Monthly Archives: October 2014

Samuel W. Alderson and the Crash Test Dummies

Samuel W. Alderson and the Crash Test Dummies

The Hybrid III crash test dummy family On October 21, 1914, US-american engineer Samuel W. Alderson was born. He is best known for his development of the crash test dummy, a device that, during the last half of the twentieth century, was widely used by automobile manufacturers to test the reliability of automobile seat belts and other safety protocols. Samuel W. Alderson attended several colleges including Reed College, California Institute…
Vannoccio Biringuccio and the Art of Metalworking

Vannoccio Biringuccio and the Art of Metalworking

De la Pirotechnia (1540) by Vannoccio Biringuccio 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. Biringuccio was born in Siena to Paolo Biringuccio, thought to have been an architect and public servant, and his mother was Lucrezia di Bartolommeo…
Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus, Lunar Crater As for many people from antiquity, we also have no birthdate for Eudoxus of Cnidus, who 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. Eudoxus of Cnidus was born around…
Nicholas Culpeper and the Complete Herbs of England

Nicholas Culpeper and the Complete Herbs of England

Nicholas Culpeper On October 18, 1616, English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper was born. Culpeper spent the greater part of his life in the English outdoors cataloging hundreds of medicinal herbs. Thus, he is best known for his publication of Complete Herbal (1653), a comprehensive listing of English medicinal herbs and their uses, which still is in print today. It is widely believed that Nicholas Culpeper came from aristocratic…
Socrates and the Socratic Method

Socrates and the Socratic Method

Socrates by Leonidas Drosis, Athens – Academy of Athens Image: DIMSFIKAS at Greek Wikipedia Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He remains an enigmatic figure in philosophy, because he did not leave as a single line of text. He is known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon. Nevertheless, you might…
Albrecht von Haller – Father of Modern Physiology

Albrecht von Haller – Father of Modern Physiology

Albrecht von Haller (1708 – 1777) On October 16, 1708, Swiss anatomist, physiologist, naturalist and poet Albrecht von Haller was born. He made prolific contributions to physiology, anatomy, botany, embryology, poetry, and scientific bibliography. Moreover, he is often referred to as the “Father of modern Physiology”. It is said that Albrecht von Haller learned Greek and Hebrew at the age of 10 and authored translations from Ovid, Horace and Virgil…
Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647) On October 15, 1608, Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli was born, best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in Optics. Evangelista Torricelli was born in Rome, the firstborn child of Gaspare Ruberti, a poor textile worker, and Giacoma Torricelli. His family was from Faenza in the Province of Ravenna, then part of the Papal States. His parents sent…
Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

Bust of Pythagoras, Musei Capitolini, Roma. One of the founders of Western mathematics was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic, and scientist and is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom. Anyway, his eponymous theorem possibly is the best known theorem…
Peter Barlow and the Barlow Lenses

Peter Barlow and the Barlow Lenses

Peter Barlow (1776 – 1862) On October 13, 1776, British mathematician and physicist Peter Barlow was born. He is still reknown today for his development of two varieties of achromatic (non-colour-distorting) telescope lenses, the so-called Barlow lenses. Despite lacking formal education, Peter Barlow became assistant mathematical master at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich in 1801. His first research achievements mostly focused on the field of mathematics. His ‘Theory of mathematics’ was published…
Ascanio Sobrero and the Power of Nitroglycerine

Ascanio Sobrero and the Power of Nitroglycerine

Ascanio Sobrero (1812–1888) On October 12, 1812, Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero was born. During his experimental research he discovered the explosive compound nitroglycerine. Sobrero was horrified by the destructive potential of his discovery, and made no effort to develop that power himself. Possibly, the only name that pops up in your mind when you think of the explosive nitroglycerine is Alfred Nobel, the guy who also funded the eponymous prices for…
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