Monthly Archives: July 2015

Primo Levi and The Periodic Table

Primo Levi and The Periodic Table

On July 31, 1919, Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi was born. As a writer, he is noted for his restrained and moving autobiographical account of and reflections on survival in the Nazi concentration camps. His book The Periodic Table, a collection of short stories published in 1975, and named after the periodic table in chemistry, was named it the best science book ever by the Royal…
Vladimir Zworykin’s Television System

Vladimir Zworykin’s Television System

On July 30, 1888, Russian inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology Vladimir Zworykin was born. Zworykin invented a television transmitting and receiving system employing cathode ray tubes. He played a role in the practical development of television from the early thirties, including charge storage-type tubes, infrared image tubes and the electron microscope. Vladimir Zworykin studied at the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology, under Boris Rosing. He assisted Rosing often with experimental work…
Isidor Isaac Rabi and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Isidor Isaac Rabi and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

On July 29, 1898, Polish-born American physicist and Nobel laureate Isidor Isaac Rabi was born. He is best known for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance, which is used in magnetic resonance imaging. He was also involved in the development of the cavity magnetron, which is used in microwave radar and microwave ovens. Isidor Isaac Rabi moved to the United States in 1899 and received his education in New York City. Rabi received…
John Speed and his famous Maps

John Speed and his famous Maps

On July 28, 1629, English cartographer and historian John Speed passed away. He is considered the most famous of English map-makers. His best-known work is a landmark: the first atlas of the British Isles, the Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (1612), which was reprinted for well over a century after his death. Framed productions of maps from his atlas remain popular to hang in homes. John Speed was…
The Astronomical Achievements of Sir George Biddell Airy

The Astronomical Achievements of Sir George Biddell Airy

On July 27, 1801, English mathematician, astronomer, and Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy was born. His many achievements include work on planetary orbits, measuring the mean density of the Earth, a method of solution of two-dimensional problems in solid mechanics and, in his role as Astronomer Royal, establishing Greenwich as the location of the prime meridian. George Biddell Airy showed talents in mathematics very early at school and it is believed that he studied for instance arithmetic, double-entry book keeping and…
Parsifal – Richard Wagner’s Last Opera

Parsifal – Richard Wagner’s Last Opera

On July 26, 1882, Richard Wagner‘s last opera ‘Parsifal‘ premiered in the Festspielhaus at Bayreuth. Wagner described Parsifal not as an opera, but as “ein Bühnenweihfestspiel” (“A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage“). Initially, according to Wagner‘s will, Parsifal should only be allowed to be played at Bayreuth, because he wanted to prevent it from degenerating into ‘mere amusement‘ for an opera-going public. Wagner‘s compositions, particularly those of…
Thomas Tompion – the Father of English Clockmaking

Thomas Tompion – the Father of English Clockmaking

On July 25, 1639, English clock maker, watchmaker and mechanician Thomas Tompion was baptized. He is still regarded to this day as the Father of English Clockmaking. Tompion’s work includes some of the most historic and important clocks and watches in the World. Thomas Tompion was the son of a blacksmith and became an an apprentice of a London clockmaker around 1664. It is believed that to his early patrons…
Rocket Launch Site Cape Canaveral

Rocket Launch Site Cape Canaveral

On July 24, 1950, Bumper 8, a modified German World War II V-2 rocket, became the first ever rocket to be launched from Cape Canaveral. Cape Canaveral already became the test site for missiles the year before, and was chosen for rocket launches to take advantage of the Earth’s rotation, because of its southern location. In 1949, U.S. President Harry Truman established the Joint Long Range Proving Grounds at Cape Canaveral to test missiles. The…
Mark Weiser and his vision of Ubiquituous Computing

Mark Weiser and his vision of Ubiquituous Computing

On July 23, 1952, computer scientist Mark David Weiser was born. Weiser was chief scientist at Xerox PARC in the United States and is widely considered to be the father of ubiquitous computing, a term he coined in 1988. In contrast to desktop computing, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location, and in any format. A user interacts with the computer, which can exist in many different forms, including…
George Shaw and the Platypus

George Shaw and the Platypus

On July 22, 1813, English botanist and zoologist George Shaw passed away. Shaw published one of the first English descriptions with scientific names of several Australian animals including the very first scientific description of the platypus. Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated by his father until 1765 when he entered Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving his B.A. in 1769 and his M.A. in 1772. He was ordained deacon…
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