SciHi Blog

Emilio Segrè and the Discovery of the Antiproton

Emilio Segrè and the Discovery of the Antiproton

On February 1, 1905, Italian physicist and Nobel Laureate Emilio Segrè was born. Segrè is best known for his discovery of the elements technetium and astatine, and the antiproton, a sub-atomic antiparticle, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959. “If some nuclear properties of the heavy elements had been a little different from what they turned out to be, it might have been impossible to build a…
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Carl Blegen – the Sack of Troy and the Truth in Homer’s Iliad

Carl Blegen – the Sack of Troy and the Truth in Homer’s Iliad

On January 27, 1887, American archaeologist Carl William Blegen was born. He is known for having unearthed evidence that supported and dated the sack of Troy recorded in Homer‘s Iliad. He worked on the site of Pylos in Greece and Troy in modern-day Turkey and directed the University of Cincinnati excavations of the mound of Hisarlik, the site of Troy, from 1932 to 1938. Carl Blegen’s Youth and Education Blegen was born…
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Lev Landau – Superfluidity, the Hydrogen Bomb and Sarcastic Remarks

Lev Landau – Superfluidity, the Hydrogen Bomb and Sarcastic Remarks

On January 22, 1908, Soviet physicist and Nobel Laureate Lev Landau was born. Landau made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. He received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity that accounts for the properties of liquid helium II  at a temperature below 2.17 K (−270.98 °C). Lev Landau – Early Years Lev Landau was the son of the Caspian-Black Sea Joint-Stock Company…
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Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

On January 8, 1601, Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher Baltasar Gracián y Morales was born. He is best known as the leading Spanish exponent of conceptism (conceptismo), a style of dealing with ideas that involves the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit. His writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.[7] “If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.” — Baltasar Gracian, The Art of…
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Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

Robert Boyle – The Sceptical Chemist

On December 31, 1691, Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor Robert Boyle passed away. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle’s law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant…
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Avicenna – The Most Significant Polymath of the Islamic Golden Age

Avicenna – The Most Significant Polymath of the Islamic Golden Age

At about 980, Persian polymath bū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Sīnā, also known as Avicenna, was born. Avicenna is regarded as one of the most significant thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age. His most famous works are The Book of Healing – a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine – a medical encyclopedia, which became a standard medical text at many medieval…
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Wilhelm Bauer and his Famous Blockade-Breaking Brandtaucher

Wilhelm Bauer and his Famous Blockade-Breaking Brandtaucher

In December 23, 1823, Bavarian inventor and engineer Wilhelm Bauer was born. Bauer was a submarine pioneer and constructed several hand-powered submarines, among them the famous blockade-breaking incendiary ship, the Brandtaucher. Wilhelm Bauer and the German/Danish Wilhelm Bauer was born in Dillingen in the Kingdom of Bavaria. His father was a sergeant of a Bavarian cavalry regiment. Because of this, Wilhelm Bauer, after an apprenticeship as a wood turner, joined the military…
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Grote Reber – Pioneer of Radio Astronomy

Grote Reber – Pioneer of Radio Astronomy

On December 22, 1911, American pioneer of radio astronomy Grote Reber was born. He combined his interests in amateur radio and amateur astronomy and became instrumental in investigating and extending Karl Jansky’s [4] pioneering work, who in August 1931 first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. Reber conducted the first sky survey in the radio frequencies and is considered one of the founding figures of radio astronomy. Born in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb…
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James Rumsey’s Extraordinary Steam Boat

James Rumsey’s Extraordinary Steam Boat

On December 21, 1792, American mechanical engineer James Rumsey passed away. He is chiefly known for exhibiting a boat propelled by machinery in 1787 on the Potomac River at Shepherdstown in present-day West Virginia before a crowd of local notables. James Rumsey – From Millwright to Steam Boat Designer James Rumsey was born in Calvert County Maryland in 1743. His family moved to Berkeley Virginia (now West Virginia) when he was a teenager. Rumsey became a…
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The Famous Forgery of the Piltdown Man

The Famous Forgery of the Piltdown Man

On December 18, 1912, the discovery of the skull known as Piltdown man, the first important fossil human skull ever to be unearthed in England was announced at a meeting of the Geological Society of Great Britain. The specimen occupied an honored place in the catalogues of fossil hominids for the next 40 years. But in 1953, thanks to some rigorous scholarly detective work, Piltdown man was revealed to be nothing more…
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