Monthly Archives: April 2016

Philippe Pinel – the Father of modern Psychiatry

Philippe Pinel – the Father of modern Psychiatry

On April 20, 1745, French physician Philippe Pinel was born. He was instrumental in the development of a more humane psychological approach to the custody and care of psychiatric patients, referred to today as moral therapy. He also made notable contributions to the classification of mental disorders and has been described by some as “the father of modern psychiatry“. “I cannot here avoid giving my most decided sufferage in favour of the moral qualities…
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Pierre Curie – A Pioneer in Radioactivity

Pierre Curie – A Pioneer in Radioactivity

On 19 April 1906, French physicist and Nobel laureate Pierre Curie died in an accident. A pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity, he co-jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 with his wife, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, and Henri Becquerel, “in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel“.[9] “If one leaves a wooden or cardboard box containing a…
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John Graunt and the Science of Demography

John Graunt and the Science of Demography

On April 18, 1674, English herberdasher and statistician John Graunt passed away. Graunt is considered by many historians to have founded the science of demography as the statistical study of human populations. For his published analysis of the parish records of christenings and deaths, he was made a charter member of the Royal Society. John Graunt – Early Years John Graunt was born on April 24, 1620, in London, the eldest of seven or…
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Sir Leonard Woolley and the Excavations in Ur

Sir Leonard Woolley and the Excavations in Ur

On April 17, 1880, British archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley was born. Woolley was best known for his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia. He is considered to have been one of the first “modern” archaeologists, and was knighted in 1935 for his contributions to the discipline of archaeology. Leonard Woolley – Early Years Leonard Woolley was born in London, the son of a clergyman, and was brother to Geoffrey Harold Woolley, VC, and George Cathcart Woolley.…
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Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

On April 16, 1838, Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay was born. Solvay invented the Solvay Process (1863), a commercially viable ammonia-soda process for producing soda ash (sodium carbonate), widely used in the manufacture of such products as glass and soap. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Henri…
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Max Wertheimer and Gestalt Psychology

Max Wertheimer and Gestalt Psychology

On April 15, 1880, Austro-Hungarian-born psychologist Max Wertheimer was born. Wertheimer was one of the three founders of Gestalt psychology, along with Kurt Koffka [4] and Wolfgang Köhler. He is known for his book, Productive Thinking, and for conceiving the phi phenomenon as part of his work in Gestalt psychology. “Man is not only part of a field, but a part and member of his group. When people are together, as when they…
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Sir Victor Horsley – A Pioneer in Neural Surgery

Sir Victor Horsley – A Pioneer in Neural Surgery

On April 14, 1857, English physiologist and neurosurgeon Sir Victor Horsley was born. Horsley was a pioneer in surgery on the brain and spinal cord. His best-known innovation is the Horsley–Clarke apparatus (developed together with Robert H. Clarke in 1908) for performing the so-called stereotactic neurosurgery, whereby a set of precise numerical coordinates are used to locate each brain structure. Victor Horsley – Youth and Education Victor Horsley was born in Kensington,…
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Sir James Mackenzie and the Study of Cardiac Arrhythmias

Sir James Mackenzie and the Study of Cardiac Arrhythmias

On April 12, 1853, Scottish cardiologist Sir James Mackenzie was born. A pioneer in the study of cardiac arrhythmias, he was first to make simultaneous records of the arterial and venous pulses to evaluate the condition of the heart, a procedure that laid the foundation for much future research. James Mackenzie was apprenticed to a chemist when he was 14 and even though he was offered a partnership with the company, he preferred…
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The Ryan X-13 VertiJet – the first Jet powered VTOL Aircraft

The Ryan X-13 VertiJet – the first Jet powered VTOL Aircraft

On April 11, 1957, the Ryan X-13 VertiJet completed its first full-cycle flight at Edwards Air Force Base. The Ryan X-13 VertiJet was one of the first experimental vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts powered by jet engines. The main objective of the project was to demonstrate the ability of a pure jet to vertically takeoff, hover, transition to horizontal forward flight, and vertically land. Ryan Aeronautical The Ryan Aeronautical Company was…
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Ockham’s Razor

Ockham’s Razor

Probably on April 10, 1347, English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian William of Ockham passed away. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the fourteenth century. He is commonly known for Occam’s razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, and also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology. Probably…
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