Category Archives: Sports Birthdays

Science Birthdays, February 10

Today is the birthday of Ira Remsen, born in 1846, he discovered the artificial sweetener saccharin in 1880.  He also founded the chemistry department at John Hopkins University.

 

While reading a textbook of chemistry I came upon the statement, “nitric acid acts upon copper.”

I was getting tired of reading such absurd stuff and I was determined to see what this meant.

Copper was more or less familiar to me, for copper cents were then in use. I had seen a bottle

marked nitric acid on a table in the doctor’s office where I was then “doing time.” I did not know

its peculiarities, but the spirit of adventure was upon me. Having nitric acid and copper, I had

only to learn what the words “act upon” meant. The statement “nitric acid acts upon copper”

would be something more than mere words. All was still. In the interest of knowledge I was even

willing to sacrifice one of the few copper cents then in my possession. I put one of them on the

table, opened the bottle marked nitric acid, poured some of the liquid on the copper and prepared

to make an observation. But what was this wonderful thing which I beheld? The cent was already

changed and it was no small change either. A green-blue liquid foamed and fumed over the cent

and over the table. The air in the neighborhood of the performance became colored dark red. A

great colored cloud arose. This was disagreeable and suffocating. How should I stop this? I tried

to get rid of the objectionable mess by picking it up and throwing it out of the window. I learned

another fact. Nitric acid not only acts upon copper, but it acts upon fingers. The pain led to

another unpremeditated experiment. I drew my fingers across my trousers and another fact was

discovered. Nitric acid acts upon trousers. Taking everything into consideration, that was the

most impressive experiment and relatively probably the most costly experiment I have ever

performed.

Claude-Louis Navier was born on this day in 1785. He formulated the general theory of elasticity in a mathematically usable form.

John Franklin Enders, was born in 1897. He has been called “The Father of Modern Vaccines” for his work in growing the poliovirus in culture.  Sometimes they call that in vitro which means “in glass” as opposed to in vivo which means growing in the body.

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Science Birthdays, August 18

Today is the birthday of Luc Montagnier, born in 1932, he was one of the co-recipients of the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of the HIV virus.  His current work with homeopathic treatments has met with much controversy and criticism.

Pierre Grondin, born in 1932 was one of the first doctors to perform a successful heart transplant.

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Science Birthdays, July 22

Today is the birthday of Georg Richmann, born in 1711, while attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, he heard thunder, rushing home with his engraver to capture it, a ball lightning hit the apparatus he was holding and left nothing but a red spot,  singed clothing and blown apart shoes. He was the first person in history to die while conducting an electrical experiment. He was 42 years old.

Today is also  the birthday of Gustav Ludwig Hertz, born in 1887, along with James Franck they performed experiments on inelastic collisions of electrons in gases known as the Frank-Hertz experiments, for which they received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1925. He died in 1975 at age 88.

Selman Waksman was a biologist born in 1888 who discovered Streptomycin, he died in 1973 at age 85.

Friedrich Bessel was a German astronomer, born in 1784 who was the first to use parallax to determine the position of a star, he determined the postion of over 5000 of them.  He died in 1846 at age 61.

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Science Birthdays, July 17

Today is the birthday of Gordon Gould, born in 1920, he invented the Laser, he had to fight the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for thirty years to obtain the patents, but he eventually did win.  He also had to fight the manufacturers.  He was elected into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1991, but his role in the invention is still questioned in scientific circles.

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Science Birthday, June 20

6/20/1761        Jacob Hubner, he wrote Sammlung Europaischer Schmetterlinge, a founding work on entomology, he died in 1826 at age 65

6/20/1861        Frederick Hopkins, Awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of vitamins. He also discovered the amino acid tryptophan, he died in 1947 at age 85

6/20/1875        Reginald Punnett, he created the Punnett Square to predict the probability of possible genotypes of offspring, He wrote the book Mendelism in 1905 and it was probably the first textbook on genetics. He died in 1967 at age 91

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Science Birthdays, January 27

1/27/1888        Goldschmidt Victor    geochemist.     He determined which elements should be present in minerals. He died in 1947 at the age of 59

1/27/1900        Rickover Hyman        physicist          was instrumental in getting the Navy to build a nuclear powered submarine. He died in 1986 at age 86

1/27/1903        Eccles Sir John           biologist          worked out the chemical nature of the nerve synapse. He died in 1997 at age 74

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Sports Birthdays, August 30

Today is the birthday of Ted Williams, “The Kid”, “The Splendid Splinter”, “Teddy Ballgame”, “The Thumper”, “Mr Red Sox”, “Toothpick Ted” and, because of his hitting prowess, “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived”, left fielder for the Red Sox, 1939-1960, 19 time All Star, Hall of Fame 1966

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