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This Day in Science History

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August 15

People

T. E. Lawrence

Born 15 Aug 1888; died 19 May 1935.

T(homas) E(dward) Lawrence, also known as "Lawrence of Arabia," was a British archaeological scholar, which activity he pursued assiduously from his teens up to the outbreak of WW I. In two of his important projects, he collaborated with Leonard Woolley in the British Museum Expedition excavating Carchemish, (1910-14) a Hittite city on the upper Euphrates; and in the Survey of the Wilderness of Zin. Later he became best known as a military strategist, and author for his legendary war activities in the Middle East during WW I, and for his account of those activities in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926). He died in England from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash near his home in Dorset.

Wiley Post

Died 15 Aug 1935 (born 22 Nov 1900)

One of the most colourful figures of the early years of U.S. aviation, who set many records. Between 15-22 Jul 1933, the first round-the-world solo flight (15,596 miles) was completed by Wiley Post, in his Lockheed Vega 5B single-engine aircraft Winnie Mae, in 7 days 18-hr 49-min. He had made an accompanied flight around the world in 1931. Wiley Post had made his first solo flight in 1926, the year he got his flying license, signed by Orville Wright, despite wearing a patch over his left eye, lost in an oilfield accident. Post invented the first pressurized suit to wear when he flew around the world. Another credit was his research into the jet streams. He died with his passenger, humorist Will Rogers, 15 Aug 1935, in a plane crash in Alaska.

Events

Voyager 1

In 2006, Voyager 1, the most distant man-made object, reached 100 astronomical units from the sun - meaning 100 times more distant from the sun than is Earth - about 15,000 million km (9,300 million miles) from the sun. At such great distance, the sun is a mere point of light, so solar energy is not an option, but having a nuclear power source, Voyager 1 continues to beam back information. The spacecraft, launched nearly 30 years earlier, on 5 Sep 1977, had flown beyond the outer planets and reached the heliosheath, the outer edge of our solar system, where the sun's influence wanes. Voyager 1 continues traveling at a speed of about one million miles per day and could cross into interstellar space before 10 years later.

Lowest temperature ever

In 1994, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a press release that physicists there recently cooled atoms to 700 nanokelvins, the coldest temperature ever recorded for matter. NIST scientists chilled a cloud of cesium atoms very close to absolute zero using lasers to catch the atoms in an optical lattice. The atoms reached 700 nanokelvins, or 700 billionths of a degree above absolute zero. Zero kelvin (-273ºC), or absolute zero, is the temperature at which atomic thermal motion would cease. Since the late 1970s, physicists have sought to use lasers to cool atoms closer to absolute zero, primarily for improving atomic timekeeping, certain experimental measurements and lithography processes for the semiconductor industry.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_15.htm
 
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yevaud

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August 16

People

Hugo Gernsback

Born 16 Aug 1884; died 19 Aug 1967

American inventor (80 patents) and publisher who was largely responsible for the establishment of science fiction as an independent literary form. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback was the owner of a magazine called Modern Electrics. One day, he found that he had a blank spot in his publication, so he dashed off the first chapter of series called "Ralph 124C 41+." "Ralph" was an amazing success. The 12-part story was filled with all kinds of wild inventions unheard of in 1926, including television (he is credited with introducing this word), fluorescent lighting, juke boxes, solar energy, television, microfilm, vending machines, and a device we now call radar.

Jacob (Jacques) Bernoulli

Died 16 Aug 1705 (born 6 Jan 1655)

Swiss mathematician who was one of the first to fully utilize differential calculus and introduced the term integral in integral calculus. Jacob Bernoulli's first important contributions were a pamphlet on the parallels of logic and algebra (1685), work on probability in 1685 and geometry in 1687. His geometry result gave a construction to divide any triangle into four equal parts with two perpendicular lines. By 1689 he had published important work on infinite series and published his law of large numbers in probability theory. He published five treatises on infinite series (1682 - 1704). Jacob was intrigued by the logarithmic spiral and requested it be carved on his tombstone. He was the first of the Bernoulli family of mathematicians.

Events

Element 110 named

In 2003, chemists met in Ottawa to vote and make official a proposed name for the element 110: Darmstadtium, symbol Ds. This was first identifieded in a high-energy physics laboratory in Germany (1994), where Element 110 was created for a fraction of a thousandth of a second. Scientists at the Laboratory for Heavy Ion Research, known as GSI, in Darmstadt, Germany exercised the prerogative of discoverers, and proposed its name. It commemorates the town of Darmstadt. IUPAC, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, is an organization of chemists from more than 80 countries whose duties include selecting official names, symbols and terms used in the science.

Parachute jump

In 1960, Captain Joseph W. Kittinger made the longest delayed parachute jump on record when he bailed out of a balloon at 102,800 feet and dropped 84,700 feet (31,330 m) or 16.04 miles before opening his parachute over New Mexico.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_16.htm
 
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August 17

People

Pierre de Fermat

Born 17 Aug 1601; died 12 Jan 1665

French mathematician, often called the founder of the modern theory of numbers. Together with Rene Descartes, Fermat was one of the two leading mathematicians of the first half of the 17th century. He anticipated differential calculus with his method of finding the greatest and least ordinates of curved lines. He proposed the famous Fermat's Last Theorem while studying the work of the ancient Greek mathematician Diophantus. He wrote in pencil in the margin, "I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain," that when the Pythagorean theorem is altered to read an + bn = cn, the new equation cannot be solved in integers for any value of n greater than 2.

Robert Rowe Gilruth

Died 17 Aug 2000 (born 8 Oct 1913)

American aerospace scientist, engineer, and a pioneer of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. He developed the X-1, first plane to break the sound barrier. Gilruth directed Project Mercury, the initial program for achieving manned space flight. Under his leadership, the first American astronaut orbited the Earth only a little over 3 years after NASA was created. In 1961, President Kennedy and the Congress committed the nation to a manned lunar landing within the decade. Gilruth was named the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center and assigned the responsibility of designing and developing the spacecraft and associated equipment, planning and controlling missions, and training flight crews. He retired from NASA in 1973.

Events

Double Eagle II balloon crossed Atlantic

In 1978, the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by balloon was completed when three Americans, Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson and Larry Newman, landed their Double Eagle II in France. Their 3,100-mile flight began on 11 Aug 1978 from Presque Isle, Maine and ended 137-hr 6-min later. The helium balloon Double Eagle II was 112- ft high, 65-ft diam., capacity 160,000 cu.ft. with a 15x7x4½-ft passenger gondola named The Spirit of Albuquerque. The underside of the gondola was a twin-hulled catamaran to provide emergency flotation for any unplanned water landing. Double Eagle II was built by Ed Yost. The history of transatlantic balloon crossing included seventeen prior unsuccessful attempts and seven lives lost.

Phobos discovered

In 1877, Asaph Hall discovered Mars' moon Phobos.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_17.htm
 
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August 18

People

Brook Taylor

Born 18 Aug 1685; died 29 Dec 1731

British mathematician, best known the Taylor's series, a method for expanding functions into infinite series. In 1708, Taylor produced a solution to the problem of the centre of oscillation. His Methodus incrementorum directa et inversa (1715; “Direct and Indirect Methods of Incrementation”) introduced what is now called the calculus of finite differences. Using this, he was the first to express mathematically the movement of a vibrating string on the basis of mechanical principles. Methodus also contained Taylor's theorem, later recognized (1772) by Lagrange as the basis of differential calculus. A gifted artist, Taylor also wrote on basic principles of perspective (1715) containing the first general treatment of the principle of vanishing points.

