Meet The Real Gregor Mendel


Gregor Johann Mendel is best known as the father of modern day genetics. He discovered genetics through peas at the monastary he lived and worked at. We learned genetics and Mendelian inheritance in school and/or college biology class. Remember dominant and recessive phenotypes or Punnett square? I remember that well in biology class. Ironically, Mendel was not known for genetics until the early 20th century.

Gregor Mendel in his days was an Augustinian friar in the Empire of Austria-Hungary. What is overlooked about him is that he kept daily records of weather. Yes, you read it right, he kept extensive records of them as recorded weather conditions three times a day. I rarely see any mention of Mendel and weather. In fact in his days, he was better known as a meteorologist.

He kept records of wind speed and direction, rainfall total, and ozone level. He published his report in 1862 in Austria-Hungary Natural Science Society Proceedings. His work compared annual climate to 15 year average, which made him one of the first to use statistical prinicples in weather. Based on his weather observations, he could make forecasts for farmers. His expert weather observation would come in handy one day.

A tornado struck Brunn on the afternoon of October 13, 1870. He watched it through an open window at the monastary. It gave him the opportunity to measure rotation and movement speed of the tornado. This allowed him to explain how tornadoes form. One can say that Mendel was the first storm chaser.

Even to this very day, most of his work are weather related. However, his study of genetics gets the most attention as his study built the foundation of an ever changing field. Gregor Mendel is not only a geneticist, he is also an accomplished meteorologist. Next time when you see a weather forecast, think of Gregor Mendel.


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