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February 8 Science History

Science History of February 8


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

1979 - Dennis Gabor died.

Gabor was a Hungarian electrical engineer who was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of holography. He theorized the ability to create total images that involved the wavelength of light and its phase instead of just the wavelength like a regular picture. He had to wait ten years for the invention of a coherent light source, the laser to produce the first successful hologram.

1975 - Robert Robinson died.

Robinson was an English chemist who was awarded the 1947 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on plant alkaloids. He investigated the chemical reactions that produce alkaloids and discovered the structures of morphine and strychnine. His work and theories on the nature and structures of organic compounds helped in the synthesis of penicillin and other anti-malarial drugs.

1974 - Last astronaut crew leaves the American space station Skylab.

Skylab Space Station
The final astronaut crew leaves the American space station Skylab. The station was abandoned because there were no more launch vehicles to take astronauts to the station. The Space Shuttle was originally supposed to return to the station in 1979 and move it to a higher orbit, but the Shuttle was not available until 1981. Skylab would be destroyed as it entered Earth's atmosphere in July 1979.

1957 - Walther Bothe died.

Bothe was a German physicist who shared the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics with Max Born for his work on coincidence or how a particle can act as a wave. He detected electrons passing through two adjacent Geiger tubes at almost the same time to show momentum and energy are conserved at the atomic level. He later used this 'coincident method' to determine cosmic rays where really massive particles rather than photons.

1906 - Chester Floyd Carlson was born.

Carlson was an American physicist who invented the electrophotography technique that produces dry copies of documents. We know this today by the name xerography. He found that when light and shadow strike strike a charged surface, the light areas will repel charged particles where the shadows attract. This process is the heart of modern copiers and laser printers.

1866 - Moses Gomberg was born.

Moses Gomberg (1866 - 1947)
Gomberg was an Russian-American chemist who pioneered radical chemistry. He synthesized tetraphenylmethane, the first stable free radical.

1834 - Dmitri Mendeleev was born.

Dmitri Mendeleev (1834 - 1907)
Library of Congress
Mendeleev formulated a periodic table of the elements where the elements are ordered by increasing atomic mass similar to the modern periodic table. He is also credited for introducing the Metric System to Russia while he was in charge of Russia's Bureau of Weights and Measures.

1795 - Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was born.

Friedrich Ferdinand Runge (1795 - 1867)
Wikimedia Commons
Runge was a German chemist who discovered the caffeine molecule and invented the technique of paper chromatography. He also made several discoveries from coal tar derivatives such as a blue aniline dye called cyanol.

1777 - Bernard Courtois was born.

Bernard Courtois (1777 - 1838)
Wikimedia Commons
Courtois was a French chemist who discovered the element iodine. He was attempting to create saltpeter using the ashes from seaweed instead of wood to make potassium nitrate. Iodine was discovered after he treated the ashes with sulfuric acid and a vivid purple vapor was given off.

1700 - Daniel Bernoulli was born.

Daniel Bernoulli (1700 - 1782)
Daniel Bernoulli was one of the famous Bernoulli family of mathematicians and the Bernoulli of fluid mechanics fame. He showed a fluid's pressure per area is a constant and directly proportional to the velocity and density of the fluid. He also made contributions to the mathematics of mechanics and statistics.
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