physics

Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

On January 15, 1908, Hungarian born US theoretical physicist Edward Teller, often referred to as ‘Father of the hydrogenic bomb‘, was born. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. “There’s no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.” — Edward Teller, As quoted in “Nuclear Reactions”, by…
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Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

On January 9, 1848, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, German-British astronomer and sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel, passed away at age 98. She is best know for the discovery of several comets, in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name. Caroline Herschel – Early Years Caroline Lucretia Herschel was born in the German town of Hanover on 16 March 1750. She was the eighth child and fourth daughter of Isaac Herschel,…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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Leon Foucault demonstrating the Effect of the Earth’s Rotation

Leon Foucault demonstrating the Effect of the Earth’s Rotation

On January 3, 1851, French physicist Leon Foucault started to experiment with his eponymous pendulum, by which he was able to proof the earth‘s rotation. Actually, how can you prove that the earth is a rotating orb in an easy-to-see experiment and – of course – without spaceflight? By today, Foucault’s simple device is part of numerous natural science museums around the world. The Pendulum Ok, how does Foucault’s pendulum work? The apparatus consists…
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The Celestial Mechanics of Anders Johan Lexell

The Celestial Mechanics of Anders Johan Lexell

On December 24, 1740, Finnish-Swedish astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Anders Johan Lexell was born. Lexell made important discoveries in polygonometry and celestial mechanics; the latter led to a comet named in his honour. La Grande Encyclopédie states that he was the prominent mathematician of his time who contributed to spherical trigonometry with new and interesting solutions, which he took as a basis for his research of comet and planet motion. His name…
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Nicholas Callan and the Induction Coil

Nicholas Callan and the Induction Coil

On December 22, 1799, Irish priest and physicist Nicholas Callan was born. Callan invented the induction coil (1836) before that of better-known Heinrich Ruhmkorff. Callan‘s coil was built using a horseshoe shaped iron bar wound with a secondary coil of thin insulated wire under a separate winding of thick insulated wire as the “primary” coil. Each time a battery‘s current through the “primary” coil was interrupted, a high voltage current was produced in…
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Mileva Marić – The Theory of Relativity and Missed Opportunities

Mileva Marić – The Theory of Relativity and Missed Opportunities

On December 19, 1875, Serbian physicist Mileva Marić, sometimes called Mileva Marić-Einstein, was born. Marić was the second woman to finish a full program of study of mathematics and physics at ETH Zurich, where she met her future husband Albert Einstein. When Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 after their divorce, he transferred the prize money to Marić. The question whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed to Einstein‘s…
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Franz Aepinius’ Theory of Electricity and Magnetism

Franz Aepinius’ Theory of Electricity and Magnetism

On December 13, 1724, German and Russian Empire natural philosopher Franz Ulrich Theodor Aepinus was born. Aepinius is best known for his researches, theoretical and experimental, in electricity and magnetism. His Tentamen theoriae electricitatis et magnetismi (1759; “An Attempt at a Theory of Electricity and Magnetism“) was the first work to apply mathematics to the theory of electricity and magnetism. Family and Education Franz Ulrich Theodor Aepinus came from a learned family. An…
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C. F. Powell and the Discovery of the Pion

C. F. Powell and the Discovery of the Pion

On December 5, 1903, English physicist and nobel Laureate Cecil Frank Powell, was born. Powell was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and for the resulting discovery of the pion. The pion proved to be the hypothetical particle proposed in 1935 by Yukawa Hideki of Japan in his theory.[4] “Any device in science is a window on to nature, and each new…
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Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosov

Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosov

On November 19, 1711, Russian polymath, scientist and writer Mikhail Lomonosov was born. Lomonosov made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries were the atmosphere of Venus and the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reactions. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and others. Lomonosov was also a poet and influenced the formation of the modern Russian literary language. Family Background…
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