Monthly Archives: February 2015

A life is like a garden – Leonard Nimoy

A life is like a garden – Leonard Nimoy

This is not one of our usual daily history in science posts. Today, we want to pay tribute to an actor who played an extraordinary character that has become an icon: Leonard Nimoy and his alter ego Spock, the scientific officer aboard the starship USS Enterprise. I was shocked yesterday evening by the news of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. As Spock, he was one of my childhood’s heroes. And not only one…
Samuel Pierpont Langley and his Aviation Work

Samuel Pierpont Langley and his Aviation Work

On February 27, 1906, American astronomer, physicist, inventor of the bolometer and pioneer of aviation Samuel Pierpont Langley passed away. Langley attempted to make a working piloted heavier-than-air aircraft. His models flew, but his two attempts at piloted flight were not successful. Samuel Pierpont Langley was born in 1834 in Roxbury. He started his education at the Boston Latin School and was interested in astronomy immediately. His brother helped him to build…
Camille Flammarion and his Balancing Act between Popular Science and Science Fiction

Camille Flammarion and his Balancing Act between Popular Science and Science Fiction

On February 26, 1848, French astronomer and author Nicolas Camille Flammarion was born. He maintained a private observatory, where he studied double and multiple stars, the moon and Mars. He is best known as a prolific author of more than fifty titles, including popular science works about astronomy, several notable early science fiction novels, and works on psychical research and related topics. Camille Flammarion was born in Montigny-le-Roi, Haute-Marne, France,…
Giovanni Battista Morgagni and the Science of Anatomy

Giovanni Battista Morgagni and the Science of Anatomy

On February 25, 1682, Italian anatomist Giovanni Battista Morgagni was born. His works helped to make anatomy an exact science. Thus, he often is celebrated as the father of modern anatomical pathology. Giovanni Battista Morgagni was born at Forli, in the Romagna and received a decent scientific education from early years. Already at the age of 14, Morgagni managed to read verses of his compositions and take part in debating philosophical questions…
Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

On February 24, 1856, Russian mathematician and geometer Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky passed away. He is known primarily for his work on hyperbolic geometry. Lobachevsky’s main achievement is the development (independently from János Bolyai) of a non-Euclidean geometry, also referred to as Lobachevskian geometry. Nikolai Lobachevsky was born as one of three children either in or near the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia in 1792 to parents of Polish origin.…
Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

On February 23, 1603, Italian physician, philosopher and botanist Andrea Cesalpino passed away. He classified plants according to their fruits and seeds, rather than alphabetically or by medicinal properties. He helped establish botany as an independent science and also made contributions to medical science and physiology. Andrea Cesalpino was probably born on June 5, 1525. However, some sources suggest also 1519 as his actual year of birth. It is believed…
Frank P. Ramsey and the Ramsey Theory

Frank P. Ramsey and the Ramsey Theory

On February 22, 1903, precocious British philosopher, mathematician and economist Frank Plumpton Ramsey was born. Although he died already at age 26, he had made significant contributions to logic, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language and decision theory. He remains noted for his Ramsey Theory, a mathematical study of combinatorial objects in which a certain degree of order must occur as the scale of the object becomes large. Frank P.…
John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

On February 21, 1791, English dye and fabric chemist John Mercer was born. He invented the mercerisation process for treating cotton which is still in use today and was a pioneer in colour photography. John Mercer grew up in Lancashire, England. He entered the textile industry as a bobbin-winder when he was still a boy. The art of dyeing came to Mercer’s interest approximately at the age of 16. He set up…
Robert E. Peary’s Arctic Expedition

Robert E. Peary’s Arctic Expedition

On February 20, 1920, American polar explorer Robert Edwin Peary passed away. Peary made the first successful expedition to the North Pole arriving 6 Apr 1909 with his assistant Matthew Henson and four Inuit eskimo companions. Peary’s claim was widely credited for most of the 20th century, rather than the competing claim by Frederick Cook, who said he got there a year earlier. Both claims were widely debated in newspapers…
Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

On February 19, 1846, French orientalist and archeologist Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau was born. Besides his archeological research and field work, he is best known for his exposition of several archaeological frauds with the British Museum, the Imperial Museum, Berlin, or the Louvre in Paris. Charles Clermont-Ganneau was born in February, 1846. It is believed that he was the son of a sculptor. He pursued literary studies and learned Hebrew, Clermont-Ganneau…
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