Monthly Archives: September 2016

Jean Baptiste Perrin and the Brownian Motion

Jean Baptiste Perrin and the Brownian Motion

On September 30, 1870, French physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin was born. In his studies of the Brownian motion of minute particles suspended in liquids, Perrin verified Albert Einstein’s explanation of this phenomenon and thereby confirmed the atomic nature of matter. In 1897, Jean Baptiste Perrin earned his PhD and was appointed lecturer at Sorbonne, Paris. Perrin was announced professor at the university in 1910 and held the position until the…
Michael Servetus and the Pulmonary Circulation

Michael Servetus and the Pulmonary Circulation

On September 29, 1509, Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and Renaissance humanist Michael Servetus was born. Servetus was a polymath versed in many sciences: mathematics, astronomy and meteorology, geography, human anatomy, medicine and pharmacology, as well as jurisprudence, translation, poetry and the scholarly study of the Bible in its original languages. He was probably the first European to correctly describe the function of pulmonary circulation. Michael Servetus studied law in Toulouse. In 1531,…
Edward Herbert Thompson and the Cenote Sagrado

Edward Herbert Thompson and the Cenote Sagrado

On September 28, 1857, American archaeologist and diplomat Edward Herbert Thompson was born. Thompson is most famous for dredging the Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote) in Chichen Itza from 1904 to 1910, where he recovered artifacts of gold, copper and carved jade, as well as the first-ever examples of what were believed to be pre-Columbian Maya cloth and wooden weapons. Edward Herbert Thompson had no formal training in the field of archaeology.…
Sir Martin Ryle and Radio Astronomy

Sir Martin Ryle and Radio Astronomy

On September 27, 1918, English radio astronomer and Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Ryle was born. Ryle developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources. He was Astronomer Royal from 1972 to 1982 and shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974 with Antony Hewish, the first Nobel prize awarded in recognition of astronomical research. Martin Ryle was the son of Professor John Alfred Ryle…
Archibald Hill and Biophysics

Archibald Hill and Biophysics

On September 26, 1886, English physiologist and Nobel Laureate Archibald Vivian Hill was born. Hill is one of the founders of the diverse disciplines of biophysics and operations research. He shared the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his elucidation of the production of heat and mechanical work in muscles. At Trinity College, Cambridge,  Archibald Hill studied mathematics and took the Mathematical Tripos. After graduation, Hill was supported by his teacher Walter…
Wladimir Köppen and the Köppen Climate Classification System

Wladimir Köppen and the Köppen Climate Classification System

On September 25, 1846, Russian-German geographer, meteorologist, climatologist and botanist Wladimir Peter Köppen was born. His most notable contribution to science was the development of the Köppen climate classification system, which, with some modifications, is still commonly used. Köppen made significant contributions to several branches of science. Wladimir Köppen studied botany at the University of Sr. Petersburg. In 1867, Köppen switched to the University of Heidelberg and earned his doctorate degree for…
John Ray Dunning and the Manhattan Project

John Ray Dunning and the Manhattan Project

On September 24, 1907, US-American physicist John Ray Dunning was born. Dunning played key roles in the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bombs. He specialized in neutron physics, and did pioneering work in gaseous diffusion for isotope separation. John Ray Dunning was born in Shelby, Nebraska, USA, the son of Albert Chester Dunning, a grain dealer, and his wife Josephine. He graduated from Shelby High School in 1925 and…
Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today. He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. The son of Aglaos, Eratosthenes was born in 276 BC in Cyrene. Now part of…
Eugen Sänger and Rocket Propulsion Engineering

Eugen Sänger and Rocket Propulsion Engineering

On September 22, 1905, Austrian rocket propulsion engineer Eugen Sänger was born. Sänger is best known for his contributions to lifting body and ramjet technology. Sänger also perfected a “regeneratively cooled” liquid-fueled rocket engine that used its own fuel, circulating around the combustion chamber, to control engine temperatures. Eugen Sänger studied civil engineering at the Technical Universities of Graz and Vienna. During his years of study, Sänger was inspired by Hermann Oberth’s book Die…
Donald Glaser and the Bubble Chamber

Donald Glaser and the Bubble Chamber

On September 21, 1926, American physicist, neurobiologist and Nobel Laureate Donald Arthur Glaser was born. Glaser was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the bubble chamber used in subatomic particle physics. Donald Glaser received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics from the Case School of Applied Science in 1946. At the California Institute of Technology, Glaser completed his Ph.D. in physics and accepted a…
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