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E. Newton Harvey picture, image, poster
E. Newton Harvey

Date of birth : 1887-11-25
Date of death : 1959-07-21
Birthplace : Germantown, Pennsylvania,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-10-03


Physiologist and zoologist E. Newton Harvey studied under Thomas H. Morgan, and became America's foremost expert on bioluminescence -- animals that glow. He discovered that luciferins (light-emitting substances occurring in luminescent organisms, such as fireflies) and luciferases (enzymes that interact with luciferins) from different animals were species-specific, not interchangeable. He theorized that the inability to interchange luciferins and luciferases across species was evidence of evolution, as each species adapts to fit its specific needs. In 1922, using luciferins from dead crustaceans, he constructed a heat-less reading lamp. In 1931, collaborating with banker and part-time scientist Alfred Lee Loomis, he invented the centrifuge microscope.

Harvey founded the Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology, and is the namesake of two kinds of glowing bacteria (Achromobacter harveyi and Vibrio harveyi) and a species of firefly (Photinus harveyi). He was married to embryologist and cell biologist Ethel Browne Harvey, and for many years they shared facilities at Princeton and Woods Hole.


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