physics

Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei publicly demonstrated his newly built telescope to Venetian lawmakers. Besides its astronomical value Galileo‘s telescope was also a profitable sideline for him selling telescopes to merchants who found them useful both at sea and as items of trade. Galileo published his initial telescopic astronomical observations in March 1610 in a brief treatise entitled Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger). Galileo Galilei Education and Early Career Galileo Galilei came from an…
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David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

On August 13, 1596, German theologian and astronomer David Fabricius discovered the first known periodic variable star, which he called Mira Ceti (The ‘Wonder’ in the stellar constellation ‘Whale’). David Fabricius – Early Years David Fabricius was born in Esens, Lower Saxony and received a pretty good education, learning mostly Latin. In Braunschweig, he first gained a few experiences in astronomy. His teacher introduced him to astronomy as well as mathematics before…
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Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

On July 18, 1635 (according to the old Julian calendar), English natural philosopher, architect and polymath Robert Hooke was born. He is known for his discovery of the laws of elasticity, now known as Hooke’s law. Hooke did research in a remarkable variety of fields. He was one of the first men to build a Gregorian reflecting telescope and to suggest that Jupiter rotates. His studies of microscopic fossils are what led…
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Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds – The Trinity Test

Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds – The Trinity Test

On July 16, 1945, the first detonation of a nuclear device with the code name Trinity took place in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico. Although nuclear chain reactions had been hypothesized already in 1933 and the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (Chicago Pile-1) had taken place in December 1942, the date of the Trinity test is usually considered to be the beginning of the Atomic Age. Los Alamos director…
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A Wire to Connect the World – Stephen Gray’s Discovery

A Wire to Connect the World – Stephen Gray’s Discovery

Today for us it’s pretty normal that electricity can be transmitted on a wire, because it’s part of our daily life. But, in the early 18th century, when the English nature-scientist Stephen Gray was able to show that electricity really can be transmitted on a string of copper, it was an unheard-of revelation. Stephen Gray Background Stephen Gray was born in Canterbury, Kent, the son of the dyer Mathias Gray, baptized on…
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Nikola Tesla – The Master of Lightnings

Nikola Tesla – The Master of Lightnings

On July 10, 1856, Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist Nikola Tesla was born. He is probably best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Although his work fell into obscurity after his death, he experienced a renaissance in the popular culture of the late 1990s, becoming a center of many conspiracy theories including UFO theories and New Age occultism.…
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Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Master of Aphorism

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg – Master of Aphorism

On July 1, 1742, German scientist, satirist and Anglophile Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was born. He is remembered best for his posthumously published notebooks, which he himself called Sudelbücher, a description modeled on the English bookkeeping term “scrapbooks”, and his aphorisms. A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out. We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands…
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The Mysterious Tunguska Event

The Mysterious Tunguska Event

On June 30, 1908, seismic stations all across Europe registered an enormously powerful shock wave, which originated from a location near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The so-called Tunguska event ever since has challenged the fantasy of scientists, who related it to the impact of a meteor or comet fragment, or even have developed theories that speak of black holes, anti matter or less exotic geothermical…
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John Gorrie and the Wonders of Air Condition

John Gorrie and the Wonders of Air Condition

On June 29, 1855, American physician, scientist, inventor, and humanitarian John Gorrie passed away. He is considered the father of refrigeration and air conditioning. Today, refrigeration as well as air condition has become a commodity. But, the importance of refrigeration to modern civilization as a means for conservation of food cannot be overestimated. Actually, even already in prehistoric times man was using ice to refrigerate and thus preserve food. Through the ages,…
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Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – The Responsibility of Science in the Atomic Age

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – The Responsibility of Science in the Atomic Age

On June 28, 1912, German physicist at philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker was born. Being a member of the team of physicists, who under Werner Heisenberg‘s lead performed nuclear research in Germany during World War 2, Weizsäcker later made important theoretical discoveries regarding energy production in stars from nuclear fusion processes. He also did influential theoretical work on planetary formation in the early Solar System. “It’s useful when we learn to wonder…
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