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Biographies of Famous Scientists

Biographies of Famous Scientists, his life and achievements

Biographies of Famous Scientists:

  1. Who is John Ray: Biography
  2. Who is John von Neumann: Biography
  3. Who is Jonas Salk: Biography
  4. Who is Joseph Banks: Biography
  5. Who is Joseph Lister: Biography
  6. Who is Joseph Priestley: Biography
  7. Who is Justus von Liebig: Biography
  8. Who is K. Eric Drexler: Biography
  9. Who is Karl Landsteiner: Biography
  10. Who is Katharine Burr Blodgett: Biography
  11. Who is Kip S. Thorne: Biography
  12. Who is Konrad Lorenz: Biography
  13. Who is Kristian Birkeland: Biography
  14. Who is Lee De Forest: Biography
  15. Who is Leo Szilard: Biography
  16. Who is Leon Foucault: Biography
  17. Who is Leonardo da Vinci: Biography
  18. Who is Leonhard Euler: Biography
  19. Who is Lester R. Brown: Biography

Who is John Ray: Biography

John Ray was a highly influential English naturalist and botanist whose contributions to taxonomy are considered groundbreaking and historic. He is also well-known in the world of botany for the establishment of species as the ultimate unit of taxonomy.

Early Life and Education:

Born in 1627 in a small village of Black Notley, Essex, John Ray’s father was a blacksmith. Ray entered the Cambridge University at the young age of sixteen.

Contributions and Achievements:

John Ray was selected a Fellow of Trinity College in 16However, he lost the position thirteen years later when, in 1662, he declined to take the oath to the Act of Uniformity after the Restoration. With full support of his former stundent and fellow naturalist, Francis Willoughby, Ray made several trips throughout Europe with him, carrying out research in the fields of botany and zoology.
Ray formulated the fundamental principles of plant classification into cryptogams, monocotyledons and dicotyledons in his landmark works “Catalogus plantarum Angliae” (1670) and “Methodus plantarum nova” (1682). Other major publications of Ray include “Historia generalis plantarum” (3 volumes, 1686-1704) and “The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation” (1691), both of which became quite influential during the time.
The zoological contributions of Ray include the developement of the most natural pre-Linnaean classification of the animal kingdom. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society in 16Ray endorsed scientific empiricism as compared to the deductive rationalism of the scholastics.

Later Life and Death:

In his later years, Ray moved to his native village, where he remained until his death in 17He was 77 years old. The Ray Society was established in his honor in 1844.

Who is John von Neumann: Biography

Von Neumann was a pioneer of the application of operator theory to quantum mechanics, in the development of functional analysis. Along with Teller and Stanislaw Ulam, von Neumann worked out key steps in the nuclear physics involved in thermonuclear reactions and the hydrogen bomb. Von Neumann wrote 150 published papers in his life; 60 in pure mathematics, 20 in physics, and 60 in applied mathematics. His last work, published in book form as The Computer and the Brain, gives an indication of the direction of his interests at the time of his death.

Early life and Career:

John von Neumann was born on December 28, 19He was a Hungarian-American mathematician who made major contributions to a vast range of fields. The eldest of three brothers, von Neumann was born Neumann Janos Lajos. Von Neumann’s ancestors had originally immigrated to Hungary from Russia. John was a child prodigy who showed an aptitude for languages, memorization, and mathematics. By the age of six, he could exchange jokes in Classical Greek, memorize telephone directories, and displayed prodigious mental calculation abilities. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Pázmány Peter University in Budapest. That time he was 22 years of age. At the same time, he earned his diploma in chemical engineering from the ETH Zurich in Switzerland. John Neumann married twice. He married Mariette Kövesi in 1930, just before emigrating to the United States. They had one daughter. He then divorced her in 1937 and married Klari Dan in 1938.
In 1937, von Neumann became a naturalized citizen of the US. This was after migrating with his mother and brothers. In 1938, von Neumann was awarded the Bôcher Memorial Prize for his work in analysis.
Von Neumann also created the field of cellular automata without the aid of computers, constructing the first self-replicating automata with pencil and graph paper. Throughout his life von Neumann had a respect and admiration for business and government leaders; something which was often at variance with the inclinations of his scientific colleagues.
Von Neumann’s interest in meteorological prediction led him to manipulating the environment by spreading colorants on the polar ice caps to enhance absorption of solar radiation, thereby raising global temperatures.
Von Neumann’s principal contribution to the atomic bomb itself was in the concept and design of the explosive lenses needed to compress the plutonium core of the Trinity test device. Von Neumann’s hydrogen bomb work was also played out in the realm of computing, where he and Stanislaw Ulam developed simulations on von Neumann’s digital computers for the hydrodynamic computations. During this time he contributed to the development of the Monte Carlo method, which allowed complicated problems to be approximated using random numbers.
Von Neumann’s first significant contribution to economics was the minimax theorem of 19This theorem establishes that in certain zero sum games with perfect information, there exists a strategy for each player which allows both players to minimize their maximum losses.
An astoundingly creative mathematician, John von Neumann has played a rather important role in post-war economic theory.


John Neumann died in February 8, 1957 (aged 53) in Washington, D.C., United States.

Who is Jonas Salk: Biography

“Life is an error-making and an error-correcting process, and nature in marking man’s papers will grade him for wisdom as measured both by survival and by the quality of life of those who survive.” This famous saying is by Jonas Salk, born in New York City on October 28, 1914, who is among the most respected medical scientists of the century. Though his first words were reported to be dirt, his early thoughts were not on studying germs but on going into law. He became interested in biology and chemistry, however, and decided to go into research. He went to New York University medical school for training.

Contributions and Achievements:

While attending medical school at New York University, Salk was invited to spend a year researching influenza. The virus that causes flu had only recently been discovered and the young Salk was eager to learn if the virus could be deprived of its ability to infect, while still giving immunity to the illness. Salk succeeded in this attempt, which became the basis of his later work on polio.
His actual work to cure polio started when in America in the 1950s, summertime was a time of concern and worry for many parents as this was the season when children by the thousands became infected with the crippling disease, polio. This burden of fear was lifted forever when it was announced that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed a vaccine against the disease. The vaccine proved successful as everybody who received the test vaccine started producing anti-bodies against the virus so that nobody else became inflicted with polio and no side effect was observed.
Jonas Salk published the results in the Journal of the American Medical Association the following year and a nationwide testing was made.
It was during this time that worst polio eruption happened. It was Salk’s former mentor Thomas Francis Jr. that helped and directed the mass vaccination of schoolchildren. Salk became world-famous overnight, but his discovery was the result of many years of painstaking research. In 1947 Salk accepted an appointment to the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. While working there with the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Salk saw an opportunity to develop a vaccine against polio, and devoted himself to this work for the next eight years.
The March of Dimes, hoping to boost publicity and donations to fund vaccination programs, praised Salk to the point of offending his colleagues. He had applied the findings of others in a successful made the public blind to that. bid to prevent disease. Other researchers and doctors grumbled that he hadn’t found anything new; he had just applied what was there. But the timing of his successful vaccine at the peak of polio’s devastation
In the years after his discovery, many supporters, in particular the National Foundation “helped him build his dream of a research complex for the investigation of biological phenomena. It was called the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and opened in 1963 at California. Salk believed that the institution would help new and upcoming scientists along their careers as he said himself, “I thought how nice it would be if a place like this existed and I was invited to work there.” This was something that Salk was deprived of early in his life, but due to his achievements, was able to provide for future scientists.
Under Salk’s direction, the Institute began research activities in and gradually expanded its faculty and the areas of their research interests. Salk’s personal research activities included multiple sclerosis and autoimmune diseases, cancer immunology, improved manufacture and standardization of killed poliovirus vaccine, and another development in which Salk also engaged in research to develop a vaccine for more recent plague, AIDS. To further this research, he co-founded The Immune Response Corporation, to search for a vaccine, and patented Remune, an immune-based therapy.
In 1966, Salk described his ambitious plan for the creation of a kind of Socratic academy where the supposedly alienated two cultures of science and humanism will have a favorable atmosphere for cross-fertilization. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that day to be Jonas Salk Day making people realize that Salk always had a passion for science. It was because of this that he finally chose medicine over law as his career goal. Even after his great discovery, he continued to undertake vital studies and medical research to benefit his fellowman. Under his vision and leadership, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has been in the forefront of basic biological research, reaping further benefits for mankind and medical science.
The New York Times referred to him as the “Father of Biophilosophy”. As a biologist, he believes that his science is on the frontier of tremendous new discoveries and as a philosopher, he is of the view that humanists and artists have joined the scientists to achieve an understanding of man in all his physical, mental and spiritual complexity. Such interchanges might lead, he would hope, to a new and important school of thinkers he would designate as biophilosopher.
His definition of a “bio-philosopher” is “Someone who draws upon the scriptures of nature, recognizing that we are the product of the process of evolution, and understands that we have become the process itself, through the emergence and evolution of our consciousness, our awareness, our capacity to imagine and anticipate the future, and to choose from among alternatives.


