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January 1 Science History

Science History of January 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.

1995 - Eugene Paul Wigner died.

Wigner was an Austrian-American physicist who was awarded half the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to quantum mechanics. He developed the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics where a physical system's properties may be unchanged when a transformation is applied.

1931 - Martinus Willem Beijerinck died.

Beijerinck was a Dutch biologist who coined the word virus to describe the cause of the tobacco mosaic disease. He identified the disease was caused by an agent that was much smaller than a bacterium. He also discovered the process of nitrogen fixation and bacterial sulfate reduction where bacteria use sulfates instead of oxygen.

1894 - Satyendra Nath Bose was born.

Bose was a Indian mathematical physicist who laid much of the groundwork of quantum mechanics in the 1920s, particularly the Bose-Einstein statistics and condensate. The boson particle was given his name in his honor.

1894 - Heinrich Rudolf Hertz died.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (1857 - 1894)
Hertz was a German physicist who first demonstrated a device to transmit and receive radio waves. The unit of frequency, Hertz was named after him. He also showed charged bodies slowly lose their charge when exposed to ultraviolet light which was later explained by the photoelectric effect.

1817 - Martin Heinrich Klaproth died.

Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743 - 1817)
Wikimedia Commons
Klaproth was a German apothecary and chemist who discovered the elements uranium, zirconium, and cerium. He also named the elements tellurium and titanium. He published over 200 papers and a five volume chemical dictionary during his career.

1801 - Asteroid Ceres discovered.

Giuseppe Piazzi (1746 - 1826)
The first asteroid was discovered by Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. He named his discovery Ceres after the Roman goddess of the harvest and motherly love. The asteroid was discovered to conform with the Titus-Bode law that suggested a planet should appear between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It is the largest body in the asteroid belt that was discovered soon after.

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