Monthly Archives: August 2015

Adventure Time with Emilio Salgari

Adventure Time with Emilio Salgari

On August 21, 1862, Italian writer of action adventure swashbucklers and a pioneer of science fiction Emilio Salgari was born. For over a century, his novels were mandatory reading for generations of youth eager for exotic adventures. Many of his most popular novels have been adapted as comics, animated series and feature films. He is considered the father of Italian adventure fiction and Italian pop culture, and the “grandfather” of…
Viking 1 and the Mission to Mars

Viking 1 and the Mission to Mars

On August 20, 1975, NASA spacecraft Viking 1 was launched and sent to Mars. The Viking program was was the most expensive and ambitious, but also highly successful mission ever sent to Mars. The Viking spacecraft was composed of two main parts: an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of Mars from orbit, and a lander designed to study the planet from the surface. Moreover, I remember the exciting messages…
Pierre Vernier and the Vernier Scale

Pierre Vernier and the Vernier Scale

  On August 19, 1580, French mathematician and instrument inventor Pierre Vernier was born. He is best known for having invented the eponymous vernier scale, which enabled instruments to make more accurate linear or angular measurements. Vernier was born in Ornans, Franche-Comté, in 1580. Being born in Franche-Comté (Free Country) meant that Vernier (and his father) were involved, not with the government of France but with that of Spain. Franche-Comté…
Jules Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

Jules Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

When watching the total eclipse on August 18, 1868 in Madras, British India, French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen discovered the new chemical element Helium. Janssen also is credited with discovering the gaseous nature of the solar chromosphere. Youth and Education Janssen was born in Paris in 1824. An accident when he was young left him extremely lame and it is for this reason that he was unable to go to…
Thomas Hodgekin – a Pioneer in Preventive Medicine

Thomas Hodgekin – a Pioneer in Preventive Medicine

On August 17, 1798, British physician Thomas Hodgkin was born. Hodgkin is considered one of the most prominent pathologists of his time and a pioneer in preventive medicine. Today, he is best known for the first account of Hodgkin’s disease, a form of lymphoma and blood disease, in 1832. Born into a Quaker family Thomas Hodgkin was born to a devout Quaker family in Pentonville, St. James Parish, Middlesex, England, the son…
Gabriel Lipmann and the Colour Photography

Gabriel Lipmann and the Colour Photography

On August 16, 1845, Franco-Luxembourgish physicist and Nobel Laureate Gabriel Lippmann was born. He is best known for for his method of reproducing colors photographically based on the phenomenon of interference. Gabriel Lippmann was educated at the Lycée Napoleon and later he was admitted to the École Normale. In 1873, Lippmann was appointed to a government scientific mission visiting Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany to study methods for teaching science. There, he worked…
Leslie Comrie – a Pioneer in Mechanical Computation

Leslie Comrie – a Pioneer in Mechanical Computation

On August 15, 1893, New Zealand astronomer Leslie John Comrie was born. Comrie was a pioneer in the application of punched-card machinery to astronomical calculations and founded the world’s first private company for scientific computing in 1937. Leslie John Comrie was born in Pukekohe near Auckland, New Zealand. He attended Auckland University College, which is part of the University of New Zealand from 1912 to 1916, graduating with BA and MA degrees with Honours…
Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

On August 14, 1840, Austro-German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing was born. He was recognized as an authority on deviant sexual behavior and its medicolegal aspects. He was the author of the foundational work Psychopathia Sexualis, which contained in its last edition more than 200 case histories out of the hundreds of medical and court reports he had collected. Therein, he also coined the terms sadism and masochism. Youth end Education Krafft-Ebing…
Felix Wankel and the Rotary Engine

Felix Wankel and the Rotary Engine

On August 13, 1902, German mechanical engineer and inventor Felix Wankel was born. He is best known for his invention of the first rotary internal combustion engine. Instead of moving pistons, the Wankel engine uses an orbiting rotor shaped as a curved equilateral triangle. Thus it needs few moving parts, is lightweight and compact. Felix Wankel was born in Baden, the upper Rhine Valley and was educated in Heidelberg where he…
Dr. Joseph Lister and the use of Carbolic Acid as Disinfectant

Dr. Joseph Lister and the use of Carbolic Acid as Disinfectant

On August 12, 1865, British surgeon Dr. Joseph Lister became the first surgeon to perform an antiseptic operation by liberal use of carbolic acid (phenol) as a disinfectant. Using phenol to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds led to a reduction in post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients. Joseph Lister was born on April 5, 1827 in Upton, Essex, England. He attended Quaker Schools with a great emphasis on sciences…
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