Yearly Archives: 2017

Thomas Sopwith and his legendary Aircrafts

Thomas Sopwith and his legendary Aircrafts

On January 18, 1888, English aviation pioneer and yachtsman Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith was born. Sopwith’s pioneering firm was famous for British WWI military aircraft, including the legendary Sopwith Camel. Thomas Sopwith’s Early Years Thomas Sopwith was born in Kensington, London, UK, as the eighth child and only son of Thomas Sopwith, a civil engineer and managing director of the Spanish Lead Mines Company, Linares, Jaén, Spain, and his wife Lydia Gertrude née Messiter. When he…
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François Lenormant and the Akkadian Language

François Lenormant and the Akkadian Language

On January 17, 1837, French assyriologist and archaeologist François Lenormant was born. Lenormant recognized, from cuneiform inscriptions, a language now known as Akkadian that proved valuable to the understanding of Mesopotamian civilization 3,000 years before the Christian era. François Lenormant – Youth and Education François Lenormant was born in Paris, France, to his father Charles Lenormant, who, distinguished as an archaeologist, numismatist and Egyptologist, was anxious that his son should follow in…
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Paul Müller and the Doubtful Qualities of DDT

Paul Müller and the Doubtful Qualities 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. “We have discovered many preventives against tropical diseases, and often against the onslaught of insects of all kinds, from lice to mosquitoes and back again. The excellent…
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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. Alec Jeffries – Youth and Education Alec John Jeffreys was born into a middle-class family in Oxford, UK, where he spent the first six years of his life until 1956, when the family moved to Luton,…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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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 is now…
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The Case of King Tut – CT Scans and DNA Forensics of Tutankhamun’s Mummy^

The Case of King Tut – CT Scans and DNA Forensics of Tutankhamun’s Mummy^

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. The Discovery…
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Robert Whitehead – Changing the Game of Naval Warfare with the Torpedo

Robert Whitehead – Changing the Game of Naval Warfare with 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. With this he created a weapon that decisively influenced both world wars. Robert Whitehead – Early Years Robert Whitehead was born in Bolton, England, the son of James Whitehead, a cotton-bleacher, and his wife Ellen Whitehead née Swift. He was trained as an engineer and draughtsman, and attended the Mechanics’ Institute, Manchester…
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Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

On January 1, 1898, Bengali Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose was born. Specialising in mathematical physics, Bose is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac. Education Bose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the eldest of seven children…
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