Karl Nägeli (1817 - 1891)
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BiographyEminent Swiss Botanist. Made many positive contributions to botany that we now take for granted, such as the life cycle of ferns and the distinction between a nucleus and the rest of the cell (this is, remember, before they knew about DNA and the nucleus being the site of the chromosomes).
That said, he is nowadays mostly remembered as the loser of several very important ideological battles in biology. Nägeli had his own theory of evolution: that organisms had an innate tendency to evolve "in the direction of greater perfection." As you might guess, "greater perfection" generally meant, in the case of animals, evolution towards man, and in the case of plants, evolution towards pretty flowering things that we'd like to see in our gardens. This led him to reject Gregor Mendel's discovery of the way that inheritance works in pea plants, since it implied that inherited characters are immutable, and not subject to sudden qualitative changes towards "perfection": Mendel wrote to Nägeli, summarizing his results and asking where would be a good place to publish. Nägeli wrote back saying that the experiments were worthless and should not be published at all. So Mendel ended up committing his results to a small, privately printed monograph which was not discovered by the scientific community until almost 50 years later.
In the field of mycology, Nägeli's theory of evolution (another classic losing battle) led him to classify fungi as very primitive plants (after all, they haven't developed chlorophyll or a vascular system yet), and to set up the Actinomycetes as a transitional taxon in between fungi and bacteria (see the entry on Actinomycetes for more information).