Isaac Newton

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

On January 11, 1753, Irish born British physician, naturalist and collector Sir Hans Sloane passed away. Sloane is formost known for bequeathing his collection to the nation, thus providing the foundation of the British Museum. Hans Sloane – Early Years Hans Sloane was born on 16 April 1660 at Killyleagh in County Down, in the colonial Protestant Plantation of Ulster in the North of Ireland, as the seventh son of Alexander Sloane,…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Roger Cotes and Newton’s Principia Mathematica

Roger Cotes and Newton’s Principia Mathematica

On July 10, 1682, English mathematician Roger Cotes was born. Cotes is well known for working closely with Isaac Newton by proofreading the second edition of his famous book, the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica,[4] before publication. He also invented the quadrature formulas known as Newton–Cotes formulas and first introduced what is known today as Euler’s formula. “If he had lived we would have known something.”, Remark of Issac Newton on the early…
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Abraham de Moivre and the Doctrine of Chances

Abraham de Moivre and the Doctrine of Chances

On May 26, 1667, French mathematician Abraham de Moivre was born. De Moivre is best known for de Moivre‘s formula, one of those that link complex numbers and trigonometry, and for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory. He was a friend of Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, and James Stirling. De Moivre wrote a book on probability theory, The Doctrine of Chances, said to have been prized by gamblers. He…
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James Clerk Maxwell and the very first Colour Photograph

James Clerk Maxwell and the very first Colour Photograph

On May 17, 1861, Scottish physicist Sir James Clerk Maxwell presented the very first colour photograph at the Royal Institution. The photograph showed a tartan ribbon and was made by Thomas Sutton according to the three-colour method proposed by Maxwell already in 1855. „Die Menschen empfinden im Allgemeinen eine große Freude an der Farbe. Das Auge bedarf ihrer, wie es des Lichtes bedarf.“ (“People generally take great pleasure in color. The eye…
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Pieter van Musschenbroek and the Leyden Jar

Pieter van Musschenbroek and the Leyden Jar

On March 14, 1692, Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek was born. Musschenbroek is credited with the invention of the first capacitor in 1746: the Leyden jar. He performed pioneering work on the buckling of compressed struts. Musschenbroek was also one of the first scientists (1729) to provide detailed descriptions of testing machines for tension, compression, and flexure testing. Youth and Education Pieter van Musschenbroek was born in Leiden, Holland, Dutch Republic. His…
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Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

On January 5, 1921, Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt was born. Dürrenmatt was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author‘s work included avant-garde dramas, philosophical crime novels, and macabre satire. Especially his play “The Physicists” (1961) deals with questions of scientific ethics and humanity‘s ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities. “A story is not finished, until it has taken…
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Edmond Halley besides the Eponymous Comet

Edmond Halley besides the Eponymous Comet

On November 8, 1656, English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist Sir Edmond Halley was born. Of course everybody has heard of Halley’s comet. We too already had an article on that topic [1]. But, Edmond Halley did much more than calculating the orbit of the eponymous comet. He compiled a catalogue of the stars of the Southern hemisphere, he also improved the sextant, and made observations about the ocean and the…
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James Gregory and the Gregorian Telescope

James Gregory and the Gregorian Telescope

In November 1638, Scottish mathematician and astronomer James Gregory was born. Gregory described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions. James Gregory – Youth and Education James Gregory was born at Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, UK, the youngest of the 3 children of John Gregory, an Episcopalian Church of Scotland minister. Initially he was educated at…
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Comte de Buffon and his Histoire Naturelle

Comte de Buffon and his Histoire Naturelle

On September 7, 1707, French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was born. Buffon formulated a crude theory of evolution and was the first to suggest that the earth might be older than suggested by the Bible. His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck [2] and Georges Cuvier.[6] “Truly, Buffon was the father of all thought in natural history in the second half of…
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