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February 11 Science History

Science History of February 11


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

2009 - Willem Johan Kolff died.

Kloff was a Dutch-American physician who was a pioneer in artificial organ research. He constructed the first dialysis machine to replace the function of kidneys. He also worked on devices to aid with the function of the lungs and heart.

2005 - Samuel Alderson died.

Alderson was an American engineer best known as the inventor of the crash test dummy. This device is used to study the effects on a person during a vehicle collision. They have helped in the development of many safety features of the modern automobile such as seat belts, airbags and compressible frames.

1993 - Robert W. Holley died.

Robert W. Holley (1922 - 1993)
Holly was an American biochemist who shares the 1968 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Warren Nirenberg and Har Gobind Khorana for research into how DNA controls synthesis of proteins. He determined the sequence and structure of alanine tRNA, which incorporates the amino acid alanine into proteins. This helped determine the synthesis of proteins from messenger RNA.

1973 - Johannes Hans Daniel Jensen died.

Jensen was a German physicist who shares half the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics with Maria Goeppert Mayer for their theories of nuclear structure. They independently proposed the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus where the protons and neutrons are ordered in concentric layers or "shells".

1970 - Japan launches their first satellite.

First Japanese satellite "Oshumi"
Wikid77/Wikimedia Commons
Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) launched their first satellite, Ohsumi 5. This successful launch would make Japan the fourth country to put a working satellite in orbit. It remained in orbit until August 2, 2003 and burned up in the atmosphere.

1924 - Jacques Loeb died.

Loeb was a German-American physiologist best known for his experiments on parthenogenesis, or reproducing without male fertilization. Loeb managed to artificially cause sea urchin eggs to develop by slightly changing the chemistry of the water.

1898 - Leó Szilárd was born.

Szilárd was the Hungarian physicist who initially developed the idea of nuclear chain reaction. He also created the first nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi during the Manhattan Project.

1868 - Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault died.

Jean Bernard Léon Foucault (1819 - 1868)
Foucault was a French physicist who is best known for the Foucault pendulum. This pendulum demonstrated the Earth's rotation for the first time. He also discovered eddy currents in metals. An eddy current is an electrical phenomenon where a conductor is exposed to a changing magnetic field relative to the motion of the conductor. This causes a circular flow of electrons that appose the changing magnetic field.

1847 - Thomas Alva Edison was born.

Thomas Alva Edison (1847 - 1931)
Wikimedia Commons
Edison was an American inventor and businessman who created many devices like the light bulb, the phonograph and motion pictures. He applied the principles of mass production to the process of invention by hiring many people to develop new technologies and inventions. He built the first industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1839 - Josiah Willard Gibbs was born.

Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839 - 1903)
Wikimedia Commons
Gibbs was a American chemist who related chemical, electrical and thermal energy and their capacity to perform work later. These potential energies would be called Gibbs free energy. He also independently invented the mathematics of vector analysis.

1813 - Anders Gustav Ekeberg died.

Tantalum is a hard, lustrous, dark blue-gray metal.
RTC, wikipedia.org
Ekeberg was a Swedish chemist who discovered the element tantalum. He isolated the element from the mineral tantalite that was thought to be made up of two elements named after the children of Tantalus: Niobe (niobium) and Pelops (pelopium). It was later determined that pelopium was comprised of a mixture of niobium and Ekeberg's new element, tantalum.

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