physics

Heinrich Gustav Magnus and the Magnus Effect

Heinrich Gustav Magnus and the Magnus Effect

On May 2, 1802, German physicist Heinrich Gustav Magnus was born. He is best known for the Magnus effect (the lift force produced by a rotating cylinder, which for example, gives the curve to a curve ball). In chemical research, he discovered the first of the platino-ammonium compounds. Heinrich Gustav Magnus – Early Years Heinrich Gustav Magnus’ father, the wealthy cloth and silk merchant Immanuel Meyer Magnus was baptized in 1807 with his…
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The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

On April 22, 1904, American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was born. Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer‘s achievements in physics included the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wave functions, work on the theory of electrons…
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Dayton Miller – An Advocat of Aether Theory

Dayton Miller – An Advocat of Aether Theory

On March 13, 1866, American physicist, astronomer, acoustician Dayton Clarence Miller was born. An early experimenter of X-rays, Miller was an advocate of aether theory and absolute space and an opponent of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.[4] Early Years Born in Ohio to Charles Webster Dewey and Vienna Pomeroy Miller, Dayton Miller attended Baldwin University and earned his doctorate in astronomy at Princeton University. At the Case School of Applied Science in…
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Lev Artsimovich, the Father of the Tokamak

Lev Artsimovich, the Father of the Tokamak

On February 25, 1909, Soviet physicist Lev Artsimovich was born. Artsimovich worked on the field of nuclear fusion and plasma physics and is best known for providing the basis of the Tokamak, a device capable of confining ultra-high temperature plasma suitable for research into controlled nuclear fusion. “Science is a way to pursue one’s sense of inquiry at the expense of the State.” — Lev Artsimovich, as quoted by E.E. Kintner in…
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Daniel Bernoulli and the Bernoulli Principle

Daniel Bernoulli and the Bernoulli Principle

On February 8, 1700, (January 29, according to the then valid Julian calendar), Swiss mathematician and physicist Daniel Bernoulli was born. Being one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family, Daniel Bernoulli is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics. His name is commemorated in the Bernoulli principle, a particular example of the conservation of energy,…
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Robert Hofstadter and controlled Nuclear Fission

Robert Hofstadter and controlled Nuclear Fission

On February 5, 1915, American physicist Robert Hofstadter was born. He was the joint winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics (together with Rudolf Mössbauer) “for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his consequent discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons“. He revealed the hitherto unknown structure of these particles and helped create an identifying order for subatomic particles. He also correctly predicted the existence of the…
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Sir George Stokes and Fluid Dynamics

Sir George Stokes and Fluid Dynamics

On February 1, 1903, Irish mathematician, physicist, politician and theologian Sir George Gabriel Stokes, 1st Baronet, passed away. Stokes made seminal contributions to fluid dynamics, optics, and mathematical physics including the first version of what is now known as Stokes’ theorem. “It is very difficult for us, placed as we have been from earliest childhood in a condition of training, to say what would have been our feelings had such training never…
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Abdus Salam’s  Electroweak Unifying Theory

Abdus Salam’s Electroweak Unifying Theory

On January 29, 1926, Pakistani theoretical physicist Mohammad Abdus Salam was born. Abdus Salam shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. “This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.” — Abdus Salam, Speech at the Nobel Banquet (10 December…
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Paul Langevin and the Langevin Dynamics

Paul Langevin and the Langevin Dynamics

On January 23, 1872, French physicist Paul Langevin was born. He is best known for having developed Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation. Being a public opponent against fascism in the 1930s resulted in his arrest and consequently he was held under house arrest by the Vichy government for most of the war. Langevin was also the first to explain (1905) the effects of paramagnetism and diamagnetism (the weak attraction or repulsion…
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Ray Dolby and the Noise Reduction System

Ray Dolby and the Noise Reduction System

On January 18, 1933, American engineer and inventor Ray Milton Dolby was born. Dolby is best known for the invention of his eponymous analogue noise reduction technology and played a key role in the development of the first commercial video tape recorders. “To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in this darkness and grope towards an answer, to put up with anxiety…
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