On October 19, the Stanford Microarray Database recorded its 50,000th experiment since its creation in 1999. A Stanford University press release puts the historic achievement squarely "at the forefront of an information processing revolution." This achievement brings to mind various other milestones in the history of biology and biomedical research.
DEC. 23, 1702: Antony van Leeuwenhoek spots the 50,000th microbe he has observed swimming around in what he had previously believed to be crystal-clear pond water. "I can't believe I used to drink that stuff," he says (in Dutch), as he taps a keg.
SEPT. 30, 1835: Charles Darwin counts to 50,000, which allows him to clock the 100-meter dash for a Galapagos tortoise while cooling down after another conversation with Captain Fitz Roy.
NOV. 17, 1864: Gregor Mendel tallies his 50,000th pea plant data point and notes his personal connection to his study subject: "I used to be tall...