B. F. Skinner

Died 18 Aug 1990 (born 20 Mar 1904)

B(urrhus) F(rederick) Skinner was an American psychologist whose pioneering work in experimental psychology promoted behaviorism, shaping behavior through positive and negative reinforcement and demonstrated operant conditioning. The "Skinner box" he used in experiments from 1930 remains famous. To investigate the learning processes of animals, he observed their behaviour in a simple box with a lever which, when activated by the animal, would give a reward (or punishment). The reward, such as pellets of food or water, acts as a primary reinforcer. He observed the behaviour of animals adapted to utilize the opportunity for a reward. He extended his theories to the behaviour of humans, as a form of social engineering.

Events

Belle Isle Aquarium

In 1904, the Belle Isle Aquarium opened in the U.S. This facility is the oldest, continuously running aquarium in America. Several other institutions opened earlier but since have closed or moved to multiple different buildings. Belle Isle Aquarium is still in its original building and site as the one in which it opened.

Helium

In 1868, Pierre Janssan discovered helium in the solar spectrum during eclipse.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_18.htm
 
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August 19

People

Orville Wright

Born 19 Aug 1871; died 30 Jan 1948

American pioneer aviator, who with his brother, Wilbur, invented the first powered airplane, Flyer, capable of sustained, controlled flight (17 Dec 1903). At Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville made the first ever manned powered flight, airborn for 12-sec. By 1905, they had improved the design, built and and made several long flights in Flyer III, which was the first fully practical airplane (1905), able to fly up to 38-min and travel 24 miles (39-km). Their Model A was produced in 1908, capable of flight for over two hours of flight. They sold considerable numbers, but European designers became strong competitors. After Wilbur died of typhoid in 1912, Orville sold his interest in the Wright Company in 1915.

George Gamow

Died 19 Aug 1968 (born 4 Mar 1904)

Russian-born American nuclear physicist, cosmologist and writer who was one of the foremost advocates of the big-bang theory, which desribes the origin of the universe as a colossal explosion that took place billions of years ago. In 1954, he expanded his interests into biochemistry and his work on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) made a basic contribution to modern genetic theory.

Events

First live animals launched on round trip to Space

In 1960, Sputnik 5 was launched into Earth orbit, carrying two dogs named Belka (Squirrel) and Strelka (Little Arrow), along with 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants, beginning a safe round trip into Space, after which they become the first living organisms to return space. After a day in orbit, the sapceship's retrorocket was fired and the landing capsule returned to Earth on 20 Aug 1960. Earlier, on 3 Nov 1957, the USSR lauched Sputnik 2, with a stray Siberian husky, Laika ("Barker"). By design, it did not return to Earth; Laika died in space a few days later. On 12 Apr 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.

Commercial atomic energy

In 1960, the first commercial atomic energy reactor, and the third in the U.S., achieved a self-sustaining nuclear reaction. It began producing power for distribution on 10 Nov 1960. This was the $57 million Yankee Atomic Electric Company's plant at Rowe, Mass., on the Deerfield River. The pressurized light-water reactor produced 125,000 kilowatts of electricity. The company was formed by twelve New England utility companies which signed a contract with the Westinghouse Corporation as the principal contractor. It was permanently shut down on 26 Feb 1992, due to reactor vessel embrittlement, after more than 31 years of service. Decommissioning began in 1993.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_19.htm
 
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August 20

People

Valentin Petrovich Glushko

Born 20 Aug 1908; died 10 Jan 1989

Soviet rocket scientist who was a pioneer developer of rocket engines (1946-74). From 1929, he worked in Leningrad in GDL - the Gas Dynamics Laboratory, the military rocket research organization, founded in 1921. He worked with renowned rocket designer Sergey Korolyov (1932-1966). In Aug 1957, they successfully launched the first intercontinental ballistic missile and in October of the same year, sent the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, into orbit. He became chief designer for the Soviet space program in 1974, helping to oversee development of the Mir space station. During his life, he designed the most succesessful rocket engines in the Soviet space program.

Sir Fred Hoyle

Died 20 Aug 2001 (born 24 June 1915)

English mathematician and astronomer, best known as the foremost proponent and defender of the steady-state theory of the universe. This theory holds both that the universe is expanding and that matter is being continuously created to keep the mean density of matter in space constant. He became Britain's best-known astronomer in 1950 with his broadcast lectures on The Nature of the Universe, and he recalled coining the term "Big Bang" in the last of those talks. Although over time, belief in a "steady state" universe as Hoyle had proposed was shared by fewer and fewer scientists because of new discoveries, Hoyle never accepted the now most popular "Big Bang" theory for the origin of the universe.

Events

Voyager 2

In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 2, on a Titan-Centaur rocket. It was an unmanned spacecraft to explore the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, where it also discovered and photographed many previously unknown moons, rings and other features of the planets. A 12-inch copper phonograph record carried on board contained greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature. Voyager 1 was launched similarly one month later, on 5 Sep 1977.

First animals return from space flight

In 1960, USSR recovered two dogs, Belka and Strelka ("Squirrel" and "Little Arrow" in Russian), the first live Russian dogs to be recovered from orbit. In preparation for manned spaceflight, Korabl-Sputnik-2 (Spaceship Satellite-2, also known as Sputnik 5), launched 19 Aug 1960, also carried 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants. After a day in orbit, its retrorocket was fired and the landing capsule returned to Earth. The dogs were the first living organisms to return from space. Earlier, on 3 Nov 1957, the USSR lauched Sputnik 2, with a stray Siberian husky, Laika ("Barker"). By design, it did not return to Earth; Laika died in space a few days later. On 12 Apr 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_20.htm
 
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August 21

People

Augustin-Louis Cauchy

Born 21 Aug 1789; died 23 May 1857

(Baron) French mathematician who pioneered in analysis and the theory of substitution groups (groups whose elements are ordered sequences of a set of things). He was one of the greatest of modern mathematicians.

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Died 21 Aug 1995 (born 19 Oct 1910)

Indian-born U.S. astrophysicist who shared with William A. Fowler the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics for formulating the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars, work that subsequently led to the discovery of neutron stars and black holes.

Events

Mars Observer lost

In 1993, contact was lost with the Mars Observer spacecraft, following the pressurization of the rocket thruster fuel tanks, three days before it was to begin orbiting the Red Planet. The Mars Observer was to be the first U.S. spacecraft to study Mars since the Viking missions 18 years earlier. The fate of the $980 million mission remains unknown, though a commission studied possible causes for the failure.

