York Town Square

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Working with their hands and minds, York countians have it down to a science

Mathematician and astronomer Daniel Kirkwood attended, and later taught, at York County (Pa.) Academy, a forerunner to York College. The longtime University of Indiana researcher’s name is attached today to Kirkwood Gaps, spaces in the asteroid belt influenced by Jupiter’s gravity. He is one of a long list of scientists and researchers from York County. (See video below of young York County scientist Lauren Hodge). Also of interest: Add another achiever to the list of York countians with impressive resumes and York County high school grads teach lessons in achievement on national stage and Local grads make good on screen, stage.
Lauren Hodge is 14 years old and a winner in her age group in the Google Science Fair.
J. Michael Bishop is a Nobel Prize winner.
Both have York County links.
So I suggested in my York Sunday News column (7/25/11) that they shake hands and make some remarks at next year’s York County Science Fair or some other meetup.
Lauren Hodge’s accomplishment in the Google fair provided a reason to present a sampling of inventors, scientists and such with York County roots. (See list of links below.)
Interesting, York countians have a reputation for working with their hands. It’s often overlooked that great minds are often guiding those hands. And what do chemists do in the laboratory? They work with their hands, too.
One only wishes that York County had a four-year college to further fuel its considerable scientific accomplishments. York College did not become a four-year college until 1969.
Here’s an early clergyman/scientist who is often overlooked among York County researchers, taken from my “Never to be Forgotten.” … .

In 1789, the Rev. Frederick Valentine Melsheimer is qualified to tell his parishioners about the birds and the bees — in detail and with great accuracy. The German-born pastor serves several Hanover-area congregations from 1789 to 1814. But he’s known today for his interest in natural history, particularly in the field of entomology, the study of insects. He publishes a major work on the insects of Pennsylvania in 1806, a pioneering book on the subject. “He was not a mere collector but paid considerable attention to food habit and mode of occurrence…,” a biography states. His sons carried on his entomological interests. One son, Frederick Ernst Melsheimer, also practiced medicine in Davidsburg for decades in the 19th century. The physician became president of the American Entomological Society in 1853 and sold his collection, which included his father’s work, to a Harvard University museum. The Rev. Daniel Ziegler, a minister in Kreutz Creek and York and also an avid entomologist, was a friend of Dr. Melsheimer. He added his considerable collection of insects to the Melsheimer cache. The combined collections covered 80 years of work and filled 41 wooden boxes. The collection contained 5,302 species with 14,774 specimens. Dr. Melsheimer also developed interests in astronomy and mounted a telescope in front of his Davidsburg house, where he entertained friends with views of the sun, moon and stars.

Lauren Hodge’s scientific prowess made the national news.
Other researchers with York County roots:
Add Larry Bowers name to long list of scientists with York County, Pa., links
Add Penn State researcher Herschel Leibowitz to long list of York countians who excelled in research.
Two women with York County, Pa., roots excelled in the medical laboratory
York, Pa.-born Edwin Shneidman, suicide prevention pioneer, dies in Los Angeles
Pennsylvanian Daniel Drawbaugh: ‘The Edison of the Cumberland Valley’
Area native shares Nobel for Medicine.
Few know it, but digital computing’s first pioneer George Stibitz was born in York, Pa.
York, Pa.-born Edwin Shneidman, suicide prevention pioneer, dies in Los Angeles.
Author with York County ties: Learned the brain inside and out in writing ‘How We Decide’
Who was Phineas Davis of York City school fame?.
Who was Edgar Fahs Smith of York City middle school fame?
York, Pa.’s link to the use of steroids in sports: ‘Pecs, pink pills and power’