SciHi Blog

Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

On April 16, 1838, Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay was born. Solvay invented the Solvay Process (1863), a commercially viable ammonia-soda process for producing soda ash (sodium carbonate), widely used in the manufacture of such products as glass and soap. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Henri…
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Filippo Brunelleschi – the first modern Engineer

Filippo Brunelleschi – the first modern Engineer

On April 15, 1446, Italian Renaissance architect, designer, sculptor, and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi passed away. He is considered to be a founding father of Renaissance architecture and is now recognized to be the first modern engineer. In 1421, Brunelleschi became the first person to receive a patent in the Western world. He is most famous for designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral. Filippo Brunelleschi – Early Years Filippo Brunelleschi was the…
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Sir Victor Horsley – A Pioneer in Neural Surgery

Sir Victor Horsley – A Pioneer in Neural Surgery

On April 14, 1857, English physiologist and neurosurgeon Sir Victor Horsley was born. Horsley was a pioneer in surgery on the brain and spinal cord. His best-known innovation is the Horsley–Clarke apparatus (developed together with Robert H. Clarke in 1908) for performing the so-called stereotactic neurosurgery, whereby a set of precise numerical coordinates are used to locate each brain structure. Victor Horsley – Youth and Education Victor Horsley was born in Kensington,…
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The First Non-stop Westbound Flight over the North Atlantic

The First Non-stop Westbound Flight over the North Atlantic

On April 13, 1928, German pilots Hermann Köhl and Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld together with their Irish co-pilot James Fitzmaurice succeeded in crossing the Atlantic from east to west in an airplane. 36 hours after their take off in Baldonnel, Ireland, they landed with their Junkers W33 aircraft called ‘Bremen‘ on the Canadian island Greenly Island. Transatlantic Flights The possibility of transatlantic flight by aircraft emerged after the First World War, which had…
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Edward Walter Maunder and the Sunspots

Edward Walter Maunder and the Sunspots

On April 12, 1851, British astronomer Edward Walter Maunder was born. Maunder was the first to take the British Civil Service Commission examination for the post of photographic and spectroscopic assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. He is best remembered for his study of sunspots and the solar magnetic cycle that led to his identification of the period from 1645 to 1715 that is now known as the Maunder Minimum. “If we…
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The Ryan X-13 VertiJet – the first Jet powered VTOL Aircraft

The Ryan X-13 VertiJet – the first Jet powered VTOL Aircraft

On April 11, 1957, the Ryan X-13 VertiJet completed its first full-cycle flight at Edwards Air Force Base. The Ryan X-13 VertiJet was one of the first experimental vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts powered by jet engines. The main objective of the project was to demonstrate the ability of a pure jet to vertically takeoff, hover, transition to horizontal forward flight, and vertically land. Ryan Aeronautical The Ryan Aeronautical Company was…
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Frank Stephen Baldwin and the Pinwheel Calculator

Frank Stephen Baldwin and the Pinwheel Calculator

On April 10, 1838, American inventor Frank Stephen Baldwin was born, who invented a pinwheel calculator in 1874. He started the design of a new machine in 1905 and was able to finalize its design with the help of Jay R. Monroe who eventually bought the exclusive rights to the machine and started the Monroe Calculating Machine Company to manufacture it. Frank Stephen Baldwin, Engineer Baldwin was born in New Hartford, Connecticut.…
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Gregory Pincus and the Contraceptive Pill

Gregory Pincus and the Contraceptive Pill

On April 9, 1903, American biologist and endocrinologist Gregory Goodwin Pincus was born. Pincus’ work on the antifertility properties of steroids led to the development of the first effective oral contraceptive: the birth-control pill. Gregory Pincus – Youth and Education Gregory Pincus was born in Woodbine, New Jersey and received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Cornell University. He became an instructor in zoology at Harvard University while also working toward his…
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Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle in Photosynthesis

Melvin Calvin and the Calvin Cycle in Photosynthesis

On April 8, 1911, American biochemist Melvin Calvin was born. Calvin is best known for furthering our knowledge of the mechanism of photosynthesis with the discovery the Calvin cycle along with Andrew Benson and James Bassham, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Youth and Education Calvin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of Elias Calvin and Rose Herwitz, immigrants from Russia. Originally, his father was…
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The IBM System/360 and the Use of Microcode

The IBM System/360 and the Use of Microcode

On April 7, 1964, IBM introduced the IBM System/360, a rather successful family of mainframe computer systems, originally produced between 1965 and 1978 using microcode to implement the instruction set. It was the first family of computers designed to cover the complete range of applications, from small to large, both commercial and scientific. The design made a clear distinction between architecture and implementation. Also if you are not a computer scientist, you might…
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