Here’s a Throwback-Thursday with a twist. This one comes on Wednesday. Why, you ask? Just for the heck of it.
In our blog’s this segment, we take you back in time.
We shall cover some scientists that were born and some prominent events that happened in scientific history.
Have a good read!
TIMELINE– 2nd-8th May
ROBERT EDWIN PEARY – Born 6th May 1856
American polar explorer who made the first successful expedition to the North Pole arriving 6 Apr 1909 with his black assistant Matthew Henson and four Inuit eskimo companions. His claim was disputed by Frederick Cook who claimed to have reached the pole in 1908, a controversy which continues to this day, though most geographers have accepted that Peary was in fact the first to arrive there. He spent several prior years, from 1891, exploring northern Greenland. During one of these expeditions, he discovered what is still known as the largest meterorite. It weighed 90 tons, and is now held by the American Museum of Natural History, N.Y.
SIGMUND FREUD- Born 6th May 1856
Austrian father of psychoanalysis, best known for such works as Interpretation of Dreams (1900) and the New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1933). In the publication of these, and numerous other works, he revolutionized the field of psychotherapy, so much so that often later workers have failed to recognize fore-bearers prior to him. Throughout his work he emphasized the role of unconscious and non-rational functioning, going against much of contemporary thought by suggesting that dreams and “mistakes” may also have meaning. Freud battled cancer of the jaw from 1923 until his death in 1939 in London – after 16 operations.
THIS WEEK IN SCIENTIFIC HISTORY-
Electrolysis of water 2nd May
In 1800, English chemist William Nicholson was the first to produce a chemical reaction by electricity. He had been working with Anthony Carlisle, a London surgeon, experimenting with Allesandro Volta‘s voltaic pile. The new effect was discovered when wires from the poles of the battery being used came into contact with water and bubbles of gas were released as current flowed through the water. Closer examination of the electrolysis showed oxygen was released at the (positive) anode, and hydrogen appeared at the cathode. Electricity had separated the molecules of water. Further, the effect of the amount of hydrogen and oxygen set free by the current was proportional to the amount of current used
First U.S. space flight 5th May
In 1961, America’s first astronaut in space, Alan Bartlett Shepherd, Jr., made a 15 minute sub-orbital flight that reached an altitude of 115 miles, during which he experienced about five minutes of “weightlessness.” He was launched in the 2,000-lb. capsule Freedom 7 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by a Mercury-Redstone 3 rocket. The flight travelled 302 miles at a speed relative to the ground of of 4,500 mph. Although Shepard thus became the first American in space, the world’s first human in space flight was Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut, launched into orbit less than one month earlier, on 12 Apr 1961.
Hindenburg 6th May
In 1937, at 7:25 pm, the dirigible The Hindenburg burned while landing at the naval air station at Lakehurst, N.J. On board were 6l crew and 36 passengers. The landing approach seemed normal, when suddenly a tongue of flame appeared near the stern. Fire spread rapidly through the 7 million cubic feet of hydrogen that filled the balloon. Within a few seconds the Zeppelin exploded in a huge ball of fire. The ship fell tail first with flames shooting out the nose. It crashed into the ground 32 seconds after the flame was first spotted; 36 people died. Captain Ernst Lehmann survived the crash but died the next day. He muttered “I can’t understand it,” The cause remains the subject of debate even today.
Coca-Cola 8th May
In 1886, Coca-Cola, the soft drink, was first sold to the public at the soda fountain in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia. It was invented by pharmacist, John Stith Pemberton, who mixed it in a 30-gal. brass kettle hung over a backyard fire. Until 1905, the drink, marketed as a “brain and nerve tonic,” contained extracts of cocaine as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut. The name, using two C’s from its ingredients, was suggested by his bookkeeper Frank Robinson, whose excellent penmanship provided the first scripted “Coca-Cola” letters as the famous logo. Asa Candler marketed Coke to world after buying the company from Pemberton.
Metric system 8th May
In 1790, acting on a motion by a bishop, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand (1754-1838), the French National Assembly decided to create a simple, stable, decimal system of measurement units. The earliest metre unit chosen was the length of a pendulum with a half-period of a second. On 30 Mar 1791, after a proposal by the Académie des sciences (Borda, Lagrange, Laplace, Monge and Condorcet), the Assembly revised the definition of the metre to be 1/10 000 000 of the distance between the north pole and the equator. On 7 Apr 1795, the Convention decreed that the new “Republican Measures” were to be henceforth legal measures in France. The metric system adopted prefixes: greek for multiples and latin for decimal fractions.