When Gregor Mendel died from kidney disease in 1884, no one recognized him for his contributions to biology. Charles Darwin, publishing in the same period On the Origin of Species, was unaware of his work. His funeral, at which world-renowned classical Czech composer Leoš Janáček played the organ, was attended by many government officials, the clergy, students and the poor. Yet, his obituary mentioned his membership in the Vienna Meteorological Society and not in the Natural Science Society, before which he gave his revolutionary lecture on peas.
Still, Mendel had died undeterred, “I am convinced that it will not be long before the whole world acknowledges the results of my work.” Sure enough, three botanists, working independently on similar experiments and applying mathematical analysis, rediscovered his research and landmark principles in 1900.
Today, Mendel is recognized worldwide as the father of modern-day genetics for his long years of meticulous work, absolute attention to detail and thoroughness of experimentation, and, of course, ultimate pioneering conclusions. Known on every continent, even Antarctica is home to the Mendel Polar Station, the Czech Republic’s research base.
Photo: Johann Gregor Mendel Station on James Ross Island near the Antarctic Peninsula
Photo credit: Masaryk University