore College in 1948 and his Ph.D. in physiology in 1952 from Harvard University. He taught at Cornell University before joining the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, where he was Chair of the Department of Biology and Director of the Developmental Biology Center. In 1966 he became the Jared Potter Kirtland Distinguished Professor. He joined the faculty of the University of California in 1969, and in the same year became Dean of the School of Biological Sciences, Chair of the Department of Organismic (later Developmental and Cell) Biology, and Director of the Center for Pathobiology, which, under his leadership, became the Developmental Biology Center.

Howard Schneiderman's research career began during his undergraduate years, with studies of water conservation in desert animals in Arizona and of the parasites of wild mammals in Grand Teton National Park. At Harvard he studied the metamorphosis of cecropia silkworms under Professor Carroll M. Williams, and discovered and analyzed the phenomenon of discontinuous respiration in these insects. He and Williams also discovered that motor nerves were essential for muscle development in insects. At Cornell he continued to work on insect respiration, concentrating on the mechanisms by which insect spiracles are controlled by oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. This work required the development of new instrumentation to measure gas concentrations as well as the barometric pressure of air within the trachea of the living insect. He also initiated studies of the juvenile hormone and the molting hormone of insects, which were to lead to some of his most significant research contributions and to some long-lasting relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

From 1956 to 1958 and again from 1963 to 1968, Schneiderman spent the summers teaching invertebrate zoology at the Marine Biological Laboratories at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1959-60 he took a sabbatical leave with Sir Vincent Wigglesworth at Cambridge University in England.

Schneiderman's research at Case Western Reserve University began with various investigations of the endocrine control of insect development. One of the more notable contributions, with Andre Meyer, was the purification and identification of the chemical structure of two insect juvenile hormones. Subsequently in 1965, having been strongly influenced by the time he spent at Woods Hole with Ernst Hadorn, Schneiderman introduced the fruit fly Drosophila into his laboratory for genetic studies of developmental mechanisms. He and his students then made a long series of important contributions to our understanding of the growth and development of insects, and the genetic control of these processes. With Clifton Poodry, John Postlethwait, Pat Simpson, Peter Bryant and others he published on structure, growth, metamorphosis, pattern formation and cell lineage in imaginal discs, the larval precursors of adult body parts in these insects. With Mandaram Madhaven he published a seminal paper on the development of the imaginal discs and the precursors of the abdomen in insects, and with Christoph Reinhardt and Craig Roseland he made important contributions to our knowledge of abdomen development. With Masukichi Okada, Margrit Schubiger and others he published several papers on egg development, and with his student Elisabeth Gateff, he described the first example of genetically induced cancer in Drosophila. He retained an interest in comparative aspects of developmental biology, making some important contributions, with Kornath Madhaven, to our understanding of pillbug reproduction.

Howard is remembered for his good advice and scientific guidance but, above all, for his enthusiasm and magnanimity. He delighted in the successes of his colleagues and his students, and had an unusual knack for making his students feel that their work was the most important thing in the world to him. His vision, warmth and infectious enthusiasm were an inspiration to a generation of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students at UCI.

Schneiderman's far-reaching activities in developmental biology were recognized by numerous honors and prestigious awards. He was president of the Society for Developmental Biology from 1965 to 1966, and in 1981 he became a member of the Board of Directors of the International Society of Developmental Biologists. He was a trustee of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts and of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and he served on the Board of Directors of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He was the Ernst Hadorn Memorial Lecturer at the VIII International Congress of Developmental Biology in Tokyo in 1977, the Viktor Hamburger Lecturer at Washington University in 1981, the Gustavson Memorial Lecturer at the University of Nebraska in 1983, and the Founders Memorial Lecturer of the Entomological Society of America in 1983. In 1973 he received a Distinguished Faculty Award from the UCI Alumni Association, in 1975 an honorary degree from LaSalle College, and in 1982 an honorary D.Sc. from Swarthmore College. Last year he received the prestigious Gregor Mendel Gold Medal from the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1975 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Exercising a broad and charismatic influence on educational policy in the School of Biological Sciences, Schneiderman was vigorous in his insistence that biological sciences majors were well trained in the humanities. In recognition of his extraordinary service to UCI, in 1989 he was awarded the UCI Medal.

