The Making of a scientist CBSE Class 10 NCERT English Lesson 6 Explanation, Summary, Difficult words
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CBSE Class 10 English The Making of a scientist Lesson 6 Explanation Notes
The Making of a scientist CBSE Class 10 English Lesson 6 - Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
Class 10 English (Footprints without feet book)
chapter 6 - The Making of a scientist
By- Robert W. Peterson
Introduction to the lesson
Richard Ebright has received the Searle Scholar Award and the Schering Plough Award for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. It was his fascination for butterflies that opened the world of science to him.
The story is about Richard H. Ebright who grew up in the town of Reading in Pennsylvania, USA. As he did not have much to do there, collecting things was his hobby. He used to collect butterflies as a child in kindergarten. Let’s read how this curious child who collected butterflies went on to become one of the greatest scientists of the world.
The Making of a scientist Class 10 CBSE English Poem Summary, Explanation - See Video
About the Author
Robert W. Peterson (1925 Warren, Pennsylvania –February 11, 2006) was an American newspaper writer who later became a freelance author of magazine articles and books, especially on the topics of sports and scouting. His 1970 chronicle of Negro league baseball titled ‘Only the Ball Was White’ was hailed by The New York Times as having "recaptured a lost era in baseball history and a rich facet of black life in America". The baseball commissioner at the time, Bowie Kuhn, later credited Peterson's book with having "focused greater attention on the accomplishments of Negro League players", leading to their admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Making of a Scientist Lesson and Explanation (with word meanings)
At the age of twenty-two, a former ‘scout of the year’ excited the scientific world with a new theory on how cells work. Richard H. Ebright and his college room-mate explained the theory in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. It was the first time this important scientific journal had ever published the
Former- having previously been a particular thing.
Scout- a member of the Scout Association or a similar organization
Proceedings- a published report of a set of meetings or a conference.
Journal- a newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity.
making the big leagues- in a field of tough competition and high rewards, the largest or foremost of its kind. For example- winning an Oscar put the actress in the big league.
Fossils- the remains or impression of a prehistoric plant or animal embedded in rocks. Astronomer- an expert in or student of astronomy.
Richard H. Ebright, along with his roommate, surprised the world at the young age of 22 when they explained the theory on how cells work in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. This valuable magazine had published the work of college students for the first time. For Richard Ebright it was one of the many achievements that he achieved later in his life. He says that all this curiosity started with butterflies. Ebright grew up in Pennsylvania and was the only child of his parents. He could have not done much there as there were very less people living there. He says that he could only do one thing alone and that was collecting things as he had no friends to play football or baseball with. He had begun collecting butterflies, rocks, fossils and coins from the time when he was in kindergarten. He also used to keep on staring at the stars and sometimes, the whole night as he was interested in studying astronomy.
From the first he had a driving curiosity along with a bright mind. He also had a mother who encouraged his interest in learning. She took him on trips, bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials, and other equipment and helped him in many other ways. “I was his only companion until he started school,” his mother said. “After that I would bring home friends for him. But at night we just did things together. Richie was my whole life after his father died when Richie was in third grade.” She and her son spent almost
Curiosity- a strong desire to know or learn something.
Encouraged- give support, confidence, or hope to (someone).
Equipment- the necessary items for a particular purpose.
Species- a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding.
Monarch butterflies- a large migratory orange and black coloured butterfly that occurs mainly in North America.
Collector- a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby.
