Name of Scientist –Charles Henry Turner

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Occupation – Charles Henry Turner was a scientist that studied animal and insect behavior; he studied about how animals and insects behave and live.

Birth – February 3, 1867

Death – February 14, 1923

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Place of Birth – Cincinnati, Ohio

Known For –
  • Charles Turner was one of the very first African American researchers in animal and insect behavior
  • He was also one of the first African American scientists who got a PHD in the early 1900’s.

Science explained –
  • Charles became the first researcher to prove that insects can hear.
  • He proved that insects could change between different pitches.
  • Charles Henry Turner also found that cockroaches learn by trial and error. He built a maze to test this and put the cockroaches inside. When a pathway led to a dead end, the cockroaches remembered this and did not take that path again.
  • He proved that bees could change between colors.

Career –
1896-1908 Taught in a public high school in Evansville, Indiana, and then at another high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Next, he was the principal at a high school in Cleveland, Tennessee, he also taught biology in the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute in August, Georgia. After that, he taught at Sumner High School for the rest of his life. During all these years, he continued experiment on insect behavior.

Did you know? –
  • The high school he attended was Woodard High School, and graduated as valedictorian.
  • He had a P.HD in zoology, and a master degree in biology.
  • His first research line was on pigeon brains. His second line of research was to answer the question of how insects navigate. He built an awesome ant maze to show that ants never get lost. He also proved that moths can hear sound.
  • He married Leontine Troy in University of Cincinnati. In 1895, Leontine died. She left 5 young children, a few years later, Turner remarried Lillian Porter.
  • Turner had a lifelong commitment to civil rights, first publishing an issue in 1897.
  • Turner also wrote nature stories for children.
  • His career was 33 years, he published 71 papers.
  • When Charles Henry Turner died, St. Louis Board of Education erected a school of disabled black children named after him. The school named after him was called The Charles Henry Turner Open Air School for Crippled Children was established in St. Louis in 1925, in 1954, the school became the Charles Henry Turner Middle Branch, and in 1999 it became part of the Charles Henry Turner MEGA Magnet Middle School.

Charles Henry Turner’s parents were Thomas Turner and Adeline Campbell.

References –

"Charles Henry Turner." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 16 Sep. 2013.
Hayden, Robert C. 7 African-American scientists. Frederick, MD: Twenty-First Century Books, 1992. Print.

Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography, © RM, 2013, all rights reserved, as published under license in AccessScience, The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology Online, __http://www.accessscience.com__, © McGraw-Hill Education, 2000-2013. Helicon Publishing is a division of RM.

Indiana University. “Turner Travel Award.” Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2013

James H. Kessler, et all. Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th century. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1996, 2 Ed. Print.

Koertge, Noretta. New Dictionary of Scientific Biography/ vol.7 Tammes to Zygmund. Detroit: Scribners, c2008. Print.

Scott, Trish. “What did Charles Henry Turner invent?” Yahoo Answers. 2009. Web. 19 Sept. 2013

Wikipedia. “Charles Henry Turner (zoologist).” Wikipedia. 10 Sept. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2013