The contribution of the fundamental scientific disciplines, physics, chemistry, and mathematics, to progress in medicine is not unique in contemporary research and education. These basic disciplines have provided impregnable support to medical research for centuries. One of the most notable eras that exemplified this liaison existed 100 years ago and was associated especially with the names of Robert Koch, Louis Pasteur, and the less well known Ferdinand Julius Cohn and John Tyndall. Each made major contributions to the understanding of the new science of bacteriology by experiments profound in concept but relatively simple in execution. Brilliant thinking preceded experimental testing of the hypotheses in the laboratory. Only one of the four investigators, Robert Koch, was trained as a physician.
Tyndall was born at Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow, one of the smallest counties in eastern Ireland, south of Dublin. He studied physics at the University of Marburg in Germany, was elected