Salk died at age 80 on June 23, 19A monument at the Institute with a statement from Salk captures his vision, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”

Who is Joseph Banks: Biography

Sir Joseph Banks was an eminent English naturalist, explorer and botanist, noted for his promotion of natural sciences. He also remains the longest serving president of the Royal Society of London.

Early Life and Education:

Born in London on January 4, 1743 in a rich family, Joseph Banks inherited a sizeable fortune when his father, William Banks, a famous doctor, died. He took admission in Christ Church, Oxford, in 17When he left the college in 1763, he had an extensive knowledge of natural history, particularly of botany.

Contributions and Achievements:

Joseph Banks was selected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 17He joined Captain Cook on his 1763 voyage around the world. Dr. Solander, a friend of Banks, also accompanied him as a naturalist. After their return, both wanted to publish a botanical work as they had acquired huge collections of natural objects from the expedition. Due to Solander’s unexpected death, they were unable to complete it. Banks also toured Iceland in 1772.
Banks became the president of the Royal Society in 1777, where he remained until 18He was known as a prominent endorser of travelers and scientific men. Many voyages of discovery were approved and carried out under his supervision. He was the first person to introduce the Western world to acacia, mimosa, eucalyptus and Banksia, a genus named after him. About 80 other species of plants were also named after him. Banks also established the fact that marsupial mammals were more primitive than placental mammals.
Joseph Banks was knighted in 17He was made a member of the Privy Council in 17He was also appointed an associate of the Institute of France In 18Two of his most famous publications include “Short Account of the Cause of the Disease in Corn called the Blight, the Mildew, and the Rust,” (1803) and “Circumstances relative to Metino Sheep” (1809).

Later Life and Death:

Joseph Banks died in London in 18He was 77 years old and left no family. Banks was buried at St Leonard’s Church, Heston.

Who is Joseph Lister: Biography

Acknowledged as the “Father of Antiseptic Surgery”, Joseph Lister’s contributions paved the way to safer medical procedures. His introduction of the antiseptic process dramatically decreased deaths from childbirth and surgery and changed the way the medical industry looked at sanitation and proper hygiene.

Early Life and Education

Joseph Lister was born on April 5, 1827 in Upton, Essex, England. His father, Joseph Jackson Lister, was not only a wine merchant, but was also an amateur scientist. He was the second among three children.
Coming from a family of Quakers, the young Joseph Lister also attended Quaker Schools in London and Hertfordshire. Quaker Schools put in a great amount of emphasis in the sciences, giving him a strong foundation in what was to be his chosen profession. He observed the first surgical procedure that used anesthesia in 18He then attended the University of London where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 18Later on, he qualified to become a medical student and eventually earned his Bachelor’s degrees in Medicine and Surgery. Because of his exceptional performance, he was awarded with two university gold medals and easily became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 18He then became the dresser for Professor of Clinical Surgery James Syme in Edinburgh, and eventually became his house surgeon. He married Syme’s daughter, Agnes, who became his laboratory partner because of her great interest in medical research.

His Greatest Contribution

Joseph Lister has always been aware that the number of deaths after surgery was not caused by the operation itself, but by what follows after the procedure. Because there was an alarming rate of “ward fever” after surgery, Lister wondered what could be causing this event.
Comparing patients who had simple fractures to those who had compound fractures, he concluded that the infection was coming from the outside, as the problem only occurred to those who had open wounds as compared to those who did not have any flesh wound. Lister started adding hygienic practices before conducting any operation, making sure that his hands were clean and his clothes fresh. At that time, it was common for doctors to walk around covered in blood as this served as a status symbol for them. Lister’s untraditional methods were scoffed at.
Looking at research done by Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist known for his vaccination, fermentation and pasteurization principles, he agreed with the latter’s belief that germs are usually contracted from the air. Because Lister was a wine merchant’s son, he knew that wine went bad because the fermentation process was not done properly, and not because germs spontaneously came to life within the wine as evolutionists believed. Applying this thought to open wounds, he knew that the only solution was to find a way to kill the germs before they get the chance to enter the wound, preventing the infection to occur.
Carbolic acid was then being used as an effective disinfectant for sewers. Upon confirming that it was safe to be used on human flesh, Joseph Lister saw it as the solution to the problem. He started using it to wash his hands, as well as the instruments he needed in every operation. He started covering his patients’ wounds with a piece of lint covered in carbolic acid. He also devised a machine that sprayed the air with carbolic acid to get rid of airborne germs. He refined his techniques until he had enough proof that everything he did was successful, and went on to publish everything he discovered in a medical journal called The Lancet in 1867.
As expected, it took a long time for other people in the medical field to accept Lister’s findings. A lot of them were incredulous at the thought that organisms too small to be seen were causing all the post-operation deaths. Some found it tiring to have to go through the sterilization process before performing an operation. And although some of them tried Lister’s methods, majority of them did it incorrectly that their efforts proved to be useless. He was now a Professor of Clinical Surgery in Edinburgh, and he continued to modify his system to achieve better results despite the negative feedback.
It took 12 long years before Lister’s system gained widespread acceptance. Those who emulated Lister’s example in Munich gained astounding success, with the death rate caused by infection after surgery dropping from 80% to almost zero. The English doctors were among the last to accept the brilliance of Lister’s methods, only winning them over when he was appointed as Professor of Surgery in London’s King’s College Hospital in 18By 1879, his findings had gained widespread acceptance around the globe.

Other Achievements

Joseph Lister was the Queen’s surgeon for many years, and introduced the use of rubber drainage tubes after trying it on her. He also showed that sterilized materials could be left inside a patient’s body as needed and used and left sterilized silver wire inside the body to keep broken bones together. And since the silk thread used in internal stitching causes more damage when pulled out after some time, Lister started using sterilized catgut, as this would eventually dissolve.
Queen Victoria dubbed him Sir Joseph Lister in 18He became Lord Lister of Lyme Regis in 1897, and was the first to become a British peer for services to medicine. He was given the Order of Merit in 1902, and was made Privy Councilor.
He became the Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons and President of the Royal Society. He was also President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He helped establish the British Institute of Preventative Medicine in 1891, which was later on called The Lister Institute in his honor.
With all his achievements, he finally retired in 1893, shortly after his wife died in 18He still entertained requests for his advice and services from time to time, although he was left a bit melancholic after losing his life partner. Joseph Lister died in Walmer, Kent, England on February 10, 1912 at the age of 84.

