Monthly Archives: February 2013

Crick and Watson decipher the DNA

Crick and Watson decipher the DNA

Detailed DNA structure On February 28, 1953,  American molecular biologist James D. Watson and English biophysicist Francis Crick announced to friends that they succeeded to determine the chemical structure of DNA. Already in the 19th century biochemists were able to isolate DNA and RNA from the cell nuclei mixed together. They later found out that DNA and RNA had to be distincted from each other. The nuclein was identified by…
James Chadwick and the Discovery of the Neutron

James Chadwick and the Discovery of the Neutron

James Chadwick(1891 – 1974) On February 27, 1932, English physicist and Nobel Laureate Sir James Chadwick published an article in the scienticic journal ‘Nature’ about the discovery of the neutron, a previously unknown particle in the atomic nucleus. James Chadwick was born and raised in Bollington, England and later studied at Manchester and Cambridge University. Just before the start of World War I, Chadwick moved to Berlin, studying at the…
Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

On February 26 (or maybe also 24), 1664, English inventor Thomas Newcomen was born, who created the first practical steam engine for pumping water, the Newcomen steam engine. As we know from a previous article on James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution, Watt was the one improving Newcomen‘s engine in the 18th and 19th century. Since the knowledge about the power of working with steam had been around for a…
Friedrich Spee and the Cautio Criminalis

Friedrich Spee and the Cautio Criminalis

Friedrich Spee (1591-1635) On February 25, 1591, German Jesuit and poet Friedrich Spee was born, who is best known for his book Cautio Criminalis, in which he argued publicly against the trials for witchcraft and against torture in general. He was one of the noblest and most attractive figures of the awful era of the Thirty Years’ War. Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld was born to a noble family at Kaiserswerth…
Jacques de Vaucanson and his Miraculous Automata

Jacques de Vaucanson and his Miraculous Automata

Jacques de Vaucanson (1709 – 1782) On February 24, 1709, French inventor and artist Jacques Vaucanson was born, who is best known for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom. Jacques de Vaucanson grew up in a poor family, his father was occupied as a glove maker and Jacques himself wanted to become a clockmaker. He was educated by Jesuits but…
The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

The Amazing Diary of Samuel Pepys, Esq.

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703),Painting by John Hayls, 1666 On February 23, 1633, English naval administrator and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys was born, who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. The detailed private diary Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century, and is one of the most important primary sources for the English…
The World according to Arthur Schopenhauer

The World according to Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) On February 22, 1788, famous and most influential German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was born. He is best known for his book, The World as Will and Representation, in which he claimed that our world is driven by a continually dissatisfied will, continually seeking satisfaction. Arthur Schopenhauer was born in Danzig (now Gdansk) on the 22nd of February 1788, as son of the merchant Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer, and…
Edwin Land – Father of the Polaroid Instant Camera

Edwin Land – Father of the Polaroid Instant Camera

SX-70 Polaroid Camera On February 21, 1947, American scientist and inventor Edwin Land introduced the very first instant camera together with an associated film. Land’s new camera would allow people to produce a black and white photograph in about sixty seconds. The new film already contained the necessary chemicals to develop and fix the image directly on the photographic paper. Edwin Land studied chemistry at Harvard University but dopped out…
Ansel Adams and the Beauty of Black and White Photography

Ansel Adams and the Beauty of Black and White Photography

The Tetons and the Snake River (1942) Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming by Ansel Adams. Source: http://www.archives.gov/research/ansel-adams/ On February 20, 1902, American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Easton Adams was born. He is best known for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park. Together with Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final…
Nikolaus Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model

Nikolaus Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) On February 19, 1473, Renaissance mathematician and astronomer Nikolaus Copernicus, who established the heliocentric model, which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe, was born. With the publication of his research he started the so-called Copernican Recolution, which started a paradigm shift away from the former Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which postulated the Earth at the center of…
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