physics

Anders Ångström and the Science of Spectroscopy

Anders Ångström and the Science of Spectroscopy

On June 21, 1874, Swedish physicist Anders Jonas Ångström passed away. Anders Ångström is considered one of the founders of the science of spectroscopy. His pioneering use of spectroscopy is recognized in the name of the angstrom, a unit of length equal to 10-10 metre. Youth and Education Anders Ångström was born into a wealthy, upper class family in Logodo, Medelpad, Sweden, to Johan Ångström, a preacher at Lögdö Ironworks and later…
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Pierre Duhem and the Role of Theory in Science

Pierre Duhem and the Role of Theory in Science

On June 10, 1861, French physicist, mathematician, historian and philosopher of science Pierre Duhem was born. He is best known for his work on chemical thermodynamics, for his philosophical writings on the indeterminacy of experimental criteria, and for his historical research into the science of the European Middle Ages. As a scientist, Duhem also contributed to hydrodynamics and to the theory of elasticity. “A physical theory … is a system of mathematical…
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Edward Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect

Edward Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect

On May 23, 1917, American mathematician, meteorologist, and a pioneer of chaos theory Edward Norton Lorenz was born. He is best known for pointing out the “butterfly effect” whereby chaos theory predicts that “slightly differing initial states can evolve into considerably different states.” In his 1963 paper in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, he cited the flapping of a seagull‘s wings as changing the state of the atmosphere in even such a…
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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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Ernst Chladni – The Father of Acoustics

Ernst Chladni – The Father of Acoustics

On November 30, 1756, German physicist and musician Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni was born. His most important work, for which he is sometimes labeled the father of acoustics, included research on vibrating plates and the calculation of the speed of sound for different gases. He also undertook pioneering work in the study of meteorites and so is also regarded by some as the father of meteoritics. Ernst Chladni – Early Years Although…
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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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George Green and his Theory of Electricity and Magnetism

George Green and his Theory of Electricity and Magnetism

On July 14, 1793, British mathematical physicist George Green was baptized. He is best known for his publication of wrote An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism, in which he developed a first mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism. His theory formed the foundation for the work of other scientists such as James Clerk Maxwell,[3] William Thomson,[4] and others. The Son of a Baker George…
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Richard Smalley – the Father of Nanotechnology

Richard Smalley – the Father of Nanotechnology

On June 6, 1943, American chemist and physicist Richard Errett Smalley was born. He is sometimes also referred to as ‘Father of Nanotechnology’. Richard Smalley shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Robert Curl, Jr., and Harold W. Kroto for their joint 1985 discovery of carbon60 and the fullerenes. Richard Smalley – Youth and Education Richard Smalley was born in Akron, Ohio, as the youngest of 4 children of Frank Dudley…
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