Who is Joseph Priestley: Biography

Joseph Priestley was an English scientist, philosopher, theologian and clergyman who authored more than 150 publications. He is noted for his groundbreaking contributions to experimental chemistry, electricity and the chemistry of gases, as well as his extraordinary work regarding liberal political and religious thought.

Early Life and Education:

Born at Birstall Fieldhead, England, Joseph Priestley proved to be a very intelligent child from an early age. He learned mathematics, logic, metaphysics and natural philosophy. Priestley also learnt more than six different languages including Latin, Hebrew and Greek.

Contributions and Achievements:

Joseph Priestley is highly regarded for his work with the chemistry of gases. As a friend of Benjamin Franklin, Priestley contacted him regarding his theories of electricity. He later experimented with distinguishing various types of “air”.
Before him, scientists thought that the air on Earth consisted of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Priestley brought 10 more gases to this list, such as nitrogen, hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and oxygen. He also invented soda water.
Priestley wrote several theological, philosophical and political essays. He made the English press and government furious with his theories regarding “rational Christianity” and “Laissez-Faire Economics”. Priestley, along with his family, narrowly escaped hundreds of raging protesters who attacked their home in 1791.

Later Life and Death:

Joseph Priestley fled to the United States in 17He died in Northumberland, Pennsylvania on Feb 6, 18He was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.

Who is Justus von Liebig: Biography

Justus von Liebig was a German chemist, who is widely credited as one of the founders of agricultural chemistry. He made crucial contributions to the analysis of organic compounds, and, in his early years, also published several works on the use of inorganic fertilizers in several languages. He discovered that nitrogen was an essential plant nutrient, and presented his famous Law of the Minimum which explained the effect of individual nutrients on crops.

Early Life and Education:

Born in Darmstadt, Germany on May 12, 1803, Justus von Liebig’s father was a chemical manufacturer whose shop had a small laboratory. Young Liebig loved to perform experiments at the place. After learning pharmacy for about six months, he acquired a degree in chemistry from the Prussian University of Bonn. Liebig received his doctorate from the University of Erlangen in Bavaria in 1822.

Contributions and Achievements:

Liebig worked on the serious explosive silver fulminate, a salt of fulminic acid. During the same time, the German chemist Friedrich Wöhler was also studying cyanic acid. Liebig and Wöhler collaborated to establish that cyanic acid and fulminic acid were two different compounds having the same composition. The concept of “isomerism” was later recognized by the Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius.
Liebig revolutionized organic analysis using a five-bulb device called the “Kaliapparat”. He understated the importance of humus in plant nutrition and maintained that plants feed upon nitrogen compounds, carbon dioxide from air, and some minerals found in the soil. He was the first person the invent a nitrogen-based fertilizer. Liebig also devised the Law of the Minimum. Liebig was one of the true forefathers of modern agriculture.

Later Life and Death:

Justus von Liebig was made a baron in 18He died on April 18, 18Liebig was buried in the Alter Südfriedhof, Munich.

Who is K. Eric Drexler: Biography

In the field of nanotechnology, there is a name that always stands out and it is K. Eric Drexler. Oftentimes, he is thought of as the “Founding father of nanotechnology” and this gives everyone a clearer idea of just how significant his contributions are to the field. He is one man that had big plans for the future and wants the best for mankind. It is amazing to see just what kind of man he is and what has pushed him into doing extensive studies on nanotechnology. His career is one that is extremely notable but it is also one that has had its fair share of controversy.

His life and work

Kim Eric Drexler was born on 25th April, 19He is an American engineer and is most known for being the driving force behind the idea of molecular nanotechnology (MNT) and of its potential benefits for humans back in the 70’s and 80’s. In the year 1991, he published his doctoral thesis at MIT and it was later on republished and turned into a book which was entitled Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery Manufacturing and Computation. It was published in 1992 and went on to receive the Best Computer Science Book award for 1992 from the Association of American Publishers. He is what you might call an MIT loyalist and holds three degrees from the institution. It was where he received his B.S. in Interdisciplinary Sciences back in 1977 and his M.S. in Astro/Aerospace Engineering in 19It was in 1991 when he got his Ph.D. from the auspices of the MIT Media Lab.
It was back in the 1970s that Eric Drexler first became influenced by ideas listed in Limits to Growth. At his first year at MIT, he went out to look for someone who was doing work on extra-terrestrial resources as this was his response to the whole Limits to Growth idea. It was because of this that he ran into Dr. Gerard O’Neill who was with Princeton University and who just happened to be a physicist that was known for having a very strong interest and focus on particle accelerations. Dr. O’Neill was also known for his work on concepts of colonies in space. In the summers of 1975 and 1976, K. Eric Drexler would study with NASA. It was during his summers in NASA that he learned about space colonies and helped fabricate revolutionary metal films to better show the potential of using solar sails. He would also spend a lot of time coming up with mass driver prototypes and delivering papers to the first three Space manufacturing conferences that were held at Princeton. In 1977 and 1979, he and Keith Hendon co-authored papers on vapor phase fabrication and space radiators; both papers were given patents. Drexler was also quite active in space politics and in the year 1980, he helped the L5 society in defeating the Moon Treaty.
It was in the late 70’s when he really began to develop ideas pertaining to MNT and it was in 1979 that he encountered a provocative talk by Richard Feynman named There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom. In Drexler’s boon entitled Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, he used it to talk about the use of nano-scale assemblers that had the ability and capacity to build copies of itself and other things of different complexities. This might not sound too scientific but he also coined the “grey goo” term which he used to describe what happens if the MNT he talked about was to go haywire.
Drexler and his then-wife Christine Peterson helped put up the Foresight Institute in 1986 and the main goal was to prepare for the eventual manufacturing and use of nanotechnology. It was in 2002 that the husband and wife team ended their marriage of 21 years and today, Drexler is no longer a member of the institute they put up. However, he did join Nanorex in 2005 which is a company that specializes in molecular engineering software and he became the Chief Technical Advisor. A year later, he married a former investment banker named Rosa Wang.


It is safe to say that K. Eric Drexler was quite passionate about MNT but it just so happened that Nobel Prize winner Richard Smalley wasn’t too into the idea and he even went as far as to criticize Drexler’s ideas. In Smalley’s 2001 article in the Scientific American, he argued that “fat fingers” were the reason why MNT was impossible. He went on to argue that the nanomachines everyone envisioned would have to be more like chemical enzymes and not the assemblers Drexler imagined and even then, they would only work on water. Drexler countered these criticisms by saying that they were nothing more than straw man arguments but had no further replies from Smalley. In December 2003 though, Drexler did have his vindication because Ray Kurzweil dedicated four whole pages in his book to debunk Smalley’s theories and prove that Drexler’s ideas on MNT were in fact practicable and were already being put to use.


Smalley may not believe in what Drexler has to propose but Science fiction writers and fans all over the world have fallen in love with the idea of nanotechnology and Drexler was even mentioned in the Diamond Age which is a sci-fi book that is about society in the future that makes use of nanotechnology almost every day. In the book Decipher, written by Stel Pavlou Drexler is mentioned and the same goes for the novel Excavation written by James Rollins where he referenced Drexler’s Engines of Creation.

In closing

The scientist Kim Eric Drexler now lives in Los Altos, California and he lives comfortably knowing that his studies have yielded to the nanotechnology used today. Even better, his critic Richard Smalley has admitted that he developed an interest in the field by reading one of Drexler’s books. It has to be said that Drexler is just as much of a visionary as he is a scientist; he sometimes gets carried away by what can be rather than what really is but it is his very idealism that made nanotechnology what it is today.

Who is Karl Landsteiner: Biography

Karl Landsteiner an Austrian-born American immunologist, physician and pathologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930 for Physiology or Medicine for detecting the major blood groups and creating the ABO system of blood typing that revolutionized the process of blood transfusion and medical practice related to it.

Early Life and Education:

Born in 1868 in Vienna, Austria to a journalist father, Karl Landsteiner was a bright student who was allowed to study medicine when he was merely seventeen years old. He acquired a degree in medicine from the University of Vienna. Landsteiner envisioned that the future of medicine was in research, so he preferred to become a research scientist rather than an ordinary medical practitioner.

Contributions and Achievements:

Karl Landsteiner was the first biologist to identify different blood types and to sort out blood into groups. Before him, scientists thought that the blood of every person was the same. Blood transfusion was often considered dangerous. When it did not work, it was believed that the blood from the donor “clumped together” in the recipient’s body and resulted in his death. Landsteiner demonstrated that there are certain differences in the structure of human blood types.
After working hard for almost one year testing several blood samples, Karl Landsteiner announced in 1901 that there were three major human blood groups: A, B and C (which was later called O). One year later in 1902, Landsteiner’s three fellow scientists discovered a fourth blood type named AB.
The role of Landsteiner’s contributions in medicine is crucial and thousands of lives were saved in hospitals during World War I, and are still being saved to this day. Blood types are used by the police and criminologists to solve crimes by examining blood samples at crime scenes.

Later Life and Death:

Karl Landsteiner was a notoriously private person who disliked publicity and rarely gave interviews and speeches, although much in demand. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1929.
Landsteiner died of a heart attack in 1943 while still performing his duties at his laboratory at the age of He was honored with a Lasker Award in 1946, three years after his death.

Who is Katharine Burr Blodgett: Biography

American scientist, Katharine Burr Blodgett is known for numerous important contributions to the field of industrial chemistry. She is mainly acknowledged for her invention of the color gauge and non-reflecting or “invisible” glass.

Early life, Education and Career:

Born in Schenectady, New York on January 10, 1898, Katharine or Katie (her nickname) was the second child of Katharine Burr and George Blodgett, a patent lawyer for the General Electric Company. Her father was killed only a few weeks before she was born. Her father’s death left more than sufficient amount of wealth to the family. After Katie’s birth, the family moved to New York City, then to France in 1901, and then back to New York City in 19Here she completed her schooling from the Rayson School and developed an early interest in mathematics. She completed high school at the age of fifteen and earned a scholarship to Bryn Mawr College and received her B.A. degree in 19Her interest in physics began when she attended college. After college, Blodgett decided that a career in scientific research would allow her to further pursue her interest in both mathematics and physics. During her vacations, Katie traveled to upstate New York in search of employment opportunities at the Schenectady GE plant. Some of her father’s former colleagues in Schenectady introduced Katie to research chemist Irving Langmuir. While showing his laboratory, Irving Lengmuir recognized Katie’s aptitude and advised her to continue her scientific education. Following his advice she went on to pursue master’s degree in science and was the first woman to be ever awarded a doctorate in physics from Cambridge University.
After her masters she became the first woman to be hired as a scientist at GE. Langmuir encouraged her to participate in some of his earlier discoveries. First, he put her on the task of perfecting tungsten filaments in electric lamps (the work for which he had received a patent in 1916). He later asked Katie to concentrate her studies on surface chemistry. Her most important contribution came from her independent research on an oily substance that Langmuir had developed in the lab. The then existing methods for measuring this unusual substance, were only accurate to a few thousandths of an inch but Katie’s way proved to be accurate to about one millionth of an inch. Her new discovery of measuring transparent objects led to her invention of non-reflecting glass in 19This invisible glass proved to be a very effective device for physicists, chemists, and metallurgists. It has been put to use in many consumer products from picture frames to camera lenses and has also been exceptionally helpful in optics.
During the Second World War Katie made another outstanding breakthrough: the smoke screens. The smoke screens saved many lives by covering the troops thereby protecting them from the exposure of toxic smoke.
Katie’s work was acknowledged by many awards, including the Garvan Medal in 19She earned honorary degrees from Elmira College in 1939, Brown University in 1942, Western College in1942, and Russell Sage College in 19She was nominated to be part of the American Physical Society and was a member of the Optical Society of America.


Katharine Burr Blodgett died in her home on October 12, 1979.

Who is Kip S. Thorne: Biography

The American theoretical physicist Kip Stephen Thorn is very well-known for his many contributions to the study of astrophysics and gravitational physics. He is also well-known for having a hand in training a new generation of scientists. Kip S. Thorne was the Feynman Professor who taught Theoretical Physics at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) until the year 2009 and he is considered one of the foremost authorities on Einstein’s theory of relativity. As if all that isn’t impressive enough, he is also a close friend and a colleague of Carl Sagan and the brilliant Stephen Hawking who is lauded for his achievements despite his ALS.

The Early Life of Kip S. Thorne

Kip S. Thorne was born on June 1, 1940 in Logan, Utah. It is no wonder where he got his brains and his interest in science from seeing as his parents were both professors at the Utah State University. His father was D. Wynne Thorne who was a soil chemist and his mother was Alison C. Thorne who was an economist. He was brought up in a very academic-centered environment and two of his four siblings also went on to become professors. He was eight years old when he first started showing an interest in science. There was a time he attended a lecture about the solar system and after, he and his mother went to work on calculations to make their own solar system model. Being raised in such an environment, it is no wonder that he excelled in academics even during his early years and this is why he got the distinction of being one of the youngest ever professors to teach at Caltech.

His Educational Background

Thorne went to school in Caltech where he graduated with a B.S. in 19In 1963, he graduated from Princeton with a Ph.D. where he wrote his thesis on Geometrodynamics of Cylindrical System which he completed with guidance and supervision from John Wheeler who is himself a relativist.
It was after he got his Ph.D. that he returned to Caltech where he was given the position of associate professor. This was in 1967 and he was given the title of professor of Theoretical physics a couple of years after in 19His achievements at Caltech didn’t stop there because in 1981, he became a William R. Kenan Jr. Professor and 10 years later, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Science (he is currently known as the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus).
In the year 2009, he resigned from his prestigious position at Caltech to pursue a career in Hollywood where he hoped to make a career out of writing and making movies for the big screen. As it happens, his first ever film project will have him teaming up with no other than Christopher Nolan who is most known for his work as director of the Dark Knight movies.

His Academic Career

In the years of his involvement with the academe, Kip S. Thorne made for an excellent mentor and advisor for many young, bright minds many of whom are now known for their works as leading theorists. His students are now making huge impacts in many scientific fields. In fact, no less than 50 students have received their Ph.D.’s in Caltech under his guidance.
Some people may have beef with science since they believe it is somewhat boring but this is where Kip S. Thorne comes in to change all that since he is quite famous for his incomparable ability to inject excitement and really impress upon people the significance of any and all discoveries made in the field of astrophysics and gravitation. In fact, his enthusiasm is so infectious and his talent as a lecturer so profound that he is able to relay information in such a way that is interesting to people in the academic field and laymen alike.

His Research

Much of Thorne’s research has been focused on gravitation physics and relativistic astrophysics in general and he placed special focus on gravity, space, and time. However, he really is quite best-known for his theory that wormholes found in space can be used for time travel. This idea is quite controversial but has captured the imaginations of people nevertheless.
On LIGO and Gravitational Waves
Thorne is considered one of the foremost authorities on gravitational waves and considering there are only a handful of physicists that even study the subject. His work on gravitational waves has dealt mostly in gravity-waves and how their temporal signatures and gravity-wave strengths may be observed on the planet Earth.
Black hole cosmology
He has made a lot of contributions to the study of black holes and has even proposed the Hoop Conjecture theory which does away with naked singularity theories. Instead, the Hoop Conjecture talks about an imploding star that turns into a black hole when a designed hoop is placed around it and set to rotate. The hoop has to have a critical circumference set.
Wormholes and time travel
Kip S. Thorne has worked with multiple people concerning his theory about wormholes and time travel. Such scientists include Sung-Won Kim, Mike Morris, and Ulvi Yurtsever and they all came up with theories about masses travelling by way of wormholes and using them as time machines of sort.
Interstellar the Movie
It was mentioned how Kip S. Thorne quit working in the academic setting to pursue a career in film and Interstellar just happens to be his first ever movie which has Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) at the helm. It stars Matt Damon (Bourne Series, Good Will Hunting etc.), Matthew McConaughey (Dazed and Confused), and Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Devil Wears Prada.) Interstellar is a science fiction film and deals with the subject of time travel by way of wormholes which is something Kip S. Thorne is really passionate and knowledgeable about.

In Closing

Kip S. Thorne is still very much alive and kicking and there is no telling what other movies and advances he is getting ready to come up with. It only remains to be seen but everyone can bet he still has quite a few tricks up his sleeves and will “wow” the public for sure.

Who is Konrad Lorenz: Biography

“Every man gets a narrower and narrower field of knowledge in which he must be an expert in order to compete with other people. The specialist knows more and more about less and less and finally knows everything about nothing.”
“Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.”

The above quotations reflect the intellectual thinking of the great Austrian zoologist, animal psychologist, and ornithologist, Konrad Zacharias Lorenz. His exceptional work on animal behavior earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973, which he shared with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch. Lorenz examined animals in their natural environments and concluded that instinct plays a key role in animal behavior. This observation challenged behavioral animal psychology, which defined all behavior as learned. He is the author of several books, some of which, such as King Solomon’s Ring and On Aggression became very popular during his time.

Life, Career and Achievements:

Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was brought up in Vienna and at the family’s summer estate in Altenberg, a village on the Danube River. He was the younger son of Adolf Lorenz, a successful and wealthy orthopedic surgeon, and Emma Lecher Lorenz, a physician who assisted her husband. From a very early age Konrad was fond of keeping and observing animals.
Lorenz completed his schooling from one of Vienna’s best secondary schools. He graduated from the University of Vienna as Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1928 and was appointed an assistant professor at the Institute of Anatomy until 19He also began studying zoology, in which he was awarded a Ph.D. degree in 1933 by the same university.
From 1935 to 1938, he made studies of geese and jackdaws (many of his significant scientific papers are based on this work). From his observations Lorenz established the concept of imprinting, the process by which an animal follows an object, normally its biological mother. He found that for a short time after hatching, chicks are genetically inclined to identify their mother’s sound and appearance and thereby form a permanent bond with her.
Lorenz also put forward an innate releasing mechanism theory. He alleged that an animal’s innate behavior pattern (“innate releasing mechanism”) will remain dormant until a stimulating event (“releaser”) prompts it.
In 1940 he was appointed as the professor of psychology at the University of Königsberg. World War II (1939-1945) soon interrupted his academic career. He served as a doctor in the German army until his capture by the Russians in 19Four years after his release, he returned to Altenberg (his family home) and wrote the popular account of his work, translated as King Solomon’s Ring (1949), which was followed by Man Meets Dog (1950). The Max Planck Society established the Lorenz Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Buldern, Germany, during 19In 1958, Lorenz transferred to the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology in Seewiesen.
In 1969, he became the first person to receive the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca. In 1973 he became a Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine “for discoveries in individual and social behavior patterns” with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch.
Lorenz left the Max Planck Institute in 1973 but continued his research and writing in Altenberg and Grünau im Almtal in Austria.
Konrad Lorenz died on February 27, 1989, in Altenberg.

Who is Kristian Birkeland: Biography

Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland is known as the person responsible for explaining the natural phenomenon Aurora Borealis in great detail. He accomplished this by inventing two other scientific feats that were ahead of their time – the Birkeland-Eyde process and the electromagnetic cannon.

Early Life and Education

Kristian Olaf Birkeland was born on December 13, 1867 in Oslo which was called Christiana at that time. His parents were Reinart and Ingeborg Birkeland.
When he was 18, he completed his first ever scientific paper, showing his great interest and potential in the scientific field.
In May 1905, he married Ida Charlotte Hammer. But because it was said that Birkeland prioritized his work more than anything else, the marriage did not bear them any children. They eventually filed for divorce in 1911.

The Aurora Phenomenon

To come up with more accurate data, Kristian Birkeland organized a series of expeditions to Norway. He concentrated on the high-latitude regions and compiled magnetic field data through the number of observatories that he and his team established in the entire region covered by the phenomenon. This series of expeditions known as the Norwegian Polar Expedition was completed over the period of 1899 to 19From this series a lot of light was shed on the Aurora Borealis phenomenon. Using the magnetic field data they gathered, the polar region’s electric current pattern was finally explained.
A lot of his findings were also accomplished when the x-ray was discovered. He reasoned that there has to be a connection between magnets and cathode rays, and that this same connection could explain how the auroras are formed. His theory was that the sunspots on the solar surface shoot out energetic electrons towards the earth. The geomagnetic field then guides these electrons towards our polar regions, causing the production of visible aurora. This same theory is still the same working concept that is accepted to this day.
Of course, discoveries this big will never be instantly accepted especially during those times. The concept surrounding what is now called Birkeland currents remained controversial for more than half a century mostly because a phenomenon this wide in scale cannot be proven by mere ground-based projections and measurements. Mainstream scientists ridiculed his findings and theories, and a famous British mathematician and geophysicist by the name of Sydney Chapman went out of his way to vocally rebuff the concepts that Birkeland was proposing. According to Chapman, it was impossible for currents to cross space and that such currents can only come from the Earth. A Swedish scientist, Hannes Alfven, supported Birkeland’s findings as well but his explanation was also dismissed by Chapman.
It was not until 1967, long after Birkeland’s death in 1917, that his theories were finally proven to be correct. A US Navy satellite, the 1963-38c, observed magnetic disturbances every time it passed the high-latitude areas of the earth as recorded by the magnetometer that it had onboard. Initially, they were dismissed as mere hydromagnetic waves. It wasn’t until these disturbances were further analyzed that they realized that these were in fact the currents that Birkeland claimed to exist half a century ago.

Birkeland’s Inventions and Other Contributions

It was very difficult to receive funding to do further research and study for the theories that Birkeland formulated especially with the amount of ridicule that he received. Because of this, he had to create his own source of funds. Upon realizing that inventions can actually be a good source of wealth, he started developing electromagnetic cannon. He found interested investors who helped him form a firearms company. His cannon did not produce the results that he initially promised though, as it only reached velocities of 100 m/s, a far cry from the 600 m/s he promised. He called the cannon an aerial torpedo instead and hoped to use it to sell the company they built. However, the demonstration did not go well and all that he produced was an inductive arc complete with flame, smoke and a lot of noise.
A week after the failed attempt to sell the company, Sam Eyde, an engineer that Birkeland met at a dinner party, expressed the need for a big flash of lightning that they will be using to make artificial fertilizer. Remembering the effect that his failed experiment had, Birkeland immediately trashed his intent to sell the company and started working with Eyde, eventually building a device that created a plasma arc designed to complete the process of nitrogen fixation. Their prototype proved to be ready to be manufactured on a larger scale without costing too much which essentially brought about their huge success. Their company was called Norsk Hydro and Birkeland finally enjoyed the funding that he needed to complete his research.
The process that Birkeland and Eyde worked on was eventually replaced around 1910 to 1920 because it proved to be inefficient considering its energy consumption.
In 1913, Birkeland was the first to predict that plasma was in fact present everywhere in space, applying the same generally accepted concept that there are different kinds of electrons and ions flowing through space as well. It is also believed that he was the first one to state that the Solar Wind is in fact made up of a combination of positive ions and negative electrons.
Birkeland showed his diverse interests when he eventually joined the Norwegian Society for Psychic Research in 1922.
All in all, he was nominated for a Nobel Prize seven times.

Birkeland’s Death

Birkeland had been using a drug called Veronal to help him sleep, but this has also caused him to be extremely paranoid. When he travelled to Japan to visit some colleagues from the University of Tokyo, he was found dead inside his hotel room in Hotel Seiyoken on June 15, 19It was discovered that he had taken 10g of Veronal instead of the 0.5g that was prescribed. A lot of mystery still clouds the circumstances of his death although a lot of people believe that this was a case of suicide.

Who is Lee De Forest: Biography

The American inventor and electrical engineer, Lee De Forest is credited for inventing the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes moderately weak electrical signals and amplifies them. The device helped AT&T establish coast-to-coast phone service, and it was also used in everything from radios to televisions to the first computers.

Early Life, Education and Career:

Lee De Forest was born on August 26, 1873 in Council Bluffs, IA, the son of Henry Swift DeForest and Anna Robbins. His father was a Congregational Church minister and the President of Talladega College, an all-black school in Alabama. He had always hoped that his son would choose the same career path but De Forest had other plans. De Forest completed his schooling from the Mount Hermon School, and then enrolled at the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University in Connecticut in 18Here he completed his graduation and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1899 with a dissertation on radio waves.
After completing his graduation he got employed at Western Electric, where he devised dynamos, telephone equipment, and early radio gear. In 1902 he started his own business, the De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company, selling radio equipment and demonstrating the new technology by broadcasting Morse code signals. Within a span of four years De Forest had been squeezed out of the management of his own company.
De Forest was highly creative and active, but many a times did not see the potential of his inventions or grasp their theoretical implications. While working on improving wireless telegraph equipment, he modified the vacuum tube invented by John Ambrose Fleming and designed the Audion (a vacuum tube containing some gas) in 19It was a triode, including a filament and a plate, like regular vacuum tubes, but also a grid between the filament and plate. This reinforced the current through the tube, amplifying weak telegraph and even radio signals. De Forest thought the gas was an essential part of the system; however in 1912 others showed that a triode in a complete vacuum would function much better.
In 1913 the United States Attorney General sued De Forest for deceit on behalf of his shareholders, stating that his declaration of rebirth was an “absurd” promise (he was later acquitted).In 1916 the American inventor made two triumphs: the first radio advertisement (for his own products) and the first presidential election reported by radio.
In 1919, De Forest filed the first patent on his sound-on-film process, which enhanced the work of Finnish inventor Eric Tigerstedt and the German partnership Tri-Ergon, and named it the De Forest Phonofilm process. This process involved recording sound directly onto film as parallel lines of variable shades of gray, and later became known as a “variable density” system as opposed to “variable area” systems such as RCA Photophone.


Lee De Forest died in Hollywood on July 1, 1961, and was interred in San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. He died as a poor man with just $1,250 in his bank account at the time of his death.

Who is Leo Szilard: Biography

A Hungarian-American physicist, Leo Szilard was the proponent of the nuclear chain reaction back in 19He also established the relationship between the transfer of information and entropy which was what lead to being able to develop the means to separate radioactive elements as well as isotopes. He was also one of the first scientists who recognized the significance of nuclear fission which was the key element behind the development of atomic weapons used by the United States.

Early Life and Educational Background

Born in 1989, on the eleventh day of February, he was the son of an engineer and a member of one of the more affluent Jewish families back then. His name had originally been Leo Spitz, but it was changed to Szilard in the year 1900.
As a child, his interest in Physics came at an early age of just 13 years old—considering how advanced his interests were for his age. He was attending the public school of Budapest before he was drafted to become one of the members of the 1917 Austro-Hungarian army.
While he was in the army, he had been sent to the officer’s training school but was spared of having to engage in active duty because he had influenza. When the war ended, he stayed in Budapest but this set up didn’t last long because of political unrest in the area as well as lack of better educational opportunities. Because of these reasons, he went to Berlin in 1919.
During his time in Berlin, he took engineering courses in the Technische Hochschule or the Institute of Technology. His main interest had still been physics and he had been drawn to the works of the great minds of physics such as Albert Einstein, Erwin Schroedinger, Max Von Laue, Fritz Haber, Walter Nernst, and Max Planck. Most of these physicists had also been teaching in Berlin during those days.
Szilard later on gave up his courses in engineering in the year 1921, and studied physics in the University of Berlin where he was one of the students of renowned physicist Max von Laue. A year later, Szilard earned his cum laude doctorate after his submission of his dissertation called “Uber die thermodynamischen Schwankungserscheinungen” where he discussed the Second Law of Thermodynamics and how it affected not just mean values but the fluctuating values as well. The ideas from his dissertation are now the bases of modern theories.


After he completed his doctorate, he worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin along with Hermann Mark, a chemist who is well known for his contributions for the progress of polymer science. During this time, the studies conducted by Szilard focused on how X-rays scattered in crystals as well as the polarization of the same rays when reflected by crystals.
During the years 1925-1933, he had been working with none other than Albert Einstein and together they applied for numerous patents for their collaborative work. One of their more famous patents had been the refrigeration system which they based on pumping metals through a moving magnetic field. Their interest during that time was to catch the attention of A.E.G.—a company which is also known as the German General Electric company, and they hoped that the company would produce a refrigerator to be based on the patent they had. While this refrigerator was never really produced the same refrigeration system they created was used in 1942 to come up with an atomic reactor.
Szilard transferred to England in 1933—the same time when Adolf Hitler also rose to power. There, he had his collaborations with T.A. Chalmers where they came up with the Szilard-Chalmers process. This is the technique where stable isotopes and radioactive elements were separated. Most of his activities during his stay in London had been to have patents for his inventions, as these patents help improve his income through the help of the firm named Claremont, Haynes, and Company. During that time, he was able to influence Sir William Beveridge to establish the Academic Assistance Council, which aimed to help the prosecuted scientists to leave then Nazi Germany. From 1935 to 1937, Szilard had been one of the research physicists of the Clarendon Laboratory in the Oxford University.

