engineering

Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

On October 26, 1877, Italian aviation pioneer Gaetano Arturo Crocco was born. He was the founder of the Italian Rocket Society, and went on to become Italy’s leading space scientist. As head of the School of Aeronautics of the University of Rome, he performed research on flight mechanics, structural design, and high altitude flight in addition to his work in rocket propulsion. Gaetano Crocco – Early Years Crocco was the son of a…
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Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Pocket Watch

Christiaan Huygens and the Development of the Pocket Watch

On October 4, 1675, prominent Dutch mathematician, physicist, astronomer and inventor Christiaan Huygens patented a pocket watch. Huygens was a leading scientist of his time, who established the wave theory of light and made outstanding astronomical discoveries. He also patented the first pendulum clock in 1656, which he has developed to meet his need for exact time measurement while observing the heavens. “…the power of this line [the cycloid] to measure time.”  –…
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The Waterways of James Brindley

The Waterways of James Brindley

On September 30, 1772, English engineer and pioneer canal builder James Brindley probably passed away. One of the most notable engineers of the 18th century, he is best known for the construction of the first English canal of major economic importance. James Brindley – Early Years James Brindley, was born in 1716 in Tunstead, Derbyshire, the son of a wealthy farming and artisan family. He grew up in the then undeveloped region of…
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Denis Papin and the Pressure Cooker

Denis Papin and the Pressure Cooker

On August 22, 1647, French physicist, mathematician and inventor Denis Papin was baptized [2]. He is best known for his pioneering invention of the steam digester, the forerunner of the steam engine, and of the pressure cooker. He never built an effective working engine of his own, but his idea was improved by others and led to the development of the steam engine, a major contribution to the Industrial Revolution. “Turning a small…
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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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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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Thomas Tompion – the Father of English Clockmaking

Thomas Tompion – the Father of English Clockmaking

On July 25, 1639, English clock maker, watchmaker and mechanician Thomas Tompion was baptized. He is still regarded to this day as the Father of English Clockmaking. Tompion’s work includes some of the most historic and important clocks and watches in the World. The Son of a Blacksmith Thomas Tompion was born in Northill, Bedfordshire, England, the son of a blacksmith and became an an apprentice of a London clockmaker around 1664.Very…
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Archimedes lifted the world off their Hinges

Archimedes lifted the world off their Hinges

Without knowing his exact date of birth or even death, we focus today on one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity: the ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer Archimedes of Syracuse, who was born around 287 BC and died at about 212 BC. Only a few details of his life are known, but he is considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. Archimedes…
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Hero of Alexandria and his Amazing Experiments

Hero of Alexandria and his Amazing Experiments

Hero of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt in the first century AD. He is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity. Among his most famous inventions was a windwheel, constituting the earliest instance of wind harnessing on land, as well as the well recognized description of a steam-powered device called an aeolipile. The Problem with the Date A major difficulty…
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2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

On April 2, 1968, Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiered at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C. Thematically, the film deals with elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is notable for its scientific accuracy, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue. Despite initially receiving mixed reactions from critics and audiences alike, today 2001: A…
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