Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Prison Treadmill of 1822
from Cradle Days of New York (1909)
…In 1822 Mayor Allen had the treadmill introduced into the prison, but it was abandoned after a few years’ trial.
The treadmill was a deterrent from committing future crimes, and was found highly salutary in its operation. It was in a two story stone house, sixty feet long, near the prison. In one part of the building were the wheel and in the other was the machinery for working it. The wheel was similar to a common water wheel, 25 feet long and 6 feet in diameter. On the external part of this wheel, on a level with the axle, the prisoners were obliged to tread, moving up together as the wheel went round, and at the same time edging off gradually to one end. Every two minutes a bell sounded, and one prisoner stepped off and was permitted to sit still for a few minutes while another took his place. In this manner the operation continued incessantly for several hours. As well as receiving punishment, the prisoners ground the corn or grain for the supply of food to the establishment. When the wheel was in operation each person ascended a distance equal to 2,500 feet in an hour.
Text collected from the series of articles which appeared in the New York Tribune
under the title 'Little Old New York', in Hugh Macatamney, Cradle Days of New York (1609-1825)
(1909), 128. (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.
: 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)