Monthly Archives: August 2020

Richard Mead and the Understanding of Transmissible Diseases

Richard Mead and the Understanding of Transmissible Diseases

On August 11, 1673, English physician Richard Mead was born. His work, A Short Discourse concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Method to be used to prevent it, was of historic importance in the understanding of transmissible diseases. Richard Mead Background Richard Mead was mostly educated at home by his father and a private tutor, who also lived with them. He moved to Leyden in 1692 in order to study at the local University…
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Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer – Philosopher and Salonnière

Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer – Philosopher and Salonnière

On August 10, 1770, German philosopher and salonnière Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer was born. She belonged to the group of 18th century Göttingen scholar-daughters known as “university mamselles” and was the second women in Germany to officially earn a doctorate. Dorothea Schlözer – Youth and Education Dorothea Schlözer was the daughter of August Ludwig von Schlözer, a Göttingen professor of constitutional law and history, and Caroline Friederike von Schlözer (née Roederer), a painter…
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Marvin Minsky and Artificial Neural Networks

Marvin Minsky and Artificial Neural Networks

On August 9, 1927, American biochemist and the founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project Marvin Minsky was born. He is also known for his foundational work in the analysis of artificial neural networks. “Once the computers got control, we might never get it back. We would survive at their sufferance. If we’re lucky, they might decide to keep us as pets.” – Marvin Minsky, Life Magazine (20 November 1970), p. 68…
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Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

On August 8, 1902, English theoretical physicist Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born. Dirac is best known for his fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. “The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.” — Paul Dirac Paul Dirac Background Paul Dirac was born…
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Victor Franz Hess and the Cosmic Radiation

Victor Franz Hess and the Cosmic Radiation

On August 7, 1912, Austrian physicist Victor Franz Hess provided evidence of a high-altitude radiation in one of his balloon rides, which later was called cosmic radiation. Together with Carl Anderson, he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of cosmic radiation. What causes Ionization of the Air? Victor Franz Hess was educated in Graz, Austria. There, he attended the grammar school and the University of Graz. At the Physical…
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What is a Mathematical Function – according to Johann Bernoulli

What is a Mathematical Function – according to Johann Bernoulli

On August 6, 1667, Swiss mathematician Johann Bernoulli was born. He was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is known for his contributions to infinitesimal calculus and educating Leonhard Euler in the pupil’s youth.[1] “I recognize the lion by his claw.” – Johann Bernoulli, after reading an anonymous solution to a problem that he realized was Newton’s solution.[10] Johann Bernoulli and the Early Days of Calculus Johann I…
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Rensis Likert and the Likert Scale Method

Rensis Likert and the Likert Scale Method

On August 5, 1903, American social psychologist Rensis Likert was born. Likert is primarily known for developing the Likert scale method, an approach to creating a psychometrically sound scale based on responses to multiple questions or “items.” Likert’s method has become a time-honored way to measure people’s reactions such as to opinion surveys as well as personality tests. “A number of statistical assumptions are made in the application of his (Thurstone’s) attitude…
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Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Creation of the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Creation of the Pencil

On August 4, 1755, French painter, inventor, army officer and balloonist, Nicolas-Jacques Conté was born. Among others, he is credited with the invention of the modern pencil. Moreover, some consider him one of the greatest inventive minds of the eighteenth century. He distinguished himself for his mechanical genius which was of great avail to the French army in Egypt. Napoleon Bonaparte called him “a universal man with taste, understanding and genius capable of…
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Richard Arkwright – the Father of the Industrial Revolution

Richard Arkwright – the Father of the Industrial Revolution

On August 3, 1792, Sir Richard Arkwright passed away. He was a self-made man and a leading entrepreneur during the early Industrial Revolution. Arkwright’s achievement was to combine power, machinery, semi-skilled labour and the new raw material (cotton) to create mass-produced yarn. His skills of organization made him, more than anyone else, the creator of the modern factory system. Later in his life Arkwright was also known as ‘the Father of the Industrial Revolution‘.…
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John Tyndall and the Physics of Air

John Tyndall and the Physics of Air

On August 2, 1820, British physicist John Tyndall was born. His initial scientific fame arose in the 1850s from his study of diamagnetism. Later he made discoveries in the realms of infrared radiation and the physical properties of air. As the most prominent example, he was able to demonstrate why the sky is blue. “Every occurrence in Nature is preceded by other occurrences which are its causes, and succeeded by others which are…
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