Ebright had always been curious to learn new things and had a sharp mind. His mother used to encourage him to learn. She used to take him on learning trips, used to buy him telescopes and other instruments that would help him in learning new things. His mother was his only friend until he went to school. After he started going to school, his mother would get his friends home. He and his mother used to stay together at night and they used to do and learn things together. Ebright who was nicknamed Richie by his mother was her whole life and support system after his father died when he was in third grade.They used to spend most of the evenings together. If he did not have anything to do, his mother would find him some task for learning. He used to like the learning work that his mother used to give him as that was what he wanted to do- learn about more and more new things. He was a bright student as he used to score good in class and also, was regular in his daily tasks. By the time he was in second class, he had collected all the 25 species of butterflies that were found in his neighbourhood. He thought that it would have been the end of his butterfly collection, if his mother would have not got him a children’s book called - “The Travels of Monarch X”. The book told how the monarch butterflies migrated to Central America, which was the turning point for Ebright as it turned his curiosity towards science.At the end of the book, readers were invited to help study butterfly migrations. They were asked to tag butterflies for research by Dr Frederick A. Urquhart of the University of Toronto, Canada. Ebright’s mother wrote to Dr Urquhart, and soon Ebright was attaching light adhesive tags to the wings of monarchs. Anyone who found a tagged butterfly was asked to send the tag to Dr Urquhart. The butterfly collecting season around Reading lasts six weeks in late summer. If you’re going to chase them one by one, you
Migrations- seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.
Adhesive- able to stick fast to a surface or object; sticky.
Flock- a number of birds of one kind feeding, resting, or travelling together.
Life cycle- the series of changes in the life of an organism including reproduction.
Tedious- too long, slow, or dull; tiresome or monotonous.
At the end of the children’s book that his mother had got him, the readers of the book were invited to help the study of butterfly migrations. They were asked to tag butterflies by Dr. Frederick A. Urquhart of the University of Toronto in Canada. Richie’s mother wrote to the doctor and soon, he was attaching adhesive tags to the wings of the butterflies. The person who would find a butterfly with a tag was asked to send the tag to Dr. Urquhart. The butterfly collecting season lasted for around 6 weeks. Then Ebright understood that if he kept on collecting butterflies one by one, he would not be able to collect many. So, the next step he took was that he decided to raise a flock of butterflies in his basement. He used to catch a female butterfly, collect its eggs and raise them in his basement through their proper life cycles. Then he used to tag the wings of the butterflies and would let them go. There were thousands of monarchs in his basement, growing in different life stages, for many years. Soon, he started losing interest in tagging butterflies as it was a very slow and tiring process. It also did not get him much response. He said that out of the many butterflies that he tagged, only two could be recaptured by people and those too were not more than 75 miles away from where he lived.
Then in the seventh grade he got a hint of what real science is when he entered a county science fair — and lost. “It was really a sad feeling to sit there and not get anything while everybody else had won something,” Ebright said. His entry was slides of frog tissues, which he showed under a microscope. He realised the winners had tried to do real experiments, not simply make a neat display. Already the competitive spirit that drives Richard Ebright was appearing. “I knew that for the next year’s fair I would have to do a real experiment,” he said. “The subject I knew most about was the insect work I’d been doing in the past several years.” So he wrote to Dr Urquhart for ideas, and back came a stack of suggestions for experiments. Those kept Ebright busy all through high school and led to prize projects in county and international science fairs. For his eighth grade project, Ebright tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills nearly all monarch caterpillars every few years. Ebright thought the disease might be carried by a beetle. He tried raising caterpillars in the presence of beetles. “I didn’t get any real results,” he said. “But I went ahead and
showed that I had tried the experiment. This time I won.” The next year's science fair project was testing the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarchs. The theory was that viceroys look like monarchs because monarchs don’t taste good to birds. Viceroys, on the other hand, do taste good to birds. So the more they look like monarchs, the less likely they are to become a bird’s dinner. Ebright’s project was to see whether, in fact, birds would eat monarchs. He found that a starling would not eat ordinary bird food. It would eat all the monarchs it could get. (Ebright said later research by other people showed that viceroys probably do copy the monarch.) This project was placed first in the zoology division and third overall in the county science fair.
Subject- a person or thing that is being discussed, described, or dealt with.
Stack- a pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged.
Viral- of the nature of, caused by, or relating to a virus or viruses.
Starling- a gregarious Old World songbird with a straight bill, typically with dark lustrous or iridescent plumage but sometimes brightly coloured.
