physics

Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville and the Chemistry of Putrefaction

Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville and the Chemistry of Putrefaction

On December 23, 1805, Marie-Geneviève-Charlotte Thiroux d’Arconville, née d’Arlus, passed away, who was referred to as Geneviève Thiroux d’Arconville. She was a French writer, translator and naturalist. As a researcher in the field of chemistry, she became known for her studies on decay processes. Her work represented basic research on decomposition processes. She also published, anonymously throughout, numerous philosophical, literary and historical writings as well as translations. Further manuscripts, which she had compiled in twelve volumes,…
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Lord Kelvin and the Analysis of Thermodynamics

Lord Kelvin and the Analysis of Thermodynamics

On December 17, 1907, Irish physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin of Largs, passed away. Thomson did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Absolute temperatures are stated in units of kelvin in his honour. He was ennobled in 1892 in recognition of his achievements in thermodynamics. Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides; Go measure earth, weigh air, and state…
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She’s just sunstruck – Maria Telkes and the Power of the Sun

She’s just sunstruck – Maria Telkes and the Power of the Sun

On December 12, 1900, Hungarian–American scientist and inventor Mária Telkes was born. She is best known for her work in solar energy technology. Mária Telkes – Early Years Mária Telkes was born in Budapest, Hungary, to Aladar and Maria Laban de Telkes. She attended elementary and high school in Budapest. Then, studied at the University of Budapest, graduating with a B.A. in physical chemistry in 1920 and a PhD in 1924. Shortly after, she…
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Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

On December 6, 1778, French chemist and physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was born. He is known mostly for two laws related to gases, and for his work on alcohol-water mixtures, which led to the degrees Gay-Lussac used to measure alcoholic beverages in many countries. “I have not chosen a career that will lead me to a great fortune, but not my principal ambition. In fact, later in life he enjoyed comfortable income…
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Arnold Sommerfeld – Quantum Theory and Famous Students

Arnold Sommerfeld – Quantum Theory and Famous Students

On December 5, 1868, German theoretical physicist Arnold Sommerfeld was born. Sommerfeld pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics, and also educated and mentored a large number of students for the new era of theoretical physics. He served as PhD supervisor for more Nobel prize winners in physics than any other supervisor to date. He introduced the 2nd quantum number (azimuthal quantum number) and the 4th quantum number (spin quantum number). He…
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The Fairy Tale Collections of Ludwig Bechstein

The Fairy Tale Collections of Ludwig Bechstein

On November 24, 1801, German Writer, librarian, archivist and pharmacist Ludwig Bechstein was born. A collector of fairy tales, he is best known today for his edition of collected Fairy Tales. “The main thing is that everyone should fulfill his duty, enjoy life beautifully – and if he is a poet by God’s grace, delight and benefit.” – Ludwig Bechstein, Letter to Ludwig Storch, April 9, 1830 Ludwig Bechstein – Early Years…
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Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

On November 9, 1885, German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher Hermann Weyl was born. Weyl was one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. His widely varied contributions in mathematics linked pure mathematics and theoretical physics. He made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. He attempted to incorporate electromagnetism into the geometric formalism of general relativity. “In these days the angel of topology and the devil of abstract…
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Narinder Singh Kapany – The Father of Fiber Optics

Narinder Singh Kapany – The Father of Fiber Optics

On October 31, 1926, Indian-born American physicist Narinder Singh Kapany was born. He coined the term fibre optics for the technology transmitting light through fine glass strands in devices from endoscopy to high-capacity telephone lines that has changed the medical, communications and business worlds. Narinder Singh Kapany – Biographical Background Narinder Singh was born in Punjab, India. In 1952, this earlier work led Kapany to conduct studies that led to the invention…
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Jean-Charles-Athanase-Peltier and the Peltier Effect

Jean-Charles-Athanase-Peltier and the Peltier Effect

On October 27, 1845, French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier passed away. Peltier is best known today for the introduction of the eponymous Peltier effect, a thermoelectrical effect, i.e. the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors, as well as for the electrostatic induction. Jean Charles Athanase Peltier – Early Years as Clockmaker Peltier was born to a poor family; his father earned a living as a…
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Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

On October 23, 1905, Swiss-born American physicist Felix Bloch was born. He is best known for his investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method of measuring the magnetic field of atomic nuclei. “While I am certainly not asking you to close your eyes to the experiences of earlier generations,…
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