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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Dangerous... to take shelter under a tree, during a thunder-gust. It has been fatal to many, both men and beasts.”
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< 7 Nov | 9 Nov >
NOVEMBER 8 – BIRTHS – Scientists born on November 8th
  Jack Kilby
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1923; died 20 Jun 2005 at age 81.
Jack St Clair Kilby was an American electrical engineer who invented the first integrated ciruit (IC), for which he shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. His interest in electronics grew out of his in school-age hobby of amateur radio. Year later, working at Texas Instruments, he devised a way to miniaturize a complicated transistor circuit by building its components on a block of silicon with internal connections that eliminated external wiring. On 12 Sep 1958, he demonstrated his first integrated circuit to his supervisor. A few months later, an IC device in an improved form was independently invented elsewhere by Robert Noyce. Geoffrey W.A. Dummer also had the concept years earlier, but not a working device. In Sep 1965, Kilby's team developed the first shirt-pocket electronic calculator using IC's.«
  Christiaan Barnard
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1922; died 2 Sep 2001 at age 78.  quotes button quotes
Christiaan Neethling Barnard was a South African surgeon who performed the world's first human heart transplant operation. In a five-hour operation on 3 Dec 1967, Barnard successfully replaced the diseased heart of Louis Washkansky (55) with a healthy heart from Denise Darvall, a woman in her mid-20s with the same blood type, who died in hospital after an automobile accident. Barnard knew it was a surgical success when he first applied electrodes and the heart resumed beating. Washkansky died 18 days later of double pneumonia as a result of his suppressed immune system. It was a milestone, however, in a new field of life-extending surgery. Rheumatoid arthritis and advancing stiffness in his hands forced his retirement from surgery in 1983.
  Norman de Bruyne
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1904; died 7 Mar 1997 at age 92.
Dutch inventor who helped to transform aircraft construction by developing strong new lightweight materials and synthetic glues. In 1928, he joined Ernest Rutherford at his Cavendish Laboratory in atomic research. Subsequently developing an interest in flying, by 1934 he started his own company, Aero Research to research his invention of a new form of synthetic glue. The long-established casein glues used until then in the building of wooden aircraft were seriously affected in hot and humid conditions. His own revolutionary cantilever-wing “Snark” monoplane utilized his new bonding methods. Later, his metal-to-metal bonding of lightweight and very strong aluminium honeycomb aircraft structures were extensively used during WW II. [Born in Chile to Dutch parents. Educated and spent most of his life in England. Late in life emigrated and took American citizenship, but returned to England.]
  Albert F. Frey-Wyssling
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1900; died 30 Aug 1988 at age 87.
Albert F(riedrich) Frey-Wyssling was a Swiss botanist and pioneer of submicroscopic morphology who helped to initiate the study later known as molecular biology. This scientific discipline deals with the molecular basis of living processes. Molecular biology now involves both biochemistry and biophysics. Its growth since the 1930s has been made possible by the development of such techniques as chromatography, electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction, which have revealed the structures of biologically important molecules, such as DNA, RNA, and enzymes. Heredity, and the development, organization, and function of living cells, all depend on the physical and chemical properties of the molecules involved.
  Hans Cloos
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1885; died 26 Sep 1951 at age 65.  quotes button quotes
German geologist who was a pioneer in the study of granite tectonics (the deformation of crystalline rocks) and in model studies of rock deformation. He studied the structure and development of the continents and was one of the first investigators to make use of true scale models to investigate the mechanics of faulting. His publications include Der Mechanismus tiefvulkanischer Vorgδnge (1921; "The Mechanism of Deep Volcanic Events"). In his autobiography, Conversation with the Earth, (1953) he wrote “geology is the music of the earth.” [Image right: granite desert mountains]
book icon Conversation with The Earth, by Hans Cloos. - book suggestion.
  Hermann Rorschach
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1884; died 2 Apr 1922 at age 37.
Swiss psychiatrist who devised the inkblot test that bears his name and that is widely used clinically for diagnosing psychopathology. His secondary-school nickname was Kleck, meaning “inkblot,” because of his interest in sketching. In 1917, he learned of Szyman Hens, who had studied the fantasies of his subjects using inkblot cards. Rorschach began in 1918 using 15 accidental inkblots, asking patients, “What might this be?” He knew the human tendency to project interpretations and feelings onto ambiguous stimuli. The subjective responses of his subjects enabled him to distinguish among them on the basis of their perceptive abilities, intelligence, and emotional characteristics. His published results (1921) drew little interest until after his death.
book icon Psychodiagnostics, by Hermann Rorschach. - book suggestion.
