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Who said: “God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically.”
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< 4 Sep | 6 Sep >
SEPTEMBER 5 – BIRTHS – Scientists born on September 5th
  Susumu Tonegawa
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1939.
Japanese molecular biologist and immunologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1987 for his fundamental discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity in the body. Antibodies are produced by a special kind of white blood cells which are called B lymphocytes. In a pioneering study (1976) Tonegawa could through a series of ingenious experiments show how parts of the genome of the cell (DNA) is redistributed under its differentiation from an embryonic cell to an antibody producing B lymphocyte. Thus, he finally answered the question how the gene material in B cells could suffice to create the structures of a seemingly endless number of different antibodies.
  Viktor Ambartsumian
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1908; died 12 Aug 1996 at age 87.
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.
  Therkel Mathiassen
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1892; died 14 Mar 1967 at age 74.
Danish archaeologist and ethnographer laid the groundwork for the scientific study of arctic archaeology. His excavations (1921-23) of the Thule prehistoric Eskimo culture were the first scientific archaeological investigations in the Canadian Arctic. Mathiassen, as a member of the Danish Fifth Thule Expedition (1922), excavated ruins at Naujan (called Nauyat by local people), one of the most important sites of its time period. He uncovered and mapped a dozen sod house ruins, tent rings, graves, meat caches, kayak stands, and a refuse heap almost larger than the houses. His work defined the culture of the people who had lived in there. The Thule (pronounced Too-lee) people are ancestors of the modern Inuit.« [source for date of death]
  Frank Baldwin Jewett
Thumbnail - Frank Baldwin Jewett
(image)
(source)
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1879; died 18 Nov 1949 at age 70.
Frank Baldwin Jewett was the U.S. electrical engineer who directed research as the first president of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., (1925-40). Jewett believed that the best science and technology result from bringing together and nurturing the best minds. Under his tenure Bell Labs laid the foundation for a new scientific discipline, radio astronomy, and transformed movies by synchronizing sound to pictures. Bell Labs was the first to transmit television over a long distance in the U.S. and designed the first electrical digital computer. Bell Labs won its first Nobel Prize in physics for fundamental work demonstrating the wave nature of matter.
  Frederick George Donnan
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1870; died 16 Dec 1956 at age 86.
British chemist, born in Ceylon, whose research contributed to the development of colloid chemistry. He is remembered for his investigation of the Donnan Effect (1911) which advanced the understanding of the living cell. This is the effect of a semi-permeable membrane between two electrolytes and the electrical potential thereby produced. In other work with soap solutions, he related the efficiency of hydroxyl ions in the emulsification of oils to the formation of soaps on the surface of the drops. In wartime, he worked on the industrial-scale synthesis of ammonia and nitric acid. He was blind in one eye.«
  Eugen Goldstein
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1850; died 25 Dec 1930 at age 80.
German physicist who discovered and named canal rays (1886) which emerge through holes in the anodes of low-pressure electrical discharge tubes (later shown to be positively charged particles). Earlier, he coined the term “cathode ray” (1876) emitted from a cathode. He was the first to see that they could cast a shadow, and were emitted at right angles to the surface. He also investigated the wavelengths of light emitted by metals and oxides when canal rays impinge on them. When the Berlin Urania, opened in 1889 it had five scientific departments and a “science theatre,” it was Goldstein who had recommended the “hall of physics in which the visitor could experiment on his own.” Students of his who continued his work included Wilhelm Wien and Johannes StarkImage: The tube with which Goldstein discovered canal rays in 1886.
  Girolamo Saccheri
baby icon  Born 5 Sep 1667; died 25 Oct 1733 at age 66.
Italian mathematician who worked to prove the fifth postulate of Euclid, which can be stated as, "Through any point not on a given line, one and only one line can be drawn that is parallel to the given line." Euclid saw the proof was not self-evident, yet neither did he provide one; instead he accepted it as an assumption. Subsequently many mathematicians tried to prove this fifth postulate from the remained axioms - and failed. Saccheri took the novel approach of first assuming that the postulate was wrong, then followed the all consequences seeking any one contradiction that then leaves the only original postulate as the only possible solution. In the process, he came close to discovering non-Euclidian geometry, but gave up too early. [Image, right: Saccheri Quadrilateral, used as the starting point of his exploration of these geometries (source)]


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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< 4 Sep | 6 Sep >
SEPTEMBER 5 – DEATHS – Scientists died on September 5th
  Dennis Robert Hoagland
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1949 at age 65 (born 2 Apr 1884).
