Monthly Archives: March 2017

George David Birkhoff and the Ergodic Theorem

George David Birkhoff and the Ergodic Theorem

On March 21, 1884, American mathematician George David Birkhoff was born. Birkhoff is best known for what is now called the ergodic theorem. Birkhoff was one of the most important leaders in American mathematics in his generation, and during his time he was considered by many to be the preeminent American mathematician. George David Birkhoff was born in Overisel Township, Michigan, the son of David Birkhoff, a medical doctor, and…
Frederick William Twort and the Bacteriophages

Frederick William Twort and the Bacteriophages

On March 20, 1955, English bacteriologist Frederick William Twort passed away. Twort was the original discoverer in 1915 of bacteriophages, i.e. viruses that infect bacteria. He researched into Johne’s disease, a chronic intestinal infection of cattle, and also discovered that vitamin K is needed by growing leprosy bacteria. Frederick William Twort initially only received a limited education, but managed to go to London in order to study medicine  at the local St Thomas’s…
Entomologist and Myrmecologist William Morton Wheeler

Entomologist and Myrmecologist William Morton Wheeler

On March 19, 1865, American entomologist William Morton Wheeler was born. Wheeler published extensively on the classification, structure and behaviour of ants, on which he was a recognized world authority. Wheeler also wrote on problems of embryology, evolution, parasitism and the social life of animals in general. William Morton Wheeler was sent to a local German academy known for its discipline during his school years due to his bad behavior and after…
Kurt Koffka and Gestalt Psychology

Kurt Koffka and Gestalt Psychology

On March 18, 1886, German psychologist Kurt Koffka was born. Koffka along with Max Wertheimer and his close associates Wolfgang Köhler established Gestalt psychology. Koffka’s interests were wide-ranging, and they included: Perception, hearing impairments in brain-damaged patients, interpretation, learning, and the extension of Gestalt theory to developmental psychology. Kurt Koffka was born on March 18, 1886 in Berlin, Germany, to his father Emil Koffka, a lawyer and his mother Luis…
Walter Hess and his Mapping of the Brain

Walter Hess and his Mapping of the Brain

On March 17, 1881, Swiss physiologist Walter Rudolf Hess was born. Hess shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1949 with Antonio Egas Moniz for his discovery of the functional organization of the interbrain as a coordinator of the activities of the internal organs. In his early years, Walter Hess was supported by his father who was a physics teacher and allowed him to perform experiments in his laboratory. In…
Gösta Mittag-Leffler and the Acta Mathematica

Gösta Mittag-Leffler and the Acta Mathematica

On March 16, 1846, Swedish mathematician Gösta Mittag-Leffler was born. Mittag-Leffler‘s contributions are connected chiefly with the theory of functions. His mathematical research helped advance the Scandinavian school of mathematics. He is probably best known for founding the international mathematical journal Acta Mathematica. Mittag-Leffler was born in Stockholm, as the eldest of four siblings to the school principal John Olof Leffler and Gustava Wilhelmina Mittag. He later added his mother’s…
Waldemar Haffkine and his Vaccines

Waldemar Haffkine and his Vaccines

On March 15 1860, Russian bacteriologist Sir Waldemar Mordechai Wolff Haffkine was born. Haffkine is best known for an anti-cholera vaccine that he tried out successfully in India. He is recognized as the first microbiologist who developed and used vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague. He tested the vaccines on himself. Lord Joseph Lister named him “a saviour of humanity”. Waldemar Haffkine studied under the famous biologist Ilya Mechnikov during the late 1870s and…
Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Weatherforecast

Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Weatherforecast

On March 14, 1862, Norwegian physicist and meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes was born, Bjerknes is best known for being one of the founders of the modern science of weather forecasting with his 1921 published work “On the Dynamics of the Circular Vortex with Applications to the Atmosphere and to Atmospheric Vortex and Wave Motion“. Vilhelm Frimann Koren Bjerknes was born in Kristiania (later renamed Oslo), Norway, and enjoyed an early exposure…
Dayton Miller – Physicist, Acoustician, Flautist

Dayton Miller – Physicist, Acoustician, Flautist

On March 13, 1866, American physicist, astronomer, acoustician Dayton Clarence Miller was born. An early experimenter of X-rays, Miller was an advocate of aether theory and absolute space and an opponent of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Dayton Miller attended Baldwin University and earned his doctorate in astronomy at Princeton University. At the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, Ohio, Dayton Miller taught physics and became head of the…
Walter Schirra – the only Man to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo

Walter Schirra – the only Man to fly Mercury, Gemini and Apollo

On March 12, 1923, American naval officer and aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and astronaut Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra was born. Schirra was one of the original seven astronauts chosen for Project Mercury, United States first effort to put humans in space. He flew the six-orbit, nine-hour Mercury-Atlas 8 mission on October 3, 1962, becoming the fifth American, and the ninth human, to ride a rocket into space. He was the…
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