Dr. Tom Turpin, a professor of entomology at Purdue University, was recently interviewed by a local TV station about insect myths and how they originated. In the following video, he discusses the entomological origins of “louse dislodgers” (otherwise known as back-scratchers), perfume (used to purify air in order to protect people from malaria), and powdered wigs (used to protect people from lice):
Besides being known for his teaching abilities (he won the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 1997), Tom is also known for his service to the entomological sciences. He was president of the Entomological Society of America in 1992, was elected an ESA Fellow in 2010, and he won the Entomological Foundation Medal of Honor in 2009.
He’s also one of the co-founders and of the Linnaean Games, a college-bowl-style contest in which student teams from competing universities test their entomological knowledge, and he writes a weekly column about insects called “On Six Legs.”