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December 25 Science History

Science History of December 25


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

1961 - Otto Loewi died.

Loewi was a German pharmacologist who shares the 1936 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Henry Dale for the discovery of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. He also investigated diabetes and the actions of the drugs digitalis and epinephrine.

1906 - Ernst Ruska was born.

Ruska was a German physicist who developed the first electron microscope. He found he could focus an electron beam using a magnetic coil to act as a lens. A second lens increased the magnification even further than was possible with visible light. This device would earn him half the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics.

1904 - Gerhard Herzberg was born.

Herzberg was a German physical chemist who earned the 1971 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for spectroscopic determination of the geometry and structure of free radicals. He was also a pioneer in the use of spectroscopy in astronomy. He was among the first to show molecules exist in space where it was previously believed ultraviolet radiation from the Sun would break any complex molecules apart.

1876 - Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus was born.

Windaus was a German chemist who was awarded the 1928 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research into cholesterol and other sterols and their relation to vitamins. He discovered a chemical precursor that, when exposed to sunlight, creates vitamin D. This shows how sunlight can prevent rickets, a vitamin D deficiency.

1761 - William Gregor was born.

Gregor was a British mineralogist and clergyman who discovered the element titanium. He named his discovery manaccanite after the Manaccan valley where he found it. A few years later, Martin Klaproth thought he discovered a new element in the mineral rutile and named it titanium. Gregor was ultimately given credit for the discovery, but the name titanium remained.

1642 - Issac Newton was born.

Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727)
Godfrey Kneller, 1688
Newton was an English scientist who is best known for his classical mechanics laws of motion, gravitation laws and the development of the mathematics of calculus. He was the first to demonstrate light could be separated into different colors with a prism and theorized an object's color was caused by the color of the light reflecting off the object. He also built the first operational reflecting telescope. Newton is considered one of the most influential scientists in history.

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