Triton

In 1989, the U.S. space probe Voyager 2 fired its thrusters to bring it closer to Neptune's mysterious moon Triton. This later photograph (left) shows a false-color image of Triton, taken two days before closest approach. At 2,700 km diameter, Triton is Neptune's largest satellite. The smallest features resolvable in this image are about 47 km across. The image is a composite of three images taken through ultraviolet, green, and violet filters.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_21.htm
 
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August 22

People

Denton A. Cooley

Born 22 Aug 1920

Dr. Denton A(rthur) Cooley is an American surgeon and heart-transplant pioneer who was the first to implant an artificial heart in a human. In 1960s he performed delicate surgery on the hearts of infants with congenital heart disease, and was the first surgeon to successfully remove pulmonary embolisms. On 3 May 1968, Cooley performed his first human heart transplant. On 4 Apr 1969, because no donor heart was available for a dying 47-year-old patient with diseased heart muscle, he implanted a mechanical heart made of silicone as a temporary measure. The experimental artificial heart was used for 65 hours, and was removed when a human heart became available.

James S. McDonnell

Died 22 Aug 1980 (born 9 Apr 1899)

James S. McDonnell was an American manufacturer of aircraft McDonnell started his first company in 1928, to build the single Doodlebug, but since it found no market, he spent the next 10 years working for several aircraft companies. Then he founded the St. Louis based McDonnell Aircraft Co.on 6 Jul 1939. Among his notable achievements were the production of the U.S. Navy's first carrier based jet fighter (1946), the FM-1; Mercury, America's first manned space craft to orbit the earth (1962), and the F-4 Phantom jet.

Events

Neptune

In 1989, the first complete ring around Neptune was discovered in photographs transmitted by Voyager 2 to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the U.S. Dusty debris was seen to form a tenuous but complete ring about 17,000 miles above Neptune's clouds. The material in the ring appeared be distributed uniformly through the dark circle, though whether fine or large particles was undetermined. The ring lies just outside the orbit of one of the planet's small moons, designated then as 1989 N3, also newly discovered by Voyager 2. Only arcs - fragments of rings around Neptune, had previously viewed from Earth-based observations, which were also shown as arcs in photographs taken by Voyager 2 eleven days earlier.

Record altitude for X-15 rocket plane

In 1963, the X-15 rocket plane achieved a world record altitude of 354,200 feet (107,960 m, 67 miles) with U.S. Air Force pilot Joseph Walker, flight 91 of the series of test flights. Its internal structure of titanium was covered with a skin of Inconel X, a chrome-nickel alloy. To save fuel, the X-15 was air launched from a B-52 aircraft at about 45,000 ft. Test flights between 8 Jun 1959 and 24 Oct 1968 provided data on hypersonic air flow, aerodynamic heating, control and stability at hypersonic speeds and piloting techniques for reentry used in the development of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spaceflight programs.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_22.htm
 
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August 23

People

William Henry Eccles

Born 23 Aug 1875; died 29 Apr 1966

British physicist who pioneered in the development of radio communication. Eccles was an early proponent of Oliver Heaviside's theory that an upper layer of the atmosphere reflects radio waves, thus enabling their transmission over long distances. He also suggested in 1912 that solar radiation accounted for the differences in wave propagation during the day and night. He experimented with detectors and amplifiers for radio reception, coined the term "diode," and studied atmospheric disturbances of radio reception. After WW I, he made many contributions to electronic circuit development*, including the Eccles-Jordan "flip-flop" patented in 1918 and used in binary counters (working with F.W. Jordan).

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb

Died 23 Aug 1806 (born 14 June 1736)

French physicist best known for the formulation of Coulomb's law, which states that the force between two electrical charges is proportional to the product of the charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Coulombic force is one of the principal forces involved in atomic reactions.

Events

First human-powered flight

In 1977, Bryan Allen won the Kremer Prize for the first human-powered flight as he pedalled the Gossamer Condor for at least a mile at Schafter, California.

Galileo's telescope

In 1609, the telescope was demonstrated by Galileo.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_23.htm
 
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August 24

People

Rudolf Oskar Robert Williams Geiger

Born 24 Aug 1894; died 1981.

German meteorologist, one of the founders of microclimatology, the study of the climatic conditions within a few metres of the ground surface. His observations, made above grassy fields or areas of crops and below forest canopies, elucidated the complex and subtle interactions between vegetation and the heat, radiation, and water balances of the air and soil.

Pliny The Elder

Died 24 Aug 79 A.D. (born 23 A.D.)

Roman savant and author of the celebrated Natural History, in 37 volumes an encyclopaedic work of very uneven accuracy that was nonetheless an authority on scientific matters up to the Middle Ages. He prepared this as a digest of two thousand ancient books written by nearly five hundred writers. He was mostly undiscriminating regarding the accuracy of the content. Though he rejected, for example, the possibility of immortality, he also rejected Pytheas' valid theory that the moon was responsible for tides. Correctly, he accepted the spherical form of the Earth. As another example, he included various theories on the origin of amber, one correct among others fanciful and wrong. The book dealt in subjects ranging from astronomy, geography, and zoology. He died in the eruption of Vesuvius, too anxious to witness the event to retreat from the ashes and toxic gases.

Events

Minor planet Pluto

In 2006, Pluto was declassified as a planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) following a vote at their 10-day General Assembly in Prague. It was given status instead as a "dwarf planet," on account of its small size - smaller than the Moon - and highly elliptical, tilted orbit which overlaps with that of Neptune. However, only 424 of 2,700 astronomers who remained in Prague for the last day of the meeting took part. Those who voted were about only 4% of the world's 10,000 astronomers. The decision was criticized, and a petition was started. The vote established other dwarf planets: Ceres (a small body between Mars and Jupiter) and 2003 UB313 (a small body beyond Pluto, where dozens more potential dwarf planets exist).

Voyager 2

In 1989, the U.S. space probe Voyager 2 ended the final planetary fly-by of its mission, leaving Neptune behind after taking photgraphs showing three complete rings and six previously unknown moons. It had also collected data showing that Neptune's atmosphere was stormy, and had a notable magnetic field oriented at an angle to its axis of rotation. The surface features of Triton, its largest moon, were also photographed.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_24.htm
 
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August 25

People

Joshua Lionel Cowen

Born 25 Aug 1880; died 8 Sep 1965

American inventor of electric model trains who founded the Lionel Corporation (1901), which became the largest U.S. toy train manufacturer. At age 18, he had invented a fuse to ignite the magnesium powder for flash photography, which the Navy Department bought from him to be a fuse to detonate submarine mines. He designed an early battery tube light, but without practical application. (His partner, Conrad Hubert, to whom he gave the rights improved it and founded the Eveready Flashlight Company.) At age 22, he created a battery-powered train engine intended only as an eye-catcher for other goods in a store window. To his surprise, many customers wanted to purchase the toy train. Thus he started a model railroad company.

John R. Dunning

Died 25 Aug 1975 (born 24 Sep 1907)

John R(ay) Dunning was an American nuclear physicist whose experiments in nuclear fission helped lay the groundwork for the development of the atomic bomb. After the fission of the rare U235 uranium isotope was verified in an experiment using a microscopic quantity, (0.02 millionths of a gram), great difficulty remained in separating U235 from the more abundant U238. Dr. John R. Dunning led the research team at Columbia University which studied the gaseous diffusion method for uranium separation. This process was based on the slightly smaller size of the U235 isotope molecules. When pushed through a porous barrier, U235 would move through faster, and several repetitions would produce almost pure U235.

