Monthly Archives: January 2016

Rudolf Mössbauer and the Mössbauer Effect

Rudolf Mössbauer and the Mössbauer Effect

On January 31, 1929, German physicist and Nobel Laureate Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer was born. He is best known for his 1957 discovery of recoilless nuclear resonance fluorescence for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics. This effect, called the Mössbauer effect, is the basis for Mössbauer spectroscopy. Rudolf Mössbauer was born in Munich, the only son of Ludwig Mössbauer, a phototechnician who printed color post cards and…
Edward Bransfield and the first Sighting of Antarctica

Edward Bransfield and the first Sighting of Antarctica

In January 1820, British Navy officer Edward Bransfield sighted Trinity Peninsula, the northernmost point of the Antarctic mainland. However, the very first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica cannot be accurately attributed to one single person. It can, however, be narrowed down to three individuals, who all sighted the ice shelf or the continent within days or months of each other: Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, a captain in the Russian Imperial…
Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kite

Lawrence Hargrave and the Box Kite

On January 29, 1850, Australian engineer, explorer, astronomer, inventor and aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave was born. Hargrave “flew” on 12 Nov 1894, by attaching himself to a huge four kite construction attached to the ground by piano wire. Due to their abilities to carry heavy payloads, steady flight, and capacity for high altitude flight, these kites have had many industrial and military uses. Hargrave was born in Greenwich, England, the…
Eugene Dubois and the Java Man

Eugene Dubois and the Java Man

On January 28, 1858, Dutch paleoanthropologist and geologist Marie Eugène François Thomas Dubois was born. Dubois earned worldwide fame for his discovery of Pithecanthropus erectus (later redesignated Homo erectus), or Java Man. Although hominid fossils had been found and studied before, Dubois was the first anthropologist to embark upon a purposeful search for them. Eugene Dubois was born in Eijsden, Netherlands. He is said to have been fascinated by natural…
Carl Blegen and the Sack of Troy

Carl Blegen and the Sack of Troy

On January 27, 1887, American archaeologist Carl William Blegen was born. He is known for having unearthed evidence that supported and dated the sack of Troy recorded in Homer‘s Iliad. He worked on the site of Pylos in Greece and Troy in modern-day Turkey and directed the University of Cincinnati excavations of the mound of Hisarlik, the site of Troy, from 1932 to 1938. Blegen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota,…
Hans Selye and Stress

Hans Selye and Stress

On January 26, 1907, pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye was born. He conducted much important scientific work on the hypothetical non-specific response of an organism to stressors. Although he did not recognize all of the many aspects of glucocorticoids, Selye was aware of their role in the stress response. He is considered the first to demonstrate the existence of biological stress. Hans Selye was born in Vienna and grew up…
Ilya Prigogine and the Role of Time

Ilya Prigogine and the Role of Time

On January 25, 1917, Belgian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate Ilya Prygogine was born. He is noted for his work on dissipative structures, complex systems, and irreversibility. The main theme of Prigogine‘s work was the search for a better understanding of the role of time in the physical sciences and in biology. He attempted to reconcile a tendency in nature for disorder to increase with so-called “self-organisation“, a countervailingi Prigogine was…
Hermann Ebbinghaus and the Experimental Study of Memory

Hermann Ebbinghaus and the Experimental Study of Memory

On January 24, 1850, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus was born. Ebbinghaus pioneered the experimental study of memory, and is known for his discovery of the forgetting curve and the spacing effect. Hermann Ebbinghaus was born in Barmen, in the Rhine Province of the Kingdom of Prussia and attended the University of Bonn where he intended to study history and philology. In 1870, his studies were interrupted when he served with…
Paul Langevin and the Langevin Dynamics

Paul Langevin and the Langevin Dynamics

  On January 23, 1872, French physicist Paul Langevin was born. He is best known for having developed Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation. Being a public opponent against fascism in the 1930s resulted in his arrest and consequently he was held under house arrest by the Vichy government for most of the war. Langevin was also the first to explain (1905) the effects of paramagnetism and diamagnetism (the weak…
Nobel Laureate Lev Landau

Nobel Laureate Lev Landau

On January 22, 1908, Soviet physicist and Nobel Laureate Lev Landau was born. Landau made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. He received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity that accounts for the properties of liquid helium II  at a temperature below 2.17 K (−270.98 °C). Lev Landau was born in Baku and attended Leningrad University where he graduated from…
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