Monthly Archives: January 2016

Joseph Jackson Lister and the Microscope

Joseph Jackson Lister and the Microscope

On January 11, 1786, amateur British opticist and physicist Joseph Jackson Lister was born. In 1826, Lister designed possibly the most important optical microscope ever made. It used an achromatic objective lens corrected for chromatic and spherical aberrations, the resulting image was at the time the clearest produced by any microscope. Joseph Jackson Lister attended school until 1800 and was then apprenticed to his father’s wine business in Lothbury. When he turned 18, Lister was made a…
Valentin Glushko and the Space Race

Valentin Glushko and the Space Race

On January 10, 1989, Soviet engineer Valentin Petrovich Glushko passed away. Gloshko was the principal Soviet designer of rocket engines during the Soviet/American Space Race. He worked with renowned rocket designer Sergey Korolyov. In Aug 1957, they successfully launched the first intercontinental ballistic missile and in October of the same year, sent the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, into orbit. Glushko was born in the Russian Empire in 1908 in…
William Hedley and his Puffing Billy

William Hedley and his Puffing Billy

On January 9, 1843, British coal-mine official and inventor William Hedley passed away. Hedley was probably the first to build a commercially useful steam locomotive dependent on friction between wheels and rails as opposed to using a geared track. In 1813, he constructed the famous Puffing Billy, the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive. William Hedley was born in Newburn, near Newcastle upon Tyne and became one of the leading industrial engineers…
Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

On January 8, 1601, Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher Baltasar Gracián y Morales was born. He is best known as the leading Spanish exponent of conceptism (conceptismo), a style of dealing with ideas that involves the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit.His writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. “If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.” Baltasar Gracian, The Art of…
The Adventures of Buck Rogers

The Adventures of Buck Rogers

On January 7, 1929, the first adventure of Buck Rogers appeared in a newspaper. Buck Rogers is a fictional character who first appeared in a novella titled Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan. The adventures of Buck Rogers in comic strips, movies, radio and television became an important part of American popular culture. Rogers made his first appearance as Anthony Rogers in Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. The character was born in…
Sir Percivall Pott and his Cancer Research

Sir Percivall Pott and his Cancer Research

On January 6, 1714, English surgeon Sir Percivall Pott was born. Pott is considered one of the founders of orthopedy, and the first scientist to demonstrate that a cancer may be caused by an environmental carcinogen. Percivall Pott was raised by his mother and Joseph Wilcocks, the bishop of Rochester, since his father died when he was still young. Pott attended a private school in Kent and later was an…
Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

On January 5, 1921, Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt was born. Dürrenmatt was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author‘s work included avant-garde dramas, philosophical crime novels, and macabre satire. Especially his play “The Physicists” (1961) deals with questions of scientific ethics and humanity‘s ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities. “A story is not finished, until it…
Louis Braille and the Braille System

Louis Braille and the Braille System

On January 4, 1809, French educator Louis Braille was born. He is best known for being the inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains known worldwide simply as braille. Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we [the blind] are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people.…
The James Lick Telescope

The James Lick Telescope

On January 3, 1888, the James Lick Telescope saw first light at the Lick observatory, San Jose, USA. The Lick telescope is a refracting telescope with a lens 91 cm in diameter – a major achievement in its day and in its time the largest telescope in the world until 1897. The instrument remains in operation and public viewing is allowed on a limited basis. A lot of astronomical discoveries have…
Johann Daniel Titius and the Titius-Bode Law

Johann Daniel Titius and the Titius-Bode Law

On January 2, 1929, German astronomer Johann Daniel Titius was born. He is best known for formulating the Titius–Bode law, a hypothesis that the bodies in some orbital systems, including the Sun’s, orbit at semi-major axes in a function of planetary sequence. The formula suggests that, extending outward, each planet would be approximately twice as far from the Sun as the one before. The hypothesis correctly anticipated the orbits of…
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