Tuesday 13th March, 2007


T&T scientists impact the world

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Cover of World Class Trinidad and Tobago An Area of Abundance: Profiles in Performance, authored by Elliot Basiien and Sandra Bernard-Bastien.

From the flat-screen television to the discovery of rabies, T&T-born scientists have impacted the world through their research.

In the book World Class Trinidad and Tobago An Area of Abundance: Profiles in Performance, authors Elliot Basiien and Sandra Bernard-Bastien highlight some of the remarkable achievements locally-born scientists have made.

Among the ten scientists highlighted in the section entitled Science are:

Bertrand Achong, medical researcher (1928–1996)

Born on December 6, 1928, Bertrand Achong was the co-discoverer of the Epstein-Barr virus in 1964.

His electron micrographs were critical in this discovery of an unknown member of the herpes family of viruses.

The virus, the first identified oncovirus, is believed to be the key causal factor in certain types of cancer.

Achong was a past pupil of St Mary’s College, where he won an island scholarship and Jerningham Gold Medal in 1946.

Stephen Bennett, veterinary researcher (1922)

During the 1950s and 60s, Stephen Bennett developed a new kind of buffalo, the “buffalypso.” Through selective breeding, the buffalypso was designed exclusively for meat, which proved to be of the highest quality.

It turned out, however, that the milk it produced was most famous for its use in the making of mozzarella cheese, a major ingredient in pizzas worldwide.

Bennett was born in Princes Town, and was educated at St Benedict’s College, which later became Presentation College, San Fernando.

Andre Cropper, research engineer and inventor of OLEDS (1961)

Andre Cropper’s US patent for a new Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) facilitated the development of flat panel displays, which are today used in most electronic devices from ATM machines and flat-screen TVs to laptop computers.

A past pupil of Newtown Boys’ RC School and Fatima College, Cropper had a keen interest in electronics from an early age.

His hobby as a schoolboy was the dismantling and reassembly of electronic devices.

Joseph Lennox Pawan, medical researcher (1887-1957)

Joseph Lennox Pawan became world- renowned for his meticulous study of a rabies epidemic in Trinidad that led to his discovery and isolation of the rabies virus in the early 1930s.

Born in Port-of-Spain, Pawan won the only island scholarship granted in 1907 from St Mary’s College and that year was admitted to medical school at Edinburgh University, Scotland.

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