Q. How did a book become a turning point in Richard Ebright’s life?
Ans. Richard Ebright’s mother gave him a children’s book called The Travels of Monarch X. This book aroused his curiosity in exploring the fact how Monarch butterflies migrate to central America. At the end of the book, readers were invited to help study butterfly migrations. They were also asked to tag butterflies for research by Dr. Frederick A. Urquhart of the University of Toronto, Canada. Ebright got inspired and raised a flock of butterflies. He carefully observed the life cycle of a butterfly from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult butterfly. His sincere efforts answered the question “What is the purpose of the twelve tiny gold spots on a monarch pupa?” He also propounded a new, theory on life of cells. Thus, it would be pertinent to say that a book became a turning point in Richard Ebright’s life.
Q. How did his mother help him?
Ans. Ebright’s mother encouraged his interest in learning. She took him on trips, bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials and other equipments. After Ebright’s father he became everything for his mother. She used to find work for him. Ebright’s receptivity brought laurels to his mother.
Q. What lesson does Ebright learn when he does not win anything at a science fair?
Ans. Ebright took part in a county science fair when he was in the seventh grade. His entry was slides of frog tissues. But he did not get any prize. He now learns that he will have to do real experiments, not simply make a neat display. He got a hint of what real science is.
Q. What experiments and projects does he then undertake?
Ans. Ebright tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills nearly all monarch caterpillars every few years. He thought the disease might be carried by a beetle.
Q. What are the qualities that go into the making of a scientist?
Ans. A scientist should be extremely competitive. He should remember that his work is his prize. He should have an insatiable curiosity, will to win for the right reasons and zeal to do something new.
Q. How can one become a scientist, an economist, a historian…? Does it simply involve reading many books on the subject? Does it involve observing, thinking and doing experiments?
Ans. Curiosity and receptivity are the ingredients that make a scientist, an economist, and a historian. One must not be interested in winning for winning’s sake or winning to get a prize. It is rightly said that it doesn’t matter how long you live but how well you live. The quality of existence is of utmost importance. A competitive person who has enthusiasm and is open to new ideas gets considerable success. It not only involves reading many books on the subject but also involves analytical skills, scientific queries and impressionable mind. A scientist must be a keen observer and must brood over the current problems. One who has a scientific frame of mind analyses the things painstakingly and critically. Success involves determination, indomitable will, indepth knowledge, practical experiments and persistent efforts. One should always remember that there is no short-cut to success. Every individual should set a goal and strive hard to achieve it without taking care of the results.
Q. You must have read about cells and DNA in your science books. Discuss Richard Ebright’s work in the light of what you have studied. If you get an opportunity to work like Richard Ebright on projects and experiments, which field would you like to work on and why?
Children everywhere wonder about the world around them. The questions they ask are the beginning of scientific inquiry. Given below are some questions that children in India have asked Professor Yash Pal and Dr Rahul Pal as reported in their book, Discovered Questions (NCERT 2006).
- What is DNA fingerprinting? What are its uses?
- How do honeybees identify their own honeycombs?
- Why does rain fall in drops?
Can you answer these questions? You will find Professor Yash Pal’s and Dr. Rahul Pal’s answers (as given in Discovered Questions).
Q. You also must have wondered about certain things around you. Share these questions with your class, and try and answer them.