  Frank Gouldsmith Speck
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1881; died 6 Feb 1950 at age 68.
American anthropologist and ethnographer of the Eastern Woodland Indians, who chose to study and preserve knowledge of their culture. As a boy, he lived with Fidelia Fielding, a Native American, and the last speaker of her tribal language, from whom he learned the Mohegan language and literature. With this rich background, at university he began study of anthropological linguistics, encouraged by anthropologist Franz Boas. Speck spent his career in extensive fieldwork. By staying with the Indian comunities he earned the trust of the tribes. He reconstructed scattered remnants of ritual and lore into an extensive record. He collected arts and crafts as artifacts of the material culture, and was a pioneer in ethnoscience and ethnomusicology.«
book icon Naskapi: The Savage Hunters of the Labrador Peninsula, by Frank G. Speck. - book suggestion.
  Robert Esnault-Pelterie
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1881; died 6 Dec 1957 at age 76.
French engineer and aviator who made important pioneering contributions to the beginnings of heavier-than-air flight in Europe. He built a copy of the glider made in 1902 by the brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright. Since he distrusted their steering technique, so he made an innovation by inventing the aileron (a movable airfoil at the edge of the wing). He used a hand operated wheel to control them. Used symmetrically, they provided longitudinal stability. Used differentially, they controlled lateral stability. In 1907, he built one of the first monoplanes, REP-1, more noteworthy for its innovative 7-cylinder radial engine. It was the first plane with a completely enclosed fuselage. His longest flight in this aircraft was only 600 m (2,600 feet). He also invented a new type of fuel pump.
  Baron Herbert Austin
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1866; died 23 May 1941 at age 74.
English engineer, who founded the Austin Motor Company (1905), whose Austin Seven model greatly influenced British and European light-car design. In 1884, after completing his early education Herbert moved to Melbourne, Australia, and apprenticed in engineering at Langlands Foundry. He later became the manager of Wolseley Sheep Shearing Company. In 1893, he returned to the UK with this company in 1893 and soon became the production manager. From long journeys in the Australian outback he had insight into the need for petrol driven vehicles. In 1895, he produced the first Wolseley car (a three wheeler) and in 1900, his first Wolseley four wheel design. By 1914, the company was producing more then 1000 cars with 2000 employees.
  Johannes Robert Rydberg
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1854; died 28 Dec 1919 at age 65.
Swedish physicist, known for the Rydberg constant in his empirical formula that related the wave numbers of the spectral lines of an element (1890). This formula expressed fundamental relationships in those lines, which he presumed were the result of the inner nature and structure of an element's atoms. In 1897, he suggested that an atomic number for each of the elements, rather than atomic weights, would be a better means for organizing the elements and their periodicity of their characteristics. His work did provided the basis for discovering the electron shell structure of the atom. It was later established that the integer number of positive charges on an element's nucleus (its number of protons) corresponded to his idea of atomic number.«
  Gottlob Frege
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1848; died 26 Jul 1925 at age 76.  quotes button quotes
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician and logician who founded modern symbolic logic and was the first to show that mathematics actually an extension of logic. He extended Boole's work by inventing logical symbols (symbols for "or"," if-then", etc.) that improvedon the syllogistic logic it replaced. He also worked on general questions of philosophical logic and semantics. His theory of meaning, based on makig a distinction between what a linguistic term refers to and what it expresses, is still influential. Frege tried to provide a rigorous foundation for mathematics on the basis of purely logical principles, but abandoned the attempt when Bertrand Russell, on whose work he had a profound influence, pointed out a paradox that made the system inconsistent.
  Edmond Halley
Thumbnail - Edmond Halley
baby icon  Born 8 Nov 1656; died 14 Jan 1742 at age 85.  quotes button quotes
English astronomer, geophysicist and mathematician who is best known for recognizing that a bright comet (later named after him) had appeared several times, calculating its orbit (1682) and for successfully predicting its return. Halley became an influential Fellow of the Royal Society. After originating the question that prodded Isaac Newton to write the seminal Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Halley edited it and arranged its publication. Halley was a professor of geometry at Oxford and later appointed Astronomer Royal. Halley identified the proper motion of stars, studied the moon's motion and tides, realized that nebulae were clouds of luminous gas among the stars, and that the aurora was a phenomenon connected with the earth's magnetism. His prediction of the transit of Venus led to Cook's voyage to Tahiti.
book icon Edmond Halley: Charting the Heavens and the Seas, by Alan Cook. - book suggestion.


Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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< 7 Nov | 9 Nov >
NOVEMBER 8 – DEATHS – Scientists died on November 8th
  Melba Newell Phillips
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 2004 at age 97 (born 1 Feb 1907).  quotes button quotes
American physicist.
  Georg Wόst
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1977 at age 87 (born 15 Jun 1890).
Georg Adolf Otto Wüst was a German oceanographer who, by collecting and analyzing many systematic observations, developed the first essentially complete understanding of the physical structure and deep circulation of the Atlantic Ocean. He used the distribution of ocean properties to obtain clues about motions within the ocean. Wüst also invented the concept of the “core layer,” the layer of water within the ocean that has the most extreme values with respect to one or more properties and therefore is the least mixed and thus shows the path of motion.
book icon Encyclopedia of the Sea, by Richard Ellis. - book suggestion.
  Vesto Melvin Slipher
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1969 at age 93 (born 11 Nov 1875).
American astronomer whose systematic observations (1912-25) of the extraordinary radial velocities of spiral galaxies provided the first evidence supporting the expanding-universe theory. Slipher spectroscopically measured the displacement of their spectral lines by the Doppler effect by which the wavelength of light from an object moving away from an observer will shifted toward the red end of the spectrum. Earlier, Slipher had determined the rotation periods of some of the planets by spectroscopic means. With Lowell (1912), he found Uranus had a rotation period of 10.8 hours. He also produced comparable data for Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and showed that Venus's period was much longer than expected.
  James Mark Baldwin
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1934 at age 73 (born 12 Jan 1861).
American philosopher and theoretical psychologist who influenced the formative period of psychology in 1890s America. He considered the relevance of Darwinian evolution to psychology. He regarded individual differences as a focus for study and held that theory held an important place psychology, while being critical of the value of narrow experimentalism.
  Sir Samuel Wilks
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1911 at age 87 (born 2 Jun 1824).  quotes button quotes
English physician (1st Baronet) who was a founding father of clinical science. He recognized the importance of pathology and made his mark with the publication on his Lectures on Pathological Anatomy (1863). He identified the visceral lesions of syphilis. His additional contributions to the previous descriptions by other physicians at Guy's Hospital, improved the understanding of Addison's, Bright's and Hodgkin's diseases. Sir Thomas Barlow described Wilks as having “started the systematic and practical teaching of morbid anatomy, and for nearly thirty years Wilks represented and embodied at Guy's Hospital the important combination of a great morbid anatomist, and a great clinical physician and teacher.” Wilks (1896-1900) and Barlow (1910-14), served terms as President of the Royal College of Physicians.«
  William Edward Ayrton
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1908 at age 61 (born 14 Sep 1847).  quotes button quotes
English physicist and inventor who was a pioneer in technical education. He collaborated with John Perry, and their numerous inventions include an electric tricycle (1882), the first practical portable ammeter, voltmeter and other instruments for electrical measurement. Earlier in his career, he had spent five years with the Indian Telegraph Service during which time he developed techniques for fault detection in order to maintain the telegraph system.«
  Edwin Laurentine Drake
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1880 at age 61 (born 29 Mar 1819).
American petroleum engineer who drilled the first productive oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania, which launched the modern U.S. petroleum industry. A former railroad conductor, his success in hitting oil was based on his belief that drilling would be the best way to obtain petroleum from the earth. He organized Seneca Oil Co., leased land, and on 27 Aug 1859, struck oil at a depth of 69 feet. Drake used an old steam engine to power the drill. After his well began to produce oil, other prospectors drilled wells nearby. Other men, with better business sense, grew rich from the oil boom, yet Drake died in poverty, after years of crippling illnesses.
  Sir Charles Fellows
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1860 (born Aug 1799).
English archaeologist who was the first to make a thorough investigation of the ruins of ancient Lycia in Asia Minor, including Xanthus, the capital of Lycia. The Lycian marbles he shipped to the British Museum formed a large part of the collection of Greek sculpture in London. He wrote about his first exploration in 1838 in A Journal Written During an Excursion in Asia Minor. After his second exploration of a further thirteen ancient cities in 1840 he published An Account of Discoveries in Lycia. He continued his work in there in 1842 and again in 1844. He also wrote on the coins of ancient Lycia.«
book icon Travels and Researches in Asia Minor, by Charles Fellows. - book suggestion.
