Although the study of plant matter is fascinating, it can be hard to earn a living after obtaining a degree in Botany. Listed below are some areas of work available for plant enthusiasts and historical examples of these occupations leading to great discoveries.
Pharmaceutical: with the ever expanding market for all things drug and medical, the pharmaceutical company has the most careers available to the botanist who wants to experiment with and research plant matter and medicine. Charles Mohr, a German pharmacist and botanist contributed much to the knowledge of Alabama plants and published fifty-five scientific works in his lifetime.
Agriculture: the food industry is clamoring for more ways to boost growth of their harvests while avoiding harmful poisons to the environment. Botanists can contribute greatly to this field of study. Take George Washington Carver for example; his study of the peanut resulted in approximately 100 peanut products useful for the house and farm. Despite popular belief, Carver did not actually invent peanut butter. Female botanist Barbara McClintock received the Nobel Prize for her discovery of the role of “controlling elements” in genetic regulation and transposition, although initially, her works were largely ignored on the basis of being ‘too radical’ for the scientific world.
Field Research: basic principles of heredity and became the foundation of modern genetics.
April 1st; A Celebration of Botany
On the subject of great discoveries, April 1st played a prominent role in the ‘discovery’ of a select few botanical wonders.
In 2009, a British supermarket chain advertised the sale of a newly discovered fruit; the pinana. This fruit was an alleged cross breed of a pineapple and a banana.
Earlier, in 2005, National Public Radio announced a drop in maple syrup consumption that was supposedly caused by the low-carb craze. The reported result was potentially catastrophic; untapped trees were exploding due to pressure buildup. The Vermont Health Board furthered this report, claiming 87 fatalities, 140 maimed, and a dozen decapitations in one year.
Back in 1973, the BBC Radio broadcasted a false interview with Dr. Clothier on the dangers of the widespread effects of the Dutch Elm Disease. Dr. Clothier referenced the research of Dr. Emily Lang (the London School of Pathological and Environmental Medicine) and suggested that exposure to the disease caused red-headed people’s hair to turn yellow. They were advised to avoid close encounters with forests in the future. The ‘academic’ turned out to be the comedian Spike Milligan who disguised his voice on air.