Zoology- the scientific study of the behaviour, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals.
When he was in seventh class, he came to know what real science was as he lost at a County science fair. It was a really sad feeling for him to see all other people win something while he did not win anything. He showed frog tissue slides under a microscope but realized that all the winners had actually tried to perform an experiment and not just make a neat display out of their projects. He had already started developing the competitive spirit inside him. Now he had decided that he would be making a real project for the next year’s fair. He thought and realized that he had maximum knowledge about the subject of insects as he had been studying them for quite some time now. He wrote to Dr. Urquhart for ideas and he sent back a lot of ideas for his next year’s project. He remained busy with those ideas all throughout his high school and won many prizes. In his eighth class, he tried to find the cause of a viral disease that killed nearly all monarch caterpillars every few years. Ebright thought that the disease was being transmitted through beetles so, he started raising caterpillars in the presence of beetles. It was of no use but when he showed that he had tried such an experiment, he won something for his project. For the next year, he tried the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarchs. He put forward the theory that viceroy butterflies look like monarchs because monarchs do not taste good to the birds and birds like to eat viceroys. So, the more the viceroy looked like the monarch, the less likely it is that viceroy would be eaten by a bird. He wanted to show in his project that would a bird eat monarchs or not. He found out that the sterling bird would prefer eating a monarch. Later research showed that the viceroys copied the monarchs. This project won him the first division in the Zoology department and the third overall position in the county science fair.
In his second year in high school, Richard Ebright began the research that led to his discovery of an unknown insect hormone. Indirectly, it also led to his new theory on the life of cells. The question he tried to answer was simple: What is the purpose of the twelve tiny gold spots on a monarch pupa? “Everyone assumed the spots were just ornamental,” Ebright said. “But Dr Urquhart didn’t believe it.” To find the answer, Ebright and another excellent science student first had to build a device that showed that the spots were producing a hormone necessary for the butterfly’s full development. This project won Ebright first place in the county fair and entry into the International Science and Engineering Fair. There he won third place for zoology. He also got a chance to work during the summer at the entomology laboratory of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. As a high school junior, Richard Ebright continued his advanced experiments on the monarch pupa. That year his project won first place at the International Science Fair and gave him another chance to work in the army laboratory during the summer. In his senior year, he went a step further. He grew cells from a monarch’s wing in a culture and showed that the cells would divide and develop into normal butterfly wing scales only if they were fed the hormone from the gold spots. That project won first place for zoology at the International Fair. He spent the summer after graduation doing further work at the army laboratory and at the laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The following summer, after his freshman year at Harvard University, Ebright went back to the laboratory of the Department of Agriculture and did more work on the hormone from the gold spots. Using the laboratory’s sophisticated instruments, he was able to identify the hormone’s chemical structure.
A year-and-a-half later, during his junior year, Ebright got the idea for his new theory about cell life. It came while he was looking at X-ray photos of the chemical structure of a hormone. When he saw those photos, Ebright didn’t shout, ‘Eureka!’ or even, ‘I’ve got it!’ But he believed that, along with his findings about insect hormones, the photos gave him the answer to one of biology’s puzzles: how the cell can ‘read’ the blueprint of its DNA. DNA is the substance in the nucleus of a cell that controls heredity. It determines the form and function of the cell. Thus DNA is the blueprint for life.
Research- the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
Hormone- a regulatory substance produced in an organism and transported in tissue fluids such as blood or sap to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action.
Assumed- suppose to be the case, without proof.
Ornamental- serving or intended as an ornament; decorative.
Blueprint- a design plan or technical drawing.
Nucleus- the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth.
Heredity- the passing on of physical or mental characteristics genetically from one generation to another.
