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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
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MAY 25 – BIRTHS – Scientists born on May 25th
  John Cocke
 Born 25 May 1925.
American computer scientist who invented the reduced instruction set computing (RISC) in the 1970's. This innovation boosted computer speed by simplifying instructions for frequently used functions. As an IBM researcher for over 35 years, he developed computer architecture and instruction sets, for which he holds numerous patents. Today RISC is the basic architecture for most workstations. Besides those for RISC technology, his 22 patents cover logic simulation, coding theory, and compiler optimization.
  Jack Steinberger
 Born 25 May 1921.
German-born American physicist who, along with Leon M. Lederman and Melvin Schwartz, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1988 for their joint discoveries of the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino. In 1951, he met Lederman at Columbia University and, later, Schwarz who became his student. In 1958, they conducted a neutrino experiment at the new Brookhaven Alternating Gradient Synchrotron. The results emerged in a classic 1962 paper, and neutrino beams went on to become one of the standard tools of particle physics. After receiving the Nobel, Steinberger commented, “to get that prize, do your work early!”
  Carl Wagner
 Born 25 May 1901; died 10 Dec 1977 at age 76.
German physical chemist and metallurgist who has been called “the Father Sold-State Chemistry.” He pioneered in making chemical metallurgy an exact science, giving his attention to a wide ranging field, including oxidation rate theory, corrosion, catalysis, photochemistry, batteries, fuel cells, semiconductors and crystal defects. In the late 1920s, with Walter Schottky, he coauthored papers bringing order to the field of defect structures in solid-state materials. Wagner's contribution to them focussed on the result of lattice defects in the atomic structures of oxides and sulphides. He is remembered as one of the greats in physical chemistry, and remains notable for the number of new concepts he originated which subsequently expanded into significant scientific and technical disciplines.«
  Igor I. Sikorsky
 Born 25 May 1889; died 26 Oct 1972 at age 83.
Igor Ivan Sikorsky was a Russian-born U.S. pioneer in aircraft design who is best known for his successful development of the helicopter. His earliest successes were with fixed-wing aircraft, including his prize-winning S-6-A (1912) which led to a position as head of the aviation subsidiary of the Russian Baltic Railroad Car Works. In this position, as a result of a mosquito-clogged carburetor and subsequent engine failure, he had the radical idea of an aircraft having more than one engine. Thus he produced the first multi-engine airplane, the four-engined "The Grand." This revolutionary aircraft featured such things as an enclosed cabin. a lavatory, upholstered chairs and an exterior catwalk atop the fuselage so passengers could take a turn about in the air.[Image: from U.S. airmail postage stamp]
  Pieter Zeeman
 Born 25 May 1865; died 9 Oct 1943 at age 78.   quotes
Dutch physicist who was an authority on magneto-optics. In 1896, he discovered the "Zeeman effect," the "phenomena produced in spectroscopy by the splitting up of spectral lines in a magnetic field." He shared (with Hendrik A. Lorentz) the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1902 for his discovery of the Zeeman effect.
  James McKeen Cattell
 Born 25 May 1860; died 20 Jan 1944 at age 83.   quotes
American psychologist who had a talent in mathematics from a young age, and accordingly applied objective, quantitative methods with his career in experimental psychology. As a university professor, he was the first in America to teach a course in statistical analysis. From 1890, he termed his investigations “mental testing,” with such goals as measuring the amount of pressure required to produce pain, or reaction time to sounds. He developed the order of merit ranking method. Fields in which he applied psychology were broad, including education, business, industry, and advertising. The ideas in Galton's eugenics theory also interested him, and he did support such concepts as sterilization of persons of lower intelligence. He originated professional directories, published scientific periodicals and founded the Science Press (1923).«
  Daniel Barringer
 Born 25 May 1860; died 30 Nov 1929 at age 69.
