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– 9th May -15th May
RICHARD P. FEYNMAN – Born 11th May 1918
Richard Philips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist who was probably the most brilliant, influential, and iconoclastic figure in his field in the post-WW II era. By age 15, he had mastered calculus. He took every physics course at MIT. His lifelong interest was in subatomic physics. In 1942, he went to Los Alamos where Hans Bethe made the 24 year old Feynman a group leader in the theoretical division, to work on estimating how much uranium would be needed to achieve critical mass for the Manhattan (atomic bomb) Project. After the war, he developed Feynman Diagrams, a simple notation to describe the complex behavior of subatomic particles. In 1965, he shared (withJulian Schwinger and Shin-ichiro Tomonaga) the Nobel Prize in Physics for work in quantum electrodynamics.
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE- Born 12th May 1820
English nurse and statistician, “The Lady With The Lamp,” who established modern nursing practice. Her contributions to public health included developing methods of applying and displaying statistics to demonstrate the need for improvements. Her mission began from experience during the Crimean War as a nurse at British hospital in Turkey. There she witnessed appalling conditions endured by the sick: overcrowding, poor sanitation, lack of basic supplies, even malnutrition. With determination and influence, by the war’s end in Jul 1856, she improved the comfort of the patients, increased efficiency and reduced the death toll. Throughout her life, she continued to advocate reform in the military medical system, supported by her compelling, novel graphical display of statistics and advice on hospital planning and organization.
THIS WEEK IN SCIENTIFIC HISTORY-
Birth control pill 9 May
In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a pill as safe for birth control use. In 1953, Margaret Sanger, a legendary birth control crusader gave Dr. Gregory Pincus $150,000 to continue his prior research and develop a safe and effective oral contraceptive for women. The original version contained at least five times the estrogen that it does today, and ten times the progestin. Reductions addressed early medical problems, mainly with dangerous blood clots. The pill, now the most common form of birth control used by millions of women, is about 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. After 40 years, U.S. women still need a doctor’s prescription, but the pill is available over-the-counter in many other countries. [Image: pills in a modern calendar package]
Siamese twins 11 May
In 1811, The original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, were born of Chinese parents in Siam (Thailand). Upon immigrating in to the U.S., they adopted Bunker as their surname. They were joined at the waist by a band of cartilage, about 8 in. circumference and 4 in. long. Only after their death was it found that this could have been easily separated. Robert Hunter, a British merchant, discovered them in 1829 and contracted with them to be exhibited as a curiosity in a world tour. Later, they went into business for themselves. In 1839, they visited Wilkesboro, N.C. with P. T. Barnum. They found the town appealing and settled there. The twins became United States citizens. On 13 Apr 1843, they married two sisters with whom they raised 10 children.
Oldest university unearthed 12 May
In 2004, the discovery of what was believed to be the world’s oldest seat of learning, the Library of Alexandria, was announced by Zahi Hawass, president of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities during a conference at the University of California. A Polish-Egyptian team had uncovered 13 lecture halls featuring an elevated podium for the lecturer. Such a complex of lecture halls had never before been found on any Mediterranean Greco-Roman site. Alexandria may be regarded as the birthplace of western science, where Euclid discovered the rules of geometry, Eratosthenes measured the diameter of the Earth and Ptolemy wrote the Almagest, the most influential scientific book about the nature of the Universe for 1,500 years.« [Image: One of the newly discovered auditoria.]
Vaccination 14 May
In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner administered the first vaccination against smallpox to an eight-year-old boy. Jenner innoculated an 8-year-old boy, James Phipps, with material from the sores of dairymaid Sarah Nelmes who had a mild case of cowpox. A few weeks later, on 1 Jul, he subsequently tested the boy’s resistance to smallpox, by inoculating Phipps with smallpox virus. Fortunately, the immunization had been successful. This tested a conventional wisdom he had heard that those who had survived cowpox seemed to be immune to the deadly smallpox disease. By 1798 he had 23 cases, which he recorded in An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae. Jenner’s work was rapidly taken up in Europe and America.
Kepler’s Law 15 May
In 1618, Johannes Kepler discovered his harmonics law published in his five-volume work Harmonices Mundi (Harmony of the Worlds, 1619). He attempted to explain proportions and geometry in planetary motions by relating them to musical scales and intervals (an extension of what Pythagoras had described as the “harmony of the spheres”.) Kepler said each planet produces musical tones during its revolution about the sun, and the pitch of the tones varies with the angular velocities of those planets as measured from the sun. The Earth sings Mi, Fa, Mi. At very rare intervals all planets would sing in perfect concord. Kepler proposed that this may have happened only once in history, perhaps at the time of creation.« [Image: Title page from Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi.]