American plant physiologist who was an authority on plant and soil interactions. He recognized early that the complex problems of soil and plant interrelations must be studied with rigid experimental control and the isolation of individual variables. Thus, he perfected the water-culture technique for growing plants without soil, which nutrient solution is still in plant physiology research. He collected much data on the influence of oxygen, temperature, light, and other factors on ion absorption by roots. In the late 1930's, he adopted radioactive isotopes as tracers. In his fieldwork on soil chemistry he studied zinc, potassium, and phosphate deficiencies of fruit trees in California. He influenced further intensive study of aspects of micronutrients (trace elements).
book icon Dennis Robert Hoagland, by D. I Arnon. - book suggestion.
  Richard C. Tolman
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1948 at age 67 (born 4 Mar 1881).
Richard C(hace) Tolman was an American physicist and chemist who demonstrated that electrons are the charge-carrying entities in the flow of electricity, and also made a measurement of its mass. During the Manhattan Project of WW II, he was the chief scientific adviser to Brig. General Leslie Groves, the head of military affairs overseeing the development of the atomic bomb. After the war he was adviser to the U.S. representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
  Ales Hrdlicka
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1943 at age 74 (born 29 Mar 1869).
Czech anthropologist known for his studies of Neanderthal man and his theory of the migration of American Indians from Asia. He worked gratis as a field anthropologist (1899-1903) under Fredric Ward Putnam, in four intense anthropometric studies of the Indians of the American Southwest and northern Mexico. In 1903, Hrdlicka joined the Smithsonian Institute, where during the next forty years, he compiled the most complete collection of human bone material in the world. He was the one of the first scientists to argue the Americans originated in Asia and came across the Bering Strait, and participated in numerous archeological expeditions which contributed a great amount of information and physical evidence.
  David Hendricks Bergey
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1937 at age 76 (born 27 Dec 1860).
American bacteriologist who was lead author of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, which work remains a widely used international reference work for bacterial taxonomy. He was chairman of a committee to devise a classification scheme for all known bacteria suitable for identifying species. With four other bacteriologists, he first published the Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology in 1923, followed by revised editions every few years to keep pace with the discovery of new bacterial species and other changes. His research included tuberculosis, food preservatives, phagocytosis, and anaphylaxis. He distinguished the several organisms in a class called Schizomycetes
book icon Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, by Bergey, et al. - book suggestion.
  Wickliffe Rose
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1931 (born 1862).  quotes button quotes
American education reformer, public health reformer and science promoter who was president of the Rockerfeller Foundation's General Education Board (1923-28). He changed its policy to focus on funding, from a wider distribution, to support for the few best university science departments to better promote their research. His career began as a Professor of Philosophy, then turned to promoting K-12 education reform. This led to involvement in public health issues, including a campaign against hookworm, malaria, and yellow fever in the southern states. Between 1910-15, he was the Executive Secretary of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission. During World War I, Rose became involved in relief operations in Europe. After WW I, he established the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. He helped establish World Health Organization.«
  Johann Georg Hagen
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1930 at age 83 (born 6 Mar 1847).
Austrian Jesuit priest and astronomer who made a catalog of variable stars (1890-1908). Working at the Vatican Observatory he reexamined for accuracy the listing of all of the NGC (New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters) objects north of about -30 degrees. He published lists of errata in the NGC. During his observations, he observed dark nebulae, tenuous dark clusters of interstellar matter sometimes known as Hagen's clouds. These strange clouds have not been recorded by others, and are now attributed to optical illusions associated with visual observations. Jesuits have been involved in astronomy since 1551 when Fr. Christoph Clavius, SJ, a mathematician and astronomer helped Pope Gregory XIII reform the calendar.«
  Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1906 at age 62 (born 20 Feb 1844).  quotes button quotes
Austrian 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.
book icon Boltzmann's Atom: The Great Debate That Launched A Revolution In Physics, by David Lindley. - book suggestion.
  Rudolf Virchow
Thumbnail - Rudolf Virchow
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1902 at age 80 (born 13 Oct 1821).  quotes button quotes
German pathologist and statesman who originated the concept that disease arises in the individual cells of a tissue and, with publication of his Cellular Pathology (1858), founded the science of cellular pathology. Virchow also worked on improving sanitary conditions in Berlin, and believed that environmental factors such as poor living conditions could be as much a cause of disease as germs. He also helped develop the science of anthropology in Germany and to make Berlin a European centre of medicine. Virchow encouraged his friend Heinrich Schliemann in his determination to discover the site of Homer's Troy and actually worked on the dig at Hissarlik in 1879.
book icon Collected Essays on Public Health & Epidemiology, by Rudolf Virchow. - book suggestion.
