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Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.”
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FEBRUARY 21 – BIRTHS – Scientists born on February 21st
  William McDonough
 Born 21 Feb 1951.   quotes
American architect and environmental engineer, who promotes product design for a sustainable future by “upcycling” - to replace mere recycling with methods to process materials in ways that improve them for reuse. With Michael Braungart, he wrote a book, Cradle to Cradle, in which they coined the word “upcycling.” For example, when paper is recycled now, the product loses quality as the fiber length gets shorter, needs more chlorination and is contaminated with toxic ink. Instead, trees can be saved for their oxygen replenishment role. Lightweight printed pages could be made of plastic resins able to be recycled indefinitely, with inks that wash off in baths at 180 degrees. His company, William McDonough + Partners, devises many other practical applications of his concept.«
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by Michael Braungart and William McDonough. - book suggestion.
  Henrik Dam
 Born 21 Feb 1895; died 17 Apr 1976 at age 81.
Carl Peter Henrik Dam was a Danish biochemist who shared (with Edward A. Doisy) the 1943 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research into antihemorrhagic substances and the discovery of vitamin K (1939).
  Harry Stack Sullivan
 Born 21 Feb 1892; died 14 Jan 1949 at age 56.   quotes
American psychiatrist who developed a theory of psychiatry based on interpersonal relationships. He believed that anxiety and psychotic behavior could be traced back to families who did not know how to relate to their children, who consequently did not feel accepted and loved. He thus focused his efforts on guiding personality development during interactions with other people. His aim was to improve a person's interpersonal skills, toward feeling whole and healthy, and to reduce fundamental conflicts between the individual and his human environment.«
The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry, by Harry Stack Sullivan. - book suggestion.
  August von Wassermann
 Born 21 Feb 1866; died 16 Mar 1925 at age 59.
German bacteriologist whose discovery of a universal blood-serum test (1906) for syphilis helped extend the basic tenets of immunology to diagnosis. "The Wassermann reaction," in combination with other diagnostic procedures, is still employed as a reliable indicator for the disease. A positive reaction when the blood or spinal fluid of the patient is tested indicates the presence of antibodies formed as a result of infection with syphilis (even though symptoms of the disease may not be observable at the time). A few other diseases, however (such as leprosy), also sometimes produce a positive Wassermann reaction. In addition, he developed inoculations against cholera, typhoid, and tetanus. He was a student of bacteriologist Robert Koch.
  Édouard Gaston Deville
 Born 21 Feb 1849; died 21 Sep 1924 at age 75.
Édouard Gaston (Daniel) Deville was a French-Canadian surveyor was a French-born Canadian surveyor of Canadian lands (1875-1924) who perfected the first practical method of photogrammetry, or the making of maps based on photography. His system used projective grids of images taken from photographs made with a camera and theodolite mounted on the same tripod. Photographs were taken from different locations, at precise predetermined angles, with measured elevations. Each photograph slightly overlapped the preceding one. With enough photographs and points of intersection, a map could be prepared, including contour lines. He also invented (1896) the first stereoscopic plotting instrument called the Stereo-Planigraph, though its complexity resulted in little use.«
  George Wilson
 Born 21 Feb 1818; died 22 Nov 1859 at age 41.   quotes
Scottish chemist and physician who, upon being appointed as the first Director of the Industrial Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, also was made professor of technology at the university there. He gave his inaugural lecture on 7 Nov 1855. His duties included giving lectures to the general public. He wrote The Life of the Honourable Henry Cavendish: Including the Abstracts of his Important Scientific Papers (1851).
  John Mercer
 Born 21 Feb 1791; died 30 Nov 1866 at age 75.
English chemist and industrialist who invented the mercerisation process for treating cotton which is still in use today and was a pioneer in colour photography. From age 16, and throughout his life, he investigated and developed chemical textile dyes. Late in his life, in 1844, he found that when cotton is treated with caustic chemicals, it became thicker and shorter - thereby stronger and shrink-resistant. Further, the cotton was more easily dyed, needed 30% less dye, more absorbant, and could be given an attractive silk-like lustre. He called his process mercerisation and patented it in 1850. Mercerisation was applied to many other materials, such as parchment and woolen fabric, and remains an important part of the cotton finishing process today.

