Monthly Archives: December 2015

Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

On December 31, 1691, Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor Robert Boyle passed away. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle’s law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant…
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Avicenna – The Most Significant Polymath of the Islamic Golden Age

Avicenna – The Most Significant Polymath of the Islamic Golden Age

At about 980, Persian polymath bū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Sīnā, also known as Avicenna, was born. Avicenna is regarded as one of the most significant thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age. His most famous works are The Book of Healing – a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine – a medical encyclopedia, which became a standard medical text at many medieval…
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Wilhelm Bauer and his Famous Blockade-Breaking Brandtaucher

Wilhelm Bauer and his Famous Blockade-Breaking Brandtaucher

In December 23, 1823, Bavarian inventor and engineer Wilhelm Bauer was born. Bauer was a submarine pioneer and constructed several hand-powered submarines, among them the famous blockade-breaking incendiary ship, the Brandtaucher. Wilhelm Bauer and the German/Danish Wilhelm Bauer was born in Dillingen in the Kingdom of Bavaria. His father was a sergeant of a Bavarian cavalry regiment. Because of this, Wilhelm Bauer, after an apprenticeship as a wood turner, joined the military…
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Grote Reber – Pioneer of Radio Astronomy

Grote Reber – Pioneer of Radio Astronomy

On December 22, 1911, American pioneer of radio astronomy Grote Reber was born. He combined his interests in amateur radio and amateur astronomy and became instrumental in investigating and extending Karl Jansky’s [4] pioneering work, who in August 1931 first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. Reber conducted the first sky survey in the radio frequencies and is considered one of the founding figures of radio astronomy. Born in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb…
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James Rumsey’s Extraordinary Steam Boat

James Rumsey’s Extraordinary Steam Boat

On December 21, 1792, American mechanical engineer James Rumsey passed away. He is chiefly known for exhibiting a boat propelled by machinery in 1787 on the Potomac River at Shepherdstown in present-day West Virginia before a crowd of local notables. James Rumsey – From Millwright to Steam Boat Designer James Rumsey was born in Calvert County Maryland in 1743. His family moved to Berkeley Virginia (now West Virginia) when he was a teenager. Rumsey became a…
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The Famous Forgery of the Piltdown Man

The Famous Forgery of the Piltdown Man

On December 18, 1912, the discovery of the skull known as Piltdown man, the first important fossil human skull ever to be unearthed in England was announced at a meeting of the Geological Society of Great Britain. The specimen occupied an honored place in the catalogues of fossil hominids for the next 40 years. But in 1953, thanks to some rigorous scholarly detective work, Piltdown man was revealed to be nothing more…
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Alexander Ross Clarke and the true Shape of the Earth

Alexander Ross Clarke and the true Shape of the Earth

On December 16, 1828, British geodesist Alexander Ross Clarke was born. He is best known for his calculation of the Principal Triangulation of Britain (1858), the calculation of the Figure of the Earth (1858, 1860, 1866, 1880) and one of the most important text books of Geodesy (1880). The figures from his second determination became a standard reference for U.S. geodesy for most of the twentieth century until satellites could improve accuracy.…
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Milutin Milanković and the Cause of the Ice Ages

Milutin Milanković and the Cause of the Ice Ages

On December 12, 1958, Serbian mathematician, astronomer, climatologist, geophysicist, civil engineer, and popularizer of science Milutin Milanković passed away. Milankovic revolutionized the understanding of climate dynamics. He put the astronomical theory of climate on a firm mathematical basis and founded cosmic climatology by calculating the temperature conditions on planets of the inner and outer solar system. Moreover, he calculated the impact of Earth’s secular orbital cycles on climate changes and explained the…
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Jacques Hadamard and the Description of Mathematical Thought

Jacques Hadamard and the Description of Mathematical Thought

  On December 8, 1865, French mathematician Jacques Salomon Hadamard was born. Hadamard made major contributions in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations. Moreover, he is also known for his description of the mathematical though process in his book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. “It is important for him who wants to discover not to confine himself to one chapter of science, but to keep…
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Omar Khayyam – Mathematics and Poetry

Omar Khayyam – Mathematics and Poetry

On December 4, 1131, Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet, Omar Khayyam; born Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu’l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī, passed away. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential scientists of the middle ages. He wrote numerous treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy and astronomy. Early Years Omar Khayyám was born in Nishapur, in Iran, then a Seljuq capital in Khorasan, which rivaled Cairo or Baghdad in cultural…
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