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December 28 Science History

Science History of December 28


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

1944 - Kary Banks Mullis was born.

Mullis is an American biochemist who was ahares the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith for their developments of techniques in DNA based chemistry. Mullis developed the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to quickly make a huge number of copies of specific pieces of DNA. This technique is extremely useful to extend sample size for many genetic applications.

1929 - Maarten Schmidt was born.

Schmidt is a Dutch-American astronomer who discovered the first quasar. Quasars, or quasi-stellar radio sources are active and very distant galaxies. They have a very large red-shift to their spectra suggesting these objects are extremely far away from our galaxy. Quasars are also believed to be large galaxies containing a super massive black hole in their centers to drive the electromagnetic energy being emitted.

1919 - Johannes Robert Rydberg died.

Johannes Robert Rydberg (1854 - 1919)
Wikimedia Commons
Rydberg was a Swedish physicist who is best known for his empirical formula used to predict the wavelengths of light emitted by a hydrogen atom. This formula would later be important to the development of the Bohr model of the atom and the idea that energy of an atom was quantized. The Rydberg constant used in atomic spectroscopy is named in his honor.

1663 - Francesco Maria Grimaldi died.

Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618 - 1663)
Wikipedia Commons
Grimaldi was an Italian Jesuit scholar who was the first to note light will spread out when shined through a thin slit and named this effect diffraction. He also investigated the behavior of items in free fall with Giovanni Riccioli and found the distance the falling object fell was proportional to the square of the time it took to fall.

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