Monthly Archives: November 2016

Sir William Henry Flower on Mammals and the Human Brain

Sir William Henry Flower on Mammals and the Human Brain

On November 30, 1831, English comparative anatomist and surgeon William Henry Flower was born. Flower became a leading authority on mammals, and especially on the primate brain. He supported Thomas Henry Huxley in an important controversy with Richard Owen about the human brain, and eventually succeeded Owen as Director of the Natural History Museum. William Henry Flower matriculated in Arts in 1849 and later joined the Medical School at University…
António Egas Moniz and the Cerebral Angiography

António Egas Moniz and the Cerebral Angiography

On November 29, 1879, Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz was born. He is reknown as the developer of cerebral angiography. Moniz is regarded as one of the founders of modern psychosurgery, having developed the surgical procedure leucotomy — known better today as lobotomy — for which he became the first Portuguese national to receive a Nobel Prize in 1949 shared with Walter Rudolf Hess. António Moniz was born in the northern…
The Discovery of the Taung Child

The Discovery of the Taung Child

On November 28, 1924, workers at the Buxton Limeworks near Taung, South Africa, showed a fossilised primate skull to Raymond Dart, an Australian anatomist and anthropologist, who described it as a new species in the journal Nature in 1925. The fossil was soon nicknamed the Taung Child and the new species was named Australopithecus africanus – the “southern ape from Africa” – and described by Dart as “an extinct race…
Lars Onsager and Irreversible Chemical Processes

Lars Onsager and Irreversible Chemical Processes

On November 27, 1903, Norwegian-born American physical chemist and theoretical physicist Lars Onsager was born. The development of a general theory of irreversible chemical processes gained him the 1968 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. These Onsager reciprocal relations have importance in a wide range of applications. Lars Onsager was born in Kristiania (today’s Oslo), Norway, to Erling Onsager, a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Norway, and Ingrid, née Kirkeby. After…
Charles-Adolphe Wurtz and the Atomic Theory

Charles-Adolphe Wurtz and the Atomic Theory

On November 26, 1817, Alsatian French chemist and educator Charles-Adolphe Wurtz was born. Wurtz is best remembered for his decades-long advocacy for the atomic theory and for ideas about the structures of chemical compounds, against the skeptical opinions of chemists such as Marcellin Berthelot and Etienne Henri Sainte-Claire Deville. He is well known by organic chemists for the Wurtz reaction, to form carbon-carbon bonds by reacting alkyl halides with sodium,…
Julius Mayer – Energy can neither be created or destroyed

Julius Mayer – Energy can neither be created or destroyed

On November 25, 1814, German physician and physicist Julius Robert Mayer was born. He is best known for enunciating in 1841 one of the original statements of the conservation of energy or what is now known as one of the first versions of the first law thermodynamics, namely that “energy can be neither created nor destroyed”. It is believed that already as a child, Julius Mayer showed interest with mechanical mechanisms…
Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

On November 24, 1944, Indian atmospheric scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan was born. He has contributed to many areas of the atmospheric sciences including developments to general circulation models, atmospheric chemistry, and radiative transfer. But, he is best known for his 1999 discovery of the “Asian Brown Cloud” – wandering layers of air pollution as wide as a continent and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Veerabhadran Ramanathan received his bachelor’s degree in engineering…
Johann Elert Bode and the Titius-Bode Law

Johann Elert Bode and the Titius-Bode Law

On November 23, 1826, German astronomer Johann Elert Bode passed away. Bode is best known for his popularization of the Titius-Bode‘s 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. Johann Elert Bode was born…
George Ferris and his Ferris Wheel

George Ferris and his Ferris Wheel

On November 22, 1898, American engineer George Ferris passed away. He is mostly known for creating the original Ferris Wheel for the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition, created to rival the Eiffel Tower. George Ferris was the son of an agriculturalist/horticulturalist who is noteworthy for engaging in the development of Carson City, Nevada development during the 1870s. George Ferris attended the California Military Academy in Oakland, where he graduated in 1876. He…
The Social Theories of Lewis Henry Morgan

The Social Theories of Lewis Henry Morgan

On November 21, 1818, pioneering American anthropologist and social theorist Lewis Henry Morgan was born. Morgan is best known for his work on kinship and social structure, his theories of social evolution, and his ethnography of the Iroquois. Interested in what holds societies together, he proposed the concept that the earliest human domestic institution was the matrilineal clan, not the patriarchal family. During the 1840s, Lewis Henry Morgan befriended Ely…
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