Monthly Archives: May 2017

Hans Berger and the Electroencephalogram

Hans Berger and the Electroencephalogram

On May 21, 1873, German psychiatrist Hans Berger was born. Berger is best known as the inventor of electroencephalography (EEG), coining the name, and the discoverer of the alpha wave rhythm known as “Berger’s wave”. Hans Berger – Early Years Hans Berger was born in Neuses (today Coburg), Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Germany, the son of Paul Friedrich Berger,  chief physician of the regional asylum in Coburg [3], and his wife Anna Rückert.…
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The Magnificent Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

The Magnificent Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

On May 20, 1895, English aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer Reginald Joseph Mitchell was born. Mitchell worked for Supermarine Aviation. Between 1920 and 1936 he designed many aircraft and is best remembered for his racing seaplanes, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the iconic Second World War fighter, the Supermarine Spitfire. R.J. Mitchell joined the Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton in 1917. Two years later, he was appointed Chief Designer, then Chief…
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John Jacob Abel and the Endocrine Glands

John Jacob Abel and the Endocrine Glands

On May 19, 1857, American biochemist and pharmacologist John Jacob Abel was born. Abel made important contributions to a modern understanding of the ductless, or endocrine, glands. He extracted a derivative of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline and successfully purified and isolated crystalline insulin. His interest in kidney functions led to his invention of a primitive artificial kidney that was able to remove toxins from the blood of living animals, the precursor…
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Oliver Heaviside changed the Face of Telecommunications

Oliver Heaviside changed the Face of Telecommunications

On May 18, 1850, English self-taught electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist Oliver Heaviside was born. Heaviside adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, invented mathematical techniques for the solution of differential equations, reformulated Maxwell’s field equations in terms of electric and magnetic forces and energy flux, and independently co-formulated vector analysis. Oliver Heaviside suffered from scarlet fever as a child and had to deal with a hearing impairment since then. He…
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The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

On May 17, 1673, French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit priest and missionary Jacques Marquette departed from St. Ignace Michigan with two canoes and five other voyageurs to explore the Upper Mississippi. It began with Hernan de Soto While Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its entrance in 1541 on his expedition deep into the territory of…
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Pafnuty Chebyshev and the Chebyshev Inequality

Pafnuty Chebyshev and the Chebyshev Inequality

On May 16, 1821, Russian mathematician Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev was born. Chebyshev is remembered primarily for his work on the theory of prime numbers, including the determination of the number of primes not exceeding a given number. Moreover, he is noted for his work in the fields of probability, statistics, mechanics, and number theory. “To isolate mathematics from the practical demands of the sciences is to invite the sterility of a cow shut…
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Maria Reiche – Keeper of the Nazca Lines

Maria Reiche – Keeper of the Nazca Lines

On May 15, 1903, German-born Peruvian mathematician and archaeologist Maria Reiche was born. Reiche was the self-appointed keeper of the Nazca Lines, a series of desert ground drawings over 1,000 years old, near Nazcain in southern Peru. For 50 years the “Lady of the Lines” studied and protected these etchings of animals and geometric patterns in 60 km of desert. In 1995 the Nazca Lines were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.…
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Thomas Gainsborough and the British Landscape School

Thomas Gainsborough and the British Landscape School

On May 14, 1727, English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker Thomas Gainsborough was baptized. Gainsborough became the dominant British portraitist of the second half of the 18th century. He painted quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterized by a light palette and easy strokes. He preferred landscapes to portraits, and is credited as one of the originator of the 18th-century British landscape school. Thomas Gainsborough probably began painting…
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Alexis Claude Clairaut and the True Figure of the Earth

Alexis Claude Clairaut and the True Figure of the Earth

On May 13, 1713, French mathematician, astronomer, and geophysicist Alexis Claude Clairaut was born. Clairaut was one of the key figures in the expedition to Lapland that helped to confirm Newton’s theory for the figure of the Earth.[3] In that context, Clairaut worked out a mathematical result now known as “Clairaut’s theorem“. He also tackled the gravitational three-body problem, being the first to obtain a satisfactory result for the apsidal precession of…
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William Francis Giauque and the Absolute Zero

William Francis Giauque and the Absolute Zero

On May 12, 1895, American chemist and Nobel laureate William Francis Giauque was born. Giauque received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1949 for his “achievements in the field of chemical thermodynamics and especially his work on the behavior of matter at very low temperatures and his closely allied studies of entropy.” William Francis Giauque attended the Niagara Falls Collegiate Institute and after graduating he decided to pursue a career working for…
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