physics

Joseph Jackson Lister – Perfecting the Optical Microscope

Joseph Jackson Lister – Perfecting the Optical Microscope

On January 11, 1786, British amateur opticist and physicist Joseph Jackson Lister was born. In 1826, Lister designed possibly the most important optical microscope ever made. It used an achromatic objective lens corrected for chromatic and spherical aberrations, the resulting image was at the time the clearest produced by any microscope. Joseph Jackson Lister – Family Background Joseph Jackson Lister was the son of a London wine merchant and Quaker. He attended school until 1800 and was then…
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John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

Probably on December 25, 1724, English natural philosopher and geologist John Michell was born. He is best known as both a theorist and an experimenter, who was the first to propose the effects of gravity on light, later resulting in the physics of general relativity and black holes. John Michell – Background John Michell was born in Eakring, Nottinghamshire, UK, the son of Gilbert Michell, a priest, and Obedience Gerrard. However, his exact…
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Anders Celsius and the Celsius Scale of Temperature

Anders Celsius and the Celsius Scale of Temperature

On November 27, 1701, Swedish astronomer, physicist and mathematician Anders Celsius was born. He is famous for the temperature scale he developed and which is named after him. Besides the U.S. that measures temperature according to the scale developed by Fahrenheit, Celsius’ original scale was adopted as the international standard and is still used in almost all scientific work. Anders Celsius – Early Years Anders Celsius was born in Upsala, Sweden, the son of an…
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Eugene Wigner and the Structure of the Atomic Nucleus

Eugene Wigner and the Structure of the Atomic Nucleus

On November 17, 1902, Hungarian American theoretical physicist and mathematician Eugene Paul Wigner was born. He is best known for for his contributions to the theory of the atomic nucleus and the elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles for which he shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics with Maria Goeppert. [4] “A possible explanation of the physicist’s use of mathematics to formulate his laws of nature…
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Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

On October 15, 1608, Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli was born, best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in Optics. Evangelista Torricelli Background Evangelista Torricelli was born in Rome, the firstborn child of Gaspare Ruberti, a poor textile worker, and Giacoma Torricelli. His family was from Faenza in the Province of Ravenna, then part of the Papal States. His parents sent Evangelista to…
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Peter Barlow and the Barlow Lenses

Peter Barlow and the Barlow Lenses

On October 13, 1776, British mathematician and physicist Peter Barlow was born. He is still reknown today for his development of two varieties of achromatic (non-colour-distorting) telescope lenses, the so-called Barlow lenses. Opinions derived from long experience are exceedingly valuable, and outweigh all others, while they are consistent with facts and with each other; but they are worse than useless when they lead, as in this instance, to directly opposite opinions. – Peter…
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Henry Cavendish and the Weight of the Earth

Henry Cavendish and the Weight of the Earth

On October 10, 1731, British natural philosopher Henry Cavendish was born. A scientist as well as an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist, Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called “inflammable air“. Most notably, he determined the mass and density of the Earth. Henry Cavendish Henry Cavendish was born in Nice and attended a private school near London. He enrolled the University of Cambridge, but left without…
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Max von Laue and the Diffraction of X-Rays in Crystals

Max von Laue and the Diffraction of X-Rays in Crystals

On October 9, 1879, German physicist Max von Laue was born. Von Laue received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. “In the beginning was mechanics.” – Max von Laue (1950). History of physics Max von Laue – Early Years Max von Laue was born in Pfaffendorf, near Koblenz, Germany. His parents were Julius Laue (1848-1927), a Prussian real secret war councilor…
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Hippolyte Fizeau and the Speed of Light

Hippolyte Fizeau and the Speed of Light

On September 23, 1819, French physicist Armand Hippolyte Louis Fizeau was born. He is well known for his calculation of the speed of light and his suggestion to use length of a light wave be used as a length standard.[4] Hippolyte Fizeau – Early Years Hippolyte Fizeau was born in Paris as the eldest son of Béatrice and Louis Fizeau, who was professor of Pathology at the Paris Medical School. He attended the prestigious…
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James Dewar and the Liquefaction of Gases

James Dewar and the Liquefaction of Gases

On September 1842, Scottish chemist and physicist Sir James Dewar was born. He is probably best-known today for his invention of the Dewar flask, which he used in conjunction with extensive research into the liquefaction of gases. James Dewar Background James Dewar was born in Kincardine, Fife, Scotland, in 1842, the youngest of six boys. He lost his parents at the age of 15. He was educated at Dollar Academy and the…
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