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January 5 Science History

Science History of January 5

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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.

2005 - Dwarf planet Eris discovered.

Hubble Telescope image of dwarf planet Eris and its moon, Dysnomia
NASA
Astronomers Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz at Palomar Observatory in California observed a new dwarf planet beyond the orbit of Pluto. They named their discovery Eris after the Greek goddess of strife. Eris is larger than Pluto and was found to have one moon named Dysnomia. The orbit of Eris is three times farther than the orbit of Pluto at 97.56 astronomical units at aphelion and completes an orbit every 557 years.

2004 - Merrill W. Chase died.

Chase was an American immunologist who discovered cell mediated immunology. He discovered that white blood cells trigger the immune response in the body when an antigen appears. This led to the discovery of lymphocyte cells and B ant T cells.

1981 - Harold Clayton Urey died.

Urey was an American chemist who was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of deuterium in heavy water. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen that contains an extra neutron.

1970 - Max Born died.

Max Born (1882 - 1970)
Wikimedia Commons
Born was a German physicist who was awarded half the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his statistical treatment of wavefunctions in quantum mechanics. He demonstrated how a wavefunction could be applied using linear algebra to describe values physical properties such as position, energy, and momentum as probabilities. It was a large step towards making quantum mechanics a useful tool for scientists.

1943 - George Washington Carver died.

George Washington Carver was an American inventor, scientist, and educator.
Picture of George Washington Carver taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston, in 1906.
Carver was an American chemist and inventor who revolutionized agriculture in the Southern United States. He introduced alternative crops of peanuts and sweet potatoes to farmers who were destroying their soil quality with continuous plantings of cotton or tobacco. In order to make these crops profitable, he invented over a hundred uses of peanuts and sweet potatoes including the invention of peanut butter.

1874 - Joseph Erlanger was born.

Erlanger was an American physiologist who shares the 1944 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Herbert Spencer Gasser for their research into the action potentials in nerve fibers. Action potentials are self-generating electrochemical pulse that allow nerve cells to transmit a signal over a distance. They discovered there were different fibers in nerves that had three different fibers that would conduct the potential from a stimulus at different rates. This led to the theory that one type of fiber conducts pain signals and others conduct motor control signals.

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