Events

Saturn

In 1981, the U.S. spacecraftVoyager II came within 63,000 miles (100,000 km) of Saturn's cloud cover, sending back data and pictures of the ringed planet in its closest approach to Saturn, showing not a few, but thousands of rings. Photographs were also sent back of a number of Saturn's moons. The space probe was launched on 20 Aug 1977, and visited Jupiter on 9 Jul 1979, and continued on to Uranus (24 Jan 1986) and Neptune (25 Aug 1989) before leaving the Solar System. Having a nuclear power source, the space probe continues to study ultraviolet sources among the stars, and its fields and particles instruments continue to search for the boundary between the Sun's influence and interstellar space.

Transpacific Zeppelin flight

In 1929, the Graf Zeppelin passed over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, headed for Los Angeles after a trans-Pacific voyage from Tokyo. Graf Zeppelin, built in 1928, had a trial flight on 18 Sep1928. It left on 11 Oct 1928 for its first transatlantic trip from Germany to Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA. After other flights, the Graf Zeppelin was again at Lakehurst ready to begin a trip around the world. It left there with 40 crew and 22 passengers on 8 Aug 1929, reaching Friedrichshafen, Germany on 10 Aug. After 5 days stopover, it set off for Tokyo, Japan, arriving there on 18 Aug, leaving again on 23 Aug headed for Los Angeles on 26 Aug. Next day it left for Lakehurst, NJ arriving there on 29 Aug 1929 after 12 days in the air.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_25.htm
 
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August 26

People

Edward Witten

Born 26 Aug 1951

American mathematical physicist who was awarded the Fields Medal in 1990 for his work in superstring theory. This is work in elementary particle theory, especially quantum field theory and string theory, and their mathematical implications. He elucidated the dynamics of strongly coupled supersymmetric field. The deep physical and mathematical consequences of the electric-magnetic duality thus exploited have broadened the scope of Mathematical Physics. He also received the Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (1985) and the Dannie Heineman Prize from the American Physical Society (1998), among others.

Charles A. Lindbergh

Died 26 Aug 1974 (born 4 Feb 1902)

Charles A(ugustus) Lindbergh was a famous American aviator, remembered for the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic (1927). He first served as an apprentice to a barnstormer, performing as a wingwalker and parachute jumper. Then, he purchasing a war surplus Jenny trainer, made his first solo flight and barnstormed himself for about a year. Later, he became the first air mail pilot between Chicago, Ill., and St, Louis, Mo. On 20 May 1927, Lindbergh left New York for Paris, carrying sandwiches and water. He decided against carrying a parachute and radio in favor of more gasoline. He fought fog, icing and drowsiness. He landed 21 May, 33-1/2 hours later, in Paris after a 3,600 mile flight.

Events

Krakatoa

In 1883, Mount Krakatoa, an island volcano in the Dutch Indies (now Indonesia) erupted with violent explosions that destroyed two thirds of the island and produced huge tsunami waves that swept across the immediate region, killing an estimated 36,000 people. The waves were powerful enough to cross the Indian Ocean and travel beyond Cape Horn. The most powerful blast was the most violent known in human history, was loud enough to be heard in Australia, and the shockwave was registered by barometers England. The huge amount of volcanic dust thrust high into the stratosphere eventually travelled around the world. The dust blocked sunlight causing temperature drops and chaotic weather patterns for several years afterwards.

Cannon

In 1346, the cannon, firing a round ball carved from rock, was first used in battle in France. Edward III of England reportedly used 22 cannon during the defeat of Philip VI of France at Crécy. The earliest cannons, having no more power than the trebuchet, could not bring down the walls by themselves. Their chief effect, in the beginning, was psychological: the burst of fire and loud noise were effective in getting the enemy's attention, making it impossible for them to forget that their lives were in danger. Their effect is recorded in a well known manuscript - Froissart's Chroniques of the battle of Crécy: "The English fired of some cannons which they had brought to the battle to frighten the Genoese." The victory is attributed to the longbowmen.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_26.htm
 
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August 27

People

Norman Foster Ramsey

Born 27 Aug 1915

American physicist who shared (with Wolfgang Paul and Hans Georg Dehmelt) the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physics in 1989 for "for the invention of the separated oscillatory fields method and its use in the hydrogen maser and other atomic clocks." His work produced a more precise way to observe the transitions within an atom switching from one specific energy level to another. In the cesium atomic clock, his method enables observing the transitions between two very closely spaced levels (hyperfine levels). The accuracy of such a clock is about one part in ten thousand billion. In 1967, one second was defined as the time during which the cesium atom makes exactly 9,192,631,770 oscillations.

Ernest Orlando Lawrence

Died 27 Aug 1958 (born 8 Aug 1901 )

American physicist who was awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention of the cyclotron, the first device for the production of high energy particles. His first device, built in 1930 used a 10-cm magnet. He accelerated particles within a cyclinder at high vacuum between the poles of an electromagnetic to confine the beam to a spiral path, while a high A.C. voltage increased the particle energy. Larger models built later created 8 x 104 eV beams. By colliding particles with atomic nuclei, he produced new elements and artificial radioactivity. By 1940, he had created plutonium and neptunium. He extended the use of atomic radiation into the fields of biology and medicine. Element 103 was named Lawrencium as a tribute to him.

Events

Mariner 2

In 1962, the United States launched the Mariner 2 space probe, which flew past Venus the following December.

Gallium

In 1875, the element gallium was discovered by P.E. Lecoq de Boisbaudran. In an article in the Annales de Chimie in 1877, he said his search started 15 years earlier, but with inadequate resources. Even with a new laboratory (1863) he had no success until he realized he was using too little material, and in Feb 1874 started with 52 kg of a mineral from Pierrefitte mine. He finally isolated a tiny sample: "On August 27, 1875, between three and four at night, I perceived the first indications of the existence of a new element that I named gallium in honor of France (Gallia)." His first spectroscopic analysis of the tiny amount (he estimated 1/100 mg) of the prepared sample showed a previously unknown violet line at 417.0 indicating a new element.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_27.htm

***

Ed: Sorry for the delay today - connections issues.
 
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yevaud

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Hi Guys. Sorry for my absence, which involved severe computer issues. In expiation, here's the entire last week's worth of science history.

August 28

People

George H. Whipple

Born 28 Aug 1878; died 1 Feb 1976.

George Hoyt Whipple was an American pathologist who shared the 1934 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with George R. Minot and William P. Murphy for "their discoveries of a treatment of pernicious anemia with a special diet of liver." Whipple began a study in 1920 of the influence of food on blood regeneration. From experiments on dogs bled to reduce blood volume, he found the best food to stimulate the bone marrow for the production of the new red blood corpuscles was raw liver. Other foods, including kidney and apricots were also found helpful. Minot and Murphy applied Whipple's discovery of the value of liver. They designed a special diet for humans with a particular noninfectious disease - pernicious anemia. The three researchers made a major advance with a non-drug treatment of this condition.

