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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it... That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”
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APRIL 18 – BIRTHS – Scientists born on April 18th
  Charles Louis Fefferman
 Born 18 Apr 1949.
American mathematician who received the Fields Medal in 1978 for his work in mathematical analysis. As a child prodigy, his accelerated schooling reached B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics by age 17 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University at age 20 (1969). By 1971, as a professor at the University of Chicago at age 22, he was the youngest full professor ever in the U.S. Two years later, he returned to Princeton as a professor (1973). His Ph.D. dissertation was on “Inequalities for Strongly Regular Convolution Operators.” His field of study includes his interest in physics - applied mathematics in vibrations, heat, turbulence - though he is best known for his theoretical work.«
  Joseph L. Goldstein
 Born 18 Apr 1940.
American molecular geneticist who, along with Michael S. Brown, was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their elucidation of the process of cholesterol metabolism in the human body.
  Maurice Goldhaber
 Born 18 Apr 1911; died 11 May 2011 at age 100.
Austrian-American physicist who devised an experiment to show that neutrinos always rotate in one direction (only counterclockwise). His method was simple, elegant, and used an apparatus small enough to fit on a benchtop, rather than employing a huge accelerator. He also discovered that the nucleus of the deuterium atom consists of a proton and a neutron. In the decade (1961-73) that he headed the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, he oversaw the experiments there which led to three Nobel Prizes. He died at age 100.«
  Lars Valerian Ahlfors
 Born 18 Apr 1907; died 11 Oct 1996 at age 89.
Finnish mathematician who was awarded one of the first two Fields Medals in 1936 for his work with Riemann surfaces. He also won the Wolf Prize in 1981.
  George Herbert Hitchings
 Born 18 Apr 1905; died 27 Feb 1998 at age 92.
American pharmacologist was a medical research pioneer who was awarded a share of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1988 (with Gertrude B. Elion and Sir James W. Black) for development of drugs for several major diseases. In the 1950s, he and colleague Elion developed thioguanine and 6-mercaptopurine, that treated leukemia, and in 1957, azathioprine, used in treating severe rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. Their drug allopurinol was effective treatment for gout. Other important drugs they developed include pyrimethamine, an antimalarial agent; trimethoprim, a treatment for urinary and respiratory tract infections; and acyclovir, the first effective treatment for viral herpes.«
  Charles Eugène Wegmann
 Born 18 Apr 1896; died 7 Jan 1982 at age 85.   quotes
Swiss geologist.
  Bernard Ogilvie Dodge
 Born 18 Apr 1872; died 9 Aug 1960 at age 88.
American botanist and pioneer researcher on heredity in fungi.
  H.L. Callendar
 Born 18 Apr 1863; died 21 Jan 1930 at age 66.
Hugh Longbourne Callendar was an English physicist who was famous for work in calorimetry, thermometry and especially, the thermodynamic properties of steam. He published the first steam tables (1915). In 1886, he invented the platinum resistance thermometer using the electrical resistivity of platinum, enabling the precise measurement of temperatures. He also invented the electrical continuous-flow calorimeter, the compensated air thermometer (1891), a radio balance (1910) and a rolling-chart thermometer (1897) that enabled long-duration collection of climatic temperature data. His son, Guy S. Callendar linked climatic change with increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) resulting from mankind's burning of carbon fuels (1938), known as the Callendar effect, part of the greenhouse effect.«
  Paul Ιmile Lecoq de Boisbaudran
 Born 18 Apr 1838; died 28 May 1912 at age 74.
French chemist who developed improved spectroscopic methods which had recently been developed by Kirchhoff. In 1859, he set out to scan minerals for unknown spectral lines. Fifteen years of persistence paid off when he discovered the elements gallium (1875), samarium (1880), and dysprosium (1886). He ranks with Robert Bunsen, Gustav Kirchhoff and William Crookes as one of the founders of the science of spectroscopy. Guided by the general arrangement of spectral lines for elements in the same family, he believed the element he called gallium (in honour of France) was the eka-aluminium predicted by Mendeleev between aluminium and indium. Since it is liquid between about 30 - 1700 deg C, a gallium in quartz thermometer can measure high temperatures.
