SciHi Blog

ALMA – the largest and most expensive ground-based astronomical project

ALMA – the largest and most expensive ground-based astronomical project

On October 3, 2011, first images produced by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array were released to the press. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. ALMA is currently the largest and most expensive ground-based astronomical project, costing between US$1.4 and 1.5 billion. The ALMA Interferometer ALMA is an interferometer, i.e. many small radio telescopes working together as a single large…
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Baron Gerard de Geer and the Varves

Baron Gerard de Geer and the Varves

On October 2, 1858, Swedish geologist Gerard Jacob De Geer was born. De Geer made significant contributions to Quaternary geology, particularly geomorphology and geochronology. But, he is best known for his discovery of varves. A varve is a seasonal coarse-fine layer of clay deposited in still water.The layers were produced by the annual melt-water sequence and can be used as a chronological evidence. Gerard de Geer – Family Background and Early Years Baron…
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Otto Frisch and the Idea of Nuclear Fission

Otto Frisch and the Idea of Nuclear Fission

On October 1, 1904, Austrian-British physicist Otto Robert Frisch was born. With his aunt Lise Meitner,[4] Frisch described the division of neutron-bombarded uranium into lighter elements. With his collaborator Rudolf Peierls he designed the first theoretical mechanism for the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1940. “Scientists have one thing in common with children: curiosity. To be a good scientist you must have kept this trait of childhood, and perhaps it is not…
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Jean Baptiste Perrin and the Brownian Motion

Jean Baptiste Perrin and the Brownian Motion

On September 30, 1870, French physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin was born. In his studies of the Brownian motion of minute particles suspended in liquids, Perrin verified Albert Einstein’s explanation of this phenomenon and thereby confirmed the atomic nature of matter. Jean Baptiste Perrin – Biographical Background Jean Baptiste Perrin was born in Lille, France, while his father, Captain Jean Baptiste Perrin, wounded at the battle of Saint-Privat, was locked up in Metz…
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Michael Servetus and the Pulmonary Circulation

Michael Servetus and the Pulmonary Circulation

Around September 29, 1509 (or 1511), Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and Renaissance humanist Michael Servetus was born. Servetus was a polymath versed in many sciences: mathematics, astronomy and meteorology, geography, human anatomy, medicine and pharmacology, as well as jurisprudence, translation, poetry and the scholarly study of the Bible in its original languages. He was probably the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation. “Michael Servetus, alone, but trusting in Christ’s most sure protection.”…
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Edward Herbert Thompson and the Cenote Sagrado

Edward Herbert Thompson and the Cenote Sagrado

On September 28, 1857, American archaeologist and diplomat Edward Herbert Thompson was born. Thompson is most famous for dredging the Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote) in Chichen Itza from 1904 to 1910, where he recovered artifacts of gold, copper and carved jade, as well as the first-ever examples of what were believed to be pre-Columbian Maya cloth and wooden weapons. Edward Herbert Thompson – Early Years Edward Herbert Thompson was born in Worcester, Massachussetts,…
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Sir Martin Ryle’s Breakthrough in Radio Astronomy with Aperture Synthesis

Sir Martin Ryle’s Breakthrough in Radio Astronomy with Aperture Synthesis

On September 27, 1918, English radio astronomer and Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Ryle was born. Ryle developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources. He was Astronomer Royal from 1972 to 1982 and shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974 with Antony Hewish, the first Nobel prize awarded in recognition of astronomical research. “I think that the event which, more than anything else, led me…
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Archibald Hill and the Discipline of Biophysics

Archibald Hill and the Discipline of Biophysics

On September 26, 1886, English physiologist and Nobel Laureate Archibald Vivian Hill was born. Hill is one of the founders of the diverse disciplines of biophysics and operations research. He shared the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his elucidation of the production of heat and mechanical work in muscles. “One knows that after violent exercise one breathes heavily for some time: the more violent the exercise, the longer one’s respiration is…
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Dmitri Shostakovich’s Apocalyptic Soundtrack for the 20th century

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Apocalyptic Soundtrack for the 20th century

On 25 September 1906, Soviet-era Russian composer and pianist Dmitri Shostakovich was born. He became internationally known after the premiere of his First Symphony in 1926 and was regarded throughout his life as a major composer. In addition to 15 symphonies, instrumental concertos, stage works and film music, he composed 15 string quartets, which are among the major works of the 20th century chamber music repertoire. “I live in the USSR, work…
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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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