Monthly Archives: June 2014

Maria Goeppert Mayer and the Nuclear Shell Model

Maria Goeppert Mayer and the Nuclear Shell Model

On June 28, 1906, German-born Physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer was born. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second female Nobel laureate in physics, after Marie Curie. “Mathematics began to seem too much like puzzle solving. Physics is puzzle solving, too, but of puzzles created by nature, not by the mind of man.” — Maria Goeppert-Mayer, as quoted…
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Lyman Spitzer and the Space Telescope

Lyman Spitzer and the Space Telescope

On June 26, 1914, American theoretical physicist, astronomer and mountaineer Lyman Strong Spitzer was born. Researching in star formation and plasma physics, he is probably best known for being the first to conceive the idea of telescopes operating in outer space. Thus, he is also the namesake of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Well mountaineer and astronomer at the same time, I guess we never had a fellow like Lyman Spitzer up to…
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Mixing Up a Plane with a Train – Franz Kruckenberg’s Schienenzeppelin

Mixing Up a Plane with a Train – Franz Kruckenberg’s Schienenzeppelin

On 21 June 1931, Franz Kruckenberg’s Schienenzeppelin (rail zeppelin) set a new world railway speed record of 230.2 km/h (143.0 mph) on the Berlin–Hamburg line between Karstädt and Dergenthin, which was not surpassed by any other rail vehicle until 1954. How to build faster Trains? The famous Schienenzeppelin was anticipated by the design of the Aerowagon, an experimental Russian high-speed railcar fitted with an aircraft engine and propeller traction invented by Valerian Abakovsky, a…
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Charles Augustin de Coulomb and the Electrostatic Force

Charles Augustin de Coulomb and the Electrostatic Force

On June 14, 1736, French physicist Charles Augustin de Coulomb was born. He is best known for developing Coulomb’s law, the definition of the electrostatic force of attraction and repulsion, but also did important work on friction. The SI unit of electric charge, the coulomb, was named after him. Charles Augustin de Coulomb received a good education in mathematics, astronomy, chemistry and botany since both sides of his family were respected and quite wealthy…
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William Butler Yeats and Modern English Literature

William Butler Yeats and Modern English Literature

On June 13, 1865, Irish poet William Butler Yeats was born. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and has become one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. “Words are always getting conventionalized to some secondary meaning. It is one of the works of poetry to take the truants in custody and bring them back to their…
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The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

On June 11, 1871, the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 led by geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden began, which explored the region of northwestern Wyoming that later became Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Ferdinand Hayden – Early Years Ferdinand Hayden was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, USA. When Ferdinand Hayden was ten years old his father died. Ferdinand Hayden moved in with his uncle in Ohio. As a young boy he was fascinated with all nature…
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The Viking Raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne

The Viking Raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne

On 8 June, 793 AD, Vikings destroyed the abbey on Lindisfarne, a centre of learning that was famous across the continent. This event also is considered as the beginning of the Viking Age, when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. Recently, this first Viking assault has gained more public interest because of the popular tv series “Vikings” (“Wrath of the Northmen“), in which the…
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Thomas Mann and the illustrious Mann Family

Thomas Mann and the illustrious Mann Family

On June 6, 1875, German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, and Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann was born. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, are noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His older brother was the radical writer Heinrich Mann and three of his six children, Erika Mann, Klaus Mann and Golo Mann, also became important German writers. “Space, like time, engenders…
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The Bose-Einstein Condensate brings Quantum Theory to the Macroscopic Scale

The Bose-Einstein Condensate brings Quantum Theory to the Macroscopic Scale

On June 5, 1995, the very first Bose-Einstein condensate was experimentally produced by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at the University of Colorado. A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter of a dilute gas of bosons cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero. Under such conditions, a large fraction of the bosons occupy the lowest quantum state, at which point quantum effects become apparent on a macroscopic scale. For…
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