Monthly Archives: February 2016

Sir Peter Medawar – The Father of Organ Transplantation

Sir Peter Medawar – The Father of Organ Transplantation

On February 28, 1915, British biologist Sir Peter Brian Medawar was born. His work on graft rejection and the discovery of acquired immune tolerance was fundamental to the practice of tissue and organ transplants. Together with Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnett he shared the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for discovery of acquired immunological tolerance“. For his works in immunology Medwar is regarded as the “father of transplantation“. Peter Medawar – Early Years Medawar…
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James Sadler – the First English Aeronaut

James Sadler – the First English Aeronaut

On February 27, 1753, English chemist, pastry chef, and aviation pioneer James Sadler was born. He is best known for being the first English aeronaut, whose first successful ascent was on 4 Oct 1784, in a hot-air balloon, from Christ Church Meadow, Oxford. England’s 2nd Balloonist Sadler worked as a pastry chef in the family business, The Lemon Hall Refreshment House, a small shop in Oxford. He was the second known person in…
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SN 1987A – The Best Studied Supernova of All Time

SN 1987A – The Best Studied Supernova of All Time

On February 24, 1987, SN 1987A, a supernova in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud occurred visible to the naked eye. It was the closest observed supernova since Kepler’s Supernova  SN 1604, which occurred in the Milky Way itself.[5] SN 1987A – The Best Studied Supernova of all Time Due to the relative proximity to Earth, SN 1987A became one of the best studied supernovae of all…
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Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

On February 23, 1603, French mathematician François Viète passed away. Viète‘s work on a  algebra was an important step towards modern algebra, due to its innovative use of letters as parameters in equations. He was a lawyer by trade, and served as a privy councillor to both Henry III and Henry IV. Francois Viète – Early Years Vieta was born at Fontenay-le-Comte, in western France about 50 km east of the coastal town of…
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Amerigo Vespucci and the New World

Amerigo Vespucci and the New World

On February 22, 1512, Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci passed away. He first demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus’ voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to Afro-Eurasians. Colloquially referred to as the New World, this second super continent came to be termed “America“, deriving its name from Americus, the Latin version of Vespucci’s…
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Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

On February 19, 1837, German dramatist, revolutionary, natural scientist, and writer Georg Büchner passed away at age 23. His literary achievements, though few in number, are generally held in great esteem in Germany and it is widely believed that, had it not been for his early death, he might have joined such central German literary figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [5] and Friedrich Schiller [6] at the summit of their profession. I admit, I…
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Enzo Ferrari – Il Commendatore

Enzo Ferrari – Il Commendatore

On February 18, 1898, Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari was born. He is best known as the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque. He was widely known as “il Commendatore” or “il Drake”. Born in Modena Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy. It is believed that he had his first significant encounter with race cars in 1908…
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Pierre Bouguer – Child Prodigy and ‘Father of Photometry’

Pierre Bouguer – Child Prodigy and ‘Father of Photometry’

On February 16, 1698, French mathematician, geophysicist, geodesist, and astronomerPierre Bouguer was born. In 1735 Bouguer sailed with Charles Marie de La Condamine on a scientific mission to Peru, in order to measure a degree of the meridian arc near the equator. He is also known as “the father of naval architecture” and the “father of photometry“. Pierre Bouguer – Early Life Pierre Bouguer was educated in mathematics and hydrography by his…
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Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

On February 15, 1922, American physicist, futurist and system theorist Herman Kahn was born. He became known for analyzing the likely consequences of nuclear war and recommending ways to improve survivability, making him one of three historical inspirations for the title character of Stanley Kubrick‘s classic black comedy film satire Dr. Strangelove.[5] “The difference between megaton and kiloton is very large, in some ways larger than the difference between kiloton and ton.…
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Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

Jan Swammerdam – Dutch Naturalist and Microscopist

On February 12, 1637, Dutch biologist and microscopist Jan Swammerdam was born. He was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, and his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years. Swammerdam’s work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect — egg, larva, pupa, and adult — are different forms of the same animal. In 1658, he was the first to observe and describe red…
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