engineering

E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

On August 23, 1923, English computer scientist Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd was born. His main achievement besides many contributions to computer science was the invention of the relational model for database management, the theoretical basis for relational databases. “At the time, Nixon was normalizing relations with China. I figured that if he could normalize relations, then so could I.” — E. F. Codd [5] When you talk about databases today, usually you…
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Paul Nipkow and the Picture Scanning Technology

Paul Nipkow and the Picture Scanning Technology

On August 22, 1860, German engineer Paul Gottlieb Nipkow was born. He is best known for having conceived the idea of using a spiral-perforated disk (the Nipkow disk), to divide a picture into a matrix of points, and became an early television pioneer. Nipkow was born on August 22, 1860, in Lauenburg (Lębork) in Pomerania, now in Poland, as the son of Friedrich Wilhelm Nipkow, master baker and head of the town council.…
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William Murdock ‘enlights’ the 19th Century

William Murdock ‘enlights’ the 19th Century

On August 21, 1754, Scottish engineer and inventor William Murdock was born. He was the first to make extensive use of coal gas for illumination and a pioneer in the development of steam power. William Murdock (sometimes also referred to as Murdoch) was born as the third of seven children of the mill tenant and former infantryman John Murdoch in the community of Cumnoch. At the age of ten, he moved to Auchinleck School, where…
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Taking All Moving Parts out of Television – Philo Taylor Farnsworth’s Electronic TV

Taking All Moving Parts out of Television – Philo Taylor Farnsworth’s Electronic TV

On August 19, 1906, American inventor and television pioneer Philo Taylor Farnsworth was born. As a pioneer in the development of electronic television, he counts responsible for taking all of the moving parts out of television inventions. Philo Taylor Farnsworth was born in Indian Creek near Beaver, Utah as the eldest of five children into a Mormon family. He moved to Idaho with his family, when he was about 12 years old. He was taught the…
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John Logie Baird and the Invention of Television

John Logie Baird and the Invention of Television

On August 14, 1888, Scottish scientist and engineer John Logie Baird was born. He is considered the inventor of the world’s first television, the first publicly demonstrated colour television system, and the first purely electronic colour television picture tube. Born in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute (then Dunbartonshire) on the west coast of Scotland, Baird was the youngest of four children of the Reverend John Baird, the Church of Scotland’s minister for the local St Bride’s…
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Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté (1755-1805) 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…
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Richard Arkwright – the Father of the Industrial Revolution

Richard Arkwright – the Father of the Industrial Revolution

Portrait of Sir Richard Arkwright by Mather Brown 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…
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Isaac Singer and the Sewing Machine

Isaac Singer and the Sewing Machine

Woman working with singer machine (ca. 1914) Image Source: Library of Congress On July 23, 1875, American inventor, actor, and entrepreneur Isaac Merrit Singer passed away. He made important improvements in the design of the sewing machine and was the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Isaac Merritt Singer was born in 1811 in Pittstown, New York and worked as a mechanist, starting from the age of 12. He joined a traveling…
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Rube Goldberg’s complicated Machines

Rube Goldberg’s complicated Machines

Rube Goldberg (1883–1970) in 1916 On July 4, 1883, American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg was born. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948. Reuben Lucius Goldberg was born July 4, 1883, in San Francisco, California,…
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Hermann Oberth’s Dream of Space Travel

Hermann Oberth’s Dream of Space Travel

On June 25, 1894, Austro-Hungarian-born German physicist and engineer Hermann Oberth was born. He was the first, who when thinking about the possibility of spaceships grabbed a slide-rule and presented mathematically analyzed concepts and designs. Maybe you have already heard of the ‘Oberth Effect‘. In interplanetary spaceflight, the Oberth effect is used in a powered flyby where the application of an impulse, typically from a rocket engine, close to a gravitational body can…
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