physics

The Leyden Jar Introducing the Age of Electricity

The Leyden Jar Introducing the Age of Electricity

On October 11, 1745, German cleric Ewald Georg von Kleist and independently of him Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek from the city of Leiden, Netherlands, invented a predecessor of today’s battery, the Leyden Jar. The jar worked in principle like a capacitor for the storage of electrical energy and was used to conduct many early experiments in electricity. Its discovery was of fundamental importance in the study of electricity. In the times before its…
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Windscale – the World’s First Major Nuclear Accident

Windscale – the World’s First Major Nuclear Accident

On October 10, 1957, the world’s first major nuclear accident took place. The Windscale fire happened in Cumbria, U.K. and was Great Britain‘s worst nuclear accident in history. After World War II, the British refused to just look at how the United States and the Soviet Union raced each other in who can work with nuclear power at first and most important, who is able to launch the first nuclear weapon. They…
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James van Allen and the Weather in Space

James van Allen and the Weather in Space

On September 7, 1914, astrophysicist and space pioneer Dr. James Van Allen was born. The Van Allen radiation belts were named after him, following the 1958 satellite missions (Explorer 1 and Explorer 3) in which Van Allen had argued that a Geiger counter should be used to detect charged particles. “Apparently, something happens on the sun. It sends out a burst of gases. The reservoirs above our earth shake like a bowl…
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Max Delbrück – Co-founder of Modern Molecular Biology and Genetics

Max Delbrück – Co-founder of Modern Molecular Biology and Genetics

On September 4, 1906, German biophysicist and Nobel laureate Max Delbrück was born in Berlin. His best known achievement for that he won the Nobel prize was the discovy that bacteria become resistant to viruses (phages) as a result of genetic mutations. “If you’re too sloppy, then you never get reproducible results, and then you never can draw any conclusions; but if you are just a little sloppy, then when you see…
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Claude Debussy – More than just the Link between Romanticism and Modernity

Claude Debussy – More than just the Link between Romanticism and Modernity

On August 22, 1862, French composer Claude Debussy was born. Debussy’s music is regarded as a link between romanticism and modernity. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For me, his Claire de Lune is one of the most beautiful pieces for piano I have ever played. “The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” — Claude…
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Sir Fred Hoyle – How Big Bang Theory’s Most Eager Opponent was Responsible for its Popularity

Sir Fred Hoyle – How Big Bang Theory’s Most Eager Opponent was Responsible for its Popularity

On August 20, 2001, famous astronomer, mathematician, and author Sir Fred Hoyle passed away. The scientist was the first to coin the term “Big Bang” for the now prevailing theory of the early development of the universe in 1949, even though he happened to be a strong opponent of this theory. “We now come to the question of applying the observational tests to earlier theories. These theories were based on the hypothesis that all…
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Mies van der Rohe – the expression of constructive logic and spatial freedom in a classical form

Mies van der Rohe – the expression of constructive logic and spatial freedom in a classical form

On August 17, 1969, German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe passed away. Along with Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture. “God is in the details.” — Mies can der Rohe, “On restraint in Design” in The New York Herald Tribune (28 June 1959) Maria Ludwig Michael was born on March 27, 1886, the youngest son of the Aachen,…
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Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

On August 10, 1915, English physicist, Henry Moseley was killed in action. Moseley‘s contribution to the science of physics was the justification from physical laws of the previous empirical and chemical concept of the atomic number. This stemmed from his development of Moseley’s law in X-ray spectra. For sure you do remember that poster from your classroom with all the chemical elements ordered in the so-called periodic table. But, certainly only a few of…
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Mary Had a Little Lamb – Edison and the Phonograph

Mary Had a Little Lamb – Edison and the Phonograph

On July 18, 1877 Thomas A. Edison conceived the first idea for his phonograph, the very first mechanical tool for recording and reproducing (replaying) sound. The phonograph also was the invention that first gained him public notice. Actually, the phonograph was intended as a byproduct of Edison’s efforts to “play back” recorded telegraph messages and to automate speech sounds for transmission by telephone. The recordings of the first phonograph generally consist of…
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To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before – Voyager 2

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before – Voyager 2

On July 9, 1979 the interplanetary spacecraft Voyager 2 passed Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. The space probe had been launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually to push forward into interstellar space. Until today,  operating for more than 30 years the spacecraft still receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network, a world-wide network of large antennas…
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