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Robert Hofstadter and controlled Nuclear Fission

Robert Hofstadter and controlled Nuclear Fission

On February 5, 1915, American physicist Robert Hofstadter was born. He was the joint winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics (together with Rudolf Mössbauer) “for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his consequent discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons“. He revealed the hitherto unknown structure of these particles and helped create an identifying order for subatomic particles. He also correctly predicted the existence of the…
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Theodore William Richards and the Weight of Chemical Elements

Theodore William Richards and the Weight of Chemical Elements

On January 31, 1868, American chemist Theodore William Richards was born. Richards was the first American scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “in recognition of his accurate determinations of the atomic weight of a large number of chemical elements.” His work meticulously refined the classical gravimetric methods of analysis to better reduce the sources of error. Together with his co-workers, he was able to measure accurate values for atomic weight…
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Theodosius Dobzhansky and the Unifying modern Evolutionary Synthesis

Theodosius Dobzhansky and the Unifying modern Evolutionary Synthesis

On January 25, 1900, American geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky was born. Dobzhansky was a central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in shaping the unifying modern evolutionary synthesis. He made the first significant synthesis of Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution [6] with Gregor Mendel‘s theory of genetics in his book Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937). “[Evolution] is a general postulate to which all theories, all…
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Ray Dolby and the Noise Reduction System

Ray Dolby and the Noise Reduction System

On January 18, 1933, American engineer and inventor Ray Milton Dolby was born. Dolby is best known for the invention of his eponymous analogue noise reduction technology and played a key role in the development of the first commercial video tape recorders. “To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in this darkness and grope towards an answer, to put up with anxiety…
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Charles Brockden Brown – A Crucial Figure in American Writing

Charles Brockden Brown – A Crucial Figure in American Writing

On January 17, 1771, American novelist, historian, and editor Charles Brockden Brown was born. He is generally regarded as the most important American novelist before James Fenimore Cooper. Although Brown was not the first American novelist, the breadth and complexity of his achievement as a writer in multiple genres makes him a crucial figure in U.S. literature and culture. However, outside the U.S. Charles Brockden Brown is mostly unknown. Thus, you might…
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Project Diana hits the Moon… in 1946

Project Diana hits the Moon… in 1946

On January 10, 1946 the U.S. Army Project Diana team detected radar signals reflected off the moon‘s surface. This was the first experiment in radar astronomy and the first active attempt to probe another celestial body. Project Pioneer John H. DeWitt Project Diana was designed in order to bounce radar signals off the Moon and receive the reflected signals, which became the first known attempt to probe another celestial body. Pioneer of…
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Jule Gregory Charney and the Science of Weather Prediction

Jule Gregory Charney and the Science of Weather Prediction

On January 1, 1917, American meteorologist Jule Gregory Charney was born. Working with computer scientist John von Neumann, Charney first applied the electronic computer for weather prediction (1950) and brought about a new understanding of the large-scale flow circulation within the atmosphere. He is considered the father of modern dynamical meteorology. In 1979, the Charney report studied the relations of carbon dioxide and climate and became one of the earliest modern scientific…
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Clara Barton and the Start of the American Red Cross

Clara Barton and the Start of the American Red Cross

On December 25, 1821, American pioneering nurse Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton was born. Barton is noteworthy for doing humanitarian work at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home. She worked as a hospital nurse in the American Civil War and was instrumental in the founding of the American Red Cross. “You are getting the reward, dear Bessie for the simple nature devoid of vaulting ambition which you have always had. Keep…
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Anne Anastasi and Psychological Testing of the Individual

Anne Anastasi and Psychological Testing of the Individual

On December 19, 1908, American psychologist Anne Anastasi was born. She is best known for her pioneering development of psychometrics. Her seminal work, Psychological Testing, remains a classic text in which she drew attention to the individual being tested and therefore to the responsibilities of the testers. She called for them to go beyond test scores, to search the assessed individuals’ history to help them to better understand their own results and…
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Grace Hopper and the Programming Languages

Grace Hopper and the Programming Languages

On December 9, 1908, American computer scientist Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was born. Besides being credited for having invented the term “debugging”, Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer in 1944. She invented the first compiler for a computer programming language and was one of those who popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level…
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