Πέμπτη, 22 Μαΐου 2014

Newsletter for Thursday 22 May


TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY
NEWSLETTER - 22 MAY

Feature for Today
On 22 May 1819, the Savannah left port from Savannah, Georgia, to make the first steam ship crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. More correctly, it would be a steam power assisted vessel, as a steam engine was used only part of the voyage, driving paddle wheels on a vessel fully rigged with sails used much of the time.

What makes today's Feature appealing is that this extract from an article in The Connecticut Magazine (1905) has many entries from the Captain's Log. In his own words he records some of the occurences on board the
Savannah during its crossing.

Most almanacs will give a single sentence (like the opening one above), and nothing more. You can read here that there was more of human interest happening on the ship than a simple cruise from point A to point B!


Book of the Day
On 22 May 1927, George Olah was born, a Hungarian-American chemist who won the 1994 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Today's Science Store pick is: A Life Of Magic Chemistry: Autobiographical Reflections of a Nobel Prize Winner, by George A. Olah, who gives an intimate look at the many journeys that he traveled—from his early research and teaching in Hungary, to his move to North America where, during his years in industry, he continued his study of the elusive cations of carbon, to his return to academia in Cleveland, and, finally, his move to Los Angeles, where he built the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute to find new solutions to the grave problem of the world's diminishing natural oil and gas resources and to mitigate global warming by recycling carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon fuels and products. New Price $79.95Available Used from $2.54 (as of time of writing).

Yesterday's pick: Science With Practice: Charles E. Bessey and the Maturing of American Botany, by Richard A. Overfield.

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


Quotations for Today
"In no subject is there a rule, compliance with which will lead to new knowledge or better understanding. Skilful observations, ingenious ideas, cunning tricks, daring suggestions, laborious calculations, all these may be required to advance a subject. Occasionally the conventional approach in a subject has to be studiously followed; on other occasions it has to be ruthlessly disregarded. Which of these methods, or in what order they should be employed is generally unpredictable. Analogies drawn from the history of science are frequently claimed to be a guide; but, as with forecasting the next game of roulette, the existence of the best analogy to the present is no guide whatever to the future. The most valuable lesson to be learnt from the history of scientific progress is how misleading and strangling such analogies have been, and how success has come to those who ignored them."
- Thomas Gold, Austrian-British-American astronomer (born 22 May 1920) Quotes Icon
"Why did I decide to undertake my doctorate research in the exotic field of boron hydrides? As it happened, my girl friend, Sarah Baylen, soon to become my wife, presented me with a graduation gift, Alfred Stock's book, The Hydrides of Boron and Silicon. I read this book and became interested in the subject. How did it happen that she selected this particular book? This was the time of the Depression. None of us had much money. It appears she selected as her gift the most economical chemistry book ($2.06) available in the University of Chicago bookstore. Such are the developments that can shape a career."
- Herbert C. Brown, English-American chemist who was awardedthe 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with organoboranes (born 22 May 1912)  Quotes Icon

"I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction. 'When I hear you give your reasons,' I remarked, 'the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled, until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.'
'Quite so,' he answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an arm-chair. 'You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.'
'Frequently.'
'How often?'
'Well, some hundreds of times.'
'Then how many are there?'
'How many! I don't know.'
'Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.'"

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish author and physician (born 22 May 1859) 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

On 22 May 1920 an Austrian-born British astronomer was born who is known for his steady-state theory of the universe. This theory proposes that, although the universe is expanding, a continuous creation of matter in intergalactic space is gradually forming new galaxies, so that the average number of galaxies in any part of the universe remains approximately the same through time.
What is the name of this man?
William Sturgeon, born 22 May 1783, was an English electrical engineer who devised the first electromagnet capable of supporting more than its own weight (1825). The 7-ounce (200-gram) magnet was able to support a greater weight of iron using the current from a single cell.
What weight could his electromagnet support?
Deaths

Albert Claude (1898-1983) was a Nobel-prize winning Belgian-American scientist who developed the principal methods of separating and analyzing components of the living cell.
What is his specialized name of his branch of science?

Julius Pl�cker (1801-1868) was a German mathematician and physicist who discovered that electron rays produced in a vacuum are diverted from their path by a magnetic field. This effect is a principle vital to the development of modern electronic devices.
Can you name the most familiar such electronic device?
Events

On 22 May 1961, the first revolving restaurant in the U.S. was dedicated. It was 500 feet above the ground, carrying 260 seats through 360 degrees in one hour.
Where is this restaurant?

On 22 May 1931, the first sale of an unusual new canned meat was made by George Kenneth End of Arcadia, Florida. Cans were first packed in Mar 1931, and first served at an American Legionnaires dinner. End formed the Floridian Products Corp to market the canned meat.
Of what animal was this meat?

On 22 May of a certain year, Dr. Washington Sheffield, a dentist of New London, Conn., USA,  invented the collapsible metal toothpaste tube, which was later manufactured by his Sheffield Tube Corp. Within the same year, in Great Britain, where toothpaste was formerly sold in round pots, Beecham's Tooth Paste was packaged for sale in collapsible tubes.
In what decade was this invention made?

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 May 22 web page of Today in Science History. Or, try this link first for just the brief answers.

Fast answers for the previous newsletter for May 21: Andrey Dmitriyevich Sakharov; Coriolis; velocity of sound in gases and solids; belts of Jupiter; spots on Mars; Lucite; President Carter, in 1980; the decade including the year 1853.

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