Σάββατο, 26 Απριλίου 2014

Newsletter for Saturday 26 April


TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY
NEWSLETTER - 26 APRIL

Feature for Today
On 26 Apr 1774, Leopold von Buch was born, the German geologist, paleontologist and geographer noted for finding flaws in Abraham G. Werner's hypothesis that rocks come from aqueous origins.

He was profiled by the venerable geologist Sir Archibald Geikie, in The Founders of Geology (1897), who described him as the most illustrious geologist that Germany has produced.

In this excerpt you can learn how Leopold von Buch, one of Werner's most distinguished pupils, came to change from following his master's Neptunist views to become an advocate of Vulcanism.

On 26 Apr 1884, the New York Times reported that “sending mails by electricity” was to be investigated by the Post Office Committee of the U.S. House, by providing for contracts with an existing telegraph company. The proposal was that since carriage of letters by steam locomotives was already done by contract, the delivery of mails by electricity seemed analagous.

Now that e-mail has reduced snail-mail and troubles the income of the U.S. Postal Service, you may wish to read about the opportunity for Mails by Electricity that was presented more than a century ago.

Book of the Day
On 26 Apr 1986 in Pripet, Russia, the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded in the world's worst civil nuclear catastrophe which sent a cloud of radioactive dust over Europe. Today's Science Store pick is Wormwood Forest: A Natural History of Chernobyl, by Mary Mycio. The author toured the exclusion zone around the damaged plant and found that after two decades, the area deserted by humans has become Europe's largest wildlife sanctuary, a flourishing - at times unearthly - wilderness teeming with large animals and a variety of birds, many of them members of rare and endangered species. Yet the habitat, the plants and the creatures are all radioactive. The facts are at once beautiful and horrible, and the author tells a unique story of science, surprise and suspense. New  $27.95, Save 34% Price $18.45. Also available Used from $16.07 (as of time of writing).

With such a big event, there are many other books offering a range of other viewpoints from the human narrative to the technical. Wherever your interests lie, you can find relevant books in this link:
Booklist for Chernobyl.

Yesterday's pick: No Time to be Brief: A Scientific Biography of Wolfgang Pauli, by Charles P. Enz.

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


Quotations for Today
"A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children."
- John James Audubon, French-American ornithologist, artist and naturalist (born 26 Apr 1785) Quotes Icon

"Anatomy is to physiology as geography is to history; it describes the theatre of events."
- Jean Fran�ois Fernel, French physician (died 26 Apr 1558) Quotes Icon
Replying to G. H. Hardy's suggestion that the number of a taxi (1729) was 'dull': "No, it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as a sum of two cubes in two different ways, the two ways being 13 + 123 and 93 + 103."
- Srinivasa Ramanujan, Indian mathematician (died 26Apr 1920) 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

Arno Penzias is a German-American astrophysicist, born 26 Apr 1933, who shared a Nobel Prize for Physics with Robert Woodrow Wilson. They made a discovery which lent strong support to the big-bang model of cosmic evolution.
What was their discovery?

A seismologist, born 26 Apr 1900, invented a scale that measures earthquake intensity which he developed with his colleague, Beno Gutenberg, in the early 1930's. The scale assigns numerical ratings to the energy released by earthquakes.
Can you name this scientist?
Deaths

Carl Bosch (1874-1940) was a German industrial chemist who co-developed the Haber-Bosch process.
What is the product of the Haber-Bosch process?
Events

On 26 Apr of a certain year, the first U.S. patent for an integrated circuit was issued by Robert Noyce.
In which decade was the integrated circuit patent issued?

On 26 Apr 1920, two leading astronomers - Harlow Shapley of the Mount Wilson Observatory and Heber D. Curtis of the Lick Observatory in California - debated each other at the Smithsonian Institution. They held opposite opinions as to whether the Milky Way Galaxy was the only galaxy in the universe, or one of many separate galaxies in the cosmos. By the end of the 1920s, the many galaxies theory was validated by Edwin Hubble.
Which of the two debating scientists believed at the time in the Milky Way as the sole galaxy?

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 April 26 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 25: Austria; Guglielmo Marconi; compass needles were affected by the aurora; the decade including the year 1983; the decade including the year 1953.

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