SciHi Blog

Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

On July 31, 1923, American polymer chemist Stephanie Louise Kwolek was born. She is best known for her invention of poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – better known as Kevlar. Stephanie Kwolek – Becoming a Chemist Stephanie Kwolek was born to Polish immigrant parents in the Pittsburgh suburb of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Her father, John Kwolek died when she was ten years old. She inherited her love for fabrics and sewing from her mother. Before thinking…
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Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

On July 30, 101 BC, the Battle of the Raudine Plain took place, which resulted in the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic tribe of the Cimbri near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul. The entire tribe of the Cimbri was virtually wiped out and the plans of the Germanic tribes of an invasion of Rome was put to an end. “[Now a danger occurred] that threatened Italy from…
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Dorothy Hodgkin and the Structure of Penicilin

Dorothy Hodgkin and the Structure of Penicilin

On July 29, 1994, British chemist and Nobel Laureate Dorothy Mary Hodgkin passed away. She advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. Among her most influential discoveries are the confirmation of the structure of penicillin. “Would it not be better if one could really ‘see’ whether molecules…were just as experiments suggested?” – Dorothy Hodgkin, as quoted in [11] Dorothy Hodgkin Background Dorothy Crowfoot (later Hodgkin) was the…
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Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

On July 28, 1902, Austrian-British philosopher Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method, in favour of empirical falsification: A theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinized by decisive…
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Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

On July 27, 1740, French natural scientist Jeanne Baret was born. She was probably the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, but with certainty she was the first woman who achieved this disguised as a man. Background Jeanne Baret Jeanne Baret grew up in a very poor region of France with rather uneducated people. It is assumed that her father has been illiterate in contrast to Jeanne. However, it is not clear,…
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George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

On July 26, 1856, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw was born. As a writer, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to…
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Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin and the Beauty of the DNA Structure

On July 25, 1920, British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born. She made the first clear X-ray images of DNA’s structure. Her work was described as the most beautiful X-ray photographs ever taken. Franklin’s ‘Photo 51’ informed Crick and Watson [5] of DNA’s double helix structure for which they were awarded a Nobel Prize. Rosalind Franklin – Early Years Rosalind Franklin was born in Notting Hill, London, as the second of five…
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Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

On July 24, 1786, French geographer, astronomer, and mathematician Joseph Nicolas Nicollet was born. He is best known for mapping the Upper Mississippi River basin during the 1830s. Nicollet’s maps were among the most accurate of the time and they provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the American interior. Jean-Nicholas Nicollet – Building up a Reputation Jean-Nicolas Nicollet was born in Cluses, Savoy, France. He was very bright, showing aptitude in mathematics and…
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Emil Jannings and the Very First Academy Award

Emil Jannings and the Very First Academy Award

On July 23, 1884, German actor Emil Jannings was born. Jannings is best known for his collaborations with F. W. Murnau [2] and Josef von Sternberg, including 1930’s The Blue Angel, with Marlene Dietrich. He was the first Oscar recipient, honored with the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 1929 ceremony. Jannings is the only German ever to have won that award. “We can only realize the shadows of our dreams.” –…
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Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel and the Distances of Stars

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel and the Distances of Stars

On July 22, 1784, German mathematician and astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel was born. He is probably best known for his works in mathematics, where he discovered the eponymous Bessel-functions, which are critical for the solution of certain differential equations. Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel – Youth and Education Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel was born in Minden, Westfalia, as the second child of a large family with six daughters and three sons. His mother Friederike Ernestine…
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