Yearly Archives: 2017

Paul Müller and the Use of DDT

Paul Müller and the Use of DDT

On January 12, 1899, Swiss chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Hermann Müller was born. Müller received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Already during his later school years Paul Müller had a small laboratory where he was able to develop photographic plates or build radio equipment. Müller…
Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

On January 11, 1753, Irish born British physician, naturalist and collector Sir Hans Sloane passed away. Sloane is formost known for bequeathing his collection to the nation, thus providing the foundation of the British Museum. Hans Sloane was born on 16 April 1660 at Killyleagh in County Down, in the colonial Protestant Plantation of Ulster in the North of Ireland, as the seventh son of Alexander Sloane, agent for James…
Project Diana hits the Moon

Project Diana hits the Moon

On January 10, 1946 the U.S. Army Project Diana team detected radar signals reflected off the moon‘s surface. This was the first experiment in radar astronomy and the first active attempt to probe another celestial body. Project Diana was designed in order to bounce radar signals off the Moon and receive the reflected signals, which became the first known attempt to probe another celestial body. Pioneer of the project was …
Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

On January 9, 1950, British geneticist Alec Jeffreys was born. In 1984, Jeffreys developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used worldwide in forensic science to assist police detective work and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes. When Alec Jeffreys grew up, his father is known to have supported his curiosity, even though an accident with sulphuric acid left a permament scar on his chin. Less dangerously, Jeffreys also received…
Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

On January 8, 1942, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen William Hawking was born. Hawking’s principal areas of research are theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a theory of cosmology explained…
Émile Borel and the Infinite Monkey Problem

Émile Borel and the Infinite Monkey Problem

On January 7, 1871, French mathematician Félix Édouard Justin Émile Borel was born. Borel is known for his founding work in the areas of measure theory and probability. In one of his books on probability, he proposed the thought experiment that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard will – with absolute certainty – eventually type every book in France’s Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library). This…
The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

On January 6, 2005, the mummy of Tutankhamun (c. 1355-1346 B.C.) was removed from its tomb in the Valley of the Kings to be subject of a state-of-the-art non invasive CT scan, which gave evidence that the young king had suffered a compound left leg fracture shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected, and did not support the popular assumption that the king had been murdered.…
Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

On January 5, 1838, French mathematician Marie Ennemond Camille Jordan was born. Jordan is known both for his foundational work in group theory and for his influential Cours d’analyse. Camille Jordan was born in Lyon, France, to Esprit-Alexandre Jordan, an engineer who had been educated at the École Polytechnique, and, Joséphine Puvis de Chavannes. Jordan studied at the Lycée de Lyon and at the Collège d’Oullins. He entered the École…
Marie-Louise von Franz and her Love for Fairy Tales

Marie-Louise von Franz and her Love for Fairy Tales

On January 4, 1915, Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar Marie-Louise von Franz was born. Von Franz is renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts. Her research showed common themes in tales from many cultures, which she linked with experiences in daily life. Marie-Louise von Franz attended a high school in Zurich , specializing in languages and literature. Around the age of 18, she and a few…
Robert Whitehead and the Torpedo

Robert Whitehead and the Torpedo

On January 3, 1823, English engineer Robert Whitehead was born. Whitehead is most famous for developing the first effective self-propelled naval torpedo. Robert Whitehead was educated at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester and was later employed at a shipyard in Toulon, France, for Philip Taylor & Sons. He then became consultant engineer in Milan, Italy. After moving to Trieste, Whitehead became the manager of a successful metal foundry (Fonderia Metalli)…
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