Men·del\ˈmend-əl\ (audio pronunciation)Gregor Johann(1822–1884), Austrian botanist and geneticist. Mendel was the discoverer of several basic laws of genetics now known as Mendel's laws. A monk at an Augustinian monastery, in 1856 he began experimenting with plants in his garden. His experiments in crossing several varieties of peas led to his discovery of the basic principles of genetics. In 1866 he published the results of his work in a landmark article. He theorized that the occurrence of the visible alternative characters in plants, in their constant varieties and their offspring, is due to the presence of paired elementary units of heredity. Mendel realized that these units—genes—obey simple statistical laws. He is credited with laying the mathematical foundation of the science of genetics.