During his second year of high school, Richard started a research from which he found about an unknown insect hormone that later helped him in his new theory about the life of cells as well. The question from where the research started was very simple as to - what was the purpose of the 12 tiny gold spots on a monarch pupa? Most of the people said that the spots were made for making it look more decorative but Dr. Urquhart did not believe in what others said. To find the answer to this question, Ebright and another excellent science student together made a device that proved that these spots produced a hormone necessary for the full development of a butterfly from a pupa. With this, Ebright won the first prize at the County Science Fair and the entry to International Science and Engineering Fair. There, his project won third prize for zoology. He also got a chance to work at the entomology laboratory of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He continued his work with the monarch pupa as a high school junior and that led him to win the first prize at the International Science Fair. After winning this prize he also got a chance to work at the army laboratory during summers. Then during his senior year he tried another experiment in which he grew cells from a monarch’s wing in a culture and showed that cells would divide and develop into a normal butterfly wing scales provided that they were treated with the hormone from the gold spots. This research of his won the first prize at the international fair and he spent his summer after graduation doing more research on the subject at the army laboratory and the laboratory of U.S department of agriculture.
Then he worked some more on the hormone released from the gold spots during the following summers at the laboratory of the agriculture department. He identified the chemical structure of the hormone using the lab’s special equipment. After one and a half years, Ebright got the idea for his new theory which was about the cell life. The idea came to him when he was looking at the X ray photos of the chemical structure of the hormone. He did not get excited about his discovery as soon as he found it, but came to a realization that his years of study on the insect hormone had solved one of the puzzles of biology. It had solved the mystery of how cells read the blueprint of its DNA. He found that as the DNA is in the nucleus of a cell that controls heredity, therefore, it determines the form and function of a cell. Hence, DNA is the blueprint of life.
Ebright and his college room-mate, James R. Wong, worked all that night drawing pictures and constructing plastic models of molecules to show how it could happen. Together they later wrote the paper that explained the theory. Surprising no one who knew him, Richard Ebright graduated from Harvard with highest honours, second in his class of 1,510. Ebright went on to become a graduate student researcher at Harvard Medical School. There he began doing experiments to test his theory. If the theory proves correct, it will be a big step towards understanding the processes of life. It might also lead to new ideas for preventing some types of cancer and other diseases. All of this is possible because of
Room mate- a person occupying the same room as another.
Researcher- a person who carries out academic or scientific research.
Debater- a person who argues about a subject, especially in a formal manner.
Canoeist- A canoeist is someone who is skilled at racing and performing tests of skill in a canoe.
Exhibits- manifest clearly (a quality or a type of behaviour).
Admire- regard with respect or warm approval.
Competitive- relating to or characterized by competition.
Ingredients- a component part or element of something.
Then Ebright and his room-mate made drawings and plastic models for the theory which showed how it was possible and later wrote a paper which explained the process. It did not surprise the people who knew him that he graduated from Harvard with highest honours and stood second in his class among 1510 students. He then became a graduate student researcher at the Harvard University and also started doing practical experiments to test his theory. It was expected that if the theory proved to be correct, then it would be a big step towards understanding the complex system of life and also would lead to new ideas for preventing certain types of cancer and other diseases. So, this showed how his research on the monarch pupa led him to a theory about cell life. He had been keen in science ever since he started collecting butterflies but this did not keep him away from his other interests in life. He was a champion debater, a great public speaker and a good boat racer (canoeist). He was also an all round outdoor sports person along with being an expert photographer. He was great at capturing nature and scientific subjects. As he was a great student and always used to score good, he used to focus his extra energy on debating and Model United Nations Clubs. He also used to admire his social studies teacher and an advisor to both clubs, Mr. Richard A. Welherer. Ebright thought that his teacher was the right man as he was the one who used to open his mind to new ideas.
His teacher was impressed with the fact that how Ebright would give an extra 3-4 hours of effort at night for the debate research apart from the time that he used to give to his butterfly research and his other interests. He added that he was competitive but not in a bad sense because he did not win to get prizes or for the sake of winning but because he wanted to be the best at whatever he did. This is what makes a good scientist. He needs a first rated mind along with curiosity and an added will to win for the right reasons. Since the time Richard’s mother got him the book about migration of monarchs, his curiosity towards science has just grown.