William Smith

Died 28 Aug 1839 (born 23 Mar 1769)

English engineer and geologist who extended the science of stratigraphy. His early work was as a miner and an engineer, for a canal-digging company. From this experience he observed the difference in rock layers. He also recognized that the same succession of fossil groups from older to younger rocks could be found in many parts of England, which he called the principle of faunal succession. He travelled the entire country to verify that relationships between the strata and their characteristics were consistent everywhere. Thus Smith created a profile of the entire country of England. His great geologic map of England and Wales (1815) set the standard for modern geologic maps. Many of the colourful names he gave to the strata are still in use today.

Events

Asteroid's moon

In 1993, a picture was taken showing the first moon of an asteroid. The asteroid 243 Ida and its newly-discovered moon, Dactyl was imaged by NASA's Galileo spacecraft, about 14 minutes before its closest approach (within 2,400-km or 1,500 miles) to the asteroid. Ida is about 52 km (32 mi) in length and is irregularly shaped. It shows numerous craters, including many degraded craters, indicating Ida's surface is older than previously thought. Dactyl is only about 1.4-km in diameter, and it is spectrally different from Ida data. The picture was released on 26 Mar 1994. Galileo had encountered the first asteroid - 951 Gaspra - on 29 Oct 1991. Galileo continued on its mission to study Jupiter, beginning its orbit of the planet on 7 Dec 1995.

Scientific American

In 1845, the first issue of the Scientific American was published by Rufus Porter (1792-1884), a versatile if eccentric Yankee, who was by turns a portrait-painter, schoolmaster, inventor and editor. While the paper was still a small weekly journal with a circulation less than 300, he offered it for sale. It was bought for $800 in July 1846 by 20-year-old Alfred Ely Beach (1826-1896) as editor, and Orson Desaix Munn (1824-1907). Together, they built it over the years into a great and unique periodical. Their circulation reached 10,000 by 1848, 20,000 by 1852, and 30,000 by 1853.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_28.htm
 
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August 29

People

John Locke

Born 29 Aug 1632; died 28 Oct 1704.

English physician who was the most important philosopher during the Age of Reason. He spent over 20 years developing the ideas he published in most significant work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) which analysed the nature of human reason, and promoted experimentation as the basis of knowledge. He established primary qualities, (ex. solidity, extension, number) as distinct from secondary qualities identified by the sense organs (ex. colour, sound). Thus the world is otherwise silent and without colour. Locke recognised that science is made possible when the primary world mechanically affects the sense organs, thereby creating ideas that faithfully represent reality. He was an acquaintance of Robert Boyle.

Christian Friedrich Schönbein

Died 29 Aug 1868 (born 18 Oct 1799)

German-Swiss chemist who discovered and named ozone (1840) and was the first to describe guncotton (nitrocellulose). He noted ozone appeared during thunderstorms and named the gas ozone for its peculiar smell (ozo is Greek for smell). Later experiments showed that sending an electric current through pure, dry oxygen (O2) creates ozone (O3). His discovery of the powerful explosive called cellulose nitrate, or gun cotton, was the result of a laboratory accident. One day in 1845 he spilled sulfuric and nitric acids and soaked it with a cotton apron. After the apron dried, it burst into flame - he had created nitrated cellulose. He found that cellulose nitrate could be molded and had some elastic properties. It eventually was used for smokeless gun powder.

Events

Element 109

In 1982, an atom of a new element was made. It has been given the proposed name of Meitnerium, symbol Mt. Physicists at the Heavy Ion Research Laboratory, Darmstadt, West Germany made and identified element 109 by bombing a target of Bi-209 with accelerated nuclei of Fe-58. After a week of target bombardment a single fused nucleus was produced. The combined energy of two nuclei had to be sufficiently high so that the repulsive forces between the nuclei could be overcome. The team confirmed the existence of element 109 by four independent measurements. The nucleus started to decay 5 ms after striking the detector. This experiment demonstrated the feasibility of using fusion techniques as a method of making new, heavy nuclei.

USSR's first atomic bomb

In 1949, the USSR tested their first atomic device, "First Lightning." It was an an implosive type plutonium bomb, detonated at the Semipalatinsk test range, giving up to a 20 kiloton yield. In the U.S. it was calledJoe No. 1 ("Joe" was nickname for Y. Stalin.) This event came five years earlier than anyone in the West had predicted, largely due to one man, the spy Klaus Fuchs. As a Los Alamos physicist, Fuchs had passed detailed blue prints of the original American Trinity bomb design to the Russians. With the emergence of the USSR as a nuclear rival, America's monopoly of atomic weaponry was ended giving the U.S. strong motivation for intensifying its program of nuclear testing. Thus the Cold War was launched.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_29.htm
 
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August 30

People

Sir Ernest Rutherford

Born 30 Aug 1871; died 19 Oct 1937.

(baron) New Zealand-born British physicist who laid the groundwork for the development of nuclear physics. He worked under Sir J. J. Thomson at Cambridge University (1895-98). Then he collaborated with Frederick Soddy in studying radioactivity. In 1899 he discovered alpha particles and beta particles, followed by the discovery of gamma radiation the following year. In 1905, with Soddy, he announced that radioactive decay involves a series of transformations. In 1907, with Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, he devised the alpha-particle scattering experiment that led in 1911 to the discovery of the atomic nucleus. In 1919 he achieved the artificial splitting of light atoms. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Fred Whipple

Died 30 Aug 2004 (born 5 Nov 1906)
Fred Lawrence Whipple was an American astronomer who proposed the "dirty snowball" model for comet nuclei. In the 1930s, using a new, two-station method of photography, he determined meteor trajectories and found that nearly all visible meteors are made up of fragile material from comets, and that none come from beyond the solar system. Whipple suggested (1950) that comets have icy cores inside thin insulating layers of dirt, and that jets of material ejected as a result of solar heating were the cause of orbital changes. This model was confirmed in 1986 when spacecraft flew past comet Halley. Whipple’s work on tracking artificial satellites led to improved knowledge of the shape of the earth and greatly improved positions on earth.

Events

First black astronaut

In 1983, Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first black American astronaut to travel in space, aboard the third flight of the shuttle Challenger on the eighth Space Shuttle Mission. This was the first mission to launch and land at night. During 98 orbits of the Earth in 145 hours, the crew deployed the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1B); operated the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System with the Payload Flight Test Article; operated the Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System with live cell samples; conducted medical measurements to understand biophysiological effects on space flight. STS-8 landed on 5 Sep 1983. By 1992, Bluford had spent 688 hours on four space shuttle flights.

Comet strikes Sun

In 1979, Comet Howard-Koomen-Michels (SOLWIND I) collided with the Sun, the first recorded comet to collide with Sun and the first discovered by a spacecraft. The coronographs taken on 30 and 31 Aug 1979 from the satellite P78-1 used to monitor solar corona activity were not inspected until Sep 1981, by Russ Howard. The recording instruments were designed and operated by Martin Koomen and Don Michels. The remarkable series of images showed the comet heading around the Sun. Its perihelion distance was too small, and the head did not reappear from behind the Sun, presumably disintegrated by the heat of the sun. The decapitated comet's tail continued, becoming fan-like, brightening the corona, until dissipated and blown away from the Sun.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_30.htm
 
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August 31

People

Robert Hanbury Brown

Born 31 Aug 1916; died 16 Jan 2002

British astronomer who was a pioneer in radar and observational astronomy. During and after WW II he worked with R.A. Watson-Watt and then E.G. Bowen to develop radar for uses in aerial combat. In the 1950s he applied this experience to radio astronomy, developing radio-telescope technology at Jodrell Bank Observatory and mapping stellar radio sources. He designed a radio interferometer capable of resolving radio stars while eliminating atmospheric distortion from the image (1952). With R.Q. Twiss, Brown applied this method to measuring the angular size of bright visible stars, thus developing the technique of intensity interferometry. They set up an intensity interferometer at Narrabri in New South Wales, Australia, for measurements of hot stars.

