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December 10 Science History

Science History of December 10


Learn about the history of science by reading about the significant scientific events that took place on this day in history.

1934 - Theobald Smith was born.

Theobald Smith (1859 - 1939)
US Dept. of Defense
Smith was an American pathologist and microbiologist who discovered the causes of several infectious parasitic diseases. One of the most important discoveries was the cause of Texas Cattle Fever was linked to a protozoan spread by ticks. This was one of the first cases that definitely showed an insect as an important vector in infection. This line of investigation would be important for other diseases such as yellow fever or malaria.

1934 - Howard Martin Temin was born.

Temin was an American geneticist who was awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize in Medicine with David Baltimore and Renalto Dulbecco for their work on the interactions between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. It was previously believed genetic information travels only from DNA to RNA to proteins. He showed that some tumor viruses could reverse that flow from RNA to DNA using a process called reverse transcriptase.

1906 - Walter Henry Zinn was born.

Zinn was the Canadian-American nuclear physicist who initiated the first sustained chain reaction in the first nuclear reactor. He also designed the first breeder nuclear reactor which uses neutrons from the reactor pile to enrich other fissionable material.

1896 - Alfred Bernhard Nobel died.

Gösta Florman (1831–1900)
Nobel was a Swedish chemist and entrepreneur who was the inventor of dynamite and gelignite. After reading an obituary that falsely announced his death, he became concerned with the legacy he would leave behind. He left a provision in his will to create a foundation that created five annual prizes in the fields of physical science, chemistry, medical science, literature, and peace. These prizes became known as the Nobel Prize.

1831 - Thomas Johann Seebeck died.

Thomas Johann Seebeck (1770 - 1831)
Wikipedia Commons
Seebeck was the German physicist who discovered the thermoelectric effect. The thermoelectric effect is when two different metals are connected but kept at different temperatures, an electrical current will flow between them.

1603 - William Gilbert died.

William Gilbert (1544 - 1603)
Wikimedia Commons
Gilbert was an English natural philosopher who was a pioneer in the study of electricity and magnetism. He was also the first to propose the Earth was magnetic as a reason why compasses point north.

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