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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FEBRUARY 21 – DEATHS – Scientists died on February 21st
  Gertrude B. Elion
 Died 21 Feb 1999 at age 81 (born 23 Jan 1918).   quotes
Gertrude Belle Elion was an American pharmacologist who shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1988 (with George H. Hitchings and Sir James W. Black) for the development of drugs used to treat several major diseases. Research by Elion and Hitchings produced the first drugs specifically designed for cancer therapy, as well as drugs to combat rejection of transplanted organs, gout, malaria and bacterial and viral infections. These medications became well-proven in use over many years, and their drugs appeared on the World Health Organizations's list of so-called "Essential Drugs" as medicines which should be available worldwide to promote "Health for All." Elion held 45 patents.«
  Inge Lehmann
 Died 21 Feb 1993 at age 104 (born 13 May 1888).   quotes
Danish seismologist and geophysicist who was the first person in that field in her home country, and the first true female geophysicist in the world. In a paper published in 1936, she identified the Lehmann Discontinuity in the seismic structure of the earth which marks a previously unknown boundary at the solid inner core of the Earth. Titled simply “P” (for Prime), this paper was based on her interpretation of worldwide shock wave records from a large earthquake near New Zealand in 1929. She continued to add to the knowledge of the earth's internal structure by studying the body-wave amplitudes and travel times of seismic waves in the upper mantle. She once described herself as “the only Danish seismologist” but received awards from around the world.«
  Nathan Pritikin
 Died 21 Feb 1985 at age 69 (born 29 Aug 1915).
American scientist, inventor and nutritionist. Pritikin believed that moderate exercise combined with a diet low in fat and high in unrefined carbohydrates reversed his own heart disease discovered in the late 1950's. He opened the Pritikin Longevity Center in 1976 in Santa Barbara, Cal. to treat others with diet and exercise in a clinical setting.
  Sir Howard Walter Florey
 Died 21 Feb 1968 at age 69 (born 24 Sep 1898).   quotes
Australian pathologist, who, with Ernst Boris Chain, researched, isolated and purified penicillin for general clinical use. From 1939, he worked with Chain on natural antibacterial agents produced by microorganisms, leading to their isolation, purification and determination of the chemical structure of penicillin. They performed the first clinical trials of the antibiotic.They shared the 1945 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Sir Alexander Fleming, who had discovered antibiotic penicillin in 1928. Florey was knighted in 1944.
The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle, by Eric Lax. - book suggestion.
  Paul Radin
 Died 21 Feb 1959 at age 75 (born 2 Apr 1883).
American anthropologist who was influential in advancing a historical model of primitive society based on a synthesis of economic and social structure, religion, philosophy, and psychology. He pioneered in such important fields of anthropology as culture- personality studies and the use of autobiographical documents. An accomplished linguist, he described a number of North American languages and advanced a classification scheme emphasizing their unity. He was particularly interested in the individuals within cultures. He secured, translated, and edited the first American Indian autobiography, Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of an American Indian (1926), which is considered a landmark in anthropology.
  Sir Frederick Grant Banting
 Died 21 Feb 1941 at age 49 (born 14 Nov 1891).   quotes
Canadian physiologist and physician who, assisted by Charles H. Best, was the first to extract (1921) the hormone insulin from the pancreas. Injections of insulin proved to be the first effective treatment for diabetes, a disease in which glucose accumulates in abnormally high quantities in the blood. Banting was awarded a share of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for this achievement.
Banting: A Biography, by Michael Bliss. - book suggestion.
  George Ellery Hale
 Died 21 Feb 1938 at age 69 (born 29 Jun 1868).   quotes
American astronomer known for his development of important astronomical instruments. To expand solar observations and promote astrophysical studies he founded Mt. Wilson Observatory (Dec 1904). He discovered that sunspots were regions of relatively low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Hale hired Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble as soon as they finished their doctorates, and he encouraged research in galactic and extragalactic astronomy as well as solar and stellar astrophysics. Hale planned and tirelessly raised funds for the 200-inch reflecting telescope at the Palomar Mountain Observatory completed in 1948, after his death, and named for him—the Hale telescope.
