Monthly Archives: July 2015

John Fowler and the  steam-hauled Plough

John Fowler and the steam-hauled Plough

On July 11, 1826, English agricultural engineer John Fowler was born. He was a pioneer in the use of steam engines for ploughing and digging drainage channels. His inventions significantly reduced the cost of ploughing farmland, and also enabled the drainage of previously uncultivated land in many parts of the world. John Fowler was the son of a wealthy Quaker merchant and followed his father’s wishes to work for a…
David Brewster and the Kaleidoscope

David Brewster and the Kaleidoscope

On July 10, 1817, Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor and writer Sir David Brewster received a patent for his kaleidoscope. “kaleidoscope” is derived from Ancient Greek and denotes something like “observation of beautiful forms.” It consists of a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, colored objects such as beads or pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other creates a colorful pattern, due…
Oliver Sacks and his literary Case Studies

Oliver Sacks and his literary Case Studies

On July 9, 1933, British neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks was born. He is Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine and the author of numerous best-selling books, including several collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks was born in London into a family of physicians and scientists and he earned his medical degree at Oxford University. Since 1965, he has lived in New York, where…
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin and his Rigid Dirigible Airships

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin and his Rigid Dirigible Airships

On July 8, 1838, German aviation pioneer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born. After retiring from his military carreer, he built the first rigid dirigible airships, named Zeppelin, and founded the Zeppelin airship company. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin attended the military academy at Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart and became an officer in the army of Württemberg. During the American Civil War, Zeppelin traveled to the United States as a military observer and he…
Camillo Golgi and the Golgi Apparatus

Camillo Golgi and the Golgi Apparatus

On July 7, 1843, Italian physician, pathologist, scientist, and Nobel laureate Camillo Golgi was born. His key discovery was the use of silver salts to stain samples for microscope slides. Thus new details of cellular structure components were revealed and several phenomena in anatomy and physiology are named for him, including the Golgi apparatus. Camillo Golgi was born near Brescia in northern Italy. His father was a district medical officer.…
Archimedes lifted the world off their hinges

Archimedes lifted the world off their hinges

Without knowing his exact date of birth or even death, we focus today on one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity: the ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer Archimedes of Syracuse, who was born around 287 BC and died at about 212 BC. Only a few details of his life are known, but he is considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all…
Macquorn Rankine and the Laws of Thermodynamics

Macquorn Rankine and the Laws of Thermodynamics

On July 5, 1820, Scottish mechanical engineer William John Macquorn Rankine was born. He was a founding contributor, with Rudolf Clausius and William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), to the science of thermodynamics, particularly focusing on the first of the three thermodynamic laws. Born in Edinburgh as second son to British Army lieutenant David Rankine and Barbara Grahame, Rankine was due to bad health initially educated at home in a strictly religious…
Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the Light of the Cepheids

Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the Light of the Cepheids

On July 4, 1868, American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born. She is best known for her discovery of the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variable stars. Based on her luminosity-period relation for Cepheids, Edwin Hubble was able to determine that the universe is expanding. Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, as daughter among seven children of Congregational church minister George Roswell Leavitt and…
The Medical Breakthroughs of Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch

The Medical Breakthroughs of Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch

On July 3, 1875, German surgeon Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch was born. He is considered as one of the most important and influential surgeons of the 20th century. He developed the Sauerbruch chamber, a pressure chamber for operating on the open thorax. Ferdinand Sauerbruch studied medicine at the University of Magdeburg, the University of Greifswald, the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, and the University of Leipzig. He graduated in 1902 and…
Sir William Henry Bragg and his Work with X-Rays

Sir William Henry Bragg and his Work with X-Rays

On July 2 1862, British physicist, chemist, mathematician, active sportsman and Nobel Laureate Sir William Henry Bragg was born. Bragg shared the 1915 Nobel Prize in physics with his son William Lawrence Bragg “for their services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays“. During the WW I, Bragg was put in charge of research on the detection and measurement of underwater sounds in connection with the location of submarines. He also constructed…
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