American painter John Singer Sargent, at one time the world's most famous and highly paid portrait painter, is famous for his portraits of American and English social celebrities. In 1884, before he had achieved acclaim, a scandal erupted when he exhibited Portrait of Madame X in Paris. The subject, socialite Madame Gautreau, wore a low-cut gown, which critics considered erotic. Paris was offended, Gautreau refused the painting, and Sargent moved to London. Where is the painting today?
Back in the day
After coining the word "antibiotic" for bacteria-killing chemicals derived from micro-organisms, American microbiologist Selman A. Waksman, working with Albert Schatz, isolated streptomycin—the fourth antibiotic ever discovered. Waksman won the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery. Streptomycin acts by inhibiting protein synthesis and damaging cell membranes. Produced by soil bacteria, it was the first specific agent effective in the treatment of what disease?
Born on a day like today
Siddiqui was a leading Pakistani scientist credited with the isolation of unique chemical compounds from various South Asian plants, particularly the neem tree. The extracts of this tree, a broad-leaved evergreen native to India and Myanmar, have been used for centuries in Asia as pesticides, medicines, and health tonics. In the 21st century, knowledge of the neem tree spread to the West, where it has been hailed as a "wonder plant," largely due to the work of Siddiqui, who discovered what else?