Explorer of the Universe: A Biography of George Ellery Hale, by Helen Wright. - book suggestion.
  Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
 Died 21 Feb 1926 at age 72 (born 21 Sep 1853).   quotes
Dutch physicist who was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on low-temperature physics in which he liquified hydrogen and helium. On 10 Jul 1908, he obtained his first sample of liquid helium, an amount of 60 cc. After a few more days of verification, his accomplishment was published in The Times on 20 Jul 1908. From his studies of the resistance of metals at low temperatures, he discovered superconductivity (a state in which certain metals exhibit almost no electrical resistance at a temperature near absolute zero).«
Freezing Physics: Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and the Quest for Cold, by Dirk van Delft. - book suggestion.
  Osborne Reynolds
 Died 21 Feb 1912 at age 69 (born 23 Aug 1842).   quotes
British engineer, physicist, and educator best known for his work in hydraulics and hydrodynamics.
  Emil Holub
 Died 21 Feb 1902 at age 54 (born 7 Oct 1847).
Czech naturalist who travelled extensively in south central Africa gathering varied and valuable natural history collections that he distributed to museums and schools throughout Europe.
  George Francis Fitzgerald
 Died 21 Feb 1901 at age 49 (born 3 Aug 1851).   quotes
Irish physicist whose suggestion of a way to produce waves helped lay a foundation for wireless telegraphy. He also first developed a theory, independently discovered by Hendrik Lorentz, that a material object moving through an electromagnetic field would exhibit a contraction of its length in the direction of motion. This is now known as the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, which Albert Einstein used in his own special theory of relativity. He also was first to propose the structure of comets as a head made of large stones, but a tail make of such smaller stones (less than 1-cm diam.) that the pressure of light radiation from the sun could deflect them. FitzGerald also studied electrolysis as well as electromagnetic radiation.«
  Joaquín Acosta
 Died 21 Feb 1852 at age 51 (born 29 Dec 1800).
Tomás Joaquín Acosta y Pérez de Guzmán was a Colombian geologist, military engineer and historian who began a military career in 1819. He was sent in 1821 by the government to Choco where it was proposed to build a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He spent time in Europe (1825-31) where he learned about mineralogy, road building and military engineering. On his return to Colombia, in 1832, he became Chief Engineer of Roads. In 1834, he attempted a scientific survey of the Colombian region between Socorro and the Magdalena River. He served as Chargé d'Affaires in Washington, D.C. (Jul-Nov 1842). His historical research in Spain on the colonial history of Colombia was published in Compendio (1848). Acosta was active in his nation’s various scientific societies. He wrote many historical and scientific books.«[Date of birth given in EB as 29 Dec 1799 or 29 Dec 1800.]
  Jethro Tull
Thumbnail -
 Died 21 Feb 1741 at age 66 (baptized 30 Mar 1674).   quotes
English writer and agronomist who invented a horse-drawn drill around 1701. He promoted sowing seeds in rows rather than broadcast (simply casting the seeds around), so that weeds could be controlled by hoeing regularly between the rows. For this purpose, he devised his seed drill, which could planted three rows at the same time. A blade cut a groove in the ground to receive the seed, and the soil was turned over to cover the sewn seed. A hopper distributed a regulated amount of seed. Because of the internal moving parts, it has been called the first agricultural machinery. Its rotary mechanism became part of all sowing devices that followed. Tull also invented a four-coultered plow to make vertical cuts in the soil before the plowshare.«[Image right: Tull's seed drill]   more
Jethro Tull: A Berkshire Life, by George F. Tull. - book suggestion.
  Hieronymus Bock
 Died 21 Feb 1554 (born 1498).
Hieronymus Tragus Bock was a German priest, physician and botanist who helped lead the transition from the philological scholasticism of medieval botany to the modern science based on observation and description from nature.

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FEBRUARY 21 – EVENTS – Science events on February 21st
  In 1994, the Whirlpool Corporation began production of an energy efficient refrigerator that did not use freon. It had an efficiency 25% better than the U.S. law required. By removing freon, the destructive effect on ozone in the atmosphere by that chemical was eliminated.
  In 1989, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a low-calorie substitute for fat, Simplesse.
