The Making of a Scientist – Summary

The Making of a Scientist by Robert W. Peterson, is about the great scientist Richard H. Ebright. He had a habit of collecting butterflies, rock fossils and coins since he was a kid. He started scientific research on the study of butterflies. His curiosity and will to win for the right reasons made him a successful scientist.


Richard H. Ebright was the only child of his parents. He studied at Pennsylvania. After the death of his father, he was everything for his mother. He used to earn top grade in the school. By the time he was in second grade, he had collected all twenty-five species of butterfly found around his hometown. His mother brought him a book named ‘The Travels of Monarch X’. That book told him how the monarch butterflies migrate to Central America.

He became interested in tagging the butterflies. It was a tedious job and most of the butterflies traveled only seventy-five miles away. When he was in the seventh grade, he attended a county science fair but he could not win any prizes because others had shown real experiments. When he was in the eighth grade he tried to find the cause of the disease that used to kill nearly all the monarchs. His trial of this experiment won him a prize.

In the second year of his high school, Richard began to search an unknown hormone in the gold spots of the butterflies. In his senior year he proved that the cells of a monarch will develop into a normal butterfly wing only if they were fed the hormone from the gold spots. This project won the first place for zoology at the international fair. As a result he could spend some time at the laboratory of the Department of Agriculture. There he could identify the chemical structure of that hormone. While studying the X-ray photographs of the hormone, he found yet another important thing about it. He discovered how the cell could read the blueprint of its DNA.

Richard graduated from Harvard with the highest honours. He stood second in the class of 1510 students. He was competitive right from the beginning. He always tried to give his best and that was the secret of his success. He had an intelligent brain, high curiosity and desire to win and compete. All these things made him a grand success.

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