Daniel Moreau Barringer was an American mining engineer and geologist who identified the Great Barringer Meteor Crater, Arizona, U.S.A., to be the result of a meteorite strike, and not as until then assumed, an extinct volcano. The crater is nearly round, almost a mile in diameter and about 600-ft deep. He interpreted the geological evidence at the site, but his theory (1905) was at first resisted by the scientists of the time. Continued studies all prove he was correct. There's no other signs of recent volcanic activity in the vicinity, but much meteoritic material has been found there. The crater also demonstrates that the moon's cratered surface is likely to be the result of meteoric bombardment, as would also have happened to the earth. However, the earth's atmosphere shields it from all but the largest strikes. Surface changes over time and erosion by weather have further obscured many of those.«

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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MAY 25 – DEATHS – Scientists died on May 25th
  Hans Wynberg
 Died 25 May 2011 at age 88 (born 28 Nov 1922).   quotes
Dutch chemist.
  Malcom McLean
 Died 25 May 2001 at age 86 (born 14 Nov 1914).
Malcom Purcell McLean was an American businessman and inventor who from 1956 developed the metal shipping container which is now used to transport goods on ships, trains and motor freight. The standardized containers are strong enough to stack several layers deep on ships, and greatly simplify handling of cargo by cranes, with great cost savings over the labour of loading and unloading goods in larger numbers of smaller units of crates and bags. From driving a single truck hauling materials in his early years, he founded the McLean Trucking Co., which became the second-largest in the U.S. When he realized that a truck and its cargo body could be separated, he expanded into secure handling of containers that could be stacked for bulk transport.«
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson. - book suggestion.
  Rudolf Dreikurs
 Died 25 May 1972 at age 75 (born 8 Feb 1897).
American psychiatrist and educator who developed the Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler's system of individual psychology into a pragmatic method for understanding the purposes of reprehensible behaviour in children and for stimulating cooperative behaviour without punishment or reward.
  C. B. Momsen
 Died 25 May 1967 at age 70 (born 21 Jun 1896).
Vice-Admiral Charles Bowers Momsen was an American inventor and navy officer who created the Momsen Lung, an underwater breathing device for escape from disabled submarines. It was an oblong rubber bag hung from the neck and strapped around the waist. A tube led from the bag to a mouthpiece to inhale oxygen and a return tube through a canister of soda lime inside the canister to remove exhaled carbon dioxide and then recycle the air. This provided air for a gradual ascent to avoid the “bends.” In Aug 1937 he became Officer in Charge of Experimental Diving at the NavyYard, Washington, D.C., where he developed new decompression tables and supported proposed use of a helium and oxygen mixture for deep diving. Momsen received the Distinguished Service Medal (1933). Today, the Momsen lung has been superced by other methods, such as the Stanke Hood or free ascent.«
The Terrible Hours: The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History, by Peter Maas. - book suggestion.
  Sir Frank Dyson
 Died 25 May 1939 at age 71 (born 8 Jan 1868).   quotes
Frank Watson Dyson was a British astronomer, educated at Cambridge, who spent his entire career (except for 5 years in Edinburgh) at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, where he was Astronomer Royal from 1910-33. He directed measurements of terrestrial magnetism, latitude, and time, and he initiated the radio broadcast of time. He determined proper motions of northern stars and completed his portion of the international Carte du Ciel project of photographing the entire sky. Dyson is best known for directing (with Eddington) the 1919 eclipse expedition which confirmed the bending of starlight by the sun's gravitational field. This bending of light, predicted by Einstein, was evidence supporting his general theory of relativity.
  Madame C.J. Walker
 Died 25 May 1919 at age 51 (born 23 Dec 1867).   quotes
Madame C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) was a Black-American businessperson and inventor who invented a metal heating comb and conditioner for straightening hair. She made her fortune by her hugely successful marketing and developing of hair and beauty products for black women. After starting out with her business headquarters in 1910 in Indianapolis, Indiana, she opened part of her company operations in New York City. She established a chain of beauty parlors throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. The number of African American agents earning commissions by selling her products was about 5,000 in 1910, and this grew in the next nine years to 25,000. Walker has been called the first self-accomplished American millionairess, yet engaged in philanthropy.«
On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, by A'Lelia Bundles. - book suggestion.