  Arsène-Jules-Étienne-Juvénal Dupuit
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1866 at age 62 (born 18 May 1804).
French engineer and economist who was one of the first to analyze the cost-effectiveness of public works.
  Isidore Auguste Marie Franηois Xavier Comte
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1857 at age 59 (born 17 Jan 1798).  quotes button quotes
French philosopher and mathematician.
  William MacGillivray
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1852 at age 56 (born 25 Jan 1796).
Scottish botanist and zoologist. From 1831-41, he was Conservator at the Royal College of Surgeons Museum in Edinburgh, and thereafter Professor of Natural History at Aberdeen until his death. He is best known to botanists for his one-volume abridgment of Withering's Botanical Arrangement. He assisted Audubon in the technical part of his Birds of America. MacGillivray authored five volumes of a History of British Birds. He also wrote other manuals in botany, geology and conchology. Through extensive dissections, he made a thorough study of the internal structure of birds. His eldest son, John Macgillivray, accompanied Captain Stanley as naturalist in the voyage of the Rattlesnake[Image: engraving, considered to be a poor likeness, from self-portrait in oils, retouched after his death by a local artist. Published in Vertebrate Fauna of the Outer Hebrides, plate ii, by Harvie-Brown and Buckley.]
  Compte de Caylus
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1765 at age 72 (born 31 Oct 1692).
Anne-Claude-Philippe de Tubières, comte de Caylus, was a French archaeologist who is credited with being the first to conceive archaeology as a scientific discipline and in this respect Winckelmann acknowledged indebtedness to him. His own collection of antiques, which he began in 1729, formed the basis of his Recueil d'antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, grecques, romaines et gauloises (7 vols., 1752-67), the most serious work of antiquarian research in the 18th cent. and one of the most influential in spreading knowledge and enthusiasm for the works of Classical antiquity. Caylus was also a painter and an engraver, and he is also credited with finding a new process to inlay colors in marble.
  Henry Oldenburg
gravestone icon  Died 5 Sep 1677 (born c. 1618).  quotes button quotes
German-British Secretary of the Royal Society who came to England as a diplomat to see Oliver Cromwell, but stayed instead of returning to Germany. From 1662 he served as the Secretary of the Royal Society, London. His extensive correspondence, and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society journal he founded and editted, spread information on the intellectual activity of the scientists of the Society. Among others, he encouraged Newton, Flamsteed, Malpighi, and Leeuwenhoek.
book icon Henry Oldenburg: Shaping the Royal Society, by Marie Boas Hall. - book suggestion.

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< 4 Sep | 6 Sep >
SEPTEMBER 5 – EVENTS – Science events on September 5th
  Voyager 1
calendar icon   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.
  Gas (petrol) pump
calendar icon   In 1885, Sylvanus Bowser, inventor of the first U.S. gas pump, made his initial sale to Jake Gumper, owner of a service station in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The pump held one barrel of gasoline, and used marble valves and a wooden plunger. It was built in Bowser's barn, and patented in 1887.
  Great Zimbabwe
calendar icon   In 1871, Karl Mauch, a German geologist, arrived at the ruins of Great Zimbabwe in what is now southern Zimbabwe in sub-Saharan Africa. Local Karanga tribesmen led Mauch to the wooded savanna location where he viewed 100 acres of granite enclosures. The sinuous coursed granite walls were built without mortar and stood up to 32 feet high. Maunch was the first European to investigate the ruins, but centuries earlier João de Barros had written what he had heard about them (but not himself seen) in his Da Asia (1552) record of Portuguese conquests. Subsequent investigators were inept, racist and attributed the construction to whites, until David Randall-MacIver wrote his account in 1906 of their true native African origin.« [Image: aerial view of the Great Zimbabwe ruins.]
  Record balloon ascent
calendar icon   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.«  read more button more
book icon Travels in the air, by James Glaisher. - book suggestion.
  Charles Darwin
calendar icon   In 1857, Charles Darwin, now 48 years old, had not yet published his theory of evolution. On this day, he sent a letter to Asa Gray, a Harvard botanist, discussing his theory. The encouragement which followed from Gray and others, and new knowledge that Alfred Wallace had independently developed the same theory, prompted Darwin to end 20 years of indecision and publish his ideas.
book icon From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, by Charles Darwin, Edward O. Wilson. - book suggestion.
booklist icon Booklist for Charles Darwin.
  Charles Darwin
calendar icon   In 1831, Charles Darwin first met Captain Robert Fitzroy, commander of HMS Beagle, who would be his cabinmate on a the historic five-year expedition (1831-36). During that voyage, Darwin visited the Galapogos Islands which inspired his theory of evolution.

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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