SciHi Blog

Viking 1 and its successful Mission to Mars

Viking 1 and its successful Mission to Mars

On August 20, 1975, NASA spacecraft Viking 1 was launched and sent to Mars. The Viking program was was the most expensive and ambitious, but also highly successful mission ever sent to Mars. The Viking spacecraft was composed of two main parts: an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of Mars from orbit, and a lander designed to study the planet from the surface. Moreover, I remember the exciting messages in the…
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Making Measurements accurate – Pierre Vernier and the Vernier Scale

Making Measurements accurate – Pierre Vernier and the Vernier Scale

On August 19, 1580, French mathematician and instrument inventor Pierre Vernier was born. He is best known for having invented the eponymous vernier scale, which enabled instruments to make more accurate linear or angular measurements. Pierre Vernier – Early Years Vernier was born in Ornans, Franche-Comté, in 1580. Being born in Franche-Comté (Free Country) meant that Vernier (and his father) were involved, not with the government of France but with that of…
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The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

On August 18, 1960, the first contraceptive pill Enovid went on public sale in the U.S. However, the contraceptive pill was not available to married women in all states of the U.S. until 1972. Especially the Roman Catholic Church holds a strong position against the contraceptive pill, because according to her teachings artificial contraception distorts the nature and purpose of sex. According to the Economist, the contraceptive pill was one of the inventions…
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Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

On August 17, 1586, German theologian and author Johannes Valentinus Andreae  was born. He claimed to be the author of the Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459 (1616, Strasbourg, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz), one of the three founding works of Rosicrucianism, a philosophical secret society said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreutz. Rosicrucianism holds a doctrine or theology “built on esoteric truths of the ancient past“,…
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Gabriel Lippmann and the Invention of Colour Photography

Gabriel Lippmann and the Invention of Colour Photography

On August 16, 1845, Franco-Luxembourgish physicist and Nobel Laureate Gabriel Lippmann was born. He is best known for for his method of reproducing colors photographically based on the phenomenon of interference. Gabriel Lippmann, Early Years Gabriel Lippmann was the son of a Luxembourg Jewish family. His father, Isaïe managed the family glove-making business at the former convent in Bonnevoie. In 1848, the family moved to Paris where Lippmann was initially tutored by his mother, Miriam Rose (Lévy), before attending…
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Louis de Broglie and wave nature of matter

Louis de Broglie and wave nature of matter

On August 15, 1892, French physicist and Nobel Laureate Louis de Broglie was born. He is best known for making groundbreaking contributions to quantum theory. He postulated the wave nature of electrons and suggested that all matter has wave properties. This concept is known as wave-particle duality or the de Broglie hypothesis. Louis de Broglie – Early Years Louis de Broglie attended the Lycée Janson of Sailly and decided to continue his…
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Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

On August 14, 1840, Austro-German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing was born. He was recognized as an authority on deviant sexual behavior and its medicolegal aspects. He was the author of the foundational work Psychopathia Sexualis, which contained in its last edition more than 200 case histories out of the hundreds of medical and court reports he had collected. Therein, he also coined the terms sadism and masochism. Youth and Education Krafft-Ebing was born…
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Felix Wankel and the Rotary Engine

Felix Wankel and the Rotary Engine

On August 13, 1902, German mechanical engineer and inventor Felix Wankel was born. He is best known for his invention of the first rotary internal combustion engine. Instead of moving pistons, the Wankel engine uses an orbiting rotor shaped as a curved equilateral triangle. Thus it needs few moving parts, is lightweight and compact. Felix Wankel – Becoming an Engineer Felix Wankel was born in Baden, the upper Rhine Valley and was educated…
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Dr. Joseph Lister and the use of Carbolic Acid as Disinfectant

Dr. Joseph Lister and the use of Carbolic Acid as Disinfectant

On August 12, 1865, British surgeon Dr. Joseph Lister became the first surgeon to perform an antiseptic operation by liberal use of carbolic acid (phenol) as a disinfectant. Using phenol to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds led to a reduction in post-operative infections and made surgery safer for patients. Joseph Lister – Early Years Joseph Lister was born on April 5, 1827 in Upton, Essex, England into a wealthy Quaker family in Upton, Essex. His…
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Tom Kilburn and the First Stored-Program Computer

Tom Kilburn and the First Stored-Program Computer

On August 11, 1921, English engineer Tom Kilburn was born. Kilburn became known for having written the computer program used to test the first stored-program computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, SSEM, also known as “The Baby” in 1948. “… the most exciting time was June 1948 when the first machine worked. Without question. Nothing could ever compare with that.” Tom Kilburn, Autumn 1992 Tom Kilburn was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England and…
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