  George Henry Lewes
 Born 18 Apr 1817; died 28 Nov 1878 at age 61.   quotes
English philosopher and naturalist who is most remembered for his literary work contributing articles to reviews (1840-49) and for a couple of years was editor of the Fortnightly Review. Although without formal training, he later took an interest in science, especially physiology and pyschology, which he popularized through his books, including Physiology of Common Life. He separated from his wife in 1854, to live with Mary Ann Evans (pen-name George Eliot) as her common-law (unmarried) husband.«

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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APRIL 18 – DEATHS – Scientists died on April 18th
  Edgar Frank Codd
 Died 18 Apr 2003 at age 79 (born 23 Aug 1923).
British-American computer scientist and mathematician who laid the theoretical foundation for relational databases, for storing and retrieving information in computer records. He also contributed knowledge in the area of cellular automata.
  Thor Heyerdahl
 Died 18 Apr 2002 at age 87 (born 6 Oct 1914).   quotes
Norwegian ethnologist and adventurer who organized and led the famous Kon-Tiki (28 Apr 1947) and Ra (1969-70) transoceanic scientific expeditions. Both expeditions were intended to prove the possibility of ancient transoceanic contacts between distant civilizations and cultures. The Kon Tiki voyage from Peru to Polynesia was a 101-day, 4,300-mile drifting voyage on the 40-sq.ft. raft, a replica of pre-Inca vessels. He wished to show that Polynesia's first settlers could have come from South America. Few scholars at the time, and almost none today, endorsed the idea. They discount the Heyerdahl hypothesis largely on linguistic, genetic and cultural grounds, all of which point to the settlers having come from the west, not the east.
Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft, by Thor Heyerdahl. - book suggestion.
  Gian-Carlo Rota
 Died 18 Apr 1999 at age 66 (born 27 Apr 1932).   quotes
Italian-American mathematician, philosopher and author. [Also known as Juan Carlos Rota.]
Indiscrete Thoughts, by Gian-Carlo Rota and Fabrizio Palombi. - book suggestion.
  Gertrude Caton-Thompson
 Died 18 Apr 1985 at age 96 (born 1 Feb 1889).
English archaeologist who distinguished two prehistoric cultures in the Al-Fayyum depression of Upper Egypt, the older dating to about 5000 BC and the younger to about 4500 BC.
Mixed Memoirs, by Gertrude Caton-Thompson. - book suggestion.
  William Joscelyn Arkell
 Died 18 Apr 1958 at age 53 (born 9 Jun 1904).
English paleontologist, an authority on Jurassic fossils (those dating from 208 to 144 million years ago). Arkell taught at Trinity College, Cambridge University. His work includes the classification of Jurassic ammonites and an interpretation of the environments of that period. He wrote Jurassic Geology of the World (1956), which critically reviewed the information dispersed throughout the world's enormous literature on the world's Jurassic stratigraphy. He made numerous contributions to knowledge of the Jurassic stratigraphy, and gradually stabilized many stratigraphically significant zonal assemblages. In 1946, his "Standard of the European Jurassic" advocated a commission formulate a code of rules for stratigraphical nomenclature.
  Albert Einstein
 Died 18 Apr 1955 at age 76 (born 14 Mar 1879).   quotes
German-American physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. Recognized in his own time as one of the most creative intellects in human history, in the first 15 years of the 20th century Einstein advanced a series of theories that proposed entirely new ways of thinking about space, time, and gravitation. His theories of relativity and gravitation were a profound advance over the old Newtonian physics and revolutionized scientific and philosophic inquiry.   more
Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, by Abraham Pais. - book suggestion.
Booklist for Albert Einstein.
  Sir Ambrose Fleming
 Died 18 Apr 1945 at age 95 (born 29 Nov 1849).   quotes
John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer who invented, and coined the name for, the first thermonic valve (also known as a vacuum tube). It was a diode with two electrodes, that acted as a rectifier, restricting current to flow in only one direction in a circuit (patented 1904). It made use of the Edison effect— the emission of electrons from a heated metal surface. By sealing a heated filament in a glass envelope containing a vacuum, the internal movement of electrons was not obstructed by gas molecules. The second electron at high positive voltage attracted the electrons released from the surface of the first, heated, electrode. It was applied the device in circuits for the nacent telecommunications industry. His name is remembered in the Fleming “Left Hand Rule” mnemonic for relating the directions of motion, current and magnetic field for a motor.«
The Inventor of the Valve: a Biography of Sir Ambrose Fleming, by J.T. MacGregor. - book suggestion.
