physics

Niels Bohr and the beginnings of Quantum Mechanics

Niels Bohr and the beginnings of Quantum Mechanics

Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962) On October 7, 1885, Danish physicist and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr was born. Bohr made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Niels Bohr grew up in a home full of academics. Only his brother became a professional football player and also Bohr played this sport passionately. After school, he enrolled at Copenhagen University majoring…
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Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer at work On October 5, 1644 (or according to the old julian calendar September 25), Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer was born. He is best known for making the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light. Ole Rømer enrolled at the University of Copenhagen in the 1660s and learned from famous scientists like Rasmus Bartholin. Bartholin discovered double refraction of a light ray by Iceland spar and became famous…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey(1570 – 1619) On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Even though scientists of the 12th century never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, the started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Ptolemy already began…
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Hans Geiger and the Geiger Counter

Hans Geiger and the Geiger Counter

Hans Geiger(1882 – 1945)Image: Wikimedia User GFHund On September 30, 1882, German physicist Johannes Wilhelm Geiger was born. He is best known as the co-inventor of the Geiger counter and for the Geiger–Marsden experiment which discovered the atomic nucleus. Hans Geiger started his physical and mathematical studies at the University of Erlangen, where he finished his final examinations and his doctorate on measurement of radiation. He moved to Manchester, where he became…
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Murray Gell-Mann and the Quarks

Murray Gell-Mann and the Quarks

Murray Gell-MannImage: World Economic Forum On September 15, 1929, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann was born. He is best known for his work on the theory of elementary particles and introduced the quark model. The quark model is a classification scheme for hadrons, i.e. composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force (in the same way as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force).…
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Luigi Galvani’s Discoveries in Bioelectricity

Luigi Galvani’s Discoveries in Bioelectricity

Luigi Aloisio Galvani(1737 – 1798) On September 9, 1737, Italian physician, physicist and philosopher Luigi Aloisio Galvani was born. He is best known for his discoveries in bioelectricity. In particular, he discovered that the muscles of dead frogs legs twitched when struck by a spark. As a legacy, Galvani’s name survives in the Galvanic cell, Galvani potential, galvanic corrosion, the galvanometer and galvanization. Moreover, his reports also heavily influenced famous author Mary…
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The Exploration of Saturn

The Exploration of Saturn

True color picture of Saturn, assembled from Voyager 2 images obtained Aug. 4, 1981 On August 25, 1981, American space probe Voyager 2 passed Saturn and transmitted stunning pictures of the ring planet. 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…
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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 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 he attended University (most probably…
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Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

On August 8, 1902, English theoretical physicist Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born. Dirac is best known for his fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. “The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.” — Paul Dirac Paul Dirac was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire,…
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Robert Hooke and his Micrographia

Robert Hooke and his Micrographia

Robert HookeArtist Impression: Rita Greer 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 on its access.…
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