Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Clinical Teaching of Herman Boerhaave

The Clinical Teaching of Herman Boerhaave

On December 31, 1668, Dutch botanist, chemist, Christian humanist and physician Herman Boerhaave was born. Boerhaave is regarded as the founder of clinical teaching and of the modern academic hospital and is sometimes referred to as “the father of physiology”. He is best known for demonstrating the relation of symptoms to lesions and, in addition, he was the first to isolate the chemical urea from urine. He was the first…
Rita Levi-Montalcini and the Nerve Growth Factor

Rita Levi-Montalcini and the Nerve Growth Factor

On December 30, 2011, Italian neurologist and Nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini passed away. Levi-Montalcini was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF), which stimulates and influences both the normal and abnormal the growth of nerve cells in the body. Rita Levi-Montalcini was born on 22 April 1909 in Turin. It is believed that she admired the…
Henri Gaston Busignies and the HuffDuff System

Henri Gaston Busignies and the HuffDuff System

On December 29, 1905, French engineer Henri Gaston Busignies was born. Busignies is best known for his contributions to radar, radio communication, and radio navigation. His invention (1936) of high-frequency direction finders (HF/DF, or “Huff-Duff“) permitted the U.S. Navy during World War II to detect enemy transmissions and quickly pinpoint the direction from which a radio transmission was coming. Henri Gaston Busignies was born in Sceaux, in suburban Paris, France, the…
Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

Alfred Romer and the Evolution of Vertebrae

On December 28, 1894, American paleontologist and biologist Alfred Sherwood Romer was born. Romer was a a specialist in vertebrate evolution. He studied the evolution of early vertebrates in biological terms of comparative anatomy and embryology. He researched muscle and limb evolution, the development and evolutionary history of cartilage and bone, and the structure and function of the nervous system. Youth and Education Alfred Romer was born in White Plains,…
CoRoT Space Observatory

CoRoT Space Observatory

On December 27, 2006, the European space observatory CoRoT was launched. CoRoT‘s two objectives are to search for extrasolar planets with short orbital periods, particularly those of large terrestrial size, and to perform asteroseismology by measuring solar-like oscillations in stars. CoRoT stands for COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits (French: COnvection ROtation et Transits planétaires) and is a space observatory mission led by the French Space Agency (CNES) in conjunction with…
Sir Thomas Lewis – the Father of clinical cardiac electrophysiology

Sir Thomas Lewis – the Father of clinical cardiac electrophysiology

On December 26, 1881, British cardiologist Sir Thomas Lewis was born. Lewis has been called the “father of clinical cardiac electrophysiology.” He coined the terms “clinical science,” “pacemaker,” “premature contractions,” and “auricular fibrillation.” Childhood and Education Thomas Lewis was born in Taffs Well, Cardiff, Wales, the son of Henry Lewis, a mining engineer, who was awarded the Albert Medal for bravery during rescue work in underground mines [2], and his…
Horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey

Horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey

On December 25, 1954, American horticulturist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey passed away. Bailey helped to create the science of horticulture. He made systematic studies of cultivated plants, and advanced knowledge in hybridization, plant pathology, and agriculture. He was a recognized authority on sedges, tropical palms, blackberries, grapes, cabbages, pumpkins and squashes, among others. He is particularly notable for his great encyclopedias (Cyclopedia of American Agriculture, in four volumes, 1907-9)…
Charles Gabriel Seligman and the Hamitic Hypothesis

Charles Gabriel Seligman and the Hamitic Hypothesis

On December 24, 1873, British physician and ethnologist Charles Gabriel Seligman was born. Seligman‘s main ethnographic work described the culture of the Vedda people of Sri Lanka and the Shilluk people of the Sudan. He was a proponent of the Hamitic hypothesis, according to which, some civilizations of Africa were thought to have been founded by Caucasoid Hamitic peoples. Charles Gabriel Seligman studied medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital. He later worked…
Robert Kahn and the Internet Protocol

Robert Kahn and the Internet Protocol

On December 23, 1938, American computer scientist and internet pioneer Robert E. Kahn was born. Along with Vint Cerf, Kahn invented the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the Internet. I had the pleasure to meet Bob Kahn (as well as Vint Cerf) in the course of one of the IPv6 summits at Hasso Plattner Institute Potsdam, Germany, by…
The Short Life of Srinivasa Ramanujan

The Short Life of Srinivasa Ramanujan

On December 22, 1887, Indian mathematician and autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan was born. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made major contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. Supported by English mathematician G. H. Hardy from Cambridge, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results during his short life, which all have been proven correct. Ramanujan was born into a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family…
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