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February 1 Science History

Science History of February 1

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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.

2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia destroyed during re-entry.

Crew of the final mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
NASA
The Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere killing all seven astronauts aboard. The shuttle was damaged by a piece of foam insulation from the main propellant tank during lift-off. The foam damaged the heat resistant tiles that protect the shuttle from the heat of re-entry.

1976 - George Hoyt Whipple died.

Whipple was an American physician who shares the 1934 Noble Prize in Medicine with George Minot and William Murphy for their work on the treatment of anemia. Whipple showed that anemic dogs who were fed liver improved their condition, actually reversing the condition. This discovery lead to the successful treatment of pernicious anemia by Minot and Murphy.

1976 - Werner Heisenberg died.

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.

1972 - First hand-held scientific calculator introduced.

Hewlett Packard's HP-35, the first hand-held electronic scientific calculator
Hewlett Packard Museum
The first hand-held, electronic scientific calculator was introduced by Hewlett Packard. The HP-35 calculator had more than the basic four operations. It could perform trigonometrical, exponential, and logarithmic functions with a single press of a button.

1958 - Clinton Joseph Davisson died.

Davisson was an American physicist who shares the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics with George Thomson for their independent discovery that electrons could be diffracted like light waves. This suggested particles could have wave properties, confirming the theory of de Broglie and is a basis of quantum mechanics.

1952 - Roger Yonchien Tsien was born.

Aequorea victoria jellyfish
Sierra Blakely
Tsien is an Chinese American biochemist who shares the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Martin Chalfie for their discovery of the green fluorescent protein. The green fluorescent protein is a protein that glows bright green in the presence of blue light and found in Aequorea victoria jellyfish.

1944 - DNA identified as the hereditary agent in a virus.

Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty announced that DNA was the hereditary agent in a virus that would transform a virus from a harmless to a pathogenic version. This study was a key work in modern bacteriology.

1905 - Emilio Segré was born.

Emilio Gino Segrè (1905 - 1989)
Library of Congress
Segré was an Italian physicist who discovered the first man made element, technetium and the element of astatine. He was also awarded the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physics with Owen Chamberlain for their discovery of the antiproton, or negatively charged proton.

1903 - George Stokes died.

George Stokes (1819–1903)
Stokes was a Irish physicist who is known for his law of viscosity involving the speed of a sphere falling in a liquid and other principles of fluid dynamics. He also described fluorescence as a change in wavelength from ultra-violet to visible. This shift in energy would be called the Stokes shift in his honor.

1885 - Sidney Gilchrist Thomas died.

Thomas was a British metallurgist who developed a process to remove phosphorus impurities from iron ores to improve the strength of steel.

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