‘The Making of a Scientist’ Notes Class 10 English: Through Ebright’s story, Peterson surmises that qualities like curiosity, persistence, dedication and inspiration play a crucial role in making a scientist. The author suggests that one must be perseverant and dedicated towards his/her work as hard-work and perseverance pays off eventually.
Summary: The Making of a Scientist
Broadly, The Making of a Scientist can be divided into:
- Ebright’s Achievement at a Young Age
- Ebright as a Child
- Ebright’s Collection of Butterflies
- Ebright Breeds Butterflies
- Ebright Decides to do Real Experiments
- Ebright’s Theory on Butterflies
- Ebright’s New Theory
- Ebright’s Other Interests
- The Making of A Scientist
Ebright’s Achievement at a Young Age
- Richard H. Ebright, at the age of twenty-two, stunned the scientific community with his innovative theory on cells.
- An article about his theory was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
- For Richard, this success started with butterflies.
Ebright as a Child
- Richard Ebright grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania.
- As an only child, Ebright collected things like rocks, fossils and butterflies to amuse himself.
Ebright’s Collection of Butterflies
- By the second grade, Ebright had collected all twenty-five species of butterflies found in Reading.
- Ebright’s interest in butterflies might have waned after the eighth grade had it not been for the book The Travels of Monarch X his mother gave him.
- The book charted the migration of monarch butterflies from the United States to Central America.
- At the end of the book, readers were invited to study butterflies and tag them for research. Inspired by the book, Ebright decided to tag his own butterflies.
Ebright Breeds Butterflies
- The butterfly season in Reading was only six weeks, making it difficult for Ebright to tag many butterflies.
- So, he decided to breed monarch butterflies in his basement.
Ebright Decides to do Real Experiments
- Then, in the seventh grade – after losing in the county science fair – Ebright learnt that real science was about experiments rather than displays.
- His competitive spirit was kindled, and he wrote to the author of The Travels of Monarch X, – Dr. Urquhart, for ideas.
- In the eighth grade, Ebright tried to show that a species of beetles was responsible for a viral disease afflicting the monarch caterpillar.
- Though his project didn’t yield tangible results, Ebright did win an award for effort.
Ebright’s Theory on Butterflies
- In the ninth grade, he tested the theory of how viceroy butterflies copy monarch butterflies for their survival. This time he achieved success in the county science fair.
- In high school, he thought of a simple question that would have life-changing implications for his career.
- Richard and a fellow science student worked on a device which would provide the answer to this question.
- This project gave him a chance to work at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. It also got him an entry into the International Science and Engineering Fair.
- He continued working on this project which won him the first prize at the International Fair and gave him a chance to work for the U.S. department of Agriculture.
Ebright’s New Theory
- As a next step in the project, Ebright grew cells from the monarch’s wing to expand on his theory.
- Next summer, after completing his first year at Harvard University, Richard went back to the Department of Agriculture.
- He succeeded in identifying the hormone’s chemical structure.
- Following this, he discovered how cells could read their DNA.
- Peterson states that if Richard manages to prove his theory; it will revolutionize the understanding of life and life’s processes.
- While working on expanding this theory with his colleague James R. Wong, Ebright also graduated from Harvard University.
Ebright’s Other Interests
- Ebright, Peterson writes, not only is a gifted scholar but also a debate champion, an all-around sports person and an expert photographer.
- While competitive, Richard also believes in giving the best effort that he could.
The Making of a Scientist
- His scientific curiosity, coupled with an intelligent mind and a will to win, has given Richard every opportunity to become a brilliant scientist.
- Peterson believes this combination makes for an extraordinary scientist.
The major theme of the chapter is Hard work:
- The author believes that hard work is a continuous process and he brings this idea forth through the character of Ebright.
- Ebright was passionate about his interest and worked hard since a very young age.
- Ebright added many feathers to his hat from collecting twenty-five species of butterflies to conducting research on an unknown hormone in the gold spots of butterflies.
- Ebright’s curiosity helped him hold on to hope and do better, despite his failures.
- Ebright eventually graduated from Harvard University. With continuous efforts to grow, Richard Ebright proved that hard-work and dedication leads to success.
The chapter provides a brief glimpse into the character of Richard H Ebright:
Notable: Ebright was a brilliant scientist. He is celebrated for his work on cell and reading of DNA.
Curious: Ebright was intrigued by butterflies and he collected them since childhood. He was so fascinated by them that he researched on the cells and DNA of monarch butterflies.
Talented: Ebright was not only is a gifted scholar but also a debate champion, an all-around sports person and an expert photographer.