Monthly Archives: March 2018

Cogito Ergo Sum – The Philosophy of René Descartes

Cogito Ergo Sum – The Philosophy of René Descartes

On March 31, 1596, French philosopher, mathematician, and writer René Descartes was born. The Cartesian coordinate system is named after him, allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two-dimensional coordinate system. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis.…
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Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and the Bunsen Burner

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and the Bunsen Burner

On March 30, 1811, German chemist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen was born. Bunsen investigated emission spectra of heated elements, and discovered caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861) with the physicist Gustav Kirchhoff.[6] He developed several gas-analytical methods, was a pioneer in photochemistry, and did early work in the field of organoarsenic chemistry. With his laboratory assistant, Peter Desaga, he developed the Bunsen burner, an improvement on the laboratory burners then in use.…
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Colonel Drake and the Dawn of the Oil Business

Colonel Drake and the Dawn of the Oil Business

On March 29, 1819, Petroleum entrepreneur Edwin Laurentine Drake, also known as Colonel Drake, was born. He is popularly credited with being the first to drill for oil in the United States. His success launched an Oil Rush and brought the world a new energy source. Edwin Drake was born in Greenville, Greene County, New York, as son of Lyman and Laura Drake. He grew up on family farms around New York State…
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Pierre Simon de Laplace and his true love for Astronomy and Mathematics

Pierre Simon de Laplace and his true love for Astronomy and Mathematics

On March 28, 1749, French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Simon marquis de Laplace was born, whose work was pivotal to the development of mathematical astronomy and statistics. One of his major achievements was the conclusion of the five-volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) which translated the geometric study of classical mechanics to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems. Pierre Simon Laplace, the son of a cider merchant was…
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Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen – The Father of Diagnostic Radiology

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen – The Father of Diagnostic Radiology

On March 27, 1845, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born. The German physicist is best known for producing and detecting electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range, better known as X-rays or Röntgen rays. Röntgen received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his achievement in 1901. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born in Germany, but grew up in the Netherlands before enrolling at Utrecht’s technical school. After being unfairly expelled from the University, he entered the University…
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Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

On March 26, 1516, Swiss naturalist and bibliographer Conrad Gessner was born. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria is named after him. He is considered as one of the most important natural scientists of Switzerland and was sometimes referred to as the ‘German Pliny‘. Conrad Gessner was born and educated in Zürich, Switzerland as the son of Ursus Gessner, a…
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Christiaan Huygens and the Discovery of Saturn Moon Titan

Christiaan Huygens and the Discovery of Saturn Moon Titan

On March 25, 1655, Saturn‘s largest moon Titan was discovered by astronomer and physicist Christiaan Huygens. Titan is considered as the most Earth-like moon discovered so far and the second largest in the solar system. Christiaan Huygens was born into an influential family and provided with a decent education all his life, leaning several foreign languages mathematics, logic, and rethoric. His father was friends with Galileo Galilei and René Descartes who early…
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Josef Stefan’s Work in Thermodynamics

Josef Stefan’s Work in Thermodynamics

On March 24, 1835, Carinthian Slovene physicist, mathematician, and poet Josef Stefan was born. Stefan is best known for originating Stefan’s law in 1879, a physical power law stating that the total radiation from a black body is proportional to the fourth power of its thermodynamic temperature T. As long as you are not a physicist specialized in black body radiation, you probably have never heard of Josef Stefan. For me as a computer…
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Emmy Noether and the Love for Mathematics

Emmy Noether and the Love for Mathematics

On April 23, 1882, German mathematician and physicist Emmy Noether was born, who is best known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Albert Einstein called her the most important woman in the history of mathematics, as she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. “My methods are really methods of working and thinking; this is why they have crept in everywhere anonymously.” Letter to Helmut Hasse (1931)…
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Nathan Rosen – Wormholes and Time Travel

Nathan Rosen – Wormholes and Time Travel

On March 22, 1909, US-American physicist Nathan Rosen was born. He is best known for his cooperation together with Albert Einstein and Boris Podolsky on the quantum-mechanical description of physical reality leading the the so-called Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradoxon, as well as his postulation of worm holes connecting distant areas in space. Although purely theoretic, his work also had an important impact on science fiction literature. Nathan Rosen was born in New York City and attended…
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