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December 29 Science History

Science History of December 29


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

2004 - Julius Axelrod died.

Julius Axelrod (1912 - 2004)
National Institute of Health
Axelrod was an American biochemist who shares the 1970 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Ulf von Euler and Bernard Katz for their discoveries involving neural transmitters.

1989 - Hermann Oberth died.

Oberth was an Austrian-Hungarain physicist who was one of the pioneers of rocketry. He designed and built liquid fuel rockets starting in 1929. One of his students at that launch was Wehrner von Braun who would build rockets for Germany and the United States. He determined the mathematics for a rocket to leave Earth's gravitational well and enter orbit.

1911 - Klaus Fuchs was born.

Klaus Fuchs (1911 - 1988)
Department of Energy/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Fuchs was a German physicist who became known as the 'Atom Bomb Spy' when he was convicted of espionage for passing vital information about atomic weapons to the Soviet Union. He was part of the Manhattan project to built the atomic bomb and passed notes along to a Soviet contact and had a significant effect on the Soviet atomic weapons project after the war. He was convicted of espionage and served 9 years of a 14 year sentence.

1813 - Alexander Parkes was born.

Parkes was a British chemist who developed the first man-made thermoplastic. His plastic, named Parkesine was based on nitrocellulose and sometimes called synthetic ivory. He also developed an economical process to remove silver from lead ores known as the Parkes process.

1800 - Charles Goodyear was born.

Charles Goodyear (1800 - 1860)
Library of Congress
Goodyear was the American inventor of vulcanized rubber. He baked a mixture of rubber and sulfur to create a tough, cured compound. This process made rubber a practical and useful substance. Rubber alone will freeze in the winter and melt in the summer, but the vulcanized rubber could withstand the variations of day to day temperatures.

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