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Social sciences: history

Grade 6

The development of medical science

Module 2

Jenner conquers pox

At the beginning of the 19th century, several scientists were working hard to find cures against deadly diseases. Illnesses like smallpox, which caused the death of people until fairly recently, are not such a big danger to mankind any longer.

Today, scientists are trying to find cures for other illnesses which threaten us, such as AIDS and cancer.

In the following section you will find out who have made valuable contributions to the fight against dangerous diseases.

a) The fight against smallpox

Read the following article and answer the questions:


Castle of Good Hope, 31 December 1755. This year the Cape was hit by the terrible “pox” which had raged so violently across the country in 1713. (In that year a ship carrying sailors with smallpox, docked at Cape Town. Hundreds of people died and the Khoina, in particular were affected. Complete Khoina tribes became extinct, and that broke the might of the Khoina for ever.

During 1755 altogether 987 Freeburghers and 492 slaves died from smallpox at the Cape. In the rural areas this disease was not as devastating, probably because those farmers stayed away from the Cape when they heard about the epidemic.

At that time disease was brought to the Cape through a ship which arrived from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The clothes of people who had died from this disease, were bought by other people and in this way the disease spread rapidly. The governor took strict precautions to prevent this disease from ever being brought to the Cape again.

Everyone at the Cape went to church on 7 April 1756 to thank the Lord for having spared their lives and because there were no further cases of the disease.

(Adapted from: A. Boëseken: Die Nuusbode )

Activity 1:

To verify your explanation on pox with relevant proof

[lo 1.3]

(i) How many smallpox epidemics hit the Cape? Write down approximately how many people died during each epidemic.

(ii) Write down two causes of smallpox at the Cape.

(iii) What prevented people in the rural areas from getting smallpox?

(iv) You are the governor at the Cape and must ensure that the Cape is never again struck by this disease. Write down a number of measures which you will apply to protect the Cape.


Have a discussion in class and tell your friends

what measures you will apply to prevent smallpox from

breaking out at the Cape again.

b) Edward Jenner conquers this disease

At the end of the 18 th century Edward Jenner heard of a country girl who said that she did not get the smallpox because she had had cowpox. People became infected from the sores on the udders of cows that they milked. Jenner started doing experiments to find an antidote for this disease.

He took the risk of inoculating an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, with cowpox bacteria. This he did by first of all making a small cut on James’s arm and rubbing fluid from the sores on the girl’s arm, into the cut. The boy was later injected with real smallpox germs, but did not become ill. He had been made immune against smallpox. I wonder if you would have let yourself be inoculated if you were James?

Jenner repeated the experiment several times and nobody who had been inoculated became ill. His method of inoculation soon became known and people in other countries started using the same method.

Through the work of Jenner, everyone was saved from this dangerous disease.

Today people hardly get smallpox any more – the disease has almost been wiped out.

c) Assignment

Write down what you think Jenner would have written in his diary after he inoculated James Phipps with real smallpox germs.


Learning Outcomes(LOs)
LO 1
HISTORICAL ENQUIRY The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate the past and present.
Assessment Standards(ASs)
We know this when the learner:
1.1 finds sources:
  • identifies sources to help answer the question about the topic;
1.2 works with sources:
  • selects and records relevant information for specific purposes from a variety of sources (e.g. oral, written and visual sources, including maps, graphs and tables, objects, buildings, monuments, museums);
1.3 answers the question:
  • arranges information logically and chronologically in answering questions about people, events, objects, and places in the past.

Questions & Answers

do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
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Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
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s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
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What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
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abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
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I'm interested in nanotube
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Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
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preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
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Source:  OpenStax, History grade 6. OpenStax CNX. Sep 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11011/1.1
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