PDF-to-Papyrus- ThisWeekThatYear

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– 23rd May -29th May


CAROLUS LINNAEUS – Born 23rd May 1707


Swedish botanist and explorer who was the first to establish a precise biological classification, with a uniform system for naming organisms by genera and species of organisms. He associated whales as mammals, but did not group man with the apes. Later, others improved his scheme by adopting more natural, developmental distinctions between species. He travelled widely to build his collection of plant specimens. He recognized balance and competition in nature relating to insects, animals and plants.

PETER HIGGS- Born 29th May 1929


Peter Ware Higgs is an English theoretical physicist, the namesake of the Higgs boson. In the late 1960s, Higgs and others proposed a mechanism that would endow particles with mass, even though they appeared originally in a theory – and possibly in the Universe! – with no mass at all. The basic idea is that all particles acquire their mass through interactions with an all-pervading field, called theHiggs field. which is carried by the Higgs bosons. This mechanism is an important part of the Standard Model of particles and forces, for it explains the masses of the carriers of the weak force, responsible for beta-decay and for nuclear reactions that fuel the Sun. No Higgs boson has yet been detected; its mass (over 1 TeV) exceeds the capacity of any current accelerator.


Electromagnet first exhibited  23 May



In 1825, the electromagnet in a practical form was first exhibited by its inventor, William Sturgeon, on the occasion of reading a paper, recorded in the Transactions of the Society of Arts for 1825 (Vol xliii, p.38). The publication showed pictures of his set of improved apparatus for electromagnetic experiments, including two electromagnets, one of horse-shoe shape and one a straight bar. The formed was bent from a rod about 1 foot (30 cm) long and one-half inch (1.3 cm) in diameter, varnished for insulation, then coiled with a single spiral of 18 turns of stout copper wire. In return for the Society’s medal and premium, Sturgeon deposited the apparatus in the museum of the Society. Sadly, this was lost after the society’s museum was dispersed.

Spectrophotometer  24 May


In 1935, the first spectrophotometer was sold by General Electric Co., assignee of the patent issued at the beginning of the year to the inventor, Arthur Cobb Harvey (“Photo-metric Apparatus,” 8 Jan 1935, U.S. No. 1,987,441). This electronic machine was capable of distinguishing and charting two million different shades of colour. The apparatus used a photo-electric device to receive light alternately from a sample and from a standard for comparison. Its important innovation was to eliminate any need for the two beams (from sample and from standard) to travel different optical paths which in previous designs could introduce inaccuracies when one path varied from the other, caused for example by dirt on a lens in one path.« [Image: a “GE-Hardy” double-beam recording spectrophotometer photographed in 1938 showing Walt Disney with the instrument at his studios.]

Penicilin test 25 May


In 1940, in one of the most famous animal tests in medical history, eight mice were inoculated with a lethal dose of streptococci and then four of them were injected with penicillin. Next day the four mice given streptococci alone were dead, the four with penicillin were healthy. Oxford scientists Howard Florey, Ernst Chain and Norman Heatley had revived Alexander Fleming‘s work. They produced enough antibiotic to test by isolating the active ingredient from what Fleming had called “mould juice,” Ten years before, Fleming’s interest had waned when he found penicillin production to be difficult, that it was very unstable, had no effect on certain bacteria (cholera, bubonic plague) and didn’t work in animals when given by mouth.

Mars landing 28 May


In 1971, the U.S.S.R. Mars 3 was launched. It arrived at Mars on December 2, 1971. The lander was released from the Mars 3 orbiter and became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars. It failed after relaying 20 seconds of video data to the orbiter. The Mars 3 orbiter returned data until Aug 1972, sending measurements of surface temperature and atmospheric composition. The first USSR Mars probe was launched 10 Oct 1960, but it failed to reach earth orbit. The next four USSR probes, including Mars 1, also failed. The USA Mariner 3 Mars Flyby attempt in 1964 failed when its solar panels did not open. USA’s Mariners 4, 6, and 7 successfully returned Mars photos. Also in 1971, the USSR Mars 2 lander crashed.

Einstein’s relativity theory proved 29 May


In 1919, a solar eclipse permitted observation of the bending of starlight passing through the sun’s gravitational field, as predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Separate expeditions of the Royal Astronomical Society travelled to Brazil and off the west coast of Africa. Both made measurements of the position of stars visible close to the sun during a solar eclipse. These observations showed that, indeed, the light of stars was bent as it passed through the gravitational field of the sun. This was a key prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory that gravity affected energy as in addition to the familiar effect on matter. The verification of predictions of Einstein’s theory, proved during the solar eclipse was a dramatic landmark scientific event.

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