engineering

Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

On March 29, 1769, German chemist Friedrich Christian Accum was born. Accum‘s most important achievements included advances in the field of gas lighting, efforts to keep processed foods free from dangerous additives, and the promotion of interest in the science of chemistry to the general populace. Youth and Education Accum was born in Bückeburg, Schaumburg-Lippe (near Hannover), where his father was in the service of Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe. Friedrich’ father died,…
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Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

On March 9, 1931, German physicist Ernst Ruska together with his doctoral advisor Max Knoll presented the very first prototype electron microscope, capable of four-hundred-power magnification; the apparatus was the first demonstration of the principles of electron microscopy. “The light microscope opened the 1st gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the 2nd gate to microcosm.” What will we find opening the 3rd gate? (Ernst Ruska, 1985)[1] Youth and Education Ernst Ruska…
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Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the Radar Technology

Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the Radar Technology

On February 26, 1935, British engineer and Fellow of the Royal Society Robert Alexander Watson-Watt started with first experiments on detecting and locating aircrafts with radio technique, later called ‘RADAR‘. Radar was initially nameless and researched elsewhere but it was greatly expanded on 1 September 1936 when Watson-Watt became Superintendent of Bawdsey Research Station located in Bawdsey Manor, near Felixstowe, Suffolk. Work there resulted in the design and installation of aircraft detection and tracking stations…
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The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

On the night of February 17, 1864, the submarine H.L.Hunley of the American Confederate Army sank the steamship USS Housatonic with a torpedo and became the very first submarine to attack and sink an enemy vessel. The Hunley was lost at some point following her successful attack and all crewmen were lost. Although the Hunley only played a small part in the American Civil War, it was a large role in the…
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Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

On January 6, 1329, German long-distance trader, factory owner and councillor of Nuremberg Ulman Stromer was born. Stromer established the very first permanent paper mill north of the Alpes, at the Pegnitz river not far from the city of Nuremberg. Paper Predecessors The story of paper as a writing material dates back to ancient times. Papyrus as its predecessor was introduced in Egypt most probably already in the 3rd millenium BCE. Papyrus differs from…
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Oscar Niemeyer – The Visionary Architect of Brasilia

Oscar Niemeyer – The Visionary Architect of Brasilia

On December 15, 1907, famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture was born. Niemeyer was best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city which became Brazil‘s capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. “I deliberately disregarded the right angle and…
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Hedy Lamarr – a Hollywood Star Invents Secure Communication Technology

Hedy Lamarr – a Hollywood Star Invents Secure Communication Technology

On November 9, 1913, Hollywood movie star Hedy Lamarr was born, co-inventor of an early form of the spread spectrum communication and frequency hopping, necessary for wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day. Family Background Ok, I assume that you are not necessarily familiar with spread spectrum communications technology. But, maybe you are wondering even more about a movie star diva of Hollywood’s Golden Age, who should be responsible for the…
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Johann Philipp Reis Demonstrates the first Telephone

Johann Philipp Reis Demonstrates the first Telephone

On October 26, 1861, German teacher and inventor Johann Philipp Reis, presented his telephone system at the ‘Physikalischen Verein zu Frankfurt am Main‘. Although it did not convince his contemporaries, his invention marks a milestone in telecommunications. Early Life and First Projects Philipp Reis was born on January 7, 1834 in Gelnhausen, Germany in a Jewish family as son of a baker. Reis’s mother died while he was an infant, and he…
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Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials

Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials

On October 8, 1829, George Stephenson‘s steam locomotive ‘The Rocket‘ won The Rainhill Trials, an important competition in the early days of steam locomotive railways, run in Rainhill, Lancashire (now Merseyside) for the nearly completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway. “George Stephenson told me as a young man that railways will supersede almost all other methods of conveyance in this country — when mail-coaches will go by railway, and railroads will become the…
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The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the western world by announcing the first successful launch of an artificial satellite orbiting the earth – Sputnik 1. Prelude – The International Geophysical Year The 1950’s were politically difficult times for the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1952, the International Council of Scientific Unions declared the time lasting from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958 as the International Geophysical Year…
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