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Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

Charles Percy Snow and the Two Cultures

On October 15, 1905, English physical chemist and novelist Charles Percy Snow, Baron Snow was born. Snow is best known for his series of novels known collectively as Strangers and Brothers, and for The Two Cultures, a 1959 lecture in which he laments the gulf between scientists and “literary intellectuals“. C. P. Snow was born in Leicester to William Snow, a church organist and choirmaster, and his wife Ada. His…
George Stapledon and Grassland Science

George Stapledon and Grassland Science

On September 22, 1882, English grassland scientist and pioneer environmentalist Sir Reginald George Stapledon was born. Stapledon worked to compensate for the land use changes of the 20th century, after the collapse of rural mining industries of 18th and 19th centuries and resultant depopulation. Reginald George Stapledon was born at Lakenham, Northam, near Bideford, Devon, UK, the sixth of the seven children of shipping agent William Stapledon and Mary Clibbert.…
Astronomer James Jeans

Astronomer James Jeans

On September 11, 1877, English physicist, astronomer and mathematician James Hopwood Jeans was born. Jeans was the first to propose that matter is continuously created throughout the universe. He made other innovations in astronomical theory but is perhaps best known as a writer of popular books about astronomy. James Jeans was attended several schools, he joined Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood, Wilson’s Grammar School, as well as Camberwell and Trinity College, Cambridge.  At…
Hertha Ayrton and the Arc Lights

Hertha Ayrton and the Arc Lights

On August 26, 1923, British engineer, mathematician, physicist and inventor Hertha Ayrton died of blood poisoning resulting from an insect bite. Known in adult life as Hertha Ayrton, born Phoebe Sarah Marks, she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society for her work on electric arcs and ripples in sand and water. She invented a sphygmograph (a device that charts pulse beats, but was not the first to do…
Hans Adolf Krebs and the Krebs Cycle

Hans Adolf Krebs and the Krebs Cycle

On August 25, 1900, German-born British physician and biochemist Hans Adolf Krebs was born. Krebs was the pioneer scientist in study of cellular respiration, a biochemical pathway in cells for production of energy. He is best known for his discoveries of two important chemical reactions in the body, namely the urea cycle and the citric acid cycle. The latter, the key sequence of metabolic reactions that produces energy in cells,…
Kathleen Kenyon’s Excavations in the Fertile Crescent

Kathleen Kenyon’s Excavations in the Fertile Crescent

On August 24, 1978, British archaeologist Kathleen Mary Kenyon passed away. Specialized on Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent, she is best known for her excavations of Jericho and Bangalow in 1952–1958, and has been called one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century. Kathleen Kenyon was the daughter of Sir Frederic Kenyon who later became director of the British Museum. She grew up in a house that…
Sir Henry Tizard – Octane Rating and Radar Technology

Sir Henry Tizard – Octane Rating and Radar Technology

On August 23, 1885, English chemist and inventor Sir Henry Thomas Tizard was born. Tizard developed the modern “octane rating” used to classify petrol, helped to develop radar in World War II, and led the first serious studies of UFOs. Henry Tizard was born in Gillingham, Kent, the only son of Thomas Henry Tizard (1839–1924), naval officer and hydrographer, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Churchward. His ambition to join the…
Matthew Boulton and James Watt’s Steam Engines

Matthew Boulton and James Watt’s Steam Engines

On August 17, 1809, English manufacturer Matthew Boulton passed away. Boulton financed and introduced James Watt‘s steam engine. The partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the mechanisation of factories and mills. Boulton applied modern techniques to the minting of coins, striking millions of pieces for Britain and other countries, and supplying the Royal Mint with…
Frederick Sanger and the Structure of Proteins

Frederick Sanger and the Structure of Proteins

On August 13, 1918, British biochemist Frederick Sanger was born. In 1958, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry “for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin“. In 1980, Walter Gilbert and Sanger shared half of the chemistry prize “for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids“. “Scientific research is one of the most exciting and rewarding of occupations. It is…
The Fruit Breeding of Thomas Andrew Knight

The Fruit Breeding of Thomas Andrew Knight

On August 12, 1759, English horticulturalist and botanist Thomas Andrew Knight was born. Knight initiated the field of fruit breeding, experimental horticulture while also studying plant physiology with botanical experiments. He made studies on the movement of sap in plants, the nature of the cambium, and phototropism in tendrils. To investigate the geotropism of roots and stems, he invented a machine, rotating to simulate gravity with centrifugal force in either horizontal or vertical…
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