SciHi Blog

John Ray Dunning and the Manhattan Project

John Ray Dunning and the Manhattan Project

On September 24, 1907, US-American physicist John Ray Dunning was born. Dunning played key roles in the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bombs. He specialized in neutron physics, and did pioneering work in gaseous diffusion for isotope separation. John Ray Dunning – Early Years John Ray Dunning was born in Shelby, Nebraska, USA, the son of Albert Chester Dunning, a grain dealer, and his wife Josephine. He graduated from Shelby High…
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Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today. He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. “Eratosthenes of Cyrene, employing mathematical theories and geometrical methods, discovered from the course of the sun the…
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Eugen Sänger and Rocket Propulsion Engineering

Eugen Sänger and Rocket Propulsion Engineering

On September 22, 1905, Austrian rocket propulsion engineer Eugen Sänger was born. Sänger is best known for his contributions to lifting body and ramjet technology. Sänger also perfected a “regeneratively cooled” liquid-fueled rocket engine that used its own fuel, circulating around the combustion chamber, to control engine temperatures. By Rocket into Planetary Space After the early loss of his father, Eugen Sänger attended elementary schools in Budapest and Kelenföld. As early as 1918, Sänger…
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David Vetter, the Bubble Boy

David Vetter, the Bubble Boy

On September 21, 1971, David Phillip Vetter was born. He was a prominent sufferer of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a hereditary disease which dramatically weakens the immune system. In the media, Vetter was referred to as “David, the bubble boy“, because he lived in a special sterilized plastic cocoon bubble from birth until he died at age 12. Background Before David was born, his parents Carol Ann and David Vetter Jr. had their first…
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Theodor Fontane and German Realism

Theodor Fontane and German Realism

On September 20, 1898, German novelist and poet Theodor Fontane passed away. Fontane is regarded by many as the most important 19th-century German-language realist writer. A Hugenot Family in Neuruppin Theodor Fontane was born in Neuruppin, a town 30 miles northwest of Berlin, into a Huguenot family as son of the pharmacist Louis Henri Fontane. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to an apothecary. His further education was in Leipzig…
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Chester Carlson and the Invention of Xerography

Chester Carlson and the Invention of Xerography

On September 19, 1968, American physicist, inventor, and patent attorney Chester F. Carlson passed away. He is best known for having invented the process of electrophotography, which produced a dry copy rather than a wet copy, as was produced by the mimeograph process. Carlson’s process was subsequently renamed xerography, a term that literally means “dry writing.” Chester Carlson – Early Years Chester F. Carlson was the only child of Olof Adolph (*…
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Edwin McMillan and his Research on Transuranium Elements

Edwin McMillan and his Research on Transuranium Elements

On September 18, 1907, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Edwin Mattison McMillan was born. McMillan is credited with being the first ever to produce a transuranium element, neptunium. For this, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Glenn Seaborg in 1951. Edwin McMillan – Early Years Edwin McMillan, the son of physicist Dr. Edwin Harbaugh McMillan and his wife Anne Marie McMillan, née Mattison, grew up in Pasadena, California. He entered…
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Stephen Hales and the Blood Pressure

Stephen Hales and the Blood Pressure

On September 17, 1677, English clergyman Stephen Hales was born. Hales made major contributions to a range of scientific fields including botany, pneumatic chemistry and physiology. He was the first person to measure blood pressure. He also invented several devices, including a ventilator, a pneumatic trough and a surgical forceps for the removal of bladder stones. In addition to these achievements was a philanthropist and wrote a popular tract on alcoholic intemperance. “We are…
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Anamorphic Lenses and the Birth of CinemaScope Widescreen Cinema

Anamorphic Lenses and the Birth of CinemaScope Widescreen Cinema

On September 16, 1953, American Biblical epic film The Robe premiered, the very first film released in the widescreen process CinemaScope. Like other early CinemaScope films, The Robe was shot with Henri Chrétien’s original Hypergonar anamorphic lenses. The film marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection. Henri Chrétien and Anamorphoscope The basis for CinemaScope was probably formed by the French inventor Henri Chrétien who…
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Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

On September 15, 1929, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann was born. He is best known for his work on the theory of elementary particles and introduced the quark model. The quark model is a classification scheme for hadrons, i.e. composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force (in the same way as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force). “While many questions about quantum mechanics…
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