Died Today – Karl von Frisch

From Today in Science History:

Karl von Frisch, died 12 June 1982 (born 20 Nov 1886)

Zoologist whose studies of communication among bees added significantly to the knowledge of the chemical and visual sensors of insects and simple animals. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with animal behaviourists Konrad Lorenz and Nikolaas Tinbergen. He showed that bees have the ability to recognize different odours and tastes, and discovered their famous “waggle dance” used by bees to communicate among with others in the hive. This sequence of body movements indicates the direction and distance to food. He showed polarized light is used by the bees as a “compass” for navigation, even when the sun is not visible. In fish, he demonstrated their acute hearing, and ability to distinguish colours and brightness.


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