SciHi Blog

Ernest Lawrence and the Invention of the Cyclotron

Ernest Lawrence and the Invention of the Cyclotron

On August 8, 1901, pioneering American nuclear scientist Ernest Orlando Lawrence was born. He was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the cyclotron. He is also known for his work on uranium-isotope separation for the Manhattan Project, and for founding the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. “I am mindful that scientific achievement is rooted in the past, is cultivated to full stature by many contemporaries and…
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Girolamo Fracastoro’s Proposal of a Scientific Germ Theory

Girolamo Fracastoro’s Proposal of a Scientific Germ Theory

On August 6, 1553, an Italian physician, poet, and scholar in mathematics, geography and astronomy Girolamo Fracastoro passed away. Fracastoro subscribed to the philosophy of atomism, and rejected appeals to hidden causes in scientific investigation. He is known for his proposal of a scientific germ theory for how diseases are transmitted. Fracastoro’s ideas helped make unpopular public health measures more accepted, such as destroying animals, or thorough cleaning or burning of infected possessions during…
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Joseph Merrick – The Story of the Elefant Man

Joseph Merrick – The Story of the Elefant Man

On August 5, 1865, Joseph Carey Merrick was born. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as John Merrick, Joseph Carey Merrick was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man. He became well known in London society after he went to live at the London Hospital. You might have heard of Merrick from David Lynch’s popular film ‘The Elefant Man‘, released in 1980 starring Anthony Hopkins. Frightened by…
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Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

Thomas Say and his Love for Beetles

On July 27, 1787, American self-taught naturalist, entomologist, malacologist, herpetologist and carcinologist Thomas Say was born. A taxonomist, he is widely considered the father of descriptive entomology in the United States. Thomas Say – Early Years Thomas Say was the great-grandson of the co-founder of the American Philosophical Society, John Bartram (1699-1777), and the great-nephew of William Bartram (1739-1823). The whole family consisted of members of a Quaker sect. Say’s statement that he belonged…
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The Last Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

The Last Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

On July 26, 1826, Cayetano Ripoll, a schoolmaster in Valencia, Spain, teaching deist principles should become the last victim executed by the Spanish inquisition. Ripoll has the dubious honor of being the last of the many people known to have been executed under sentence from a Church authority for having committed the act of heresy. For almost 350 years the Spanish inquisition tried to secure the primacy of the Catholic Church in…
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Isaac Singer and the Perfection of the Sewing Machine

Isaac Singer and the Perfection of the Sewing Machine

On July 23, 1875, American inventor, actor, and entrepreneur Isaac Merrit Singer passed away. He made important improvements in the design of the sewing machine and was the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Isaac Singer – Early Years of an Engineer Isaac Singer was born in 1811 in Pittstown, New York, as the eighth child of the millwright Adam Reisinger. As he himself said in an interview in 1853, his parents…
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Pavel Cherenkov and the Blue Light

Pavel Cherenkov and the Blue Light

Pavel Cherenkov (1904 – 1990) On July 15, 1904, Soviet physicist Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov was born. He shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1958 with Ilya Frank and Igor Tamm for the discovery of Cherenkov radiation, made in 1934. Cherenkov radiation is a faint blue light emitted by electrons passing through a transparent medium when their speed exceeds the speed of light in that medium. This sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it.…
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The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

Madame de Staël (1766-1817) On July 14, 1817, French woman of letters of Swiss origin Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, passed away. She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism. She was a remarkable woman,…
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Alfred Binet – How to Test Intelligence?

Alfred Binet – How to Test Intelligence?

On July 8, 1857, French psychologist Alfred Binet was born. He was a pioneer in the field of intelligence testing of the normal mind. He took a different approach than most psychologists of his day: he was interested in the workings of the normal mind. He invented the first practical intelligence test, the Binet-Simon scale rather than the pathology of mental illness. “Since we seek to know what is the physical phenomenon we perceive,…
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Rudolf Wolf and the Discovery of the Sunspot Cycle

Rudolf Wolf and the Discovery of the Sunspot Cycle

On July 7, 1816, Swiss astronomer and astronomical historian Rudolf Wolf was born. Wolf’s main contribution was the discovery of the 11 year sunspot cycle and he was the co-discoverer of its connection with geomagnetic activity on Earth. Rudolf Wolf – Early Years and Academic Career Johann Rudolf Wolf was born in Fällanden, near Zurich, to Regula Gossweiler and Johannes Wolf, who was a minister in the Church. After studying at the Zurich Industrieschule,…
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