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Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

On November 22, 1944, British astrophysicist and philosopher Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington passed away. He became famous for his 1919 solar eclipse expedition to Principe, where he conducted astrophysical experiments to give proof for Albert Einstein‘s seminal theory of general relativity. “At terrestrial temperatures matter has complex properties which are likely to prove most difficult to unravel; but it is reasonable to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be…
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Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

On November 20, 1924, French American mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot was born. Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the popularizer of fractal geometry. He was the one who coined the term ‘fractal’ and described the Mandelbrot set named after him. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does…
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The Arecibo Radio Telescope – Looking for Extraterrestrial Signals

The Arecibo Radio Telescope – Looking for Extraterrestrial Signals

On November 1, 1963, the Arecibo radio telescope, by that time the earth‘s largest radio telescope, has been inaugurated in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It is operated by the company SRI International under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation and is also called the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, although “NAIC” refers to both the observatory and the staff that operates it. Construction and Functionality The Arecibo telescope was built between the…
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Sir Hermann Bondi and the Steady State Theory

Sir Hermann Bondi and the Steady State Theory

On November 1, 1919, Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist Sir Herman Bondi was born. Bondi is best known for developing the Steady State theory of the universe with Fred Hoyle [4] and Thomas Gold as an alternative to the Big Bang theory. Their model was rendered obsolete, when in 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson detected a background microwave radiation from all directions in space, as predicted by the “Big Bang” theory of creation…
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John A. Pople and Computational Methods in Quantum Chemistry

John A. Pople and Computational Methods in Quantum Chemistry

On October 31, 1925, British theoretical chemist and Nobel laureate Sir John Anthony Pople was born. Pople was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Walter Kohn in 1998 for his work on computational methodology to study the quantum mechanics of molecules, their properties and how they act together in chemical reactions. “Sometimes one can improve the theories in the sense of discovering a quicker, more efficient way of doing a given…
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James Jeans and the Theory of Continuous Creation

James Jeans and the Theory of Continuous Creation

On September 11, 1877, English physicist, astronomer and mathematician James Hopwood Jeans was born. Jeans was the first to propose that matter is continuously created throughout the universe. He made other innovations in astronomical theory but is perhaps best known as a writer of popular books about astronomy. “The stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.…
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Hannes Alfvén – the Father of Plasma Physics

Hannes Alfvén – the Father of Plasma Physics

On May 30, 1908. Swedish electrical engineer, plasma physicist, and Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén was born. Alfvén won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). He described the class of MHD waves now known as Alfvén waves. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the behavior of aurorae, the Van Allen radiation belts, the effect of magnetic storms on the Earth’s magnetic field, the terrestrial magnetosphere, and the dynamics…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Alexander Friedmann and the Expanding Universe

Alexander Friedmann and the Expanding Universe

On June 16, 1888, Russian mathematician and physicist Alexander Friedmann was born. Friedmann is best known for his pioneering theory that the universe was expanding, governed by a set of equations he developed now known as the Friedmann equations. The Youth of a Mathematician Alexander Friedmann was born to the composer and ballet dancer Alexander Friedmann and the pianist Ludmila Ignatievna Voyachek. However the parents divorced when Alexander was nine years old,…
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Thomas Gold and the Steady-State Theory

Thomas Gold and the Steady-State Theory

On May 22, 1920, Austrian-born American astrophysicist Thomas Gold was born. Gold was one of three young Cambridge scientists who in the 1950s proposed the now mostly abandoned ‘steady state‘ hypothesis of the universe. His work crossed academic and scientific boundaries, into biophysics, astronomy, aerospace engineering, and geophysics. Thomas Gold – Youth and Education Thomas Gold was born in Vienna, Austria to Max Gold, a wealthy Jewish industrialist (pre-war) who ran one of…
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