Friday, March 16, 2012

The Doctor Is In

Edwin Hubble

Edwin Hubble was born in Missouri in the year 1889. He was one of seven children and his father was an insurance agent. He received his first telescope when he was 8 and developed an early passion for astronomy from it. He father tried to put an end to his astronomy because he wanted Edwin to study law. Edwin studied law at a college in Britain and also secretly studied physics and astronomy. He came back to the United States to teach high school and to also coach basketball. Hubble eventually got to use one of the Yerkes Observatory telescopes; this was the beginning to his astronomy career. Later Hubble saw that the Andromeda nebula was such a far distance away it could not be in the Milky Way Galaxy. It made others realize that the Milky Way is just a tiny area in our universe. He would soon later find that the universe was expanding constantly. Edwin found this by examining that the light of distant galaxies was changing meaning that everything in the universe was moving away further away from everything else. Hubble’s discoveries changed the perception that we have on the universe.
--Jonathan E.

Edward Teller is most well known for his contributions to the development of the hydrogen bomb. However, he was also a very well accomplished theoretical physicist. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1903, Teller was well known to be extremely supportive of the development and discovery of nuclear weapons, and opposed those who wanted to ban bomb tests. He also was an advocate of many other projects such as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Edward Teller was named one of the most controversial physicists of the twentieth century and also labeled one of the most politically influential scientists of his time.

Charity V.




 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born in Lennep, Germany in 1845. When he was three, he move to Apeldoorn and was raised in the Netherlands. He went to the Institute of Martinus Herman van Doorn. He later went to the ambachtsschool in Utrecht, but was expelled for not admitting who a classroom bully was. He was investigating the external effects of vacuum equipment when an electrical discharge passed through them. He found that cathode rays created a fluorescent effect on a piece of cardboard painted with barium platinocyanide. He tested this effect over a weekend, and discovered a new type of electromagnetic radiation he called X-rays. He took a photograph of his wife’s hand, Anna Bertha, with X-rays. She was terrified when she saw her skeleton. Wilhelm continued testing for weeks to make sure he didn’t mess up his experiment, and wrote a paper entitled, “On a New Kind of Rays” on December 28th, 1895. Röntgen’s discoveries led to the use of diagnostic radiology, which uses X-ray images to diagnose disease. Röntgen died from carcinoma of the intestine in 1923.
 --Ryan S.

 
Gustav Theodor Fechner was an experimental psychologist born in Germany on April 19, 1801. He inspired many 20th century scientists and philosophers with his early ideas and experiments in psychology. He studied medicine at the Medizinisch-Chirurgische Akademie in Dresden and later continued his studies at the University of Leipzig. He was made the professor of physics in 1834 at the University of Leipzig. He later published well known chemical and physical papers and translated chemical works from the French language to others. He made many discoveries in bodily and conscious facts. He tried to find an exact mathematical correlation between the body and the conscience.
                  Ironically, in 1839 he acquired an eye disorder while studying color and vision. This caused him to resign from the office of professor and return home to recover. While in this state of recovery, he started studying the mind and how it relates to the body. He even gave public lectures on his findings on the subject. One of his most well known ideas is the Fechner color effect. This effect is a perceptual illusion whereby colors are seen in a moving pattern of black and white and is still very mysterious today. Fechner is known today as one of the founders of modern experimental psychology.
-- Adam K.

  Leo Szilard, a Hungarian physicist and inventor, was the first to conceive the nuclear chain reactor in 1933. He also patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi. Later, he also conceived three other important devices, which were the electron microspore, the linear accelerator, and the cyclotron. However, he did not build or publish these ideas in the scientific community often, so the credit often went to others who took his ideas and actually created them. Since he did not create his inventions, he did not receive any nobel prizes, but two of his inventions did. Leo Szilard was also directly responsible for the creation of the Manhattan Project. He drafted a letter to FDR explaining the possibility of having nuclear weapons and warning him of Nazi work on such weapons. He got a signature from Albert Einstein, a friend of his and collaborator, and sent it to FDR.
--Jeremy Wu