  Submarine circumnavigation
  In 1958, the first U.S. submarine to circumnavigate the world returned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After leaving the harbour on 8 Jul 1957, the Gudgeon (SS 567) had spent 228 days travelling about 25,000 miles while visiting ports in Asia, Africa and Europe. The 269-foot-long submarine and its crew of 83 were under the command of LCDR John O. Coppedge. It was first launched on 11 Jun 1952, and commissioned on 21 Nov 1952, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.*
  DNA structure
Thumbnail - DNA structure
  In 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson reached their conclusion about the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. They made their first announcement on Feb 28, and their paper, A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, was published in the 25 Apr 1953 issue of journal Nature.
What Mad Pursuit: A personal View of Scientific Discovery, by Francis Crick. - book suggestion.
  Polaroid camera
Thumbnail - Polaroid camera
  In 1947, Edwin H. Land first demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, the first used self-developing film, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City. It produced a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds, using developer and fixer chemicals sandwiched in pods with the photographic paper and film. After exposure, developing was initiated by turning a knob that squeezed open the pod of chemicals.
Insisting On The Impossible: The Life Of Edwin Land‎, by Victor K. McElheny. - book suggestion.
  Alka Seltzer
Thumbnail - Alka Seltzer
  In 1931, Alka Seltzer was introduced in the U.S. It originated after Hub Beardsley, the president of Miles Laboratories, during a severe flu epidemic in winter 1928, had visited a local newspaper in Elkhart, Indiana. He learned from the editor, Tom Keene, that the staff seemed to be resistant to the illness. Keene explained that at the first sign of illness, he treated staff members with a combination of aspirin and baking soda. Beardsley asked his chief chemist, Maurice Treneer, to develop an effervescent tablet with aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and sodium bicarbonate as the main ingredients. The resulting tablet seemed sufficiently effective to begin production, although Beardsley himself died in 1929. It was introduced in 1931, with heavy radio advertising promotion.
  First U.S. brain surgeon
  In 1902, Dr. Harvey Cushing, the first US brain surgeon, performed his first brain operation.Born in New Haven, Conn., his clinical contributions are legendary: the use of x-rays in surgical practice, physiological saline for irrigation during surgery, the discovery of the pituitary as the master hormone gland, founding the clinical specialty of endocrinology, the anesthesia record, the use of blood pressure measurement in surgical practice, and the physiological consequences of increased intracranial pressure.
Genius With a Scalpel: Harvey Cushing, by Justin F. Denzel. - book suggestion.
  Stanley Motor Carriage Company
Thumbnail - Stanley Motor Carriage Company
  In 1902, Francis and Freelan Stanley filed papers to incorporate the Stanley Motor Carriage Company in the state of Maine. They produced their first steam-powered car in 1897. By 1899 they had built and sold over 200 cars, which was more than any other U.S. car maker at the time. Their early cars were made with a light wooden body attached by elliptical springs to a tubular steel frame. A boiler beneath the seat burned gasoline or kerosene to produce steam that drove the pistons of the engine. In the late 1910s, the fuel efficiency and design of rival gasoline internal combustion cars had improved so much that competition caused the company to close in 1924. After Francis died in 1918, Freelan had sold the company and lived to age 91.«
The Stanley Steamer: America's Legendary Steam Car, by Kit Foster. - book suggestion.
  Black American patent
  In 1899, black American E.P. Ray was issued a U.S. patent for a "Chair Supporting Device" (No. 620,078).
The Inventive Spirit of African Americans: Patented Ingenuity, by Patricia Carter Sluby. - book suggestion.
  Edison patent
  In 1893, Thomas A. Edison received two U.S. patents. The first was for a "Cut Out for Incandescent Electric Lamps" and another for a "Stop Device" (No. 491,992-3). Also No. 492,150 for "Process of Coating Conductors for Incandescent Lamps."