Albert Heim

Died 31 Aug 1937 (born 12 Apr 1849)

Swiss geologist whose studies of the Swiss Alps greatly advanced knowledge of the dynamics of mountain building and of glacial effects on topography and geology. He studied the formation of overthrusts and nappes in the Alps. He supported the idea of a contracting Earth. He also studied the mechanics of rock deformation, proposing that rocks can deform plastically under pressure and that the same pressure causes metamorphism. After a near-fatal fall in the Alps during which he had a mystical experience, Heim began the first serious study of near-death experiences. Over a period of several decades he collected observations and accounts from numerous survivors of serious accidents. Heim first presented these findings at the Swiss Alpine Club in 1892.

Events

Lunar auto

In 1971, Dave Scott became the first person to drive a vehicle on the Moon - the battery-powered Lunar Rover (LRV) - as part of the Apollo 15 mission to the mountainous Hadley-Apennine region. This LRV, the first to be carried on an Apollo mission, built by Boeing, weighed 460 lb (209 kg) and folded into a space 5 ft by 20 in (1.5 m by 0.5 m). Each wheel was independently driven by ¼ horsepower (200 W) electric motor. The astronauts could travel further from their landing site and sample a wider variety of lunar materials. The car travelled 17.4 miles (28 km) and collected about 168 pounds (76 kg) of lunar materials to return to Earth. Shepard and Mitchell of the previous Apollo 14 walked about 2.5 miles (4 km), hauling their scientific gear in a two-wheeled cart .

U.S. Naval Observatory

In 1842, the U.S. Naval Observatory was authorised by an act of Congress, one of the oldest scientific agencies in the U.S. James Melville Gilliss (1811-1865) is considered its founder, who in 1842 he secured the Congressional appropriation for the Depot of Charts and Instruments (est. 1830) to become the Naval Observatory. Its primary task was to care for the Navy's charts, navigational instruments and chronometers, which were calibrated by timing the transit of stars across the meridian. Initially located at Foggy Bottom, the observatory moved in 1893 to its present facility in Washington, DC. Gillis visited Europe to procure instruments, and the books that formed the core of the Naval Observatory Library. Matthew Fontaine Maury was the first director, followed by Gillis (1861-65).

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/8/8_31.htm
 
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September 1

People

Dirk Brouwer

Born 1 Sep 1902; died 31 Jan 1966

Dutch-born U.S. astronomer and geophysicist known for his achievements in celestial mechanics, especially for his pioneering application of high-speed digital computers for astronomical computations. While still a student he determined the mass of Titan from its influence on other Saturnian moons. Brouwer developed general methods for finding orbits and computing errors and applied these methods to comets, asteroids, and planets. He computed the orbits of the first artificial satellites and from them obtained increased knowledge of the figure of the earth. His book, Methods of Celestial Mechanics, taught a generation of celestial mechanicians. He also redetermined astronomical constants.

Luis W. Alvarez

Died 1 Sep 1988 (born 13 June 1911)

American experimental physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1968 for work that included the discovery of many resonance particles (subatomic particles having extremely short lifetimes and occurring only in high-energy nuclear collisions). Alvarez invented a radio distance and direction indicator. During World War II, he designed a landing system for aircrafts and a radar system for locating planes. He participated in the development of the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M. (1944-45). He suggested the technique for detonating the implosion type of atomic bomb. Later, he helped develop the hydrogen bubble chamber, used to detect subatomic particles. This research led to the discovery of over 70 elementary particles and resulted in a major revision of nuclear theories.

Events

Exotic meson

In 1997, the discovery of a new sub-atomic particle was announced, called the "exotic meson." Scientists speculated that the exotic meson might comprise four quarks, unlike all other known particles, which have three. The research team included physicists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., and other facilities in the U.S. and Russia.

Asteroid

In 1854, the first observation made in North America of a previously unknown asteroid was recorded by Scottish-born American James Ferguson of the U.S. Naval Observatory. This was the thirty-first of the series and is now known as 31 Euphrosyne, named after one of the Charites in Greek mythology. It is one of the largest of the main belt asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter. Ferguson subsequently discovered two more asteroids: 50 Virginia (4 Oct 1857) and 60 Echo (14 Sep 1860). Within the next two decades, more asteroids were discovered by American astronomers: one by Searle, two by Tuttle (1861-62), 16 by Watson (1863-74), and 22 by Peters (1861-1875), making a total of 44 discovered in a period of about 20 years.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_01.htm
 
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September 2

People

Christa McAuliffe

Born 2 Sep 1948; died 28 Jan 1986

Astronaut, first teacher in space, who died on the Challenger Space Shuttle when 73 seconds into its 10th launch, Challenger (STS-51L) exploded in midair, killing its crew of seven. Space shuttle flights were suspended until 1988. An independent U.S. commission blamed the disaster on unusually cold temperatures that morning and the failure of the O-rings, a set of gaskets in the rocket boosters.

Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Died 2 Sep 1865 (born 4 Aug 1805)

Irish mathematician in the fields of optics, geometrics, and classical mechanics. By age 12, Hamilton had already learned fourteen languages when he met the American, Zerah Colburn, who could perform amazing mental arithmetical feats, and they joined in competitions. It appears that losing to Colburn sparked Hamilton's interest in mathematics. At 15, he began studied the works of LaPlace and Newton so by age 17 had become the greatest living mathematician. He contributed to the development of optics, dynamics, and algebra. His invention of the calculus of quaternions enabled a three-dimensional algebra or geometry which provided a basis for the later development of quantum mechanics.

Events

Space station joint venture

In 1993, the United States and Russia formally ended decades of competition in space by agreeing to a joint venture to build a space station.

Gregorian Calendar

In 1752, today was the last day of the Julian calendar in Great Britain and the British colonies; the Gregorian Calendar designed to correct the extra leap year day problem went into effect the next day with tomorrow being September 14, hence 11 days were dropped. Most other countries made the adjustment in 1582.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_02.htm
 
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September 3

People

Thomas Milton Rivers

Born 3 Sep 1888; died 12 May 1962

American virologist who, as chairman of the virus research committee of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; 1938-55), organized the long-range research program that led to development of the Salk and Sabin anti-poliomyelitis vaccines. His interest in medical research was awakened while with the Army medical corps (1918). He worked from 1922-55 at the Rockefeller Institute as a bacteriologis, and as its Director (after1937). Rivers addressed a range of topics relating to some of the most devastating viral diseases, including smallpox, Rift Valley Fever, and epidemic encephalitis. He also discovered the parainfluenzae bacillus and cultivated vaccine virus for human use.