  George Peacock
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1858 at age 67 (born 9 Apr 1791).
English mathematician who, with fellow Cambridge undergraduates Charles Babbage and John Herschel brought reform to nomenclature in English mathematics. They formed the Analytical Society (1815) whose aims were to bring the advanced methods of calculus from Europe to Cambridge to replace the increasingly stagnant notation of Isaac Newton from the previous century. The Society produced a translation of a book of Lacroix in the differential and integral calculus. In 1830, he published Treatise on Algebra which attempted to give algebra a logical treatment, and which went at least partway toward the establishment of symbolic algebra. Instead of using only numbers he used objects, and showed the associativity and commutativity of these objects.
  John Wallis
gravestone icon  Died 8 Nov 1703 at age 86 (born 3 Dec 1616).  quotes button quotes
British mathematician who introduced the infinity math symbol. Wallis was skilled in cryptography and decoded Royalist messages for the Parliamentarians during the Civil War. Subsequently, he was appointed to the Savilian Chair of geometry at Oxford in 1649, a position he held until his death more than 50 years later. Wallis was part of a group interested in natural and experimental science which became the Royal Society, so Wallis is a founder member of the Royal Society and one of its first Fellows. Wallis contributed substantially to the origins of calculus and was the most influential English mathematician before Newton. [DSB gives dates 3 Dec 1616 - 8 Nov 1703. EB gives 23 Nov 1616 - 28 Oct 1703.]

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< 7 Nov | 9 Nov >
NOVEMBER 8 – EVENTS – Science events on November 8th
  Yangtze River Dam Preparation
calendar icon   In 1997, the main channel of the Yangtze River in China began to be blocked in preparation for the world's largest hydroelectric power project. *
  Saturn's 15th moon
calendar icon   In 1980, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California announced the discovery of a 15th moon orbiting the planet Saturn, courtesy of Voyager I.
  Astatine
calendar icon   In 1931, Fredrick Allison, working in Alabama, reported (erroneously) the discovery of “alabamine,” element 85, now known as astatine, the heaviest halogen. Astatine was first synthesized and correctly identified in 1940 by bombarding bismuth with alpha particles (Corson, MacKenzie, and Segré). All astatine isotopes are highly radioactive and very short lived. Thus the amount of astatine in nature is too small for Allison to have detected, using his own "Magneto-Optic Method of Chemical Analysis," (also debunked.) In the 1920's and 30's, scientists were eager to find the elements 85 and 87, as predicted by Mendeleev. Allison's reported discovery was premature because of poor experimental design and experimenter bias.
  Insect electrocutor
calendar icon   In 1910, the first U.S. patent for an "electric insect destroyer" was issued to William H. Frost of Spokane, Washington (No. 974,785). The invention used a number of electrically energized parallel wires such that a flying insect passing between them would complete the circuit by bridging the wires with its body and electrocute the insect. The patent describes using fine wire and tensioners to keep the parallel segments taut. The charge on the wires could be supplied using an induction coil and a battery. The form of the device could be as a flat frame, or as a cylindrical arrangement surrounding a light to attract the insects into the charged cage.
  Electric plug
Thumbnail - Electric plug
click to enlarge
(source)
calendar icon   In 1904, the first U.S. patent for a separable electric attachment plug was issued to inventor and manufacturer Harvey Hubbell of Bridgeport, Connecticut (No. 774,250). One part adapted the Edison screw socket to provide its own double-slotted receptable now familiar throughout North America. Into it, a separate double flat-prong plug could be slipped. This solved the problem of twisted wires caused with a screw connection. Small slots reduced the chance of a dangerous shock. Thus, with a two-prong plug on any electric device, “electrical power in buildings may be utilized by persons having no electrical knowledge or skill.” On 11 Aug 1896 he had patented the pull-chain switch light socket (No. 565541). His manufacturing company, Harvey Hubbell Inc. exists today.«
  X-rays
Thumbnail - X-rays
calendar icon   In 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen first observed X-rays during an experiment at Würzburg University. After further investigation, on 1 Jan 1896, he notified other scientists of his discovery of this new radiation that would become known as X-rays. He sent copies of his manuscript and some of his X-ray photographs to several renowned physicists and friends, including Lord Kelvin in Glasgow and in Paris. On 5 Jan 1896, Die Presse published the news in a front-page article which described his investigations and suggested new methods of medical diagnoses might be made with this new kind of radiation.« *
  Bodleian Library
calendar icon   In 1602, the Bodleian Library was established in Oxford, England. *

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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton