Lise Meitner :… Louis Agassiz :… Louis De Broglie :… Louis Pasteur :… Scientists › Multiposts

Biographies of Famous Scientists

Biographies of Famous Scientists, his life and achievements

Biographies of Famous Scientists:

  1. Who is Lise Meitner : Biography
  2. Who is Louis Agassiz : Biography
  3. Who is Louis de Broglie : Biography
  4. Who is Louis Pasteur : Biography
  5. Who is Ludwig Boltzmann : Biography
  6. Who is Lucretius : Biography
  7. Who is Luigi Galvani : Biography
  8. Who is Luis Alvarez : Biography
  9. Who is Luther Burbank : Biography
  10. Who is Lynn Margulis : Biography
  11. Who is Mae Carol Jemison : Biography
  12. Who is Marcello Malpighi : Biography
  13. Who is Marguerite Perey : Biography
  14. Who is Maria Gaetana Agnesi : Biography
  15. Who is Maria Goeppert-Mayer : Biography
  16. Who is Maria Mitchell : Biography
  17. Who is Marie Curie : Biography
  18. Who is Mario Molina : Biography
  19. Who is Mary Anning : Biography

Who is Lise Meitner : Biography

Lise Meitner was an Austrian-born, later Swedish, physicist who shared the Enrico Fermi Award in 1966, with fellow chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, for their collaborative work on the discovery of uranium fission. She remains one of the most important figures in the fields of radioactivity and nuclear physics. The name of the chemical element, meitnerium (Mt), was suggested in Meitner’s honor, who is also widely credited as the discoverer of protactinium.

Early Life and Education:

Born into a prosperous Jewish family in Vienna, Lise Meitner’s father was a prominent Jewish lawyer in Austria. She chose to convert to Christianity, being baptized in 19
Heavily motivated and influenced by her mentor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Meitner studied physics, becoming the second woman to earn a doctoral degree in physics from the University of Vienna in 19

Contributions and Achievements:

After coming to Berlin for further education and research work, Lise Meitner started working on the new field of radioactivity with Otto Hahn. Her partnership and friendship with Hahn lasted a lifetime. Meitner and Hahn discovered a new radioactive element, protactinium, in 19Meitner is probably best known for explaining, with another fellow physicist Otto Robert Frisch, some strange experimental results. They had concluded that the nucleus had actually split in two halves, that later became known as the process of fission.
She did not share the Nobel Prize for this discovery which was simply absurd, because it was her discovery of fission that led to creation of the atomic bomb and to more peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Later Life and Death:

Lise Meitner died on October 27, 1968 in Cambridge, England. She was 89 years old.

Who is Louis Agassiz : Biography

Louis Agassiz is a man of many hats with a number of credentials under his belt. He was a Swiss-born biologist, physician, geologist, teacher, and most importantly, a prominent innovator in the field of the study of natural sciences. His landmark work on the glacier activity and extinct fishes were his revolutionary contributions.
Agassiz grew up in Switzerland and went on to become a professor at the University of Neuchâtel teaching natural history. Later, he accepted a professorship at Harvard University where he gained fame through his innovative teaching style which altered the natural science education method in the US.

Early Life and Education

Louis Agassiz was born on May 28, 1807 in Môtier in the village of Fribourg, Switzerland. It is the western, French-speaking part of the country. His father Jean Louis Rodolphe who was the last of a line of seven Protestant clergymen was responsible in instilling in him his religious qualities while his mother Rose Mayor Agassiz encouraged young Louis’s interest in science. Louis was home-schooled in the beginning and went to Bienne to finish his four years of secondary education. He completed his elementary years in Lausanne.
He studied at the universities of Zürich, Heidelberg, and Munich pursuing medicine as his profession. However, he extended his knowledge by studying natural history specifically botany. In 1829, he obtained the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Erlangen. The following year, he received another doctorate degree, Doctor of Medicine, at Munich.
Agassiz went to Paris on December 16, 1831 where Alexander von Humboldt and Georges Cuvier became his mentors and who were responsible in launching his geology and zoology careers respectively. While his previous studies were not focused on ichthyology, not long after it became the center throughout his life’s career.
Agassiz married twice. His first, to whom he had three children, died Switzerland. In 1850, he married for the second time to Elizabeth Cabot Cary who hailed from Boston. Once settled in the US, his two daughters and son named Alexander joined him in America.

Work and Career

In 1832, after the death of Cuvier who the most famous naturalist in Europe at that time and through von Humboldt’s help, Agassiz secured a teaching profession at the University of Neuchâtel back in Switzerland which is not very far from Agassiz’s place of birth. For the next thirteen years, he devoted most of his time working on several projects in paleontology, systematics, and glaciology. It was through these works that he became a strong proponent of the theory that Ice Age had once gripped the Earth.
He went on to complete his book, Recherches sur les poissons fossiles which put together all information about fossil fishes at that time. The book, which was illustrated chiefly by Joseph Dinkel, served as an inspiration to launch future research on extinct life of all kinds. During his term at Neuchâtel, Agassiz also completed the Nomenclator Zoologicus in the years 1842-18It was a vast classified list of all generic names employed in zoological nomenclature that went back as far as the time of Linnaeus.
As Agassiz’s descriptive work continued, so was his need for financial assistance. Fortunately, the British Association came to the rescue, and the Earl of Ellesmere who was at that time was Lord Francis Egerton also helped him with his needs.
In 1836, Agassiz was awarded the Wollaston Medal by the council of the Geological society of London for his fossil ichthyology work. Two years later, he was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Society.
Agassiz expanded his interest and study on invertebrate animals. He issued the “Prodrome” of a monograph on the recent and fossil Echinodermata in 18The first part was published the following year. Agassiz published the second part in 1839 to 1940 while the last part, the Critical Studies on Fossil Mollusks (Etudes critiques sur les mollusques fossils) was issued in 1840 to 18

His Time in the United States

Agassiz travelled to the United States in the autumn of 1846 with the aid of a grant of money from the King of Prussia. His twin purposes were to study the natural history and geology of North America and to deliver lectures by invitation from J. A. Lowell at the Lowell Institute in Boston.
His lecture was such a great success that he was later offered a professorship at Harvard University, which he accepted due to the scientific as well as financial advantages the work presented. He settled in Boston where he remained until the end of his life. In 1846, Agassiz was elected as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and sciences.
Agassiz became one of the first American biologists who had gained fame internationally. In Harvard, he had the chance to mentor future prominent scientists and was perhaps the most influential figure in the 19th century on the future course of American zoology and geology. He was most remembered though at Harvard for his Ice Age theories and for never accepting the theory of natural selection.
Agassiz’s lecture engagements at the Lowell Institute led to the establishment of the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University in 1847 in which he was the head. At Harvard where he was appointed zoology and geology professor, he founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1859 and served as the first director until he died in 18
While serving as faculty at Harvard, Agassiz also served as a non-resident lecturer at Cornell University. In 1852, he accepted a teaching post at Charlestown, Massachusetts teaching comparative anatomy. He, however, resigned after teaching for two years. It was around this time that his scientific study stopped although he remained a big influence on many future prominent scientists. In 1857, Henry Wadsworth, a good friend, wrote “The fiftieth birthday of Agassiz” in his honor.

Last Few Years

In the 1960s, Agassiz was afflicted by an illness making him decide to return to the field for relaxation as well as to resume his studies of Brazilian fish. An account of one of his excursions, an expedition to Brazil, was published in 18A couple of years after, Agassiz once again travelled to South America on its southern Atlantic and Pacific seaboards exploring the Magellan Strait. This particular expedition was praised by Charles Darwin, although Agassiz was known to be the former’s lifelong opponent on the theory of evolution.
During the last years of his life, Agassiz worked to establish a permanent school for the pursuit of zoological science. In 1873, John Anderson, a private philanthropist, gave him the island of Penikese, in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts along with $50,000 to establish the practical school devoted to the study of marine zoology. It however collapsed not long after Agassiz death on December 14, 18
Agassiz had made several contributions to science. And yet he was humble about his achievements when he wrote the following in 1869, “I have devoted my whole life to the study of Nature, and yet a single sentence may express all that I have done. I have shown that there is a correspondence between the succession of Fishes in geological times and the different stages of their growth in the egg — that is all.”

Who is Louis de Broglie : Biography

Louis de Broglie (In full:Louis-Victor-Pierre-Raymond, 7e duc de Broglie) was an eminent French physicist. He gained worldwide acclaim for his groundbreaking work on quantum theory. In his 1924 thesis, he discovered the wave nature of electrons and suggested that all matter have wave properties. He won the 1929 Nobel Prize for Physics.

Early Life and Education:

Born in Dieppe, France in 1892, Louis de Broglie grew up in a rich, aristocratic family. He chose to study history after passing out of school in 19Broglie soon gained an interest in science and acquired a degree in physics in 19During the World War I, he was enlisted in the French Army. He was posted in Eiffel Tower, where he had plenty of time to carry out experiments in radio communications and engineering. After the war, Broglie started working with his brother, Maurice, in his lab.

Contributions and Achievements:

Most of the work in Maurice’s lab involved X-rays, which made him think about the dual nature of light; more particularly the wave–particle duality. Broglie soon suggested in his thesis for a doctorate degree that matter, also, might behave in a similar manner. When the French Academy became aware of his theory of electron waves, it caught Albert Einstein’s attention, who had high praise for Broglie’s bold ideas. That inspired the birth of wave mechanics.
Broglie’s theory resolved and offered an explanation to a question that was brought up by calculations of the motion of electrons within the atom. It was later independently proved in 1927 by G.P. Thomson and Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer that matter actually could show wave-like characteristics. Louis de Broglie won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physics for his amazing work.
Broglie stayed at the Sorbonne after earning his doctorate, being appointed a professor of theoretical physics at the newly-established Henri Poincaré Institute in 1928, where he remained until his retirement in 19

Later Life and Death:

Louis de Broglie acted as an adviser to the French Atomic Energy Commissariat after 19He won the Kalinga Prize by UNESCO in 1952, and became a foreign member of the British Royal Society, as well as the French Academy of Sciences.
Broglie died on March 19, 1987 in Louveciennes, France. He was 94 years old.

Who is Louis Pasteur : Biography

Early Life:

If one were to choose among the greatest supporter of humanity, Louis Pasteur would certainly rank at the top. Louis Pasteur was a world renowned French chemist and biologist born on December 27, 1822 in the town of Dole in Eastern France into the family of a poor tanner. Pasteur’s work gave birth to many branches of science, and he was single handedly responsible for some of the most important theoretical concepts and practical applications of modern science. Pasteur’s achievements seem varied at first glance, but a more in-depth look at the evolution of his career specifies that there is a logical order to his discoveries.
He is respected for possessing the most important qualities of a scientist, the ability to survey all the known data and link the data for all possible hypotheses, the patience and drive to conduct experiments under strictly controlled conditions, and the brilliance to uncover the road to the solution from the results.
The young Pasteur worked hard during his student days he was not considered to be exceptional in any way at chemistry. He spent several years teaching and carrying out research at Dijon and Strasbourg and in 1854 moved to the University of Lille where he became professor of chemistry.

Contributions and Achievements:

When Pasteur started working as a chemist, he resolved a problem concerning the nature of tartaric acid (1849). Pasteur observed that the organic compound tartrate, when synthesized in a laboratory, was optically inactive (unable to rotate the plane of polarized light), unlike the tartrate from grapes, because the synthetic tartrate is composed of two optically asymmetric crystals. With cautious experimentation, he succeeded in separating the asymmetric crystals from each other and showed that each recovered optical activity. He then hypothesized that this molecular asymmetry is one of the mechanisms of life.
The mystery was that tartaric acid derived by chemical synthesis had no such effect, even though its chemical reactions were identical and its elemental composition was the same. In other words, living organisms only produce molecules that are of one specific orientation, and these molecules are always optically active. This was the first time anyone had demonstrated such a thing.
Pasteur founded the science of microbiology and proved that most infectious diseases are caused by micro-organisms. This became known as the “germ theory” of disease. The germ theory was the foundation of numerous applications, such as the large scale brewing of beer, wine-making and other antiseptic operations. Another significant discovery facilitated by the germ theory was the nature of contagious diseases. Pasteur’s intuited that if germs were the cause of fermentation, they could just as well be the cause of contagious diseases. This proved to be true for many diseases such as potato blight, silkworm diseases, and anthrax.
After studying the characteristics of germs and viruses that caused diseases, he and others found that laboratory manipulations of the infectious agents can be used to immunize people and animals. This treatment proved to work and saved countless lives and because of his study in germs, Pasteur encouraged many doctors to sanitize their hands and equipment before surgery.
Pasteur had a good theoretical understanding of microbes. He sought to apply his findings to the practical problem of stopping wine from spoiling. As many families depended on the wine industry for their livelihoods, and the French economy was heavily dependent on wine exports, this was a big problem. Pasteur achieved success by slightly modifying the process used with the broth. Boiling the wine would alter its flavour. Therefore, Pasteur heated the wine enough to kill most of the microbes present without changing the flavour. Chilling prevented any microbes left from multiplying.
To his great delight, Pasteur found that this process could also prevent milks from turning sour and preserve many other foodstuffs as well. Thus he became the inventor of a new process known as pasteurization which brought him more fame and recognition. Besides this Pasteur also developed vaccines for several diseases including rabies. The discovery of the vaccine for rabies led to the founding of the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 18
On the discipline of rigid and strict experimental tests he commented, “Imagination should give wings to our thoughts but we always need important experimental proof, and when the moment comes to draw conclusions and to understand the gathered observations, imagination must be checked and documented by the factual results of the experiment. All of these achievements point to singular brilliance and perseverance in Pasteur’s nature. Pasteur’s name lives on in the microbiological research institute in Paris that bears his name, the Institute Pasteur and continues to be today as a center of microbiology and immunology.

Who is Ludwig Boltzmann : Biography

Ludwig Boltzmann was an Austrian physicist whose efforts radically changed several branches of physics. He is mostly noted for his role in the development of statistical mechanics and the statistical explanation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Early Life and Education:

Born in Vienna on February 20, 1844, Ludwig Boltzmann’s fater was a tax official. He earned his PhD degree in 1866 at the University of Vienna.

Contributions and Achievements:

Ludwig Boltzmann taught mathematics, experimental physics and theoretical physics at several universities, but theoretical physics was his main passion. He wrote his famous travelogue “Reise eines deutschen Professors ins Eldorado” during this time.
Boltzmann’s scientific approach was to attack the problem. He explained the second law of thermodynamics in the early 1870s on the basis of the atomic theory of matter. He demonstrated that the second law could be interpreted by blending the laws of mechanics, applied to the motions of the atoms, with the theory of probability. He clarified that the second law is an essentially statistical law. He formulated most of the structure of statistical mechanics, which was later researched by the mathematical physicist Josiah Willard Gibbs.
In addition to his contributions to statistical mechanics, Boltzmann made detailed calculations in the kinetic theory of gases. He was probably the first person to understand the significance of James Clerk Maxwell‘s theory of electromagnetism, on which he wrote a two-volume treatise. Boltzmann also worked on a derivation for black-body radiation based on the Stefan’s law, which was later termed by Hendrik Antoon Lorentz as “a true pearl of theoretical physics”. His work in statistical mechanics was vocally criticized by Wilhelm Ostwald and the energeticists who disregarded atoms and based physical science exclusively on energy conditions. They were unable to understand the statistical nature of Boltzmann’s logic.
His ideas were supported by the later discoveries in atomic physics in the early 1900, for instance Brownian motion, which can only be explained by statistical mechanics.

Later Life and Death:

Ludwig Boltzmann was greatly demoralized due to the harsh criticism of his work. He committed suicide on September 5, 1906 at Duino, Italy by hanging himself. He was 62 years old.

Who is Lucretius : Biography

Lucretius was a Roman poet and philosopher who wrote “De rerum natura” (On the Nature of Things), an epic poem widely regarded as one of the most influential works in history of literature, philosophy and science. In addition to his doctrinal and scientific impact, Lucretius exterted a profounded influence on countless later philosophers and scientists.


Very little is known about the life of Lucretius. He was born in 99 BC, according to most accounts. Jerome, a prominent Roman clergyman, wrote that a love potion had driven him insane. After writing some highly influential books in lucid intervals, Lucretius eventually committed suicide.

Contributions and Achievements:

Probably one of the most influential works by Lucretius was his didactic poem, “De rerum natura” (On the Nature of Things), that consisted of six volumes. He wrote about diverse things such as atoms and the void, our modes of perception, and our will. He discussed the origin of the world and life, the causes of earthquakes, while reflecting on art, language, science and religion. The poem also talked about a variety of diverse scientific topics such as cosmology, mental illness, nutrition, clouds, the seasons, eclipses, magnet and poisoning.
Lucretius was one of the first persons to discover that everything in this universe, ranging from planets and stars to mountains, decay. Centuries before the second law of thermodynamics, he predicted that one day “the walls of the sky will be stormed on every side, and will collapse into a crumbling ruin… Nothing exists but acorns and the void.” He rejected the idea of after-life, and stated that the body was made up of atoms and governed by the laws of nature.


Lucretius died in 55 BC. He was around 44 years old.

Who is Luigi Galvani : Biography

Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician and physicist. One of the early pioneers of bioelectricity, he is known for his extraordinary work on the nature and effects of electricity in an animal tissue, which later led to the invention of the voltaic pile.

Early Life and Education:

Born at Bologna, Italy, on September 9, 1737, Luigi Galvani, like his father, acquired a degree in medicine from Bologna’s medical school.

Contributions and Achievements:

Galvani took a job of comparative anatomist and gained fame for his research on the genitourinary tract of birds. In 1762, he became a lecturer of anatomy at the University of Bologna. During a random experiment on November 6, 1787, Galvani discovered that a frog muscle could be made to contract by placing an iron wire to the muscle and a copper wire to the nerve. He built an instrument in which a frog’s nerve was attached to an electrode of one metal, and an electrode of a different metal was attached with the frog muscle. He was well aware of the fact that an animal body grew convulsive movements when electricity was applied to it.
The discovery played a historical role in bioelectricity as it proved that electricity was not direct in its action. He established that it did not flow directly from the conductor into the frog muscle but was discharged from the conductor to another element in what he termed as a “metallic arc”. A few years later, Alessandro Volta’s findings disputed his discovery and maintained that animal electricity did not exist.
While Galvani remained silent on the controversy, scholarly opinion was divided on the subject. Finally, in 1843, Emil du Bois-Reymond successfully measured the injury potential from frog muscle; therefore, putting an end to it.

Later Life and Death:

Galvani died on December 4, 1798 in his childhood house in Bologna. He was 61 years old.

Who is Luis Alvarez : Biography

Luis Alvarez was a Nobel Prize winning physicist, who is probably most famous for the discovery of the iridium layer and his theory that the mass extinction of dinosaurs was caused by an asteroid or comet colliding with Earth. Besides doing the normal work you might expect of a physics professor, Alvarez took on more unusual projects, like making use of cosmic rays to search for hidden chambers in an Egyptian pyramid.

Early Life and Education

Luis Walter Alvarez was born on June 13, 1911, in San Francisco, California. His father, Walter Clement Alvarez, was a doctor who wrote a large number of medical books. His mother was Harriet Smyth.
He began his education in San Francisco, first at Madison School, then at San Francisco Polytechnic High School. In 1926, when he was 15, his father changed jobs and the family moved to Rochester, Minnesota. Luis Alvarez graduated from Rochester High School, then started a Bachelor of Science course at the University of Chicago in 1928, intending to major in chemistry.
After a couple of years, his grades in chemistry were not as good as he had hoped; he was scoring B grades for his work, and he had also grown much more interested in physics, so he decided to major in physics instead. He graduated with a B.S. in physics in 1932, then continued as a graduate student at Chicago, where he was awarded a master’s degree in 1934, and a Ph.D. in physics in 19
Even at the beginning of his time as a graduate student, Alvarez was at the cutting-edge of physics. His doctoral advisor was Arthur Compton, winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery that electromagnetic radiation, such as visible light, has particle-like properties.
In 1932, Alvarez built an array of Geiger counters that he put to use studying cosmic rays. In 1933, using the data he had gathered, he and Compton published a paper in the Physical Review establishing that cosmic rays are positively charged particles. Compton gave much of the credit for the work to his young graduate student.
After completing his Ph.D. in 1936, Alvarez returned to his home state, beginning work as an experimental physicist at the University of California’s Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley.

Luis Alvarez’s Scientific Achievements

Luis Alvarez was a highly talented and highly imaginative experimental physicist. He had a particular talent for devising experiments that asked questions in such a way that mother nature felt compelled to give a good answer.
Some of his achievements were:

Establishing K-electron capture

One way in which radioactive atoms transform themselves into new elements is that their nuclei capture an orbiting electron. The electron combines with a proton to form a neutron. The atom now has one proton fewer than it used to, and so has become a new element.
This process had been predicted by theorists but never observed until in 1937 Alvarez devised a new experiment. He would look for the X-rays expected to be emitted by a nucleus after an electron had been captured. Alvarez’s experiment worked and K-electron capture became an established phenomenon in physics.
If carbon-10 could undergo K-electron capture, the result would be as shown above. A proton in the nucleus would capture an electron and be converted to a neutron; the nucleus would become boron-Luis Alvarez proved that K-electron capture was not just another theory – it actually happens.

The Cyclotron

Alvarez spent a lot of time at Berkeley working with the cyclotron (particle accelerator/atom smasher). He was able to prove that helium-3 is stable, although it had been predicted to be unstable.

Air Safety Improved by Ground-Controlled Approach

Alvarez was an enthusiastic pilot; he learned to fly in 19
In the early 1940s he invented the Microwave Phased Array Antenna. This was a form of radar that gave ground crew unparalleled precision in determining the position of an aircraft in flight. The invention allowed ground crew to give clear instructions to pilots as their aircraft approached runways preparing to land.
The system was particularly useful when visibility was poor, such as in fog, or other adverse weather, or when pilots were inexperienced. Alvarez’s invention was used by the military and civil authorities in various countries for decades, greatly enhancing air safety.
Alvarez’s ground-controlled approach radar allowed airplanes to be talked down by air traffic controllers when visibility was poor.

Detecting Nuclear Weapons Projects

In 1943, during World War 2, Alvarez was asked if it would be possible to detect if Germany had its own atom bomb project. He knew that atom bomb research and development produces radioactive gases, such as xenon-1These gases could be detected with the right equipment; and Alvarez was an equipment expert. He decided the best way would be to fly aircraft over Germany and try to detect these gases with radiation detectors. The flights took place and found no evidence that Germany had an atom bomb project. Alvarez’s method was used after the World War 2 to detect atomic research taking place around the world.

The Atomic Bomb

In 1944, Alvarez arrived at Los Alamos, New Mexico, to work on the Manhattan Project. There he devised an electrical detonation method for the plutonium bomb.
He and his graduate student Lawrence Johnston also designed equipment to measure the energy released by a nuclear explosion.
He and Johnston flew as the scientists in an observation aircraft to Japan when the bombs were dropped to measure how powerful the nuclear explosions had been.
Luis Alvarez devised the first method for discovering if a country is carrying out nuclear weapons research. He also devised the first method of measuring how powerful a nuclear explosion has been.

The Hydrogen Bubble Chamber, Discovery of New Subatomic Particles and the Nobel Prize

When the war was over, Luis Alvarez moved back to Berkeley as a full professor. He was soon busy again with experimental physics. It was becoming an exciting time to be in particle physics, and the atom smashers at Berkeley made it an ideal location for new discoveries.
When he had begun university in his late teens, only two fundamental particles had been known: the proton and the electron. By 1932, the year he completed his degree, the horizons of particle physics had widened greatly with the discovery of two new particles: the neutron, discovered by James Chadwick; and the positron, discovered by Carl Anderson.
Further discoveries – K mesons and hyperons – expanded the particle world in the late 1940s, and by 1950 the pion family of particles had become known.
These discoveries relied on a device called the cloud chamber, in which subatomic particles left vapor trails.
One day in 1953 Alvarez got talking to a young physicist. The young man was Donald Glaser. Over a meal at a conference, Glaser told Alverez about his new invention – the bubble chamber – which was an improved way of tracking subatomic particles. Glaser would go on to win the 1960 Nobel Prize for this invention.
Alvarez thought about what Glaser had told him. Glaser had used a bubble chamber filled with liquid ether. Alvarez decided that a bubble chamber filled with liquid hydrogen would be a perfect way of tracking particles coming out of an accelerator. The idea was that the liquid hydrogen would boil wherever a high energy particle passed through it, leaving a trail whose path would allow the particle’s properties to be calculated. By early 1954, Alvarez had put together a first, small-scale liquid hydrogen bubble chamber at Berkeley.
By 1956, a large chamber was in operation. In the late 1950s this chamber was used to discovery a variety of new particles and resonance states. Alvarez was awarded the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physics for the work he and his group had carried out. His prize award was: “for his decisive contributions to elementary particle physics, in particular the discovery of a large number of resonance states, made possible through his development of the technique of using hydrogen bubble chamber and data analysis.”
Fermilab image of tracks left by subatomic particles passing through a bubble chamber. Physicists can figure out the properties of particles by studying the trails they leave.

Using Radiation from Space to Search for Pyramid Chambers

The Pyramid of Chephren, with the Sphinx in the foreground. Image: Hamish2k.
In 1967, Alvarez had the ingenious idea that hidden chambers in Egypt’s pyramids could be revealed by making use of cosmic rays to take a X-ray type photo.
He placed a cosmic ray detector in an existing chamber below in the Pyramid of Chephren – the second largest of the Pyramids of Giza. The rate that cosmic rays arrived at the detector would reveal any spaces within the pyramid’s structure. Alvarez was able to study about one-fifth of the pyramid’s volume, but found no new chambers.

Dinosaur Death by Meteorite

Alvarez’s son Walter, like his father, had become a scientist.
Walter was a geologist, and one day in 1977 he decided to tell his father about a problem he had. His problem was called the K-T boundary, a gray colored layer of clay found in rocks.
This clay layer was unusual, because it was found all over the world, and it was the same age everywhere, meaning the layer had been made all over the world at exactly the same time – 65 million years ago.
And even better, from Luis’s perspective – because he loved scientific puzzles – was the fact that below the layer you could find dinosaur fossils in the rocks, but above the layer there were no dinosaur fossils. Dinosaurs and many other lifeforms that existed before this layer of clay was formed were extinct afterwards.
This was not a new problem. The boundary and the change of lifeforms on either side of it had been noticed in Paris in the early 1800s by Georges Cuvier, who had proposed that some catastrophic event had caused the clay layer. However, Cuvier’s ideas became unpopular because the new science of geology was governed by the uniformitarianism doctrine – the belief that all changes in the earth’s geology happen gradually.
Luis and Walter Alvarez at the boundary layer marking a mass extinction of life on Earth.
After discussing the problem, father and son started off with a rather modest goal.
They wanted to measure how long it took for the 1 centimeter deep layer Walter had been investigating in Italy to form.
Luis decided the best way to do this would be to measure how much of the chemical element iridium was present from the top through to the bottom of the layer.
Iridium in the earth’s crust comes mainly from meteorite impacts, and Luis had calculated the average amount of iridium that arrives on Earth each year from meteorites. Comparing iridium levels in the layer with typical iridium arrival rates would tell him how long it took for the layer to form.
Luis asked Frank Asaro, a nuclear chemist at the Lawrence Berkeley laboratory, to determine the iridium content of samples of gray clay from the K-T boundary layer. Asaro and his nuclear chemist colleague Helen Michel found much higher concentrations of iridium in the samples than anyone could have imagined, much more than could be explained by the normal number of meteorite impacts.
In 1980 the team published their evidence and stated their belief that the K-T boundary layer and the mass extinction event had been caused by a massive meteorite impact.
Luis Alvarez calculated a 10-kilometer-diameter meteorite traveling at 25 kilometers per second had hit Earth 65 million years ago. The impact had sent a huge volume of rock dust into the atmosphere which had eventually settled to form a thin gray layer all over the world.
While the dust was in the atmosphere it blocked the sun’s rays, putting a stop to photosynthesis, and cooling the planet. Without food and heat, the dinosaurs died out.
Very high levels of iridium in the K-T boundary lay suggested an extra-terrestrial origin for the event that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Most paleontologists were unconvinced by Alvarez’s explanation of the mass-extinction’s cause. It is fair to say that the debate between paleontologists and supporters of the Alvarez theory was fierce and raw. There was a large amount of ill-feeling in the opposing camps, not helped, it must be said, by Luis Alvarez himself. Alvarez was generally cantankerous and dismissive of anyone with a view different to his own.
I don’t like to say bad things about paleontologists, but they’re not very good scientists. They’re more like stamp collectors.
Luis Alvarez, 1911 – 1988
In 1990, two years after Luis Alvarez’s death, the Chicxulub crater in the sea off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula came to the attention of geologists, who agreed that the profile and age of the crater matched the Alvarez predictions.
The meteorite impact itself is no longer a topic of debate. It is completely accepted that Alvarez’s team was right about this.
Whether the mass extinction was caused mainly or exclusively by the impact is, however, still debated.
There is an alternative theory that the extinction might have been assisted or even wholly caused by another catastrophic event, namely the enormously violent volcanic eruptions that took place in the Deccan Traps in India in the same geologic time frame as the meteorite impact.
Someday, no doubt, the debate over the cause(s) of the mass extinction will be settled, but it hasn’t been yet!

The End

Luis Alvarez died of cancer of the esophagus at the age of 77 on September 1, 19He was survived by his first wife Geraldine Smithwick, and their children Walter and Jean; and his second wife Janet Landis, and their children Donald and Helen.

Who is Luther Burbank : Biography

The field of botany has many great names and one of them is that of Luther Burbank. He is an America Botanist and horticulturist and just so happens to be one of the pioneers of agricultural science. Burbank was so brilliant that he managed to come up with an excess of 800 plant varieties and strains in all of his 55 years in the field. He came up with different fruit, grains, flowers, vegetables, and grass variations and also came up with a variety of cactus that didn’t have spines that is mostly used to feed cattle. He also came up with the “plumcot” which is what he got when he naturally crossed apricots and plums.
Some of his most well-known creations include the fire poppy, the Shasta daisy, and the “July Elberta Peach. He also came up with the “Flaming Gold” variety of nectarine and the freestone peach. When it came to potatoes, he was quite he king and he created a potato with russet colored skin that was actually a variation of the Burbank and was a natural genetic variation. This russet colored Burbank potato was later called the “Russet Burbank potato” and is the most common potato that is used in food preparation in a more commercial scale.

His life

Luther Burbank was born on a farm in Lancaster, MA, on Mach 7, 18He didn’t really progress in school and in fact only managed to gain an elementary education. His parents had 15 children of which he was the 13th. While he didn’t get much education, he did enjoy the plants his mother had in their garden and this may just be where he formed an interest in plants.
His lost his father when he was just 21 but he did gain access to his inheritance. He used this to gain ownership of a 17-acre farm located near the Lunenburg center. This was where he came up with the vaunted Burbank potato of which he held the rights to. Later on, the rights to his potato creation were sold for $150 which was considered a considerable sum during those times. He made use of this cash to take a trip to Santa Rosa in California in the year 18It was a few years after he moved to Santa Rosa that he came up with the Russet Burbank potato and it became so famous that it is the potato most commonly used in fast food and commercial use. In fact, this is the kind of potato used by McDonalds for their fries.
When he arrived in Santa Rosa, he again bought a 4-acre farm and this was where he built his nursery and greenhouse. He also established fields where he conducted most of his crossbreeding projects. He was inspired to do so by Darwin’s work which was entitled The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication.” Luther Burbank didn’t stop there though because he decided to upgrade and moved on to buy another vastly larger plot of land that was about 18-acres large. This was in Sebastopol which was quite near Santa Rosa. He named it Gold Ridge Farm.
From the years 1904 to 1909, he was the recipient of several grants given by the Carnegie Institution and it was so he could go on with his hybridization projects with the support of Andrew Carnegie himself. Some of Andrew Carnegie’s advisors were against Burbank since they believed his methods weren’t very scientific but Andre Carnegie believed in Burbank and supported him all the way.
It was by way of his plant catalogues that Burbank became most well-known. The most famous of these catalogues was the New Creations in Fruits and Flowers which was published in 18Satisfied customers were also responsible for his fame because they couldn’t stop from talking about him and the many wonderful things he could do with plants. In fact, he was so famous that people simply could not stop talking about him during the first decade of the new century
Despite the fact that he didn’t have much of an education, he was quite prolific and came up with an impressive number of plant varieties and hybrids. However, it wasn’t all smooth-sailing for Luther Burbank because more than a few members of the scientific community were quick to criticize him for not being more careful with his record-keeping. The scientific community is known for their meticulous record-keeping ways but as it happened, Burbank was more interested in the results rather than the methods and this explained why he was so lax with his records. In fact, according to one Purdue professor, this lack of record-keeping is what keeps them from considering Luther Burbank a scientist, academically-speaking of course.

His methods

For all his lack of record-keeping, he was a very accomplished individual and made use of a variety of techniques in his work. In his experiments he made use of a lot of different techniques like hybridization and grafting. He also dabbled in cross-breeding different kinds of plants and came up with the most fascinating products like the plumcot. When it came to flowers, he used the cross-pollination technique and selected the very best products to breed further.

His personal life

By all accounts, Luther Burbank was a kind-natured man that was interested in helping people. He was also all for education (perhaps because he didn’t have much education himself) and gave money to many different schools. Though he was married twice, he didn’t have any offspring with either of his wives. He died on 11 April 1926 but before that, he suffered a heart attack and went through gastronomic complications.
Indeed, he was one man who contributed a lot to the world and deserves all the accolades he was given. Every time you order French fries in some fast-food joint, you really need to give a little thanks to this man for coming up with the potato used for your food. He was a man well ahead of his time and all his works are considered important up until today.

Who is Lynn Margulis : Biography

Lynn Margulis was an eminent American biologist. Her serial endosymbiotic theory of eukaryotic cell development overturned the modern concept of how life originated on earth. She also made vital contributions to Gaia theory, which deals with the relation of living organisms to their inorganic surroundings.

Early Life and Education:

Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1938, Lynn Margulis earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 19After a few months, she married the famous astronomer Carl Sagan. They divorced in 19Margulis acquired a master’s degree in zoology and genetics from the University of Wisconsin in 19She later earned a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley in 19

Contributions and Achievements:

Lynn Margolis is widely regarded as one of the most creative scientific theorists of the modern era. She formulated the symbiotic theory of evolution, which deals with the interconnection of prokaryotic and cukaryotic cells, explaining the emergence of new species by a mechanism known as “symbiogenesis”. In 1983, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society of London in 20
Her contemporaries either describe her as revolutionary or as an eccentric person. Famous sociobiologist E. Wilson has honored her as the “most successful synthetic thinker of modern biology”. Science, the prestigious academic journal, has identified her as “Science’s unruly Earth mother.”

Later Life and Death:

Lynn Margulis died of a hemorrhagic stroke on November 22, 20She was 73 years old.

Who is Mae Carol Jemison : Biography

The first ever black woman to ever travel to space, Mae Carol Jemison is one of NASA’s astronauts and also happens to be an American physician. She orbited while onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on the 12th of September, 19After completing her medical course and having a some general practice, she then served the Peace Corps for two years from 1985-19Around that same time, she was picked by NASA to be one of their astronauts.

Early Life, Education, and Personal Background

On October 17, 1956, Mae Carol Jemison became the youngest child of Dorothy Green and Charlie Jemison. She was born in Decatur, Alabama and her mother had spent most of her professional career as math and English teacher while her father worked as a maintenance supervisor for one charity organization.
When she was young, she had a learning experience which sparked a fascination she had for pus. She had her thumb splintered and Dorothy Green, her mother, made her see a learning experience from it. Because of it, she even had a project which revolved all around pus. While she was in kindergarten, she was asked what she wanted to be and she said she wanted to be a scientist. When the teacher asked if she meant she wanted to be a nurse, she knew nothing was wrong with that profession, but that was just not what she wanted to be.
In 1973, she graduated from Morgan Park High School in Chicago and went to Stanford University when she was Four years later, she received her bachelor of science’s degree in chemical engineering while at the same time fulfilling the requirements needed for a Bachelor of Arts degree in African and Afro-American Studies. Being a black woman, it was hard for her especially during her years in the university. She said that her youthful arrogance may have helped because when she set her mind to it, she would finish what she started without caring about what others thought of her.
In 1981, she completed her degree to be a Doctor of Medicine in Cornell Medical College which is now known as Weill Medical College of Cornell University. While she was in the Cornell Medical College, she even took classes for modern dance in Alvin Ailey School. During her years in medical school, she had travelled to Kenya, Thailand, and Cuba to help provide the people in those countries medical care. As an intern, she worked at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center where she also later on worked as one of the general practitioners. Apart from her career in medicine, she also even put up a dance studio at home where she choreographed as well as produced shows about modern jazz as well as African dance.


When she had completed her medical training, she joined the Peace Corps as a Medical Officer for three years from 19She took care of the health of other Peace Corps volunteers who were assigned to serve in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Once in her years in the Peace Corps, a patient was diagnosed with malaria but Mae Carol Jemison was certain it was meningitis and that it could not successfully treated while they were in Sierra Leone. She then called for a Germany-based Air Force plane to have medical evacuation which cost $80,0The embassy even questioned her if she had the needed authority to call for such an action but in reply she told them that she didn’t need anyone else’s permission for this medical decision. When they reached Germany, the 56-hour wait for the patient was worth it because the patient made it alive.
Jemison applied for the astronaut program after the initial flight of Sally Ride back in 19Interestingly, her inspiration to become an astronaut had been Nichelle Nichols, an African-American actress who played Uhura in the famous series Star Trek. Although she was rejected on her first try, she got a call in 1987 asking if she was still interested, and she took it.
She went on her only space mission in September 1992, from the 12th to the 20th and her total orbit in space lasted for 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds. Before her launch into space in 1992, she worked for NASA and helped with activities which were being facilitated in Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. She also helped with the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory or SAIL with their computer software verification.
After her resignation from NASA in 1993, she established her very own company called the Jemison group which researches, develops, and markets science and technological improvements which can be used for daily life. Part of the reason why Jemison resigned from NASA was her interest in the interaction between social sciences and technology, and she carried out this interested by the foundation of her company.
In 1993 as well, she was contacted by LeVar Burton, and asked if she would like to be part of Star Trek. He heard she was a fan and it was a dream come true when Jemison appeared in one of the episodes of Star Trek. To make her appearance extra special, she was the first ever real astronaut to have made an appearance on the show.

Other Achievements

Because she believed that her parents were the best scientists she ever knew, she founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, and one of their most notable projects was TEWS or The Earth We Share which is an international space camp for the youth to work on solving global problems. In 1999, she founded the BioSentient Corp which aims to develop mobile monitoring for the INS or involuntary nervous system.
Other endeavors included participating in African American Lives for PBS, appearing in charity events and being a guest speaker and guest personality for TV shows. From 1995-2002, she was Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and also was Dartmouth College’s professor for Environmental Studies. Her more recent appearances include appearing with the First Lady Michelle Obama in a forum in Washington, D.C., and an appearance at NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me as the “Not My Job” guest in February 2013 while she answered questions related to airport shuttles.

Who is Marcello Malpighi : Biography

Marcello Malpighi was an eminent Italian physician and biologist. Widely regarded as one of the founders of microscopic anatomy, he made crucial contributions in the fields of physiology, practical medicine and embryology.

Early Life and Education:

Born on March 10, 1628 in a rich family of Crevalcore, Italy, Marcello Malpighi started attending University of Bologna when he was only He received doctorates in both medicine and philosophy in 16

Contributions and Achievements:

Marcello Malpighi was one of the first scientists to use the newly invented microscope for studying tiny biological entities. He analyzed several parts of the organs of bats, frogs and other animals under the microscope. Malpighi, while studying the structure of lungs, noticed its membranous alveoli and the hair-like connections between veins and arteries, which he named them as capillaries. The discovery established how the oxygen we breathe enters the blood stream and serves the body. He was also the first person to study red blood corpuscles and the mucous layer under the epidermis.
Malpighi gained worldwide acclaim when Royal Society published his findings. Malpighi’s study of the life cycle of plants and animals were quite influential to the subject of reproduction. He extensively studied the transformation of caterpillars into insects, chick embryo development and seed development in plants.
Malpighi is also considered to be the founder of modern anatomy. His contributions were very important and groundbreaking.

Later Life and Death:

Marcello Malpighi was appointed a Papal physician in Rome, Italy by Pope Innocent XII in 16Only three years later, he died of apoplexy on November 30, 16Malpighi was 66 years old.

Who is Marguerite Perey : Biography

Marguerite Perey discovered the chemical element francium in 19Francium was the last element ever discovered in a natural source. All elements discovered after Perey’s discovery have been produced by artificial methods in the laboratory.

Education and Marie Curie

Marguerite Catherine Perey was born in Paris, France on October 19, 19
In 1929 she qualified with a chemistry diploma from Paris’s Technical School of Women’s Education. This qualification was enough for her to apply for chemistry technician positions. She hoped to get a good job, because her family was badly off financially.
She applied for work in Marie Curie’s laboratory in Paris – The Radium Institute – and was amazed to be interviewed by the great Marie Curie herself. Marie Curie was one of the most famous people in the world at that time. In terms of scientists, only Albert Einstein was better known to the world’s public, and in France itself Marie Curie, with two Nobel Prizes, was the greatest of all scientists.
This could have been quite an intimidating experience for the 19 year-old girl, and indeed the interview seemed to go badly. However, Perey was surprised to find that she had been hired. She was now going to work alongside Marie Curie, something many much more highly qualified people would have loved to do!

Becoming a Radiochemist

After starting work at the Radium Institute, Perey was trained in the laboratory’s work, which was isolation and purification of radioactive elements. In time, she became responsible for preparing and purifying samples of the chemical element actinium.
Actinium is a radioactive element. It had been discovered in 1899 by the chemist André-Louis Debierne, who had also been working in Curie’s laboratory.
30 years later, Marie Curie was still studying the element, cataloging its radioactive properties in exacting detail.
Five years after Perey started work in her laboratory, Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia; she was 66 years old. The disease was probably caused by the radiation she had exposed herself to during her scientific career.
Nevertheless, the show must go on, and André-Louis Debierne, who had discovered the element, pushed on with actinium related work at the Radium Institute. Marguerite Perey continued preparing the samples.
She had good ideas, and her work was high quality; this was recognized with a promotion to a new job-title: radiochemist.
Her work was dangerous. Marie Curie was not the first person at the Radium Institute whose death was probably caused by radiation and, tragically, would not be the last.

The Discovery of Francium
Surely the Americans have got it wrong?

In 1935, aged 26, Perey read a research paper from the USA. The American researchers had found beta particles being emitted by actinium. The particles had a different amount of energy from normal.
Now, actinium was the element whose behavior Perey knew as much about as anyone else in the world. She had been working with it for seven years.
She thought about what she had read and decided the American researchers were most likely wrong about actinium being the source of the beta particles.
It was true that actinium emitted beta particles, but she did not think the the beta particles seen in America could come from actinium, not with the energy reported.
She suspected that actinium was decaying into a different atom – this is called a daughter atom or daughter product – and it was the daughter atom that was emitting the beta particles reported in America.

Seeking the Daughter Atom

Perey decided to produce an ultra-pure sample of actinium and immediately study its radiation before it had the chance to form daughter products.
This was exceptionally difficult: an ultra-pure actinium sample would have to be prepared and its radiation studied in a very short time-frame before daughter products could form.
The nucleus of a radioactive atom emits an alpha particle. As a result, it loses two protons and two neutrons. The loss of protons means it becomes a different chemical element.
Perey prepared her ultra-pure sample and made her crucial discovery: a tiny fraction – about 1% – of actinium’s total radioactivity was caused by it emitting alpha particles, not beta particles. Nobody had suspected this to be the case.
An alpha particle consists of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. Actinium itself is element 89 in the periodic table, meaning it has 89 protons. If it emits an alpha particle it loses 2 protons and becomes an atom with 87 protons: it becomes element 87 – so, the daughter atom was element

The Daughter Atom – A New Element

In 1939 there was no element 87 in the periodic table. Although people had suspected it existed, nobody had been able to find it. What this meant was that Perey had discovered a new element! The new element was made when actinium emitted alpha particles.
And she had been right about the American research work. The beta particles with unexpected energy they had seen were not coming from actinium, they were coming from the new element she had discovered.
With 87 protons the new element belonged in Group 1 of the periodic table, joining the other alkali metals: lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and cesium.

Actinium Produces Francium and an Alpha Particle

Perey discovered that actinium could decay by emitting a helium nucleus from its own nucleus. Such a helium nucleus is called an alpha particle. The daughter nucleus formed was a previously undiscovered element which she chose to call francium.
Marie Curie had named the first element she discovered polonium in honor of her home country – Poland.
After some discussion, Perey decided to name the new element to honor her home country – France. And so a new element was added to the periodic table – francium.
Less than 30 grams of natural francium is present on planet earth at any time, because although it is constantly made by the radioactive decay of actinium, it is constantly undergoing radioactive decay into its own daughter products. Its half-life is only about 22 minutes, so it doesn’t hang around for long.
Perey hoped that the element she had discovered would be of use in cancer treatments, but this did not prove to be the case.

Recognition, Future Career and Awards

After joining the elite group of scientists who have discovered a chemical element, Marguerite Perey was given leave to study for a Ph.D. at Paris’s prestigious Sorbonne. The award of a Ph.D. was not in doubt, because her thesis would describe her discovery of a new element.
The trouble was she didn’t have good enough high school qualifications to be admitted to the Sorbonne, and she also did not have a bachelors degree. The Sorbonne refused to award Ph.D. degrees to people who had not achieved their entry requirements – even if they had discovered a new element!
So, during the years of World War 2, Perey spent time taking courses at the Sorbonne to eventually get the equivalent of a B.S. degree. After she had done this, she was awarded her Ph.D. degree in 19She became Doctor Marguerite Perey.
(Maybe it’s just me, but the Sorbonne comes over as a pretty stuffy sort of place!)
With her Ph.D. degree Perey immediately became a senior scientist at the Radium Institute. She continued working there until, in 1949, at the age of 40, she took the Chair of Nuclear Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg.
Perey also served as a member of the Atomic Weights Commission between 1950 and 19
In 1962 she became the first woman to be elected to the French Academy of Sciences. In addition to this, she was awarded:
1950: The French Academy of Science Wilde Prize
1960: The French Academy of Science Le Conte Prize
1960: The City of Paris Science Grand Prize
1960: Officer of the Legion of Honor
1964: Lavoisier Prize of the French Chemical Society
1964: Silver Medal of the City of Paris
1973: Commander of the National Order of Merit

The End

Marguerite Perey died at the age of 65 on May 13, 19Like Marie Curie and a number of other scientists who had worked at the Radium Institute, she died of a radiation-linked illness. In fact, her body was found to be unusually radioactive. She herself had been instrumental in the introduction of better safety measures in the laboratories under her control. Sadly, this was too late to save her own life, but it was a lifesaver for future generations of nuclear scientists.

Who is Maria Gaetana Agnesi : Biography

There was a time when women weren’t really known for their prowess in the sciences but during the Renaissance, this lady Maria Gaetana Agnesi from Italy really showed her homeland what she was made of. She made wonderful contributions in the field of math and philosophy and deserves to be lauded for her achievements. For folks who have ever enjoyed integral and differential calculus, this is the woman who wrote the first book ever about the subject. She was not only a math genius but she also proved to be a very kind and religious woman who did her part in helping people and keeping her faith. Maria Teresa Agnesi Pinottini, the composer and clavicembalist, is her sister. Although what she contributed to the field of math was very important, she wasn’t like all other famous scientists and mathematicians; she did lead a loud and wild life but just the opposite.

Early Life of Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi was born in May 16, 1918 in Milan, Italy. Hers was a very wealthy family and like all wealthy families of that time they were literate. It also helped that her father, Pietro Agnesi, worked as a math professor at the University of Bologna. Now Pietro Agnesi was ambitious and wanted to raise his family to the ranks of the Milanese nobility. To achieve this, he married a noble woman named Anna Fortunata Brivio. Brivio’s mother died and this gave her reason to retire from public life and stay home to manage the house.
Maria showed signs of extraordinary intelligence early on in life and she had been recognized as a child prodigy. One sign that she was a smart kid beyond her years was that she knew how to speak Italian and French before she even turned 6 years old. By the time young Maria Gaetana Agnesi turned 11, she was fluent not just in Italian and French but she could also speak Latin, German, Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish. She was so good that she was even called the “Seven Tongued Orator.” She was a brilliant child who did her part to help educate her younger brothers.
When she was 9, she wowed some of the most distinguished minds of their day by composing a speech in Latin which lasted an hour long. She talked about the right of women to get an education.
By the time she reached 12, Maria Gaetana Agnesi was struck by an illness no one could identify. However, doctors pointed to her excessive studying and reading as the cause and so she was told to go on horseback rides and to dance. Dancing and horseback riding didn’t work and she still suffered from convulsions so she was told to practice everything in moderation.
After Maria Gaetana Agnesi’s mother died, her father remarried twice and she ended up as the eldest of 23 children, including half brothers and sisters. Aside from taking her own lessons and her performances, she was obliged in essence with the task of educating her siblings. This very task kept her from doing what she so longed to do which was to enter a convent. At that time, she was already very devout. In fact, she asked her father to send her to the convent and he refused but he did allow her to live in semi-retirement in an almost conventual setting.

Her Early Work in Math

Most kids 14 years of age would be too busy doing other things except studying and homework. But remember, Maria Gaetana Agnesi was a prodigy so it comes as no surprise that by the age of 14 she was already studying geometry and ballistics. Her mind and findings were so great that by the time she was 15 years of age, Pietro Agnesi began to gather a group of the most learned men in Bologna so they could hear what she had to say. These meetings were recorded and they can be found in Lettres sur l’Italie by Charles de Brosse. They were also recorded in the Propositiones Philosophicae written by no other than her father. This work by Pietro Agnesi was published in 1738—it was an account of the final performance given by Maria Gaetana Agnesi. In this final performance, she defended 190 theses. It is worth noting that while she was brilliant, Maria Gaetana Agnesi was very shy and did not really like being put in display or asked to talk in front of a group.
Though Maria Gaetana Agnesi was considered rather beautiful by philosophers during that time and her family being seen as the wealthiest, she did not really seem interested in marriage. At a time when most women would be getting married, she worked at the University of Bologna as a professor.

Her Works

It was said by Dirk Jan Struik that Agnesi was the first important lady mathematician since Hypatia who lived way back in the 5th century A.D. According to experts, the most valuable work of Agnesi was her work Instituzioni ad uso della gioventu italiana which she published in Milan back in 17This work was one of the best intros to the works of Euler. Maria Gaetana Agnesi also wrote a commentary which was focused on Traite analytique des sections coniques du marquis de l’Hopital. It was one of her most highly praised works but all they ever really got was the manuscript since she never bothered to publish her work or she just did not want to.

Her Later Life

1750 was quite the year for Maria Gaetana Agnesi. Her father fell ill and Pope Benedict XIV appointed her to the chair of natural philosophy and mathematics and physics at the University of Bologna. But she never served. When Pietro Agnesi died in 1752, she carried out her long-cherished goal of devoting herself to the study of philosophy. At the same time she also devoted her time to helping the sick. She would welcome them to her home where she had a make-shift hospital ready.

Who is Maria Goeppert-Mayer : Biography

The German physicist and mathematician, Maria Goeppert-Mayer is prominent for her numerous contributions to the field of physics which earned her a Nobel Prize in Physics in 19She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for theoretical physics and second woman in history to win a Nobel Prize— the first being Marie Curie. She is most famous for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus.

Early Life and Career:

Maria Goeppert Mayer was born on June 28, 1906, Kattowitz, Germany (now Katowice, Poland). She was the only child of Friedrich Goeppert, a progressive professor of pediatrics at the University at Göttingen and Maria nee Wolff, a former music teacher. When she was very young her family moved to Göttingen in 1910, where Maria was educated at a girls’ grammar school operated by suffragettes. The school went bankrupt after her junior year, but she passed a collegiate examination without a high school diploma and earned her PhD under Max Born at the University of Göttingen in 19The same year she married Dr. Joseph Edward Mayer, an assistant of James Franck. After marriage they both moved to United States.
Women during that time were generally regarded unsuitable in the upper realms of academia, and despite her doctorate for years she was largely limited to unpaid and unofficial work in university laboratories, her presence only accepted because her husband. In the following few years, Goeppert-Mayer worked at unofficial or volunteer positions, initially at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1931–39, then Columbia University in 1940-46, and after that the University of Chicago. Later she also took different positions that came her way: a teaching position at the Sarah Lawrence College, a research position with Columbia University’s Substitute Alloy Materials Project and with the Opacity Project. She also spent some time at the Los Alamos Laboratory.
During her husband’s time at the University of Chicago, Goeppert-Mayer volunteered to become an Associate Professor of Physics at the school. Within a few months of her arrival, when the nearby Argonne National Laboratory was founded on July 1, 1946, Goeppert-Mayer was offered a part-time job there as a Senior Physicist in the Theoretical Physics Division. This was the first time in her career that she was working and paid at a level commensurate with her training and expertise. Two years later she made the breakthrough that earned her tremendous fame and respect in her field.
During 1960, Goeppert-Mayer was appointed to a position as a (full) Professor of Physics at the University of California at San Diego.

Development of the Structure of Nuclear Shells:

It was during her time at Chicago and Argonne that she developed a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells. With Edward Teller (one of her colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory) she conducted inquiries about the source of the elements, and noticed the repetition of seven “magic numbers”, as she named them — 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, and 1Elements with a “magic number” of protons or neutrons were consistently more stable than elements with other numbers of protons or neutrons. On the basis of this, she proposed in that inside the nucleus, protons and neutrons are arranged in a series of nucleon layers, like the layers of an onion, with neutrons and protons rotating around each other at each level. During the same time but working independently, German physicist J. Hans D. Jensen reached the same conclusion.
Goeppert-Mayer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, shared with J. Hans D. Jensen and Eugene Paul Wigner for their proposal of the shell nuclear model.


Goeppert-Mayer died due to a heart failure in San Diego, California, on February 20, 1972.

Who is Maria Mitchell : Biography

An American lady astronomer, Maria Mitchell is most prominently known for discovering a comet which was then called “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.” In the history of astronomy, Maria Mitchell was the first ever American woman who worked as a professional astronomer. For her discovery of the comet which was named after her, she received a gold medal as a recognition from the king of Denmark, King Frederick VII. On the medal, the phrase “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising of the stars” was inscribed, referring to how Maria Mitchell made her discovery with the use of her telescope.

Early Years and Life of Maria Mitchell

Maria Mitchell hailed from Nantucket, Massachusetts and was born on the first of August 1818 and died at the age of 70 on June 28, 18She is a distant relative of Benjamin Franklin. Because both her parents who were William Mitchell as well as Lydia Coleman Mitchell were under the Quaker faith, she had received education and equal rights as what was given to men during that time. This was considered as an unusual setup during those days, but because of one of the tenets in the religion of the Quakers, she received equal intellectual treatment which was one of the reasons for her fostered love of science.
Her earliest years in school were spent at Elizabeth Gardener’s small school. Then she attended North Grammar school and this was where her father was the school principal. Her awareness for astronomy came to life when her father began to teach her about the stars with the use of his own telescope. At a tender age of twelve, she had already been assisting her father calculate when the exact time of the annular eclipse would be.
When the school founded by her father closed, she then attended Cyrus Peirce’s school for young ladies. Before opening her very own school in 1853, she worked as a teaching assistant for Cyrus Peirce himself. A year after her own school was opened, she was then offered the job of being Nantucket Atheneum’s first librarian, and she worked there for 18 years.

Career in Astronomy and the Discover of the Comet

It was on the first of October, 1847 when she discovered the comet named after her. During those years, then king of Denmark, King Frederick VII gave gold medals for anyone who had telescopic comet discoveries. The medal was awarded to the first discoverer of the comet only, and not to anyone else who subsequently discovers the same celestial phenomenon. In astronomy’s history, Maria Mitchell is the second woman to discover a comet next only to Caroline Herschel. After her discovery of “Miss Mitchell’s Comet,” she gained popularity worldwide and was recognized for her contribution to astronomy. Today, the designation of this comet is C/1847 T
It was in 1848 that she became the first lady member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Two years later, she also became one of the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. After being part of those important associations and institutions for astronomy, she worked for the U.S. Nautical Almanac Office where she calculated tables for the positions of the planet Venus and even went on a travel to Europe together with the family of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was an American short story writer and novelist.
In the year 1842, she left the family’s Quaker faith and began to follow Unitarian principles. She protested against slavery and to show her efforts, she stopped wearing clothing made of cotton. She had been friends with other fellow suffragists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and along with other notable women of their time, founded the American Association for the Advancement of Women.
Apart from using the observatory dome of Vassar College for astronomy and scientific purposes, she also used it as a meeting place for discussing politics along with women’s rights and issues. From 1874-1876 she helped found what was known as the American Association for the Advancement of Women and served as their president for those years. A year prior to her founding of that association for women, she had been elected as a part of the American Philosophical Society. It was in 1873 when she attended the first meeting held by the Women’s Congress.
Maria Mitchell then became the very first professor hired for the Vassar College in 1865, and was also named as the Vassar College Observatory’s director. An interesting part of her career was that despite the experience she had along with her reputation and expertise, her salary was still less compared to other younger male professors. Because of this, she asked for a raise and as she deserved, she got it.
Two of Maria Mitchell’s favorite planets were Jupiter and Saturn and during her years in Vassar College, she went on with her research about the surface of these planets and also photographed the stars. The apparatus she used to photograph both the sun and the stars was her own, and she preserved plates of these photographs in one of the observatory’s closets. Her works, along with those of her students were published in the Silliman’s Journal which was one of the top scientific journals those times established by Benjamin Silliman in 1818 at Yale, and also had their works published at Poughkeepsie or Nantucket papers.

Maria Mitchell’s Latter Years and Legacy

Being born at a time when women’s rights weren’t equal with those of men, it can be said that Maria Mitchell’s contributions to science as well as the welfare of women are to be considered as valuable contributions to both science and history.
It was June 28, 1889 when she died at 70 years old in Lynn, Massachusetts. In Nantucket, the Maria Mitchell Observatory is named after the honor of one of the most noted female astronomers who truly made a mark in history. After her death, she was made a part of the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame. Even on the moon, a crater was named “Mitchell” after her to commemorate her importance in the field of astronomy.

Who is Marie Curie : Biography

Marie Curie discovered two new chemical elements – radium and polonium. She carried out the first research into the treatment of tumors with radiation, and she was the founder of the Curie Institutes, which are important medical research centers.
She is the only person who has ever won Nobel Prizes in both physics and chemistry.

Marie Curie’s Early Life and Education

Maria Salomea Sklodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland on November 7, 18At that time, Warsaw lay within the borders of the Russian Empire. Maria’s family wanted Poland to be an independent country.
We shall refer to Maria as Marie Curie – her name after marriage – because that is how she is best known.
Marie Curie’s mother and father – Bronislawa and Wladyslaw – were both teachers and encouraged her interest in science.
When Marie was aged 10, her mother died and she started attending a boarding school. She then moved to a gymnasium – a selective school for children who were strong academically. Aged 15, Marie graduated from her high school with a gold medal as top student and a burning interest in science.


Two obstacles now stood in Marie’s way:
• her father had too little money to support her ambition to go to university
• higher education was not available for girls in Poland
Marie’s sister Bronya faced exactly the same problems.

Two Polish Girls in Paris (Eventually)

Marie Curie, aged
To overcome the obstacles they faced, Marie agreed to work as a tutor and children’s governess to support Bronya financially. This allowed Bronya to go to France and study medicine in Paris.
And so, for the next few years of her life, Marie worked to earn money for herself and Bronya. In the evenings, if she had time, she read chemistry, physics and mathematics textbooks. She also attended lectures and laboratory practicals at an illegal free “university” where Poles learned about Polish culture and practical science, both of which had been suppressed by the Russian Tsarist authorities.
In November 1891, aged 24, Marie followed Bronya to Paris. There she studied chemistry, mathematics and physics at the Sorbonne, Paris’s most prestigious university. The course was, of course, taught in French, which Marie had to reach top speed in very quickly.
At first she shared an apartment with Bronya and Bronya’s husband, but the apartment lay an hour away from the university. Marie decided to rent a room in the Latin Quarter, closer to the Sorbonne.
This was a time of some hardship for the young scientist; winters in her unheated apartment chilled her to the bone.

Top Student Again

In summer 1893, aged 26, Marie finished as top student in her masters physics degree course. She was then awarded industrial funding to investigate how the composition of steel affected its magnetic properties. The idea was to find ways of making stronger magnets.
Her thirst for knowledge also pushed her to continue with her education, and she completed a masters degree in chemistry in 1894, aged


For a long time, Marie had been homesick. She dearly wished to return to live in Poland. After working in Paris on steel magnets for a year, she vacationed in Poland, hoping to find work. She found out that there were no jobs for her.
A few years earlier she had been unable to study for a degree in her homeland because she was a woman. Now, for the same reason, she found she could not get a position at a university.

Back to Paris and Pierre

Marie decided to return to Paris and begin a Ph.D. degree in physics.
Back in Paris, in the year 1895, aged 28, she married Pierre Curie. Pierre had proposed to her before her journey back to Poland. Aged 36, he had only recently completed a Ph.D. in physics himself and had become a professor. He had written his Ph.D. thesis after years of delay, because Marie had encouraged him to.
Pierre was already a highly respected industrial scientist and inventor who, at the age of 21, had discovered piezoelectricity with his brother Jacques.
Pierre was also an expert in magnetism: he discovered the effect now called the Curie Point where a change of temperature has a large effect on a magnet’s properties.
Pierre and Marie Curie in their laboratory

Marie Curie’s Scientific Discoveries

The Ph.D. degree is a research based degree, and Marie Curie now began to investigate the chemical element uranium.

Why uranium?

In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen had discovered mysterious X-rays, which could capture photographs of human bones beneath skin and muscle.
The following year, Henri Becquerel had discovered that rays emitted by uranium could pass through metal, but Becquerel’s rays were not X-rays.
This was a new and very exciting area to work in, and Marie decided to investigate the rays from uranium. Discoveries came to her thick and fast. She discovered that:
• Uranium rays charge the air they pass through, so this air can conduct electricity. Marie detected this using an electrometer Pierre and his brother had invented.
• The number of rays coming from uranium depends only on the amount of uranium present – not the chemical form of the uranium. From this she theorized correctly that the rays were coming from within the uranium atoms and not a chemical reaction.
• The uranium minerals pitchblende and torbernite have more of an effect on the conductivity of air than uranium does. She theorized correctly that these minerals must contain a chemical element that was more active than uranium.
• The chemical element thorium emits rays in the same way as uranium. (Gerhard Carl Schmidt in Germany actually discovered this a few weeks before Marie Curie in 1898: she discovered it independently.)
By the summer of 1898 Marie’s husband Pierre had become as excited about her discoveries as Marie herself. He asked Marie if he could cooperate with her scientifically, and she welcomed him. By this time, they had a one-year old daughter Irene. Amazingly, 37 years later, Irene Curie herself would win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
“My husband and I were so closely united by our affection and our common work that we passed nearly all of our time together.”
Marie Curie

Discovery of Polonium, Radium and a New Word

Marie and Pierre decided to hunt for the new element they suspected might be present in pitchblende. By the end of 1898, after laboriously processing tons of pitchblende, they announced the discovery of two new chemical elements which would soon take their place in Dmitri Mendeleev’s periodic table.
The first element they discovered was polonium, named by Marie to honor her homeland. They found polonium was 300 times more radioactive that uranium. They wrote:
“We thus believe that the substance that we have extracted from pitchblende contains a metal never known before, akin to bismuth in its analytic properties. If the existence of this new metal is confirmed, we suggest that it should be called polonium after the name of the country of origin of one of us.”
The second element the couple discovered was radium, which they named after the Latin word for ray. The Curies found radium is several million times more radioactive than uranium! They also found radium’s compounds are luminous and that radium is a source of heat, which it produces continuously without any chemical reaction taking place. Radium is always hotter than its surroundings.
Together they came up with a new word for the phenomenon they were observing: radioactivity. Radioactivity is produced by radioactive elements such as uranium, thorium, polonium and radium.

A Ph.D. and a Nobel Prize in Physics!

In June 1903, Marie Curie was awarded her Ph.D. by the Sorbonne.
Marie Curie in 1903 – her Nobel Prize photo.
Her examiners were of the view that she had made the greatest contribution to science ever found in a Ph.D. thesis.
Six months later, the newly qualified researcher was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics!
She shared the prize with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel, the original discover of radioactivity.
The Nobel Committee were at first only going to give prizes to Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel.
However, Pierre insisted that Marie must be honored.
So three people shared the prize for discoveries in the scientific field of radiation.
Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
“I have to keep going, as there are always people on my track. I have to publish my present work as rapidly as possible in order to keep in the race. The best sprinters in this road of investigation are Becquerel and the Curies.”
Ernest Rutherford

Marie Curie Theorizes Correctly About Radioactivity

“Consequently the atom of radium would be in a process of evolution, and we should be forced to abandon the theory of the invariability of atoms, which is at the foundation of modern chemistry.
Moreover, we have seen that radium acts as though it shot out into space a shower of projectiles, some of which have the dimensions of atoms, while others can only be very small fractions of atoms. If this image corresponds to a reality, it follows necessarily that the atom of radium breaks up into subatoms of different sizes, unless these projectiles come from the atoms of the surrounding gas, disintegrated by the action of radium; but this view would likewise lead us to believe that the stability of atoms is not absolute.”
Marie Curie, 1904

Tragedy and Progress

The money from their Nobel Prizes made life easier for Marie and Pierre. For the first time, they could afford a laboratory assistant. Pierre took the Chair of Physics at the Sorbornne. The university also agreed to provide a new, well-equipped laboratory for the couple. In 1904, Marie and Pierre had a second daughter, Eve.
And then their happy life together came to an end. In 1906, Pierre was killed when he was hit by a horse-drawn carriage in the street.
Although distraught over her loss, Marie accepted the offer from the Sorbonne to replace Pierre as the Chair of Physics.
Again, she was breaking the mold: she had been first woman to win a Nobel Prize, now she was the first female professor at the University of Paris.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry

In 1910, Marie isolated a pure sample of the metallic element radium for the first time. She had discovered the element 12 years earlier.
In 1911, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the “discovery of the elements radium and polonium, the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.”
Again, Marie Curie had broken the mold: she was the first person to win a Nobel Prize in both physics and chemistry. In fact, she is the only person ever to have done this.

The Coming of War – Helping the Wounded

During World War 1, 1914 – 1918, Marie Curie put her scientific knowledge to use. With the help of her daughter Irene, who was only 17 years old, she set up radiology medical units near battle lines to allow X-rays to be taken of wounded soldiers. By the end of the war, over one million injured soldiers had passed through her radiology units.

One of the Greats

Marie Curie was now recognized worldwide as one of science’s “greats.” She traveled widely to talk about science and to promote The Radium Institute which she had founded to carry out medical research.
Marie was one of the small number of elite scientists invited to one of the most famous scientific conferences of all-time – the 1927 Solvay Conference on Electrons and Photons.
Marie Curie, aged 59, at the 1927 Solvay Conference on Electrons and Photons. This was an invitation-only meeting of the word’s greatest minds in chemistry and physics. In the front row are Max Planck, Marie Curie, Hendrik Lorentz and Albert Einstein. In the row behind are Martin Knudsen, Lawrence Bragg, Hendrik Kramers, Paul Dirac and Arthur Compton. All except Knudsen and Kramers are Nobel Prize winners.

Healing the World – The Radium Institute

Marie Curie became aware that the rays coming from radioactive elements could be used to treat tumors. She and Pierre decided not to patent the medical applications of radium, and so could not profit from it.
In her later years, Marie Curie’s dearest wish was to explore the use of radioactivity in medical applications. To do this, she established the Radium Institute.
At $120,000 per gram, radium was horrendously expensive – millions of dollars in today’s money. Marie Curie could only afford 1 gram of it for use in cancer therapies at the Radium Institute.
Pierre Curie voluntarily exposed his arm to the action of radium during several hours. This resulted in a lesion resembling a burn that developed progressively and required several months to heal. Henri Becquerel had by accident a similar burn as a result of carrying in his vest pocket a glass tube containing radium salt. He came to tell us of this evil effect of radium, exclaiming in a manner at once delighted and annoyed: “I love it, but I owe it a grudge.”
Marie Curie, 1867 to 1934
In 1920, Marie gave an interview about her work at the Radium Institute to the American journalist Marie Mattingly Meloney, who was usually called “Missy.”
Missy asked if there was any way she could help the Institute. Marie told her that American chemical companies had now isolated 50 grams of radium. Her Institute desperately needed one more gram for medical research, but could not afford it.
Missy returned to the USA and became Chair of the Marie Curium Radium Fund, with the aim of getting Marie Curie her 1 gram of radium.
Money was raised in small donations all over the country, until $100,000 had been raised. The Standard Chemical Company of Pittsburgh then agreed to supply a gram of radium at the reduced price of $100,0
On May 20th, 1921, President Warren G. Harding presented Marie with the radium in a lead-lined steel box at the White House.
Since then, the Radium Institute (it is now the called the Curie Institute) has gone from strength to strength. Three of its workers have been awarded Nobel Prizes: Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie won the chemistry prize in 1935 and Pierre-Gilles de Gennes won the physics prize in 19Irene was Marie and Pierre’s daughter. She shared the prize with her husband Frederic. The Curie Institute continues to do important research work today.

