Monthly Archives: October 2015

Narinder Singh Kapany – The Father of Fiber Optics

Narinder Singh Kapany – The Father of Fiber Optics

On October 31, 1926, Indian-born American physicist Narinder Singh Kapany was born. He coined the term fibre optics for the technology transmitting light through fine glass strands in devices from endoscopy to high-capacity telephone lines that has changed the medical, communications and business worlds. Narinder Singh was born in Punjab, India. In 1952, this earlier work led Kapany to conduct studies that led to the invention of optical fibre. A…
The Pentium FDIV Bug

The Pentium FDIV Bug

On October 30, 1994, Thomas Nicely, a professor of mathematics at Lynchburg College, published his findings about a serious bug in the arithmetic unit of Intel’s latest Pentium processor, known as the Pentium FDIV Bug. Because of the bug, the processor can return incorrect decimal results, an issue troublesome for the precise calculations needed in fields like math and science. The Pentium FDIV bug is the most famous (or infamous)…
Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Mozart’s Don Giovanni

On October 29, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni with the libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte premiered in Prague. Being one of the most perfomed operas worldwide, it proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. Besides the beautiful Requiem, this is my personal favorite in the works of Mozart. I’ve seen it performed many times live…
Peter Stumpp – the Werewolf of Bedburg

Peter Stumpp – the Werewolf of Bedburg

On October 28, 1589, Rhenish farmer Peter Stumpp was declared guilty of having practized black magic, being a serial killer, a cannibal, and most of all being a Werewolf. It was one of the most lurid and famous werewolf trials of history. The sources in Peter Stumpp vary, and around 1590 a pamhlet of 16 pages has been published in London as a translation of a German print, however, no copies of…
The Peltier Effect

The Peltier Effect

On October 27, 1845, French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier passed away. Peltier is best known today for the introduction of the eponymous Peltier effect, a thermoelectrical effect, i.e. the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors, as well as for the electrostatic induction. Peltier was born to a poor family; his father earned a living as a shoemaker. A quick intelligence and perseverance were…
Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

On October 26, 1877, Italian aviation pioneer Gaetano Arturo Crocco was born. He was the founder of the Italian Rocket Society, and went on to become Italy’s leading space scientist. As head of the School of Aeronautics of the University of Rome, he performed research on flight mechanics, structural design, and high altitude flight in addition to his work in rocket propulsion. Gaetano Crocco was born in Naples in 1877 and…
Robert Stirling and the Stirling Engine

Robert Stirling and the Stirling Engine

On October 25, 1790, Scottish clergyman Reverend Dr Robert Stirling was born. Stirling is best known for his invention of the Stirling engine, a heat engine that operates by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas (the working fluid) at different temperatures, such that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical work. Robert Stirling was born at Cloag Farm near Methven, Perthshire, the third of…
The Discovery of the Uranus Moons Ariel and Umbriel

The Discovery of the Uranus Moons Ariel and Umbriel

On October 24, 1851, English merchant and astronomer William Lassell discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two moons of planet Uranus. Besides, he also discovered the Neptune moon Triton and the Saturn moon Hyperion. William Lassell was born in Bolton and educated in Rochdale. He was apprenticed to a merchant in Liverpool and later became a beer brewer and hobby astronomer. Lassell built himself an observatory in West Derby, a suburb of…
Ludwig Leichhardt’s Australian Expeditions

Ludwig Leichhardt’s Australian Expeditions

On October 23, 1813, Prussian explorer and naturalist Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt was born. He is most famous for his exploration of northern and central Australia. Leichhardt went to Australia in 1842 to study the rocks and wildlife in Queensland and the Northern Territory. In 1846 he left on an expedition with nine men to find a route from Moreton Bay (Brisbane) to Perth, rather poorly equipped. The party disappeared, leaving a mystery…
Georg Ernst Stahl and the Phlogiston Theory

Georg Ernst Stahl and the Phlogiston Theory

On October 22, 1659, German chemist, physician and philosopher Georg Ernst Stahl was born. Stahl developed the phlogiston theory of combustion and of such related biological processes as respiration, fermentation, and decay. Combustible objects, he said, were rich in phlogiston, and during combustion is lost. The remaining ash, now having no phlogiston, could no longer burn. Until the late 18th century his works on phlogiston were accepted as an explanation…
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