Ruth Myrtle Patrick: A Life Spent Looking Closely at Nature

A Window to a Whole Other World

November 26, 1907  

Today is the birthday of the botanist Ruth Myrtle Patrick.
Ruth developed new methods for measuring the health of freshwater ecosystems. Today, the Patrick Principle measures the biological diversity of a stream; the greater the diversity, the greater the health of the water.
Ruth learned much from her botanist father, Frank. Looking back on her childhood, Ruth said,

“I collected everything: worms, mushrooms, plants, rocks.
I remember the feeling I got when my father would roll back the top of his big desk in the library and roll out the microscope...
it was miraculous,
looking through a window at the whole other world."

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Ruth Myrtle Patrick
Ruth Myrtle Patrick

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