The End

Marie Curie died aged 66 on July 4, 1934, killed by aplastic anemia, a disease of the bone marrow. It is likely that the radioactivity she had been exposed to during her career caused the disease.
Scientists are now much more cautious in their handling of radioactive elements and X-rays than they were in the first few decades after their discovery. Marie Curie’s own books and papers are so radioactive that they are now stored in lead boxes, which may only be opened by people wearing protective suits.
“Not only did she do outstanding work in her lifetime, and not only did she help humanity greatly by her work, but she invested all her work with the highest moral quality. All of this she accomplished with great strength, objectivity, and judgment. It is very rare to find all of these qualities in one individual.”
Albert Einstein
Theoretical Physicist
“She not only conquered great secrets of science but the hearts of the people the world over.”
New York Times, July 5, 1934
Marie Curie’s Obituary

Who is Mario Molina : Biography

When it comes to discovering the Antarctic ozone hole, Mario Molina was one of the most notable proponents along with F. Sherwood Rowland and Paul J. Crutzen who received the Novel Prize in Chemistry in 19He noted how chlorofluorocarbon gases or the ones called CFCs cause threats to the ozone layer and he is also the first ever Mexican-born individual to receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Early Life and Education

On the 19th of March in 1943, Mario Molina was born to parents Leonor Henríquez de Molina and Roberto Molina Pasquel who was a lawyer as well as a diplomat who served in countries such as Ethiopia, Australia, and also the Philippines. Mario had shown interest in science at a very early age and he made his own chemistry lab in their home by turning the bathroom into his laboratory and experiment area. He had been fascinated by his toy microscope and this was where he first viewed amoeba and paramecia. For hours on a daily basis, he would play with his chemistry set in the seldom used bathroom in their house. Esther Molina, one of his aunts, helped foster his interest by helping him out with more challenging chemical experiments.
It had been a tradition in their family to study abroad for a time, and for Mario Molina and his awareness for his love for chemistry, he went to study at the Institut auf dem Rosenberg which is in Switzerland when he was only eleven years old after having completed his basic education in Mexico.
During his years in Europe however, he was disappointed that his classmates had little interest in chemistry. Because he had already made up his mind to be a chemist, he took his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México or the National Autonomous University of Mexico in the year 19
When he finished his undergraduate studies at UNAM, Mario Molina went on to pursue his Ph.D. in physical chemistry. He had a challenging time because although his degree had given him training, subjects like quantum mechanics was something completely Greek to him those days. He attended the University of Freiburg in Germany and had a postgraduate degree there in 1967, and he got his doctoral degree from the University of California in 1972 when he decided that he needed to study more and not just the kinetics of polymerizations to broaden his knowledge.
He was part of the research group led by Professor George C. Pimentel who was a pioneer in developing matrix isolation techniques. Their goal had been to study the molecular dynamics with the use of chemical lasers. For his graduate work, he had investigated on internal energy distribution in photochemical and chemical reaction products where he had the chance to work using infrared optics, vacuum lines, and other advanced equipment he had not been able to use before.


After he completed his Ph.D., he had stayed for another year in Berkeley where he continued his research concerning chemical dynamics. He then joined Professor F. Sherwood’s group as one of the postdoctoral fellows and moved to Irvine, California. It was Professor Sherwood who had inspired Molina to find out about the fate of the environment considering the presence of CFCs which have been accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere. With that project, Molina learned about a new field in chemistry which was atmospheric chemistry.
Since Molina and Sherwood had already studied similar compounds before, they were able to come up with the CFC ozone depletion theory together. Initially, the research was not as interesting as it should have been since Molina knew that as the CFCs drift up to higher altitudes, they will be destroyed. What held his interest was what the consequences of these accumulated compounds would be. They realized how the chlorine atoms which are produced as CFCs decompose and damage the ozone layer. Because of their findings, they were alarmed at how CFCs in the atmosphere would continue to deplete the ozone layer.
Their findings concerning their ozone depletion theory were published on June 1974 in Nature, and they had made efforts to inform the scientific community of work as well as policy makers so that laws to protect the earth’s ozone layer through regulation of CFC use.
A year later, Molina was appointed as one of the faculty members of the University of California, Irvine. While he still had collaborations with Sherwood, he also began working on his own research. He setup his own program for the investigation of spectroscopic and chemical properties of different compounds which have an important role in the atmosphere. Some of the compounds he had focused on included hypochlorous acid, chlorine nitrate, and chlorine nitrite among others.
While Molina had enjoyed his years in Irvine, it limited his time for doing experiments and after 7 years with an academic position, he decided to join the Molecular Physics and Chemistry Section which was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory back in 19He was part of a small group but had the time and resources to conduct experiments of his own especially those concerning new atmospheric problems.

Awards and Recognitions

Other than the esteemed Nobel Prize award, he also won the Esselen Award of the Northeast section of the American Chemical Society in 1987, the Newcomb-Cleveland awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the United Nations Environmental Programme Global 500 Award in 19The Pew Charitable Trusts Scholars Program in Conservation and the Environment gave Molina a $150,000 grant in 19In 1998, Molina received the Willard Gibbs Medal given by the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society as well as the American Chemical Society Prize for Creative Advances in Environment Technology and Science in the same year.
He has several honorary degrees from esteemed bodies of education such as Yale, Duke, and Harvard Universities among others. Molina is also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the 8th of August in 2013 from President Barack Obama.

Who is Mary Anning : Biography

Mary Anning has been called by some as the greatest fossillist of the world. She had made her mark in the field of collecting fossils by making several contributions to unearthing Jurassic fossil beds which were marine in nature in Dorset, specifically in Lyme Regis. She is credited as the discoverer of the first ever specimen of Ichthyosaurus that was acknowledged by no less than the Geological Society in London. A famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning’s discoveries were some of the most important geological pieces of all time.

Early Life and Personal Background

Her birthplace was in Dorset, England, specifically Lyme Regis. Her father named Richard had been a cabinetmaker. He made ends meet by mining the nearby coastal cliff fossil beds and sold what he found to tourists. He got married to Mary Moore also known as “Molly” and they lived in house which was built on the town’s bridge. Richard and Mary together had ten children but only Joseph and Mary were able to reach adulthood. The family had to face a sad event when Richard died in the year 1810, and had left the family in debt and with no provider. Despite this, he had been able to pass on his skills on finding fossils to his family and had been especially useful for Mary Anning.
Mary was named after a sister who had previously died in a fire and there had even been local lores about her earliest years. When she was only 15 months young, there was an event which included a neighbor named Elizabeth Haskings and two other ladies underneath an elm tree. The women had been watching an equestrian demonstration and Elizabeth Haskings held the young Mary Anning. Lighting then struck the tree and had killed everyone underneath it except Mary Anning. Her survival had been miraculous and apart from being part of the local lore, it had even been attributed as the cause of lively personality and intelligence when she grew up.
Her father, when he was still alive, had taken both Mary and Joseph to his fossil-hunting trips from which he found pieces to sell to tourists. Their family had always lived in poverty and there had even been accounts that they lived so close to the sea at one point that their own home got flooded and they had to climb up to the room upstairs just so they would not drown. There are mixed accounts of the life of Mary Anning, but what hold true are those which are attested by the fossil findings which show more than just the history of their previous lives but the hardships of Mary Anning as well.
When her father died, she had continued the fossil-finding trips near the sea. She would walk the area when the tide was low. Even for enthusiasts, collecting fossils was a risky business, but the teen Mary Anning had braved the challenges and risks that had come along with it.

How Fossil Collecting Helped the Family of Mary Anning

Some may see this as a dire job which would help no one prosper. But things changed when the family had established a good reputation as fossil hunters and were even able to make it as a business which supported them. In the year 1817, the family had the chance to meet Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Birch. He was a well-off fossil collector who later on became the supporter of the Anning family. He had sympathized with the situation of the family and in order to help them, he even arranged to put up his own fossil collections for sale and gave the proceeds to the family.
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Birch had attributed the major fossil discoveries to Mary Anning’s family, and he sold even his finest collections of fossils to those who would buy them to help the family. He believed that Mary’s family should not have to experience such poverty because they had been the ones who found the finer discoveries in the area.
It is true that Mary Anning had been credited with the discovery of the Ichthyosaurus fossils, but it was not she alone who did this. Her brother had found the skull of the beast and she had contributed by finding the rest of it. Because of her and her family’s skills in hunting fossils, European nobles, and collectors of what were then known as “curiosities” sought the fossil finds of the family. Because museums usually credited the individuals who donated the fossils to them, a lot of the discoveries made by Mary Anning were very hard to trace. The most famous ones had been the 1821 discovery of the Ichthyosaurus, and the first ever Plesiosaurus which was unearthed in 18

Mary Anning in the Scientific Community

She was born in a time when women weren’t allowed to attend the university, and despite being able to discover several great finds, she had not been properly credited by some of the wealthy fossillists who had used the information they had gotten from her finds and made publications from. Anna Pinney was a young woman who at times accompanied Anning. She had written about this experience of Mary Anning that, the word had used her ill and these men from the scientific community had not given her the credit which was rightfully hers.
Despite that experience however, there had been those who credited her work such as the paleontologist Louis Agassiz who visited her hometown in 18He had thanked Mary Anning and a friend of hers named Elizabeth Philpot in his book called “Studies of Fossil Fish.” Roderik Murchinson had been one of those she had fond recollections of, and she had even stayed with his family when she had a chance to visit London in the year 18
On the 9th of March in 1847, Mary Anning died from having breast cancer. She was only 47 at the time. Even the famous Charles Dickens wrote about the sufferings and triumphs of Mary. The article he had published in his magazine called “All the Year Round” ended with the lines “The carpenter’s daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it.”

Sources: Famous Scientists