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December 5 Science History

Science History of December 5

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

1965 - Joseph Erlanger died.

Erlanger was an American physiologist who shares the 1944 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Herbert Spencer Gasser for their research into the action potentials in nerve fibers. Action potentials are self-generating electrochemical pulse that allow nerve cells to transmit a signal over a distance. They discovered there were different fibers in nerves that had three different fibers that would conduct the potential from a stimulus at different rates. This led to the theory that one type of fiber conducts pain signals and others conduct motor control signals.

1932 - Sheldon Lee Glashow was born.

Glashow is an American physicist who shares the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg for their contributions to electroweak theory. Electroweak theory was formed to unify the forces of electromagnetism and the weak nuclear forces associated with radioactivity. Salam and Weinberg outlined a theory that could only be applied to leptons, but Glashow discovered a way to expand the theory to expand the theory to include other elementary particles by inventing a new property for quarks called 'charm'.

1903 - Cecil Frank Powell was born.

Powell was a British physicist who was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of the photographic nuclear emulsion plate technique of studying nuclear processes and the discovery of the pi meson or pion. Pions are a class of mesons that help explain the strong nuclear force in particle physics.

1902 - Johannes Wislicenus died.

Johannes Wislicenus (1835 - 1902)
Wislicenus was a German organic chemist who demonstrated the importance of spacial arrangement of atoms in a molecule. He explained the phenomena where two substances could have the same chemical formula but different chemical properties. The principle he called "geometric isomerism" was the beginnings of stereochemistry.

1901 - Werner Heisenberg was born.

Werner Heisenberg (1901 - 1976)
German Federal Archive
Heisenberg was a German physicist who Heisenberg is best known for his uncertainty principle where the position of a particle and its momentum cannot be precisely determined. He was also awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of the study of quantum mechanics.

1896 - Carl Ferdinand Cori was born.

Cori was an Austrian-American biochemist who shares half the 1947 Nobel Prize in Medicine with his wife, Gerty Theresa Cori, for discovering how the body metabolizes of glycogen. Glycogen is a molecule that is a starch derivative of glucose and an important part of the way the body stores food energy.

1892 - Carl Richard Moore was born.

Moore was an American zoologist who was the first to isolate the male sex hormones androsterone and testosterone. Androsterone was found to influence the growth and development of the reproductive system. Testosterone is responsible for initiating and maintaining secondary male sex characteristics.

1868 - Arnold Sommerfeld was born.

Arnold Sommerfeld (1868 - 1951)
Wikipedia Commons
Sommerfeld was a German physicist who introduced the fine-structure constant to quantum physics. He was trying to explain the hyperfine bands in the hydrogen spectrum using Bohr's model of the hydrogen atoms. The fine-structure constant is a fundamental physical constant that appears in many fundamental quantum mechanics expressions and formulas.

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