Booklist for Madam C.J. Walker.
  Regnier Gemma Frisius
 Died 25 May 1555 at age 46 (born 9 Dec 1508).
Dutch geographer who was born Regnier Gemma, but following the convention of his times, added a Latin name when he became a scholar. He chose Frisius after his native Friesland province. He worked in the fields of cosmology, astronomy and mathematics. His first publication (1529) was a corrected version of Apianus' Cosmographia (1524). Gemma Frisius also applied his knowledge to catography, construction of globes, and making astronomical instruments. He introduced the principle of triangulation of observed places to accurately locate them on a map (1533). With similar trigonometric methods, he identified that comets exhibited a “proper motion” against the fixed star background. He was also the first to explain how measurement of longitude could be made from elapsed time measurements with a portable timepiece.«

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MAY 25 – EVENTS – Science events on May 25th
  Moon landing goal announced
  In 1961, the formal announcement of an American lunar landing was made by President John F. Kennedy speaking to the Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space program in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” Indeed, within eight years and one month, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon 20 Jul 1969. Please — listen to this awesome, historic speech[full audio]
  Penicillin mass production patent
  In 1948, Andrew J. Moyer was granted U.S. patent No. 2,442,141 for a “Method for Production of Penicillin.” He specified that his invention for the mass production of penicillin could be used by or for the U.S. Government for its purposes without royalty payments to him. A commercial plant using his process had been opened in 1944 in Brooklyn, New York, which produced enough doses of this antibiotic in time to save the lives of a great many of the war-wounded not only for the climax of as WW II, but also in the Korean War. His method comprised a large-scale fermentation, incubating penicillin-producing mold in an aqueous nutrient medium of corn-steeping liquor, glucose and sodium nitrate. This process is still in use today for the commercial fermentation production of penicillin and various other antibiotics.«
The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle, by Eric Lax. - book suggestion.
  Penicillin test
  In 1940, in one of the most famous animal tests in medical history, eight mice were inoculated with a lethal dose of streptococci and then four of them were injected with penicillin. Next day the four mice given streptococci alone were dead, the four with penicillin were healthy. Oxford scientists Howard Florey, Ernst Chain and Norman Heatley had revived Alexander Fleming's work. They produced enough antibiotic to test by isolating the active ingredient from what Fleming had called “mould juice,” Ten years before, Fleming's interest had waned when he found penicillin production to be difficult, that it was very unstable, had no effect on certain bacteria (cholera, bubonic plague) and didn't work in animals when given by mouth.«
The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle, by Eric Lax. - book suggestion.
  Otis patent
  In 1852, Elisha Graves Otis was issued a U.S. patent for a “Railroad-Car Truck and Brake” (No. 8973). Otis is well-known for his invention of the safety elevator in the same year, which used automatic braking devices to arrest the fall of an elevator car if its supporting cable broke. His inventiveness also spanned making a turbine waterwheel (1848), a steam plow (1857), rotary oven (1858) and steam elevator (1861). In his patent for the railroad car brake, he described a way to link rods running the length of each car in a train that activated brakes, and connected with compensating joints to the next car's rod. Thus a single lever could apply all brakes simultaneously. He also described his idea to construct guards enclosing wheels on the trucks, such that if a wheel or axle broke, the car would safely remain on the tracks.«
  First U.S. news by telegraph
  In 1844, the first news communicated by telegraph in the U.S. was sent 80 miles to the Baltimore Patriot, Maryland, from Washington, D.C. giving the information that “One o'clock. There has just been made a motion in the House to go into Committee of the Whole on the Oregon question. Rejected, Ayes 79, Nays 86.” This was just one day after Samuel Morse transmitted his famous “What hath God wrought!” message from the U.S. Supreme Court room and opened America's first telegraph line linking Washington and Baltimore.   more
Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse, by Kenneth Silverman. - book suggestion.

- 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
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
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
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
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
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

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