George Washington Carver was an African American chemist for agriculture, also known as an agronomist. He is known for his experiments to develop cheap alternatives for farming based off of products such as peanuts, soybeans, and potatoes. His success in his experimentation led to a boost in the agricultural economy for the southern United States.  Carver was born in 1864 as the child of slavery in Missouri. During the Civil War, his master sent him to Arkansas to prevent his freedom. He was eventually adopted by his owner, Moses Carter, and they provided him an education. When he was twenty, he eventually got his high school diploma in Minneapolis. He tried to apply to the University of Kentucky, but was rejected based off of his skin color. The college that he attended was Iowa State Agricultural College, where he got a master’s degree in agricultural science in 1896. George Washington Carver was one of the first African American scientists, who not only made a big impact on science, but also on the economy of an entire section of our country. In 1940, just three years before he died, he donated all of his life savings to establish the Carver Research Foundation for continuing research in agriculture.         
--Advaith A.                                     


Robert Hooke's researches over almost 40 years covered a variety of Natural Philosophy. According to Roberthooke.org, "He suggested in 1672 that the vibrations in light might be perpendicular to the direction of propagation. He investigated the colors of membranes and of thin plates of mica, and established the variation of the light pattern with the thickness of the plates."
Hooke is best known to those who study elementary Physics through Hooke's Law. His interest in gases and their properties also found expression in his work on respiration. He built the first reflecting telescope, discovered how Mars rotates, and also discovered one of the earliest examples of a double star.
--Monica K.
                     

 

John Dalton was the son of a weaver. His family didn’t approve of him going out to study sciences. He became famous in a very short period of time. His first paper was about color blindness. Years later, he started research for atomic theory. He became very well known and was invited to many famous institutes for presentations. Towards the end of his life, he had 3 strokes which caused him to have a speech impediment. He died a couple months after his last stroke.
 --Geethanjali M.








Richard P. Feynman was born in New York City on May 11th in 1918. Feynman studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and continued his studies at Princeton University. He obtained his Ph. D. in physics in 1942 (24 years old). He met Hans Bethe at Cornell University and there became involved with the Manhattan Project. They became good friends, and later, with J. Robert Oppenheimer also. Feynman was usually the “life” of the parties at Los Alamos, and also loved playing practical jokes. In 1965, he shared a Nobel Prize with Shinichiro and Julian Schwinger in Physics.  Feynman later died in 1988 from abdominal cancer.
--Chris S.



IGNAZ SEMMELWEIS “The savior of Mothers”

He was one of the pioneers in antiseptic procedures.  Ignaz was working in a hospital that had a high incidence of puerperal fever in the obstetrical unit.  This fever was often fatal and had a mortality rate of 10-35%.  He found that the doctors where conducting autopsies’ or were working on cadavers, then they were delivery babies.  He observed that the doctors were not washing their hand in-between procedures.

Ignaz established a protocol of washing hands with chlorinated lime solution (1847). This reduced the mortality rate to below 1%.  Even with this evidence he was a “rebel” in the medical community and his hand washing theory was rejected.  He was not able to offer a scientific reason for hand washing; this was the main reason for rejection.  Also doctors of his time were arrogant and “were not about to wash their hands just because someone told them to.”

It is interesting my Mom works I healthcare today (2012) and she states that the one area she has to educate staff on over and over is hand washing.  People forget and the touch their hair, clothes, faces, etc and don’t realize they have just contaminated their hands.  How many more years do you think it will take before hand washing is done with the frequency it needs to be?

--Jeffrey H. 

 Stephen Hawking is probably one of the most (if not the most) influential theoretical physicists alive today.  He has published many books on physics theory, formed several prominent scientific theories, and reshaped the way humanity views the universe... all regardless of his chronic muscular sclerosis.  He was born in 1942 and received a degree at Oxford University in 1962, at which time he developed his disease.  Unhindered, Hawking went on to make huge additions to Einstein's Theory of Relativity and to Quantum Mechanics theories.  He quickly became famous; Hawking has taught classes, hosted television shows, even been in space.  He's won several scientific awards, including the Franklin and Einstein Medals.  He is, of course, still alive.
--Abe D.

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