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February 17 Science History

Science History of February 17


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

1890 - Christopher Latham Sholes died.

Christopher Latham Sholes (1819 - 1890)
George Iles/Leading American Inventors (1912)
Sholes was an American newspaper publisher and inventor who invented the first successful typewriter. His original goal was to develop a machine to print tickets and number pages in a book, but ended up with a device that could print words as well. He also laid the keys in the fashion we still use today following the QWERTY format.

1888 - Otto Stern was born.

Stern was a German physicist who was awarded the 1943 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the magnetic moment of the proton and the development of the molecular beam. A molecular beam is any stream of molecules moving in the same direction in a vacuum. He also worked with Walther Gerlach to prove the quantization of spin.

1875 - Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander died.

Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander (1799 - 1875)
Argelander was a German astronomer who pioneered the research of variable stars and developed the methods used to identify them. He also developed a method of quickly identifying the brightness and position of stars that allowed him to catalogue over 324,000 individual stars. This catalogue, the Bonner Durschmusterung, was compiled with Adalbert Krüger and Eduard Schönfeld and was the last to be published without the use of photography.

1838 - Friedrich Konrad Beilstein was born.

Friedrich Konrad Beilstein (1838 - 1906)
Friedrich Richter/Journal of Chemical Education (1938)
Beilstein was the Russian chemist who originally wrote Handbuch der organischen Chemie or Handbook of Organic Chemistry. This organic chemical reaction handbook would grow continuously even to the modern day where it is now known as the Beilstein Database. The present Beilstein Database contains over 10 million structures and almost 11 million reactions.

1781 - René Laënnec was born.

Rene Laënnec (1781 - 1826)
Laënnec was a French physician who is considered to be the father of chest medicine. He advanced the understanding of several abdominal conditions such as peritonitis and cirrhosis. He is also credited with the invention of the stethoscope.

1723 - Tobias Mayer was born.

Tobias Mayer (1723 - 1762)
Mayer was a German astronomer who discovered the libration or 'wobble' of the moon. He was also known for his accurate tide tables which aided navigators to determine their current longitude to within half a degree.

1665 - Rudolph Jacob Camerarius was born.

Camerarius was a German botanist who discovered plants have sexes. He identified the stamen as the male and pistil as the female reproductive parts and how pollen is required for the process.

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