Booklist for Ambrose Fleming.
  Sir John Ambrose Fleming
Thumbnail -
 Died 18 Apr 1945 at age 95 (born 29 Nov 1849).
English engineer who made numerous contributions to electronics, photometry, electric measurements, and wireless telegraphy. In 1904, he discovered the one directional current effect between a positively biassed electrode, which he called the anode, and the heated filament in an evacuated glass tube; the electrons flowed from filament to anode only. Fleming called the device a diode because it contained two electrodes, the anode and the heated filament. He noted that when an alternating current was applied, only the positive halves of the waves were passed - that is, the wave was rectified (from a.c. to d.c.). It would also take a radio frequency wave and produce d.c.corresponding to the on and off of the Morse code transmitted signals.
  Ιdouard Roche
 Died 18 Apr 1883 at age 62 (born 17 Oct 1820).
Ιdouard Albert Roche was a French mathematical astronomer who studied the internal structure of celestial bodies and was the first to propose a model of the Earth with a solid core. He determined (1850) the Roche Limit for a satellite to have a stable orbit around a planet of equal density. The smaller body could not lie within 2.44 radii of the larger body without breaking apart from effect of the gravitational force between them. He later made a rigorous mathematical analysis of Pierre Laplace's nebular hypothesis and showed (1873) the instability of a rapidly rotating lens-shaped body.«
  Sir Henry Cole
 Died 18 Apr 1882 at age 73 (born 15 Jul 1808).
British industrial designer who produced the first commercial Christmas card.* Cole played a pivotal role in the introduction of the Penny Post, the English postal system (assistant to Rowland Hill, 1837-40), influenced the expansion of railways, helped establish the Victoria and Albert Museum, contributed greatly to the success of London's Great Exhibition of 1851, and promoted art and science education. In 1843, wishing to save much handwriting of seasonal correspondence, Cole introduced the world's first commercial Christmas card. He commissioned artist John Callcott Horsley to make the artwork for 1000 hand-coloured lithographs. (Individuals' homemade Christmas cards had existed earlier.)« [Image right: Cole's 1843 Christmas card.]
The Great Exhibitor: The Life and Work of Henry Cole, by Elizabeth Bonython. - book suggestion.
  Gerardus Johannes Mulder
 Died 18 Apr 1880 at age 77 (born 27 Dec 1802).
Dutch chemist remembered for his analysis of proteins, for which he coined the name (perhaps suggested to him by Berzelius), in French, protéine (1838) based on the stem “proto” from Greek, as a primary or fundamental substance forming the bodies of animals and plants. Further, he isolated fibrin, the protein associated with clotting blood. He also worked in soil chemistry, was the first to analyze phytol correctly during research on chlorophyll, and confirmed Bezelius' suspicion that theine and caffein were the same compound. He published technical works on the chemistry of indigo (1833), wine (1855) and beer (1857).«
  Justus von Liebig
 Died 18 Apr 1873 at age 69 (born 12 May 1803).   quotes
(baron) German chemist who made many important contributions to the early systematization of organic chemistry, to the application of chemistry to biology (biochemistry), to chemical education, and to the basic principles of agricultural chemistry.   more
Justus von Liebig: The Chemical Gatekeeper, by William H. Brock. - book suggestion.
  Anders Adolf Retzius
 Died 18 Apr 1860 at age 63 (born 13 Oct 1796).
Swedish anatomist.
  Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure
 Died 18 Apr 1845 at age 77 (born 14 Oct 1767).
Swiss chemist and plant physiologist whose quantitative experiments on the influence of water, air, and nutrients on plants laid the foundation for phytochemistry.
  Erasmus Darwin
Thumbnail - Erasmus Darwin
 Died 18 Apr 1802 at age 70 (born 12 Dec 1731).   quotes
Prominent English physician, poet , philosopher, botanist, naturalist and the grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin and the biologist Francis Galton. Erasmus Darwin was one of the leading intellectuals of 18th century England. As a naturalist, he formulated one of the first formal theories on evolution in Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life (1794-1796). Although he did not come up with natural selection, he did discuss ideas that his grandson elaborated on sixty years later, such as how life evolved from a single common ancestor, forming "one living filament". Although some of his ideas on how evolution might occur are quite close to those of Lamarck, Erasmus Darwin also talked about how competition and sexual selection could cause changes in species.