The Nuclear Chain Reaction

During his time in London, he first attempted to create the nuclear chain reaction by using indium and beryllium which did not achieve the desired effects. The patent for his nuclear chain reaction was assigned to the British Admiralty with the idea of keeping it secret in mind. Along with Enrico Fermi, Szilard also co-held the patent for the nuclear reactor.
After that time, he moved to Manhattan for research to be done at the Columbia University and shortly after, Fermi went to join him in 19In 1939, Szilard along with other scientists namely Fermi, Otto Frisch, Lise Meitner, Fritz Strassman, and Otto Hahn, they were able to conclude how uranium can sustain the chemical reaction they were looking for. With Fermi, Szilard was able to deduce how uranium can be used to sustain chain reactions and that it can be used for nuclear weapons. When they realized this, Szilard also understood what their discovery implied—that it could cause much grief for the world when used in the wrong ways.

Szilard’s Ideas and Views Concerning Nuclear Weapons

He read H.G. Wells’ The World Set Free—a novel which had made a great impact on his thoughts. As a man of science, it was also Szilard who first conceived the possibility of having a device which uses the nuclear chain reaction to come up with a bomb. However, since he was a survivor of economic and political strife in Hungary, he had developed an unending passion for preserving the human life as well as maintaining freedom—even for communicating ideas.
He had advocated not using atomic bombs, knowing how it would also affect not just those considered as “enemies” but civilians and innocents. He had hoped that the mere thought of such a weapon could make Japan and Germany surrender. However, the atomic bombs used in Nagasaki and Hiroshima were still used despite the protests from Szilard as well as other scientists who grasped the complete idea of how it would affect the people in the area where the bombs eventually fell.

Who is Leon Foucault: Biography

There have been so many physicians in the past century and sometimes, they fade into obscurity but one name that is remembered up until today is that of Leon Foucault. He was a physicist from France who was perhaps most famous for a demonstration he using the Foucault pendulum-a delightful device that was able to demonstrate the outcome of the rotation made by the Earth. He was also one of the earliest scientists to attempt to measure light speed and he was the same person who firs found out about eddy currents. Although he wasn’t the one to invent the gyroscope, he was credited for naming it. Recently, search engine giant Google honored the scientist’s 194th birthday by depicting the Foucault pendulum on their daily Google doodle offering.

His early years

Jean Bernard Leon Foucault was born in Paris on 18, September 1819 and his father as a publisher. During the first years of his life, he mostly stayed at home and was home schooled but once he was done with that he moved on to study medicine. However, he developed a blood phobia and ditched medicine in favor of studying physics.
During that time, Louis Daguerre, also a Frenchman, had come out with a photographic process called the “daguerreotype” and it was this photographic process that Foucault paid more attention to. He was looking for a way to improve on the Louis Daguerre photography process and sought to make it better. He also became the experimental assistant of one Alfred Donne who worked with during the course of his lectures concerning the subject of microscopic anatomy.
Leon Foucault also teamed up with a man named Hippolyte Fizeau and together, they carried out several studies on the intensity of the sun’s light as compared to other types of light. During the course of their investigations, they managed to compare to light from carbon coming from an arc lamp plus that of the lime coming from the flame produced by an oxyhydrogen blow pipe. They also carried out studies on the effect of infrared radiation and on rays of light that differed greatly in their path lengths. Studies on chromatic polarization of light were also conducted.

His middle years

In the year 1850, Leon Foucault conducted an experiment with the use of the Fizeau-Foucault apparatus so he could measure the light speed. This study he conducted was then named the Fizeau-Foucault experiment and most people thought it was all that was needed to be the end of Newton’s corpuscular theory of light since Foucault’s study confirmed the idea that light does indeed travel more slowly in water compared to when it travels through air.
A year after that in Paris, he provided en experiment on diurnal motion or how the earth moved on its axis. In 1661, the same set up for the experiment had been conducted by Vincenzo Viviani but it was a process that was attributed more to Foucault. He was able to achieve success by using a heavy and long pendulum attached to the Pantheon’s roof and this was how he was able to demonstrate the rotation of the place of oscillation.
The experiment was a success and amazed both the masses and the academic crowd. It wasn’t too long before “Foucault pendulums” were seen hanging in the biggest cities in Europe and also in America where they attracted huge crowds. A year after that, he made use of (and named!) gyroscopes in simpler experimental processes. By the year 1855, he was given the Copley Medal by the Royal Society in recognition of his remarkable experiments and researches. In the earlier part of that year, he was given the role of physicist in the imperial observatory located in Paris.
September of that year, he made a remarkable discovery and it was the force needed for the rotation of copper discs become so much greater if they are made to turn with their rims placed between magnet poles. He also found that the discs started heating up and it was all because of the eddy current that were forced on the copper.
In the year 1857, he went to work on the polarizer and the year after that, he was able to come up with a way to test the mirror used in telescopes so its shape can be determined. This experiment was given the name Foucault knife-edge test and it allowed workers to determine if a mirror was spherical in deviation or not. Before he come up with the process, testing mirrors and their shapes was more was more guesswork than anything else.

His later years

In the year 1862, he was asked to become a member of the Bureau des Longitudes and also gained membership to the Legion of Honour where he was an officer. Two years after that in the year 1864, he was made a member of the Royal Society of London. A year later, he was admitted as a member of the mechanical section of the Royal Society of London and in the same year, he published papers on his findings and modifications of the governor of James Watts. He had been spending a lot of time on experiments to come up with the correct view that would make come up with a more constant revolution period and he was also hard at work coming up with a novel device that would be used to regulate electric light.
He was able to show people a way to view the sun without injuring the eye and all took was to place a transparent silver film on the outer corner on the object glass use in such telescopes. Towards the end of his life, it was said he went back into the arms of the Roman Catholic Church which he had abandoned during his younger years.

His Death

He died on 11 February 1868 and was buried inside the Montmartre cemetery in Paris. It was said that the cause of his death was probably due to severe multiple sclerosis.
He was such a great man though that his name is one of 72 that are inscribed on the beams that make up the Eiffel tower and he also has an asteroid named after him and it is the 5668 Foucault.

Who is Leonardo da Vinci: Biography

More commonly known as the greatest artist in the history of mankind, Leonardo da Vinci was also a magnificent philosopher and scientist. The most influential figure in the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo is widely considered to be an inventive multi-genius. Countless sketches describe that Leonardo had found out the basis for many inventions that were understood hundreds of years after his death.

Early Life and Education:

Born in 1452 in Vinci, Italy, Leonardo was the illegitimate child of Ser Piero da Vinci, a notary, and Caterina, a country girl. He stayed with his father’s family and they moved to Florence when he was just At the tender age of 14, Leonardo started out his artist’s apprenticeship at the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488), an Italian sculptor, goldsmith and painter. The young Leonardo earned a place into the painter’s guild in 1472 when he was just 20 years old. At 26, he became an expert painter and owned a separate studio.

