Yearly Archives: 2017

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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George Combe and the Phrenological Movement

George Combe and the Phrenological Movement

On October 21, 1788, Scottish lawyer and the leader of the phrenological movement George Combe was born. Combe founded the Edinburgh Phrenological Society in 1820 and was the author of the highly influential The Constitution of Man (1828). Family Background and Early Years George Combe was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a large family with thirteen surviving children to George Combe, a prosperous brewer in the city. After attending the High School…
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Sir Christopher Wren – Baroque Architect, Philosopher, Scientist

Sir Christopher Wren – Baroque Architect, Philosopher, Scientist

On October 20, 1632 (October 30 according to the new Gregorian calendar), one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history, Sir Christopher Wren was born. He was accorded responsibility for rebuilding 52 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including what is regarded as his masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral, on Ludgate Hill, completed in 1710. “Architecture has its political Use; publick Buildings being the Ornament…
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Jean Dausset and the Major Histocompatibility Complex

Jean Dausset and the Major Histocompatibility Complex

On October 19, 1916,  French immunologist Jean Dausset was born. Dausset received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1980 along with Baruj Benacerraf and George Davis Snell for their discovery and characterization of the genes making the major histocompatibility complex. Early Years Jean-Baptiste-Gabriel-Joachim Dausset’s father worked as a medical doctor at the Bayonne Hospital at Biarritz. After the family moved to Paris, Dausset began his formal education and later studied medicine at…
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Salomon August Andrée’s Ill Fated Polar Balloon Expedition

Salomon August Andrée’s Ill Fated Polar Balloon Expedition

On October 18, 1854, Swedish engineer, physicist, aeronaut and polar explorer Salomon August Andrée was born. Andrée died while leading an attempt to reach the Geographic North Pole by hydrogen balloon. The balloon expedition was unsuccessful in reaching the Pole and resulted in the deaths of all three of its participants. Introducing Auguste Andrèe Salomon Auguste Andrée attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1874. Two…
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Paul Bernays and the Unified Theory of Mathematics

Paul Bernays and the Unified Theory of Mathematics

On October 17, 1888, Swiss mathematician and logician Paul Isaac Bernays was born. Bernays made significant contributions to mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, and the philosophy of mathematics. He was an assistant and close collaborator of David Hilbert.[6] Bernays is known for his attempts to develop a unified theory of mathematics. “Enlightened humanity has sought in rational definiteness its liberating refuge from the dominating influence of the merely authoritative. At the present time,…
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Cyril Ponnamperuma and the Origins of Life

Cyril Ponnamperuma and the Origins of Life

On October 16, 1923, Ceylonese-American chemist and exobiologist Cyril Ponnamperuma was born. Cyril Ponnamperuma was a leading authority on the chemical origins of life. He built on the work of Miller and Clayton Urey studying chemical reactions in “primordial soup” experiments. Ponnamperuma focused on producing compounds related to the nucleic acids and offered a convincing theory about series of chemical reactions that gave rise to precursors of life on earth. Education Cyril Andrew…
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Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

On October 15, 1905, English physical chemist and novelist Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow was born. Snow is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for The Two Cultures, a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and “literary intellectuals“. Youth and Education C. P. Snow was born in Leicester to William Snow, a church organist and choirmaster, and his wife Ada.…
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Friedrich Kohlrausch and the Conductive Properties of Electrolytes

Friedrich Kohlrausch and the Conductive Properties of Electrolytes

On October 14, 1840, German physicist Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Kohlrausch was born. Kohlrausch investigated the conductive properties of electrolytes and contributed to knowledge of their behaviour. He also investigated elasticity, thermoelasticity, and thermal conduction as well as magnetic and electrical precision measurements. Youth and Education Friedrich Kohlrausch was born in Rinteln, Germany, the son of Rudolf Kohlrausch, a physicist who introduced the relaxation phenomena and used the stretched exponential function to explain relaxation…
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Jules Quicherat – the Father of French Archaeology

Jules Quicherat – the Father of French Archaeology

On October 13, 1814, French archaeologist and historian Jules Étienne Joseph Quicherat was born. Quicherat was one of the founders of archaeology in France. In 1847, he inaugurated a course of archaeological lectures at the École des Chartes. His students circulated his principles throughout France, recognizing him as the “founder of national archaeology”. He wrote on the history of medieval France, and also edited texts of the trial and rehabilitation of Joan…
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