In 1979 Schneiderman left UCI to become the Senior Vice President for Research and Development at the Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri. During his stay at Monsanto he also held an Adjunct Professorship at Washington University and retained an on-leave appointment at UCI. He led the Monsanto Company's multi-million dollar investment in plant genetic engineering to produce insect-resistant crops, and crops that will produce new and useful products. His dream was to develop crops that were genetically engineered to directly produce animal proteins such as growth hormone, insulin, or vaccines. Much of his time and energy over the last few years was spent in educating skeptics and regulators about the safety and the potential value of these genetically engineered crops. He felt strongly that the biotechnological approach to animal and crop improvement and pest control was much safer than conventional alternatives using toxic chemicals and drugs. During the week of his death, two of Howard's major projects were finally coming to fruition: an NIH blue-ribbon panel ruled that milk and meat from cows treated with recombinant growth hormone was as good as that from untreated cows; and Monsanto scientists were reporting the first successful field tests of cotton plants engineered to produce Bacillus thuringiensis toxin, a biological insecticide derived from an organism investigated by Schneiderman's predecessor as Director of the Center for Pathobiology, Dr. Edward Steinhaus.

Schneiderman became a leader in industry, just as he had been a leader in academia. He forged a precedent-setting agreement between the company and Washington University to speed the development of new products, which has served as a model for other such arrangements in several countries. He came to believe that such joint ventures were a vital economic necessity for the U.S. to remain competitive. He felt that there is no more fertile ground for invention and innovation than at the interface of this country's great universities and industries. He developed the company's Life Sciences Research Center for Biotechnology Research in Chesterfield, Missouri, and under his energetic leadership Monsanto's investment in research more than doubled.

Throughout his career, Howard Schneiderman was deeply concerned with the role of science in society and the ways in which scientific discoveries could be used to better the human condition. As a member of the National Academy of Sciences, he served on the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable. In 1987, he was appointed by President Reagan to the National Science Board, the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation. In addition, he served on the Scientific and Academic Advisory Committee for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Scientific Laboratory, and on scientific advisory committees to the National Institutes of Health, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Department of State, and numerous universities.

Howard Schneiderman played major roles in charting a course for the 21st century at both UCI and Monsanto, and helped launch many successful careers in science and industry. He is remembered with fondness, respect, admiration and appreciation in all of the institutions he served. He is survived by his wife Audrey, his son John, a lecturer in music at UCI, and his daughter Anne, an insect neurobiologist on the faculty at Cornell University.


Peter J. Bryant
James L. McGaugh


18. Von Frisch


19. Weis-Fogh, Torkel


20. Wigglesworth, Sir Vincent B. [1899-1994]

Sir Vincent is just about everyone’s favorite insect physiologist especially since he did us the favor of writing and rewriting the first comprehensive textbook in the field, Principles of Insect Physiology. He was a pioneer in insect development, making Rhodnius prolixus, famous as experimental insect that he used to demonstrate juvenile hormone influences amongst other things. He and Carroll Williams used parabiosis in imaginative ways to show developmental principles. The book Insect Biology in the Future or VBW 80 was dedicated to Sir Vincent at his 80th birthday. The list of contributors is a cross-section of well-known insect physiologists all of whom were influence by Professor Wigglesworth one way or another. The book also listed 234 research publications and 17 books that the grand master produced through 1979. Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all was that he continued to publish work following this event. My campus biosis search showed this entry:

Wigglesworth, V. B. (1991). The distribution of aeriferous tracheae for the ovaries of insects. Tissue & Cell. 23(1): 57-66.


Examination of the tracheal supply to the ovaries in insects selected from nine orders shows that the main trachae are always of the aeriferous type: characterized by a coating of spiral tubules with permeable cuticle which bring the tracheal air into close contact with the haemolymph. The structure of these tracheae is constant, from large tracheae exceeding 50 µm in diameter to small vessels with diameter a small fraction of 1 µm. On the other hand there is a great diversity in the methods by which oxygen is delivered to the individual oocytes, some of which are briefly defined. 

