Κυριακή, 31 Μαρτίου 2013

Newsletter for Sunday 31 March

 

Newsletter - March 31 - Today in Science History

TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY
NEWSLETTER - 31 MARCH

Feature for Today
On 31 Mar 1851, Leon Foucault demonstrated his now-famous pendulum experiment at the Pantheon of Paris at the request of Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been informed of Foucault's recent discovery on 6 Jan 1851.

In January, he had installed a long pendulum with a heavy bob in his cellar in the Arras Street of Paris. It revealed that the Earth was rotating underneath the swinging pendulum.

His original annoucement of his discovery was in a French journal, but you an read his original words, in translation, describing his experiment reprinted with an introduction in Physical Demonstration of the Earth's Motion of Rotation, by Means of the Pendulum.

Book of the Day
On 31 Mar 2003, Calder Hall nuclear power station was closed at the end of an almost 47 years of service since it was opened on 17 Oct 1956. It was the world's first commercial nuclear power station that was connected to a national electricity grid. Today's Science Store pick is Calder Hall: The Story of Britain's First Atomic Power Station, by Kenneth Edmund Brian Jay.Published in 1956, this is the story leading up to the opening of the nuclear energy facility. Half a century later, the reader can compare how the author's words as written at the timeof its origin compares with the outcomes as now known. Available Used from $7.50 (as of time of writing).

For picks from earlier newsletters, see the Today in Science Science Store home page.


Quotations for Today

"God runs electromagnetics on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday by the wave theory, and the devil runs it by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. "
- Sir Lawrence Bragg, Australian-English physicist and X-ray crystallographer (born 31 Mar 1890)  Quotes Icon
"After that, I thought about what a proposition generally needs in order to be true and certain because, since I had just found one that I knew was such, I thought I should also know what this certainty consists in. Having noticed that there is nothing at all in the proposition 'I think, therefore I am' [cogito ergo sum] which convinces me that I speak the truth, apart from the fact that I see very clearly that one has to exist in order to think, I judged that I could adopt as a general rule that those things we conceive very clearly and distinctly are all true. The only outstanding difficulty is in recognizing which ones we conceive distinctly."
- René Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician (born 31 Mar in year asked in quiz below)  Quotes Icon
"One may characterize physics as the doctrine of the repeatable, be it a succession in time or the co-existence in space. The validity of physical theorems is founded on this repeatability."
- Friedrich Hund German physicist (died 31 Mar 1997)  Quotes Icon

QUIZ
Before you look at today's web page, see if you can answer some of these questions about the events that happened on this day. Some of the names are very familiar. Others will likely stump you. Tickle your curiosity with these questions, then check your answers on today's web page.
Births
Two hundredth anniversary in 2011! A German chemist was born on 31 Mar 1811, who, with Gustav Kirchhoff, about 1859 observed that each element emits a light of characteristic wavelength. With this tool, he soon discovered two new elements: cesium and rubidium. He also made a number of improvements in chemical batteries. Yet is none of these accomplishments for which his name is most widely remembered. Instead, it is the device, named after him, which he originated for use in flame tests of various metals and salts because its nonluminous flame did not interfere with the colored flame given off by the test material.
What is the name of this device?
René Descartes, born 31 Mar of a certain year, was a French mathematician, scientist, and "the father of modern philosophy." His name is remembered in Cartesian geometry. He also wrote a major treatise on physics, though he decided not to publish that work during his lifetime.
In which century did he live most of his life?
Deaths
Charles Herbert Best (1899-1978) was an American physiologist who, with Sir Frederick Banting, was the first to obtain (1921) a certain pancreatic extract, valuable to treat a widespread medical condition. But because Best did not receive his medical degree until 1925, he did not share the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded to Banting and J.J.R. Macleod in 1923 for their role in the work. Best also discovered the vitamin choline and the enzyme histaminase. He was the first to introduce anticoagulants in treatment of thrombosis (blood clots).
What was the pancreatic extract Best prepared with Banting?
Events

On 31 Mar 1966, the U.S.S.R. launched Luna 10, on its way to the moon. 
What accomplishment by Luna 10 was the first of its kind?

On 31 Mar of a certain year, Wabash, Indiana, became the first town in which electric lighting completely replaced gas lamps. Four 4,000 candle-power Brush arc lamps, suspended 50 feet above the business district were powered by a small dynamo connected to a threshing machine's steam engine.
In which decade were the streets of Wabash first  lit by electricity?

Answers

When you have your answers ready to all the questions above, you'll find all the information to check them, and more, on the March 31 web page of Today in Science History. Or, try this link first for just the brief answers.

