Σάββατο, 19 Απριλίου 2014

Newsletter for Saturday 19 April


Feature for Today
On 19 Apr 1892, the first Duryea automobile was operated by pioneer manufacturer Charles E. Duryea. This would become the model for the first automobile regularly made for sale in the U.S.

In 1915, Charles Duryea published The Automobile Book: a Practical Treatise on the Construction, Operation and Care of Motor Cars Propelled by Gasoline Engines. You can read his short review of the history of the automobile up to that time in his first chapter, Anticipations of the Motor Car. You may be wryly interested in his concluding remarks about electric vehicles.

In the third chapter, he writes about Practical Points on Motor Cars, and therein you may begin to appreciate exactly what it meant for the eager new owner of a 1915 automobile to become "acquainted with it."
If taking delivery on a 1915 car, mark Duryea's advice to a new owner to avoid spectators "quite willing to enjoy to the fullest any amusement which they could derive from his lack of experience. Under such conditions, few men can retain their self-control and reasoning faculties to the fullest..."

As for testing the fuel mixture: "This can be tested by removing a spark plug, and holding a lighted taper, or match, well down in the hole... In making this test, be sure to keep the face and fingers out of the way of the flame, which will extend a foot or two, and is so hot, that it is liable to burn one's fingers badly, and singe one's face and hair."

Book of the Day
On 19 Apr 1912, Glenn Seaborg was born, the American nuclear chemist whose work producing new elements was recognized by being the only person to have an element named after him while still alive: element 106, seaborgium. Today's Science Store pick is Adventures in the Atomic Age: From Watts to Washington, by Glenn T. Seaborg. This autobiography (completed after his death by his son) is engaging and readable throughout - a "page-turner" giving a compelling portrait of a man in love with science. His life is synonymous with the beginning of the Nuclear Age, yet he became a firm and effective advocate for peaceful applications of nuclear energy and of nuclear arms limitation. Available Used from $13.28 (as of time of writing).

Also worthy of attention, two books focussing on the elements with which he worked:
Plutonium: A History of the World's Most Dangerous Element, by Jeremy Bernstein.
Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World, by Tom Zoellner.

Yesterday's pick: Justus von Liebig: The Chemical Gatekeeper, by William H. Brock

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

Quotations for Today
"People must understand that science is inherently neither a potential for good nor for evil. It is a potential to be harnessed by man to do his bidding."
- Glenn T. Seaborg, American physicist and nuclear chemist (born 19 Apr 1912) Quotes Icon

"Another characteristic of mathematical thought is that it can have no success where it cannot generalize."
- Charles Sanders Peirce (died 19 Apr 1914) Quotes Icon

 "It can even be thought that radium could become very dangerous in criminal hands, and here the question can be raised whether mankind benefits from knowing the secrets of Nature, whether it is ready to profit from it or whether this knowledge will not be harmful for it. The example of the discoveries of Nobel is characteristic, as powerful explosives have enabled man to do wonderful work. They are also a terrible means of destruction in the hands of great criminals who lead the peoples towards war. I am one of those who believe with Nobel that mankind will derive more good than harm from the new discoveries."
- Pierre Curie, French chemist and physicist (died 19 Apr 1906) Quotes Icon

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.

Glenn T. Seaborg, born 19 Apr 1912, was an American nuclear chemist. During 1940-58, Seaborg and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, produced nine of the transuranic elements (plutonium to nobelium) by bombarding uranium and other elements with nuclei in a cyclotron.
What name did he coin for the series in which the new elements were placed? Quotes Icon

Ole Evinrude, born 19 Apr 1877, was inventor and manufacturer of the outboard marine engine. He patented his first in 1910. It quickly replaced steam and foot-driven motors for boats and spurs a new industry. The result was the Evinrude Outboard Motor that remains popular to this day.
What was Evinrude's nationality?
A French physical chemist (1859-1906) was a cowinner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. His studies of radioactive substances were made despite conditions of much hardship and barely adequate laboratory facilities.
Can you name this scientist? Quotes Icon
Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) was an English naturalist renowned for his documentation of evolution and for his theory of its operation, known as Darwinism. His evolutionary theories, which he propounded chiefly in two works - The Origin of Species  (1859) and Descent of Man.
Can you complete the next phrase in the full title: The Origin of Species... ? Quotes Icon

On 19 Apr of a certain year, Albert Hoffman chose to deliberately ingest 250 micrograms of the Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) he had synthesized at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland. Three days earlier he had accidentally absorbed some through his skin by touching a container of the drug. From the accidental exposure he experienced restlessness, dizziness and hallucinations: "extreme activity of imagination."
In which decade did Hoffman first deliberately experience the effect of the drug LSD?


When you have your answers ready to all the questions above, you'll find all the information to check them, and more, on the April 19 web page of Today in Science History. Or, try this link first for just the brief answers.

Fast answers for the previous newsletter for April 18: gallium; photoelectricity; diode; the airplane was a jet, making the first U.S. jet passenger international trip.

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