  Bacteriology laboratory
  In 1887, the first U.S. institutional* bacteriology laboratory was incorporated, the Hoagland Laboratory of Brooklyn, N.Y., founded by Dr. Cornelius N. Hoagland for original medical research. He paid over $100,00 to build and equip it at 335 Henry Street (opposite Long Island College Hospital) and gave a $50,000 endowment.. His wealth came from ownership, with his brother, of the Royal Baking Powder Company. The laboratory opened in 1888, with special departments in physiology and bacteriology. Its first director was Dr George Miller Sternberg, who identified the microbe of pneumonia in saliva. It lasted 25 years before financial failure. The building was later destroyed by fire and demolished. (*Private bacteriological labs had been established earlier by individual physicians.)«   more
  First U.S. telephone directory
  In 1878, the first U.S. telephone directory, listing about 50 names, was issued by the New Haven Telephone Company, in New Haven, Connecticut.
  First U.S. woman dentist graduated
  In 1866, the first woman dentist in the U.S. to obtain a D.D.S. degree from a dental college graduated. Lucy B. Hobbs (Mrs. Taylor) was required to attend only one session beginning in Nov 1865 at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery because of credits allowed for previous practice.Being a woman, Hobbs had been originally turned down by many schools, but instead she trained in the office of Dr. Samuel Wardle. When first turned down by the Ohio Dental College in Mar 1861, since a license was not compulsory at the time, she successfully practiced dentistry in Cincinnati, Ohio. After the Civil War she moved to Iowa, and in Jul 1865, became the first woman elected as a member of a dental society, the Iowa State Dental Society.*
  Universal milling machine
  In 1865, a U.S. patent was issued for the universal milling machine invented by Joseph Rogers Brown (No. 46,521). With this four-speed, 1,800-lb machine, Brown could quickly make any size twist drill, and replace previously tedious handwork in spiral milling or gear-cutting operations. Adjustments were calibrated with an accuracy of one-thousandth of an inch. He had already invented a precision gear cutter in 1855 to produce clock gears, and later patented a universal grinding machine in 1877. As an inventor, Brown made numerous advances in the field of fine measurement and machine-tool production. He co-founded J.R. Brown and Sharpe in 1853 to manufacture his products.
  Burglar alarm
  In 1858, the first electrical burglar alarm installation in the U.S. was made by Edwin T. Holmes in Boston, Mass. When a door or window was opened, a spring was released that closed an electrical circuit.*
  Sewing machine
Thumbnail - Sewing machine
  In 1842, the first U.S. patent (of which there is any record) for a sewing machine was issued to John J. Greenough of Washington, DC. (No. 2,466) as "A Machine for Sewing or Stitching all Kinds of Straight Seams." The needle was gradually tapered to a point at each end, with an eye in the middle. It used pairs of pinchers, one on each side of the work to alternately draw the thread back and forth. It did not use thread from a bobbin of thread. Instead, the lengths of thread were inserted in the needle, similar in length to those used in hand sewing.*
Thumbnail - Chlorine
Humphry Davy
  In 1811, as Humphry Davy read a paper to the Royal Society, he introduced the name “chlorine” from the Greek word for “green,” for the bright yellow green gas chemists then knew as oxymuriatic gas. In his paper, On a Combination of Oxymuriatic Gas and Oxygene Gas, Davy reported on his numerous experiments with oxymuratic gas, which appeared to have many of the reactive properties of oxygen. Hydrochloric acid was then known as muriatic acid, and when chlorine was first obtained from a reaction with the acid, the yellow green gas had been thought to be a compound containing oxygen. Later, Davy's careful work would show that the chlorine gas was in fact an element, unable to be decomposed into any simpler substances.
Thumbnail - Locomotive
Thumbnail -
Memorial reproduction of Trevithick's locomotive.
  In 1804, the first self-propelling steam engine or steam locomotive was tested at the Pen-y-Darren ironworks on its normally horse-drawn tramline. The machine was designed by Richard Trevithick. He had built his first road steam locomotive at Camborne in 1801, and another road machine in 1803, which ran several times in London, before he turned his attention to railways. The railway engine at Pen-y-Darren was able to pull a load of 15 tons at a speed of about 5 mph. However, adhesion was a problem as the iron wheels slipped on the iron rails. Further, the cast-iron rails of the tramways of those days were not strong enough to support the weight of his new machine and the experiment was soon abandoned.«
Richard Trevithick: Giant of Steam, by Anthony Burton. - book suggestion.

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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
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John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
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Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
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Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
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Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
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Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
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Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
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Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
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John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

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