Abraham Trembley

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Trembley, Abraham


Born Sept. 3,1710, in Geneva; died there May 12,1784. Swiss naturalist. Member of the Royal Society (1743); correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences (1749).

Trembley discovered the ability of an organism to regenerate itself completely from its sectioned parts. Cutting a hydra into several parts, he established that each part regenerates itself, growing into a complete organism. His research in regeneration was published in the work Memoirs: Toward a History of a Genus of Freshwater Polyp With Horn-shaped Arms (1744; Russian translation, 1937). This work furthered the establishment of experimental methods in biology.


Kanaev, 1.1. Abraam Tramble. Leningrad, 1972.
Baker, J. R. Abraham Trembley of Geneva: Scientist and Philosopher, 1710–1784. London, 1952.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This is why, say two animal ethicists, he "penned a satirical and caustic parody on Experiments on the Cuttlefish [sic] by Abraham Trembley, as reported in the proceedings of the Royal Society." (16)
(23) Miller parses the humour in great detail, but is less rigorous in ascribing a motivation to it, writing, for instance, that "The Society's indefatigable curiosity about any and all natural wonders seemed to literary men such as Fielding not only indiscriminate but meaningless." (24) Miller traces the pamphlet to an article published in the Philosophical Transactions, regarding Swiss naturalist Abraham Trembley's discovery of a regenerating polyp, now known as the hydra, but he overlooks the cultural significance of Trembley's discovery.
Ratcliff, "Abraham Trembley's Strategy of Generosity and the Scope of Celebrity in the Mid-Eighteenth Century," Isis 95 (2004), 556.
(34) Ratcliff "Abraham Trembley's Strategy of Generosity," 560.
Regeneration began to take a more serious scientific bent in the mid-18th century, thanks largely to Abraham Trembley's investigations into the hydra, a plantlike aquatic animal that can form two whole organisms if split in half.
The Swiss naturalist Abraham Trembley (1700-1784), working in the Dutch Republic, discovered the freshwater hydra in 1740.