  John Graunt
 Died 18 Apr 1674 at age 53 (born 24 Apr 1620).   quotes
English statistician who is considered by many historians to have founded the science of demography (statistical study of human populations). For his published analysis of the parish records of christenings and deaths, he was made a charter member of the Royal Society. His 90-page book, “Natural and Political Observations Mentioned in a Following Index, and Made upon the Bills of Mortality” was distributed at the Royal Society meeting on 5 Feb 1662. He described his work as having “reduced several great confused volumes” of parish records into a few easily to understood tables, and “abridged such Observations... into a few succinct Paragraphs.” He initiated “life tables” of life expectancy. His use of demographics was further pioneered by his friend Sir William Petty and Edmond Halley, the Astronomer Royal.«

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APRIL 18 – EVENTS – Science events on April 18th
  AIDS virus
  In 1997, researchers reported that the AIDS virus penetrates cells by a harpoonlike mechanism. They conducted their work at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Mass.,
  Artificial sweetener patent
  In 1966, James M. Schlatter applied for a patent for “Peptide Sweetening Agents” (U.S. No. 3,492,131), an invention which eventually led led to the marketing of aspartame under the name NutraSweet. A few months earlier, in Dec 1965, he had accidentally discovered the first example of such compounds. To pick up a paper, he had licked his finger. He tasted an unexpectedly sweet trace of a substance that had, he realized, earlier splashed onto the outside of a flask he had handled. It contained L-aspartyl-L-phenylalnine methyl ester. The patent was issued 27 Jan 1970, assigned to his employer, G.D. Searle & Co. After development and much scrutiny of the testing of aspartame, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it (22 Oct 1981) with many permitted uses as a food sweetener.«
  First U.S. jet international passenger flight
  In 1950, the first U.S. jet passenger international trip was a flight from Malton Airport in Toronto, Canada to the International Airport, New York City. The Avro Canada jetliner carried a crew of three, with three passengers, and 15,000 airmail letters (which became the first airmail letters carried in the U.S. by jet plane). The 359 mile flight took one hour, powered by four Rolls-Royce Derwent jet engines.
  Radio facsimile
  In 1925, the first U.S. commercial transcontinental radio transmission of a radio facsimile was sent from San Francisco, California to New York City. The photograph showed Marion Davies receiving a make-up box as a gift from Louis B. Mayer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. The service had been tried out the previous month by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company on 4 Mar 1925. The first photograph sent showed the inauguration of President Calvin Coolidge taken in Washington, D.C. Nine photographs were transmitted, each taking seven minutes, going to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
  Woman's World Fair
  In 1925, the first Woman's World's Fair in U.S. was officially opened in Chicago, Illinois, by Mrs Calvin Coolidge. For eight days, it displayed women's progress in 70 industries. This showed the diversification since the 1893 World's Fair, where the only example of woman's handiwork was the sewing exhibit.
  First U.S. night flight
  In 1910, the first night airplane flight made in the U.S. was made by Walter R. Brookins in Montgomery, Alabama.
  Japan Patent Office
  In 1885, in Japan, a Patent Monopoly Act was proclaimed, which effectively established the Japanese Patent Office at that time. The need for a patent system had become clearly apparent in order to speed up modernization efforts (An earlier patent law passed in 1871 had been short-lived, but was abandoned in the following year because it was poorly understood by the people and the government office experience problems with its operation.) The first patent issued by the new office, on 14 Aug 1885, was to Zuisho Hotta for his formulation of an antifouling paint for ship hulls made of lacquer, powdered iron, red lead, persimmon tannin, and other ingredients. A New Utility Model Law was enacted in the 1905 to complement the patent system.«
  Telegraph ticker patent
  In 1846, the first U.S. patent for a telegraph ticker that would print letters of the alphabet was issued to R.E. House of New York City (No. 4,464). It was able to print at the rate of 50 words a minute in Roman letters. It had first been publically exhibited in 1844 at the American Institute Fair in New York City. It was widely used for ten years, until replaced by improved versions.

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- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

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