SciHi Blog

Robert Stirling and the Stirling Engine

Robert Stirling and the Stirling Engine

On October 25, 1790, Scottish clergyman Reverend Dr Robert Stirling was born. Stirling is best known for his invention of the Stirling engine, a heat engine that operates by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas (the working fluid) at different temperatures, such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work. Robert Stirling Youth and Education Robert Stirling was born at Cloag Farm near Methven, Perthshire,…
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William Higinbotham and The Birth of Video Games

William Higinbotham and The Birth of Video Games

On October 25, 1910, US-american physicist William “Willy” A. Higinbotham was born. A member of the Manhattan Project, he later became a leader in the nonproliferation movement of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he is also known for his development of ‘Tennis for Two‘, the first interactive analog computer game and one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display. William Higinbotham – Biographical Background William Alfred Higinbotham was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and grew…
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William Lassell and the Discovery of the Uranus Moons Ariel and Umbriel

William Lassell and the Discovery of the Uranus Moons Ariel and Umbriel

On October 24, 1851, English merchant and astronomer William Lassell discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two moons of planet Uranus. Besides, he also discovered the Neptune moon Triton and the Saturn moon Hyperion. William Lassell – Early Years William Lassell was born in Bolton, Lancashire, UK,  and educated in Rochdale Academy. He was apprenticed to a merchant in Liverpool and later became a beer brewer and hobby astronomer. Lassell built himself an observatory…
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Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

On October 23, 1905, Swiss-born American physicist Felix Bloch was born. He is best known for his investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method of measuring the magnetic field of atomic nuclei. “While I am certainly not asking you to close your eyes to the experiences of earlier generations,…
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Sarah Bernhardt – the First World Star

Sarah Bernhardt – the First World Star

On October 22 (or 23), 1844, French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt was born. She is considered the most famous actress of her time and was one of the first world stars. “Once the curtain is raised, the actor ceases to belong to himself. He belongs to his character, to his author, to his public.” – Sarah Bernhardt, as quoted in The Art of the Theatre (1925), p. 171 Sarah Bernhardt – Early Years…
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Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos, who studied in Plato‘s philosopher’s school, is most famous for his groundbreaking work on plants. Thus, he is often referred to as the ‘father of botany‘. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. “Surely, then, if the life in animals does not need explanation or is to be explained only in this way,…
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Vannoccio Biringuccio and the Art of Metalworking

Vannoccio Biringuccio and the Art of Metalworking

Probably on October 20, 1480, Italian matallurgist Vannoccio Biringuccio was born. He is best known for his manual on metalworking, De la pirotechnia, published posthumously in 1540. Biringuccio is considered by some as the father of the foundry industry. Vannoccio Biringuccio – Early Years Biringuccio was born in Siena to Paolo Biringuccio, thought to have been an architect and public servant, and his mother was Lucrezia di Bartolommeo Biringuccio. He was baptised…
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Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus of Cnidus was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, scholar and student of Plato. All of his works are lost or have survived as fragments in the texts of other classical writers. He is best known for having developed the method of exhaustion, a precursor to the integral calculus. The Life of Eudoxus of Cnidus Eudoxus of Cnidus was born around 408 BC as the son of Aischines of Cnidus. His name Eudoxus means…
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Salomon August Andrée and his Failed Polar Balloon Expedition

Salomon August Andrée and his Failed Polar Balloon Expedition

On October 18, 1854, Swedish engineer, physicist, aeronaut and polar explorer Salomon August Andrée was born. Andrée died while leading an attempt to reach the Geographic North Pole by hydrogen balloon. The balloon expedition was unsuccessful in reaching the Pole and resulted in the deaths of all three of its participants. Introducing Auguste Andrèe Salomon Auguste Andrée attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1874. Two…
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Réaumur – the Entomologist and the Temperature Scale

Réaumur – the Entomologist and the Temperature Scale

On October 17, 1757, French entomologist and physicist René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur passed away. Réaumur contributed to many different fields, especially the study of insects. But, he is best known for having introduced the Réaumur temperature scale in 1730. Of course everybody has heard of Fahrenheit and Celsius. But, there exists a variety of different temperature scales, most prominent of them the perhaps absolute temperature scale of Lord Kelvin. But, although the other’s prevailed, Réaumur’s scale still…
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