Monthly Archives: November 2015

Twice the Speed of Sound

Twice the Speed of Sound

On November 20, 1953, Albert Scott Crossfield became the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound as he piloted the Douglass D-588-ii Skyrocket to a speed of 2,078 km/h, Mach 2.005. Albert Scott Crossfield was born on October 2, 1921 in California and grew up in California and Washington. He served with the U.S. Navy as a flight instructor and fighter pilot during World War II and worked…
Leopold Auenbrugger and Diagnosis by Percussion

Leopold Auenbrugger and Diagnosis by Percussion

On November 19, 1722, Austrian physician Leopold Auenbrugger was born. Auenbrugger invented percussion – the art of striking a surface part of the body with short, sharp taps to diagnose the condition of the parts beneath the sound – as a diagnostic technique. On the strength of this discovery, he is considered one of the founders of modern medicine. Auenbrugger invented the method of auscultating the patient‘s chest in 1754,…
Pierre Bayle – Forerunner of the Age of Enlightenment

Pierre Bayle – Forerunner of the Age of Enlightenment

On November 18, 1647, French philosopher and writer Pierre Bayle was born. As a forerunner of the Encyclopedists and an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, his works subsequently influenced the development of the 3Enlightenment. He is probably best known for his seminal work the Historical and Critical Dictionary. Pierre Bayle was born at Carla-le-Comte near Pamiers, Ariège, France and was mainly educated by his father…
Nicolas Lemery and the Acid-Base Chemistry

Nicolas Lemery and the Acid-Base Chemistry

On November 17, 1647, French chemist Nicolas Lémery was born. Lemery was one of the first to develop theories on acid-base chemistry in a time which was often referred to as “the dawn of scientific chemistry” . Nicolas Lemery was the fifth of seven children born in Rouen, France, to Julien Lemery, a Protestant attorney in the Parlement of Normandy. After being apprenticed to his uncle,a pharmacist in his native…
The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

On November 16, 2004, the unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft NASA X-43A set a new speed record of 10,617 km/h or Mach 9.65. With this flight the X-43A became the fastest free flying air-breathing aircraft in the world. The X-43A was propelled by a so-called scramjet, is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. NASA’s Hyper-X program, involving the American space agency and contractors…
Albertus Magnus and the Merit of Personal Observation

Albertus Magnus and the Merit of Personal Observation

On November 15, 1280, German scholar, Dominican friar, Catholic bishop, and Catholic Saint, Albert, Count von Bollstädt a.k.a Abertus Magnus, Albert the Great passed away. As a philosopher Albertus Magnus championed Aristotle‘s philosophy, but adapted it to the medieval outlook, and held that there was merit in the addition of personal observation. He often is referred to as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages. Even more…
Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to reach another Planet

Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to reach another Planet

On November 14, 1971, U.S. spacecraft Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet – only narrowly beating the Soviets’s Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust storms it managed to send back clear pictures of Mars’ surface. Mariner 9 was designed to continue the atmospheric studies and map over 70% of the Martian surface from the lowest altitude of 1500…
The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

On November 13, 1850, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stephenson is ranked the 26th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Oscar Wilde [1] and Edgar Allan Poe [2]. I don’t know how it is…
Jacques Charles and the Hydrogen Balloon

Jacques Charles and the Hydrogen Balloon

On November 12, 1746, French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist Jacques Alexandre César Charles was born. Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world‘s first (unmanned) hydrogen-filled balloon in August 1783. In December 1783, Charles and his co-pilot Nicolas-Louis Robert ascended to a height of about 500 metres in a manned balloon. Their pioneering use of hydrogen for lift led to this type of balloon being named a Charlière (as opposed…
Ephraim McDowell – the Father of Abdominal Surgery

Ephraim McDowell – the Father of Abdominal Surgery

On Nov 11, 1771, American physician and pioneer surgeon Ephraim McDowell was born. The first person to successfully remove an ovarian tumor, he has been called “the father of ovariotomy” as well as founding father of abdominal surgery. Ephraim McDowell was born in Virgina, but moved to Kentucky in his childhood because his father who was a veteran of the French and Indian War and a colonel during the American…
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