Fast answers for the previous newsletter for March 30: The decade including the year 1907; Gerardus Mercator; Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta; jets of oxygen to assist heating lime to incandescence; Copernicus.

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ScienceDaily: Living Well News

ScienceDaily: Living Well News


Female students just as successful as males in math and science, Asian-Americans outperform all

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:50 AM PDT

While compared to men, women continue to be underrepresented in math and science courses and careers. Is this disparity a true reflection of male and female student ability? According to a new study, male and female students earn similar grades in math and science while Asian-American students of both genders outperform all other races.

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Female students just as successful as males in math and science, Asian-Americans outperform all

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:50 AM PDT

While compared to men, women continue to be underrepresented in math and science courses and careers. Is this disparity a true reflection of male and female student ability? According to a new study, male and female students earn similar grades in math and science while Asian-American students of both genders outperform all other races.

Mechanical engineering professor invents portable mobility assistant device

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:43 AM PDT

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Rise in CF patient infections explained: DNA sequencing reveals evidence for Mycobacterium abscessus transmission between Cystic Fibrosis patients

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 06:03 AM PDT

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Innate immune system can kill HIV when a viral gene is deactivated

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Eating more fiber may lower risk of first-time stroke

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 01:14 PM PDT

Eating more fiber may decrease your risk of first-time stroke, according to new research.

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Posted: 28 Mar 2013 11:24 AM PDT

Obesity leads to a decrease in physical activity over time, researchers have confirmed. The exercise science team used accelerometers to measure the actual movement and intensity of activity for 254 female participants, 124 of which were obese. Over the course of 20 months, physical activity dropped by eight percent for the group of obese individuals.

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

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Multi-toxin biotech crops not silver bullets, scientists warn

Posted: 30 Mar 2013 10:08 AM PDT

The widely used strategy of endowing crops with redundant toxins to fend off pests rests on flawed assumptions, researchers have discovered. Their study helps explain why pests are evolving resistance much faster than predicted and offers solutions for better agricultural management.

Artificial spleen to treat bloodstream infections: Sepsis therapeutic device under development

Posted: 30 Mar 2013 10:05 AM PDT

Scientists are developing blood-cleansing technology. The device will be used to treat bloodstream infections that are the leading cause of death in critically ill patients and soldiers injured in combat. To rapidly cleanse the blood of pathogens, the patient's blood is mixed with magnetic nanobeads coated with a genetically engineered version of a human blood 'opsonin' protein that binds to a wide variety of bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, and toxins.

Low-power use for mobile devices: 60 GHz radio frequency chip

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Monounsaturated fats reduce metabolic syndrome risk

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:51 AM PDT

Canola oil and high-oleic canola oils can lower abdominal fat when used in place of other selected oil blends, according to a new study. Researchers also found that consuming certain vegetable oils may be a simple way of reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, which affects about one in three US adults and one in five Canadian adults.

Smoking immediately upon waking may increase risk of lung and oral cancer

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:51 AM PDT

The sooner a person smokes a cigarette upon waking in the morning, the more likely he or she is to acquire lung or oral cancer, according to researchers.

Female students just as successful as males in math and science, Asian-Americans outperform all

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:50 AM PDT

While compared to men, women continue to be underrepresented in math and science courses and careers. Is this disparity a true reflection of male and female student ability? According to a new study, male and female students earn similar grades in math and science while Asian-American students of both genders outperform all other races.

Black bears on the rebound in Nevada

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:43 AM PDT

A new study has pieced together the last 150 years of history for one of the Nevada's most interesting denizens: the black bear.

Mechanical engineering professor invents portable mobility assistant device

Posted: 29 Mar 2013 09:43 AM PDT

A new state-of-the-art device to assist the elderly and disabled with sitting, standing and walking.

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Whole genome sequencing has explained why infection by the multidrug resistant bacteria, Mycobacterium abscessus, has been on the increase in Cystic Fibrosis patients. This study revealed that frequent transmission of the bacteria occurs between CF patients despite conventional cross-infection measures.

Innate immune system can kill HIV when a viral gene is deactivated

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Research suggests a new target for treatment and the eventual cure of HIV/AIDS.

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Eating more fiber may decrease your risk of first-time stroke, according to new research.

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Obesity leads to a decrease in physical activity over time, researchers have confirmed. The exercise science team used accelerometers to measure the actual movement and intensity of activity for 254 female participants, 124 of which were obese. Over the course of 20 months, physical activity dropped by eight percent for the group of obese individuals.