This paper is single authored in a top journal and follows up Sir Vincent’s other interest, the tracheal system in insects. He is well-known for demonstrating air use in tracheoles (see figures 233 and 234 on page 368 of the classic Principles of Insect Physiology, 7th edition for a description of spiracular function and the tracheal system in the flea, Xenopsylla). Therefore, the most inspirational aspect of Sir Vincent’s career is the fact that it never ended. He had to be in or close to his 90s when producing the paper mentioned above. That might be a good example of persistence, but it certainly is inspirational.

John S. Edwards memoriam: http://www.ijdb.ehu.es/fulltext.9803/ft471.pdf

The Nestor of Insect Physiologists, Sir Vincent Wigglesworth

Karel Sláma, European Journal of Entomology 91: 255-256 (1994) 

Vincent Wigglesworth was world's greatest insect physiologist and one of the most productive biological scientists of the century. His name is known to most students of invertebrate physiology by his comprehensive textbook Principles of Insect Physiology (1939), which has been updated in seven editions.    

    In 1926 Wigglesworth started his scientific work investigating some medically important insects, mainly the bug Rhodnius prolixus, vector of Chagas's disease in London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Later on, in 1945 he moved to Cambridge as Reader in Insect Physiology. He continued in his experimental work on Rhodnius, with numerous discoveries in the field of insect morphology, physiology and endocrinology. Due to these findings the species became famous among entomologists as the "Wigglesworth's bug". The greatest scientific achievement of VBW was elucidation of the role of corpus allatum and juvenile hormone in insect growth, development and reproduction (1936). The results of his transplantation, implantation and parabiosis experiments in Rhodnius became the classic of whole  invertebrate endocrinology. Some older books of Wigglesworth on insect hormone action, The Physiology of Insect Metamorphosis (1954) or Insect Hormones (1970) are still frequently used as a valuable guide and exciting source of information. The bibliography contains over 300 original scientific papers, on which he was mostly working alone, only a few papers were under joint authorship. Insect endocrinology of other countries has been deeply influenced or directly originated from the work of Wigglesworth. The studies of insect hormones in Czech republic have also their roots in his laboratory in Cambridge. Dr.V.J.A. Novák, who spent a year with Wigglesworth in 1948, brough some of his remarkable gifts for experimentation back home into this country.

    First time we met Prof. Wigglesworth at the occasion of insect hormone conference in Prague, 1959. He was a gentle, reserved, formal person with a wry sense of humour. His interpretation of scientific facts was strictly analytical, always very reasonable, based on a wide general knowledge. The miracle of his person is that during the past three and half decade he remained actively working, with the same enthusiasm, innovative spirit and humour, while most of us passed through the whole rise and fall of our scientific careers. When the synthetic analogues of juvenile hormone became available at the early 60'es, it was again VBW who immediately elaborated the best methods for their evaluation in Rhodnius. The best illustration of the scientific potential of VBW may be the fact that he shocked professionals working in insect respiration by a series of recent innovative papers on functions of aeriferous tracheae. The papers were written when he was over 90. The last time I met Sir Vincent in his room in Caius College, Cambridge, April 1992 (photograph). We have discussed very special scientific details of insect hormone action. Wigglesworth is among a few people who have a credit of creating and advancing some discipline of science. He is the Father of Insect Physiology. 

Vincent Brian Wigglesworth, entomologist: born Kirkham, Lancashire 17 April 1899; Lecturer in Medical Entomology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 1926-45; Reader in Entomology, London University 1936-44; FRS 1939; Director, ARC Unit of Insect Physiology 1943-67; Reader in Entomology, Cambridge University 1945-1952; Quick Professor of Biology 1952-66; CBE 1951; Knight 1964; married 1928 Katherine Semple (died 1986; three sons, one daughter); died Cambridge , 11 February 1994.


21. Williams, Carroll

Williams could almost be called the “father of American insect physiology.” Imaginative use of cecropia moth and larvae for developmental studies; Williams was thesis advisor for or influenced a large number of insect physiologists in the early days including Karel Slama from Prague, Judy Willis first of University of Illinois, now of University of Georgia, Howard Schneiderman and Larry Gilbert, Lynn Riddiford and James Truman to name a few; was known for outstanding ability to parabiose cecropia pupae in very imaginative ways to demonstrate grown hormone effects, comparable to Wigglesworth’s use of Rhodnius.

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