Barbara McClintock

Died 3 Sep 1992 (born 16 Jun 1902)

American scientist regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of genetics. In the 1940s and 1950s McClintock's work on the cytogenetics of maize led her to theorize that genes are transposable - they can move around - on and between chromosomes. McClintock drew this inference by observing changing patterns of coloration in maize kernels over generations of controlled crosses. The idea that genes could move did not seem to fit with what was then known about genes, but improved molecular techniques of the late 1970s and early 1980s allowed other scientists to confirm her discovery. She was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the first American woman to win an unshared Nobel Prize.

Events

Ozone hole

In 2000, NASA data showed the hole at just under 11 million square miles - the biggest it had ever been. Record low temperatures in the stratosphere are believed to have helped the expansion of the ozone hole during the southern hemisphere’s spring season. Antarctic ozone depletion starts in July, when sunlight triggers chemical reactions in cold air trapped over the South Pole during the Antarctic winter. It intensifies during August and September before tailing off as temperatures rise in late November of early December. Depletion of the ozone layer over Antarctica and the Arctic is being monitored because ozone protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. By 9 Sep 2000, the hole had grown over Chile, exposing a populated city for the first time.

Mars

In 1976, the unmanned spacecraft Viking II landed on Mars and took the first pictures of the surface of Mars. Its twin, Viking I was the first to arrive on the surface of Mars on 20 Jul 1976. Each lander housed instruments that examined the physical and magnetic properties of the soil; analyzed the atmosphere and weather patterns of Mars; and determined any evidence of past or present life. Each Viking spacecraft, as launched inside the nose cone of a Titan Centaur rocket, was made of two parts: an orbiter and a lander. The orbiter's initial job was to survey the planet for a suitable landing site. Later the orbiter's instruments studied the planet and its atmosphere, while the orbiter acted as a radio relay station for transmitting lander data.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_03.htm
 
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September 4

People

Lewis Latimer

Born 4 Sep 1848; died 11 Dec 1928

Lewis Howard Latimer was a Black-American inventor who contributed to electrical technology. After joining a Boston firm of patent solicitors as an office boy, he taught himself drafting and eventually rose in the mid-1870's to the position of chief draftman. Meanwhile, he was issued his first patent for his invention of a water-closet for railroad cars. In 1880, he moved to be draftsman and private secretary to Hiram Stevens Maxim of the U.S. Lighting Co. where he took charge of the installation of commercial incandescent lighting systems. He patented his carbon filament lamp improvements and other inventions. By 1883, he was working for the Edison Electric Light Co., where his expertise with patents was recognised with a position with its new legal department in 1889.

César-François Cassini de Thury

Died 4 Sep 1784 (born 17 June 1714)

French astronomer and geodesist (Cassini III), who continued surveying work he began while assisting his father, Jacques Cassini (Cassini II), resulting in the first topographical map of France produced by modern principles. His grandfather, Giovanni Domenico Cassini (Cassini I) discovered four satellites of Saturn, a band on planet's surface, and that its ring was subdivided. Cassini I was the first to assume effective direction (1671) of the new observatory established by the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris, which his descendants in turn continued. Cassini III was the first official director of the observatory when the post was created by the king in 1771. His son was Jean-Dominique Cassini (Cassini IV).

Events

Transcontinental US TV

In 1951, President Harry Truman inaugurated transcontinental television service in the U.S. when AT&T carried his address to the opening session of the Japanese Peace Convention in San Francisco. The conference would formalize the end of hostilities with Japan, opening the door for Japan's economic recovery. The largest single television audience to date, estimated at over 30 million people, viewed the President Harry Truman, some as far away as New England. Eighty-seven stations all over the U.S. received and broadcast Truman's speech, the result of a $40 million infrastructure investment by AT&T. Microwave radio technology transmitted the television signal from San Francisco to Chicago. From there, it was carried on existing coaxial cables to the East Coast.

Kodak camera patent

In 1888, George Eastman was issued a landmark U.S. patent No. 388,850 for his box camera. On the same date, he registered the trademark name: Kodak. The Eastman Kodak company was formed 24 Apr 1888. This design was the first Kodak mass-produced camera, and brought photography to the mass market. As described in its advertising, the operation was simple: "Pull the String, Turn the Key, Press the Button." Now anyone could take pictures family, events, indoor and outdoor scenes, and vacations, without needing special skills. Only 22-ounces in weight, it required no tripod or table for support. It used a fixed-focus lens which was still fast enough to take practically instantaneously exposures. Its roll film was enough to take 100 pictures, each 2½ inches diameter*.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_04.htm
 
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September 5

People

Viktor Ambartsumian

Born 5 Sep 1908; died 12 Aug 1996

Viktor Amazaspovich Ambartsumian was a Soviet astronomer and astrophysicist who founded the school of theoretical astrophysics in the Soviet Union. Most of his research was devoted to invariance principles applied to the theory of radiative transfer, inverse problems of astrophysics, and the empirical approach to the problems of the origin and evolution of stars and galaxies. He was first to suggest that T Tauri stars are very young and to propose that nearby stellar associations are expanding. He also showed that evolutionary processes such as mass loss are occurring in galaxies. He worked on radio galaxies and active galactic nuclei. Bruce Medal winner in 1960.

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann

Died 5 Sep 1906 (born 20 Feb 1844)

Physicist who founded statistical mechanics. After obtaining his doctorate, he became an assistant to
his teacher Josef Stefan. Boltzmann's fame is based on his invention of statistical mechanics, independently of Willard Gibbs. Their theories connected the properties and behaviour of atoms and molecules with the large scale properties and behaviour of the substances of which they were the building blocks. He also worked out a kinetic theory of gases, and the Stefan-Boltzmann law concerning a relationship between the temperature of a body and the radiation it emits. His firm belief and defense of atomism (that all matter is made of atoms) against hostile opposition to this new idea, may have contributed to his suicide in 1906.

Events

Voyager 1

In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket. Voyager 2 had been launched similarly the previous month, on 20 Aug 1977.

Record balloon ascent

In 1862, a balloon ascent to a height of 7 miles was made by metereologist James Glaisher and his pilot Henry Tracey Coxwell. Although this was the greatest height then achieved by passengers in a balloon, its precise altitude is unknown because Glaisher lost consciousness and was unable to read the barometer. Death was narrowly avoided by the courageous efforts of the pilot. The height was estimated by extrapolating measurements already recorded on the ascent. Between 1862-66, Glaisher made balloon ascents, many of which were arranged by a committee of the British Association. Their objective was to carry out scientific observations such as the variation in temperature and humidity of the atmosphere at high elevations.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_05.htm
 
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September 6

People

Walter Robert Dornberger

Born 6 Sep 1895; died 27 Jun 1980

German-American engineer who successfully a series of designs of rockets culminating in becoming commander of the entire Nazi guided missile program aand responsible for the manufacture of the V2 flying bombs. In 1944-45, 1,500 of these 46-foot 14-ton rockets were armed with explosive warheads and launched against Britain. Another 2,000 were fired into Antwerp, Belgium. After the Allied victory, he was held as a prisoner of war in England for three years (1945-47), then was moved to the U.S. to act as a civilian consultant to the American air force. From 1950, he worked for Bell Aircraft Corporation on their Rascal air-to-surface missile, and the Dyna-Soar manned Space Glider programme. His book, V2 (1952) tells of his contributions to the development of jet propulsion.

