Monthly Archives: December 2016

Sewall G. Wright and Population Genetics

Sewall G. Wright and Population Genetics

On December 21, 1889, American geneticist Sewall Green Wright was born. Wright is known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis. He was a founder of population genetics alongside Ronald Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane, which was a major step in the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis combining genetics with evolution. Sewall Wright was the brother of the aeronautical engineer Theodore Paul…
Robert J. Van de Graaff and the Van de Graaf Generator

Robert J. Van de Graaff and the Van de Graaf Generator

  On December 20, 1901, American physicist Robert Jemison Van de Graaff was born. Van de Graaff is specifically noted for his design and construction of high-voltage Van de Graaff generators that can be used as a particle accelerator in atomic research. Robert Jemison Van de Graaff received his master’s degree from The University of Alabama and began working at the Alabama Power Company afterwards. Van de Graaf later studied at…
Robert Millikan and the Millikan experiment

Robert Millikan and the Millikan experiment

On December 19, 1953, US-American physicist and Nobel laureate Robert Andrews Millikan passed away. Millikan was honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923 for his measurement of the elementary electronic charge and for his work on the photoelectric effect. Millikan‘s famous oil-drop experiment (1911) was far superior to previous determinations of the charge of an electron, and further showed that the electron was a fundamental, discrete particle. In…
Edwin Armstrong and Frequency Modulation

Edwin Armstrong and Frequency Modulation

On December 18, 1890, American electrical engineer and inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong was born. Armstrong is best known for developing FM (frequency modulation) radio. He held 42 patents and received numerous awards, including the first Medal of Honor awarded by the Institute of Radio Engineers. During his early life, Edwin Armstrong developed an interest in electrical and mechanical devices, especially trains. He constructed a makeshift backyard antenna tower that included…
Willard Frank Libby and the Radiocarbon Dating

Willard Frank Libby and the Radiocarbon Dating

On December 17, 1908, American physical chemist Willard Frank Libby was born. Libby is best known for his role in the 1949 development of radiocarbon dating, a process which revolutionized archaeology and palaeontology. For his contributions to the team that developed this process, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960. Willard Frank Libby was born among two siblings in Grand Valley, Colorado, the son of farmers Ora…
Edward Emerson Barnard and Celestial Photography

Edward Emerson Barnard and Celestial Photography

On December 16, 1856, American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard was born. Barnard is best known for his discovery of the high proper motion of Barnard’s Star in 1916, which is named in his honor. He also pioneered in celestial photography, specializing in wide-field photography. Edward Barnard became a photographer’s assistant at the age of about nine. Later on, he began develop enthusiasm for astronomy. Around 1876, Barnard purchased a 130mm refractor telescope,…
Maurice WIlkins and the DNA

Maurice WIlkins and the DNA

On December 15, 1916, New Zealand-born British physicist, molecular biologist, and Nobel Laureate Maurice Wilkins was born. Wilkins’ research contributed to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar. He is best known for his work at King’s College London on the structure of DNA. Maurice Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, north Wairarapa, New Zealand where his father, Edgar Henry…
The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility

The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility

On December 14, 1958, an 18-man traversing party of the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition reached the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility. The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition for International Geophysical Year research work was led by Yevgeny Tolstikov. The southern pole of inaccessibility is the point on the Antarctic continent most distant from the Southern Ocean. For the pole, a variety of coordinate locations have been given since some measure the coast…
Charles Coulson and the Molecular Orbital Theory

Charles Coulson and the Molecular Orbital Theory

On December 13, 1910, British applied mathematician and theoretical chemist Charles Coulson was born. Coulson was as a pioneer of the application of the quantum theory of valency to problems of molecular structure, dynamics and reactivity. He is known for the application of molecular orbital theory to chemical bonding, the electronic structures of molecules and the concept of partial valency, and developed many mathematical techniques for solving chemical and physical…
Robert Noyce – the “Mayor of Silicon Valley”

Robert Noyce – the “Mayor of Silicon Valley”

On December 12, 1926, American engineer and inventor Robert Noyce was born. Nicknamed “the Mayor of Silicon Valley,” Noyce co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968. He is credited along with Jack Kilby with the realization of the first integrated circuit or microchip that fueled the personal computer revolution. Robert Noyce is known to have been a visionary and creative already early in his life. At the age of…
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