Monthly Archives: October 2017

John A. Pople and Computational Methods in Quantum Chemistry

John A. Pople and Computational Methods in Quantum Chemistry

On October 31, 1925, British theoretical chemist and Nobel laureate Sir John Anthony Pople was born. Pople was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Walter Kohn in 1998 for his work on computational methodology to study the quantum mechanics of molecules, their properties and how they act together in chemical reactions. “Sometimes one can improve the theories in the sense of discovering a quicker, more efficient way of doing a given…
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Homi J. Bhabha and the Indian Nuclear Programme

Homi J. Bhabha and the Indian Nuclear Programme

On October 30, 1909, Indian nuclear physicist Homi J. Bhabha was born. Bhabha is often referred to as known as “father of the Indian nuclear programme“. With support from industrialist Dorabji Jamsetji Tata, he established the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bombay (1945) for large scale research in physics, chemistry, electronics and mathematics. He envisioned nuclear power from thorium instead of uranium reserves. Education Homi Jehangir Bhabha went to school in Bombay, including Elphinstone…
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Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Laura Bassi – the first Woman with a University Chair

Between October 20 and October 29, 1711, Italian physicist and academic Laura Maria Caterina Bassi was born. Bassi is referred to as being the first woman to earn a professorship in physics at a university in Europe and is recognized as the first woman in the world to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies. She contributed immensely to the field of science while also helping to spread the…
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Sir Richard Doll and the Risks of Smoking

Sir Richard Doll and the Risks of Smoking

On October 28, 1912, British physiologist and epidemologist Sir Richard Doll was born. Doll was a pioneer in research linking smoking to health problems. With Ernst Wynder, Bradford Hill and Evarts Graham, he was credited with being the first to prove that smoking caused lung cancer and increased the risk of heart disease. Sir Richard Doll studied medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, King’s College London where he graduated in 1937.…
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Albert Fink revolutionized the Use of Iron for American Railroad Bridge Construction

Albert Fink revolutionized the Use of Iron for American Railroad Bridge Construction

On October 27, 1827, German-American civil engineer Albert Fink was born. Fink is best known for his railroad bridge designs, which helped revolutionize the use of iron for American railroad bridge construction. He devised the Fink truss and many truss bridges, especially the Fink-Type Truss Bridge. Youth and Emigration to the U.S. Albert Fink was born in Lauterbach, a town located in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, the son of architect…
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Charles Proteus Steinmetz and the Alternating Current

Charles Proteus Steinmetz and the Alternating Current

On October 26, 1923, German-born American mathematician and electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz passed away. Steinmetz fostered the development of alternating current that made possible the expansion of the electric power industry in the United States, formulating mathematical theories for engineers. He made ground-breaking discoveries in the understanding of hysteresis that enabled engineers to design better electromagnetic apparatus equipment including especially electric motors for use in industry. “The scientist is contented if…
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Floyd Bennett and his North Pole Flight

Floyd Bennett and his North Pole Flight

On October 25, 1890, American aviator Floyd Bennett was born. BennettBennett claimed, along with Richard E. Byrd, to have made the first flight to the North Pole in 1926.[1] However, their claim to have reached the pole is disputed. During the First World War Floyd Bennett joined the Navy. Initially working as a mechanic, he later completed flight school. In 1925 he made a reconnaissance flight with Richard E. Byrd over Greenland. The following…
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The Emanzipation of Dorothea von Schlegel

The Emanzipation of Dorothea von Schlegel

On October 24, 1764, German novelist and translator Dorothea von Schlegel was born as Brendel Mendelssohn. The daughter of famous philosopher of the enlightenment Moses Mendelsohn, she met the poet, critic, and future husband Friedrich von Schlegel in the salon of her friend Henriette Herz. It was also in Herz‘s salon, where she met European scholars such as e.g. Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt. Early Life and Education Dorothea von Schlegel was…
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Faster than the Speed of Light – Ilya Frank and the Cherenkov Radiation

Faster than the Speed of Light – Ilya Frank and the Cherenkov Radiation

On October 23, 1908, Soviet physicist Ilya Mikhailovich Frank was born. Frank received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1958 jointly with Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov and Igor Y. Tamm for his work in explaining the phenomenon of Cherenkov radiation, an electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle (such as an electron) passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium. Family Background and…
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Frank Spedding and the Rare Earth Elements

Frank Spedding and the Rare Earth Elements

On October 22, 1902, Canadian American chemist Frank Spedding was born. Spedding was a renowned expert on rare earth elements, and on extraction of metals from minerals. His uranium extraction process helped make it possible for the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs. Youth and Education Spedding was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the son of Howard Leslie Spedding and Mary Ann Elizabeth Marshall. In 1918, the family moved to…
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