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January 7 Science History

Science History of January 7


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

1998 - Vladimir Prelog died.

Prelog was a Swiss-Croatian organic chemist who was awarded half the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research into the stereochemistry of natural compounds and reactions. He made contributions to the study of stereoisomerism. Stereoisomerism is where two compounds have identical chemical compositions but are mirror-images of each other. He named the right-handed compound "dextra" and the left-handed compound "levo".

1984 - Alfred Kastler died.

Kastler was a French physicist who was awarded the 1966 Nobel prize in Physics for developing the technique of optical pumping while studying the interactions between light and atoms and resonance. The optical pumping technique was a critical step to the development of laser and coherent light technology.

1943 - Nikola Tesla died.

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)
Wikimedia Commons
Tesla was a Serbian-American engineer and inventor who pioneered the use of alternating current electrical systems. He also developed a wireless method to transmit electricity and attempted to construct a global transmission network before his funding ran out. He is largely responsible for the current use of AC power in the electrical industry. The SI unit of magnetic flux density is named in his honor.

1941 - John Ernest Walker was born.

John Ernest Walker is an English biochemist who shares half the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Paul Boyer for describing the enzymatic synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). He also determined the three dimensional structure of ATP and determined its amino acid sequence.

1893 - Josef Stefan died.

Joseph Stefan (1835 - 1893)
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Stefan was a Austrian physicist best known for his contributions to thermodynamics. He related the amount of energy given off by a black body to the fourth power of the body's temperature. This work was later refined with his student, Ludwig Boltzmann to relate the radiant energy of a body to its absolute temperature. He was then able to derive a value for the temperature of the Sun that was only 80 K from the current accepted value of 5780 K.

1882 - Jan Józef Ignacy Lukasiewicz died.

Jan Józef Ignacy Lukasiewicz (1822 - 1882)
Lukasiewicz was a Polish pharmacist who discovered a method to extract kerosene from seep oil and the invention of the kerosene lamp. He is credited with the construction of the world's first oil refinery facility and Poland's first oil well.

1794 - Eilhard Mitscherlich was born.

Eilhard Mitscherlich (1794 - 1863)
Mitscherlich was a German chemist who proposed the theory of isomorphism. This theory states that chemical compounds that crystallize together have similar structure and composition. He discovered selenic acid and the mono-clinic crystal form of sulfur. He also named benzene and was the first to synthesize nitrobenzene. He was one of the first chemists to identify catalytic action and its effects on the rates of reactions.

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