The Making of a scientist Summary
The chapter, ‘The Making of a Scientist’ is a story about the famous scientist Richard Ebright. Richie as his mother used to call him was a very curious child right from his childhood. He had started collecting butterflies in his childhood and when he was 2 years old, he had already collected all the 25 species found near his hometown. He thought it to be an end of butterfly collection until one day his mother bought him a book named ‘The Travels of Monarch X’. This was a turning point in his life and he got much more interested in dealing with science. He started with tagging butterflies which a task given at the end of the book that his mother bought for him. Then, when he first entered the county science fair with a slide of the frog tissue he lost. Everybody won something but his project did not win any prize. He was sad but also understood that to win, he needed to do real experiments and not just make neat and clean models. Then he wrote down to Dr. Urquhart at the University of Toronto, asking him for ideas to make projects. He stayed busy during his high school, working on the long list sent to him by Dr. Urquhart. Then, for the next year’s fair, he chose the project of looking at the viral disease that killed nearly all the monarch caterpillars every few years. He thought that the reason for this could be a beetle, so he started raising caterpillars in the presence of beetles but could not get any results. So, when he showed his trial experiment at the county science fair, his project won a prize. Then for the next year he made an experiment to show that the viceroy butterflies copied monarchs. This project also made him win prizes. Then he started his research as to the purpose of the 12 golden spots on the back of a monarch pupa. Everybody believed that it was just a design but Dr. Urquhart thought otherwise. Then Ebright and another brilliant science student got together and made a device that could show that the gold spots were responsible for releasing a hormone that was necessary for its growth. With the help of sophisticated instruments at one of the labs, he got a chance to work and found the chemical structure of the hormone in the gold spots. Then, one day, while looking at the photo of the chemical structure, he solved one of the biggest puzzles of life. He came to know how a cell blueprints its DNA. It was a big breakthrough and was published in a magazine. He also had many other interests and also admired his social studies teacher as he was the one who used to give him new ideas. He was good at debating, public speaking and a great canoeist. He never used to win for the sake of winning or for prizes but because he wanted to be the best at whatever he used to do. It is shown in this chapter that with the right amount of curiosity, a bright mind and the will to win for right reasons are the qualities needed to be a scientist. His mother also played a big role in making him what he was as it was she who supported him throughout his journey and bought him the book ‘The Travels of Monarch X’ which aroused his curiosity in the field of science.
The Making of a scientist Question and Answers
Q1) How did a book become a turning point in Richard Ebright’s life?
Ans) After Richard had collected all the 25 species of butterflies that were found in his surroundings, he thought that it would be an end to butterfly collection when his mom bought him a book named ‘Travels of Monarch X’ which told him about how butterflies migrated to Central America. This book aroused an interest in him for exploring more of what was to come and started studying more about monarch butterflies.
Q2) How did his mother help him?
Ans) His mother played a turning role in the life of the scientist as she used to buy him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting equipment and used to try to help him by getting him things to learn in the evening when he used to be free. She also used to take him out on field trips and the book Travels of Monarch X was also bought by her. So we can say that the mother played a very important role in the making of what he was.
Q3) What lesson does Ebright learn when he does not win anything at a science fair?
Ans) He learnt that just by showing neat and clean simple slides won't make him win anything but the actual experiment that he will perform will help him win the prize at any fair.
Q4) What experiments and projects does he then undertake?
Ans) He did an experiment to see the cause of the viral disease that kills nearly all the monarchs after a few years and also took up a project to prove that the viceroy butterflies copy monarchs to survive by behaving like them.
Q5) What are the qualities that go into the making of a scientist?
Ans) According to the chapter, there are three qualities that a person needs to have to be a scientist. Firstly, a first - rated mind, secondly, curiosity and thirdly, the will to win for the right reasons.