Johann Salamo Christoph Schweigger

Died 6 Sep 1857 (born 8 Apr 1779)

German physicist who invented the galvanometer (1820), a device to measure the strength of an electric current. He developed the principle from Oersted's experiment (1819) which showed that current in a wire will deflect a compass needle. Schweigger realized that suggested a basic measuring instrument, since a stronger current would produce a larger deflection, and he increased the effect by winding the wire many times in a coil around the magnetic needle. He named this instrument a "galvanometer" in honour of Luigi Galvani, the professor who gave Volta the idea for the first battery. Seebeck (1770-1831) named the innovative coil, Schweigger's multiplier. It became the basis of moving coil instruments and loudspeakers.

Events

Atomic electricity generator

In 1954, ground breaking took place at Shippingport, Pennsylvania, for the first U.S. full-scale atomic electricity generating station devoted exclusively to peaceful uses. Televised from Denver, Colorado, President Eisenhower remotely signalled a radio-controlled bulldozer. On 2 Dec 1957, the reactor reached critical power. It produced its full rated net capacity of 60 megawatts about 3 weeks later on 23 Dec. This would be sufficient to supply a city of 250,000 homes. The plant consisted of a single pressurized water-type reactor which heated steam to drive an electrical turbine-generator. The plant was formally dedicated by the same president on 25 May 1958, by remote control from Washington, D.C.* It operated until 1982.

First U.S. long-range rocket launch at sea

In 1947, the aircraft-carrier Midway became the first U.S. vessel from which a long-range rocket was launched. As part of Operation Sandy, accompanied by scientific observers, a captured German V-2 rocket was fired from the flight deck from a position at sea several hundred miles of the east coast of the U.S. the rocket travelled about 6 miles. A ship launch test was only conducted once. There were prior tests carried out at White Sands on a simulated aircraft carrier deck to see what effects the rocket would have if it were to explode on the deck. The Midway, launched 20 Mar 1945, was commanded by Captain Albert Kellogg Morehouse, and was the flagship of the task group commanded by Rear Admiral John Jennings Ballentine.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_06.htm
 
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September 7

People

James Alfred Van Allen

Born 7 Sep 1914; died 9 Aug 2006

American physicist who discovered the Earth's magnetosphere, two toroidal zones of radiation due to trapped charged particles encircling the Earth (also known as the Van Allen radiation belts). During WWII he gained experience miniaturizing electronics, such as in the proximity fuse of a missile. After the war, he studied cosmic radiation, taking advantage of the unused German stock of V2 rockets launched into the outer regions of the atmosphere, carrying research devices using radio to relay back the data gathered. He was also involved in the early U.S. space program, and he had radiation measuring instruments on the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, launched 31 Jan 1958 with follow-up carried out by satellites Explorer 3 and 4 later the same year.

Jan Ingenhousz

Died 7 Sep 1799 (born 8 Dec 1730)

Dutch-born British physician and scientist who discovered photosynthesis by identifying that sunlight gave green plants the ability to take in carbon dioxide, fix the carbon, and purified the air (returned oxygen) to the benefit of respiration of animals. Earlier, as a physician, he promoted Edward Jenner's use of inoculation with live smallpox vaccine to induce protection against the disease. Ingenhousz was a diligent experimenter, who studied soils and plant nutrition. He introduced the use of cover slips on microscope slides. He improved phosphorus matches and an apparatus for generating static electricity; investigated Brownian motion and heat conduction in metals, invented a hydrogen-fueled lighter, and mixed an explosive propellant for firing pistols.

Events

Biosatellite

In 1967, the first successful U.S. biological research satellite was launched carrying 13 experiments to test the effects of cosmic radiation and the space environment on simple small animal and plant life. The life forms included millions of orange head mold spores, thousands of vinegar gnats, flour beetles and bacteria cells, hundreds of wasp and amoeba, 120 frog eggs as well as dozens of wheat seedlings and blue wild flowers. This mission of Biosatellite II was successfully completed and it was retrieved after re-entry, whereas Biosatellite I (launched 14 Dec 1966) failed to make its planned re-entry due to retrofire failure.*.

Submarine

In 1776, the first U.S. submarine built for wartime use, the American Turtle, was used in New York harbour to attach explosives to the hull of the Eagle, Admiral Howe's flagship. Known as a "torpedo" the weapon was a cask with 150 lbs of black powder and a clockwork time fuse. Because it separated from the ship before it exploded, little damage was done. The submarine, just large enough for one occupant, was operated by Ezra Lee, turning a 24-in diam. two-bladed wooden propeller giving up to3 knots speed. It was built by David Bushnell of Saybrook, Conn., who provided it with a rudder and a second propeller for vertical movement. Water taken in as ballast to submerge was expelled by hand-pump to resurface.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_07.htm
 
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September 8

People

Viktor Meyer

Born 8 Sep 1848; died 8 Aug 1897

German chemist who contributed greatly to knowledge of both organic and inorganic chemistry and invented an apparatus for determining vapour densities (and hence molecular weights), now named after him. In 1871, Meyer experimentally proved Avogadro's hypothesis by measuring the vapour densities of volatile substances (molecular weight, or relative molecular mass, is twice the vapour density). He went on to determine the vapour densities of inorganic substances at high temperatures. From benzene obtained from petroleum, Meyer in 1883 isolated thiophene, a heterocyclic compound containing sulphur, which much later was to become an important component of various synthetic drugs.

Hideki Yukawa

Died 8 Sep 1981 (born 23 Jan 1907)

Japanese physicist who shared the 1949 Nobel Prize for Physics for "his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces." In his 1935 paper, On the Interaction of Elementary Particles*, he proposed a new field theory of nuclear forces that predicted the existence of the previously unknown meson. Mesons are particles heavier than electrons but lighter than protons. One type of meson was subsequently discovered in cosmic rays in 1937 by American physicists, encouraging him to further develop meson theory. From 1947, he worked mainly on the general theory of elementary particles in connection with the concept of the "non-local" field. He was the first Japanese Nobel Prize winner.

Events

Conjunction of the planets

In 2040, the first visible conjunction during the 21st century of the crescent Moon with the five naked-eye visible planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - will occur. They will be seen clustered within a small distance of each other in the early evening sky, well east of the sun. When a similar grouping happened in the sky on 5 May 2000, the Moon and the same five planets were lost to view because of the glare of the Sun from among them.

Pump handle removal stops cholera epidemic

In 1854, Dr. John Snow removed the handle of the Broad Street water pump in London, thus effectively halting further spread of cholera. He had mapped the outbreaks, and thus suspected contamination of this community source of water. He was correct in this, one of the most symbolic gestures in the history of public health. Within days after the pump handle was removed, new cases of illness had ceased. Site investigation showed raw sewage from a leaking sewage cesspool that had contaminated the well water. Thus Snow, who was already a celebrated anaesthetist became a pioneer of epidemiology. The "John Snow" pub now stands beside the pink granite slab marking the site of the original pump.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/9/9_08.htm
 
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