physics

Emil Wiechert and the Inner Structure of the Earth

Emil Wiechert and the Inner Structure of the Earth

On December 26, 1861, German geophysicist Emil Johann Wiechert was born. Wiechert made many contributions to both fields, including presenting the first verifiable model of a layered structure of the Earth and being among the first to discover the electron. He invented the “inverted pendulum” seismograph, (an improvement still incorporated in today’s instruments), with which he was able to detect some of the Earth‘s inner structure. He suggested the Earth has…
The Celestial Mechanics of Anders Johann Lexell

The Celestial Mechanics of Anders Johann Lexell

On December 24, 1740, Finnish-Swedish astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Anders Johann Lexell was born. Lexell made important discoveries in polygonometry and celestial mechanics; the latter led to a comet named in his honour. La Grande Encyclopédie states that he was the prominent mathematician of his time who contributed to spherical trigonometry with new and interesting solutions, which he took as a basis for his research of comet and planet motion.…
Nicholas Callan and the Induction coil

Nicholas Callan and the Induction coil

On December 22, 1799, Irish priest and physicist Nicholas Callan was born. Callan invented the induction coil (1836) before that of better-known Heinrich Ruhmkorff. Callan‘s coil was built using a horseshoe shaped iron bar wound with a secondary coil of thin insulated wire under a separate winding of thick insulated wire as the “primary” coil. Each time a battery‘s current through the “primary” coil was interrupted, a high voltage current was…
Mileva Marić and the Theory of Relativity

Mileva Marić and the Theory of Relativity

On December 19, 1875, Serbian physicist Mileva Marić, sometimes called Mileva Marić-Einstein, was born. Marić was the second woman to finish a full program of study of mathematics and physics at ETH Zurich, where she met her future husband Albert Einstein. When Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 after their divorce, he transferred the prize money to Marić. The question whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed…
Franz Aepinius’ Theory of Electricity and Magnetism

Franz Aepinius’ Theory of Electricity and Magnetism

On December 13, 1724, German and Russian Empire natural philosopher Franz Ulrich Theodor Aepinus was born. Aepinius is best known for his researches, theoretical and experimental, in electricity and magnetism. His Tentamen theoriae electricitatis et magnetismi (1759; “An Attempt at a Theory of Electricity and Magnetism“) was the first work to apply mathematics to the theory of electricity and magnetism. Franz Aepinus studied medicine at first but soon became enthusiastic…
C. F. Powell and the Pion

C. F. Powell and the Pion

On December 5, 1903, English physicist and nobel Laureate Cecil Frank Powell, was born. Powell was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and for the resulting discovery of the pion. The pion proved to be the hypothetical particle proposed in 1935 by Yukawa Hideki of Japan in his theory. Cecil Frank Powell joined Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and graduated in…
Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosow

Russian Polymath Mikhail Lomonosow

On November 19, 1711, Russian polymath, scientist and writer Mikhail Lomonosov was born. Lomonosov made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries were the atmosphere of Venus and the Law of Mass Conservation in chemical reactions. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, art, philology, optical devices and others. Lomonosov was also a poet and influenced the formation of the modern Russian literary language.…
George B. Kistiakowsky and the Manhattan Project

George B. Kistiakowsky and the Manhattan Project

On November 18, 1900, Ukrainian-American physical chemist Kistiakowsky was born. Kistiakowsky worked on developing the first atomic bomb but later advocated banning nuclear weapons. In the Manhattan project, he was in charge of X Division, which was responsible for the development of the explosive lenses necessary for an implosion-type nuclear weapon. In his youth, George Bogdanovich Kistiakowsky joined the anti-Communist White Army and escaped from Russia in a french ship.…
Heinrich Hertz and the Transmission of Electromagnetic Waves

Heinrich Hertz and the Transmission of Electromagnetic Waves

On November 13, 1886, German physicist Heinrich Hertz succeeded to transmit electromagnetic waves from a sender to a receiver in Karlsruhe. Hertz conclusively proved the existence of the electromagnetic waves theorized by James Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of light. The unit of frequency – cycle per second – was named the “hertz” in his honor. Heinrich Hertz studied science and engineering in Dresden, Munich, and Berlin under Gustav R. Kirchhoff and…
John William Strutt and the Rayleigh Scattering

John William Strutt and the Rayleigh Scattering

On November 12, 1842, English physicist John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh was born. Rayleigh with William Ramsay, discovered argon, an achievement for which he earned the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904. He also discovered the phenomenon now called Rayleigh scattering, which can be used to explain why the sky is blue, and predicted the existence of the surface waves now known as Rayleigh waves. Strutt was born at…
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