Contributions and Accomplishments:

The art of painting made Leonardo knowledgable about anatomy and perspective. In addition to painting, Verrocchio’s studio also offered technical and mechanical arts and sculpture. Leonardo had developed an interest in architecture so he went on to study engineering. His versatile and originative nature was born of a desire to promote creativity.
After a decade of highly original work as an artist, Leonardo wrote to several wealthy men in 1482 to help finance his projects. The Duke of Milan, Lodovico Sforza (1452-1508), accepted his offer as Leonardo told him that he could design useful war weapons like guns and mines, and also structures like collapsible bridges. He lived in Milan with the Duke from 1482 to 1409, reportedly creating very innovational war machines. He also did painting and sculpture, as well as urban planning for large-scale water projects. His advice was sought for various projects related to architecture, military affairs and fortifications. There, he also wrote about making a telescope to view the moon.
Most of Leonardo’s sketches and paintings depict a scientific phenomenon with an artistic and creative approach. On the other hand, his anatomical findings, including information about the structure of muscles and blood vessels, were surprisingly precise. His legendary masterpiece, Mona Lisa (1503-1506), is said to have an unusual smile which depicts how the muscles of the face function to make a smile. Leonardo also planned to create a mechanical flying machine. Leonardo discovered that flying, contrary to the popular notion, by attaching a pair of wings to a person’s arms and then flapping them like a bird, is simply not possible. He concluded that by using levers, the wings of a flying structure could be controlled.
Leonardo also created a sketch of an early helicopter that even featured a preventive parachute. He, however, believed that his flying machines were not executable, partly because of his lack of knowledge about bird flight. As a result, he started studying animal anatomy, particularly of birds and bats.
When France attacked Italy in 1944, Leonardo came back to Florence after the subsequent downfall of the Duke of Milan.
After his return, he became fully engaged in mathematical studies. Leonardo also accepted an invitation by the Duke of Valencia, Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), to work as a senior military architect and general engineer. During his tenure, he analyzed geology and proposed to divert the Arno River and develop a canal that would allow Florence access to the sea.

Later Life and Death:

Leonardo was approached by King Francis I of France (1494-1547) who gifted him a beautiful and peaceful castle near Amboise in the Loire Valley. This is the place where he completed some of his unfinished paintings. Some of his undeveloped ideas also include designs for a canal to link up two rivers that would have made a water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Leonardo foresaw that the world would be swallowed up by massive floods in the years to come. His brilliant series of drawings display water in violent motion.
Leonardo da Vinci died at Amboise, Central France, on May 2, 15He was 67 years old.

Who is Leonhard Euler: Biography

Leonhard Euler was an eminent Swiss mathematician and physicist, who is widely credited to be one of the founders of pure mathematics. He made significant contributions to modern analytic geometry and trigonometry. Euler’s critical and formative work revolutionized the fields of calculus, geometry and number theory.

Early Life and Education:

Leonhard Euler’s father wished to see his son as a clergyman. He attended the University of Basel, where he soon developed an interest in geometry. Therefore, Euler, with support from his future teacher, Johann Bernoulli, persuaded his father to persue mathematics.

Contributions and Achievements:

Leonhard Euler became a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Science in 17He also worked for Russian Navy from 1727 to 1730 as a medical lieutenant. At the academy, Euler served as professor of physics in 1730, and three years later, became a professor of mathematics in 1733.
Euler published several articles during this time, and his book “Mechanica” (1736-37), which was the first work to portray Newtonian dynamics in the form of mathematical analysis, earned him worldwide fame as a prominent mathematician. He joined the Berlin Academy of Science in 1741 on the invitation of Frederick the Great. However, the two never got on well with each other. Nevertheless, Euler wrote more than 200 articles, three books regarding mathematical analysis, and a famous scientific publication “Letters to a Princess of Germany” during his stay at Berlin.
Euler made groundbreaking contributions to analytic geometry, trigonometry, calculus and number theory. He was the first person to integrate Leibniz’s differential calculus and Newton’s method of fluxions into mathematical analysis, and to state the prime number theorem and the law of biquadratic reciprocity when it came to number theory. He published about 886 books and papers and still remains the most prolific writer of mathematics in history.

Later Life and Death:

Leonhard Euler died of a brain hemorrhage in 17He was 76 years old. Euler was buried next to his first wife, Katharina, at the Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery.

Who is Lester R. Brown: Biography

In a world where there is an increasing awareness over the condition of the Earth and the environment, there is one man that stands out as one of the most prominent and leading thinkers of the time. This man is Lester Russell Brown and he has made quite a number of contributions to understanding and analyzing environmental issues. He is indeed one of the leading experts on the subject of environmental science and this is where you will learn more about the man and his work.

Who is Lester R. Brown?

Lester R. Brown is an environmental analyst born on March 28, 1934 in the USA. He is the founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute and he is also the founder of the Worldwatch Institute. Earth Policy Institute is a non-profit organization focused on research and is based in Washington D.C. Radio commentator for BBC Peter Day calls Lester Brown one of the great pioneer environmentalists.
He has authored and co-authored more than 5 books focused on global environmental issues and problems. His works are so profound that they have been translated to more than 40 languages. His most recent book is entitled Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. This was published 2 years ago in September 2012.
Lester Brown places an emphasis on the geopolitical effects brought about by the astronomical speeds in which the prices of grain are shooting up. He has said that one of the biggest threats to global stability would have to be the shortage of food in poor countries. He has even warned that this very issue of lack of food in poor countries could very well bring down civilization. When interviewed by Foreign Policy magazine, he explained how the “new geopolitics of food” has already begun to bring about revolutions and upheavals in 2011 in various countries where there is a decided lack of food.
He has been honored with other 26 honorary degrees and a MacArthur Fellowship. On top of that, he has also been described as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers” by the Washington Post. Back in 1978, he already began to give warnings of the dangers of abusing nature. He stated this in his book The 29th Day. He says that by overfishing oceans, turning agricultural lands into deserts, and stripping forests, people are hastening their own demise. Back in 1986, his personal papers were requested by the Library of Congress; they noted that his writings have affected their thinking of views on world population and resources. Former US president Bill Clinton also suggested that it would do everyone good to listen to what Brown has to say and follow his advice. In 2003, the Humanist Manifesto was put out and he was one of the signatories.
During the mid-70s, he helped start the concept of sustainable development and this happened during a career in farming. Since that time, he has received many awards and prices that include the United Nations Environment Prize in 1978, the World Wide Fund for Nature gold medal in 1989 and many more awards and prizes. You might surmise that his is one of the most important works to date and it does seem like a given that he be a recipient of all those rewards.

His Early Life

Lester Brown was raised in a farm where they had no electricity and running water. This far was located in New Jersey in Bridgeton near the Delaware River. He was a voracious reader and started to read at a very young age; he was fascinated by World War II and would resort to borrowing day old newspapers from the neighboring farm just to catch up on some news. Aside from reading old newspapers, he also had a penchant for reading biographies. He loved to read about the lives of the founding fathers like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver etc. Since he was a kid, he worked at the farm by pulling weeds, cleaning stables and milking cows. He was also a rather enterprising child and he and his younger brother, Carl, got involved in various businesses like growing chickens and pheasants to sell.
In 1951 they got involved in the tomato business and this tiny venture eventually grew to be one of the largest in New Jersey. They had sales of over 690,000kg per year. Later on, Brown would say that farming is really all he wanted to do and that one had to know soil, weather, entomology, plant pathology, management, and a bit of politics to be good at it.

His Education and Career

He earned his degree in agricultural science back in 1955 in Rutgers University. He was part of the International Farm Youth Exchange Program where he spent 6 months living in Rural India. This was where he learned all about population issues and its effects on food. David De Leon, a biographer, noted that it was Brown’s experience in India that changed his life. He went back to the US and continued to grow tomatoes but it no longer appealed to him as much.
Lester Brown decided instead to work on global food issues so he went to try and find a job at the USDA and the FAS. These two agencies told him that he would need a degree in agricultural economics before they could hire him so he took a 9-month MA course at the University of Maryland and joined FAS in 19He was hired as an international agriculturalist in their Asia branch. A year after he took the job, he went on leave to take an MA in Public Administration.
In 1963, he published his book Man, Land, and Food which was the first complete projection of world food, land resources, and population until the end of the century. He has a lot of works and a lot of talks but there is a prevailing theme in everything he does. He warns that unless mankind changes how it treats the environment then it could very well be working towards its own end.

Sources: Famous Scientists


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