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November 18 Science History

Science History of November 18


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

1962 - Niels Bohr died.

Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962)
Library of Congress
Bohr was a Danish physicist who was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research involving subject of atomic structure and the radiation emitting from atoms. He developed a theory of the structure of the atom that involved electrons orbiting around a central positively charged nucleus. The chemical properties of atoms would be determined by the number of electrons in the outer orbits. He also proposed electrons could change orbits and electrons moving from high energy orbits to low energy orbits would emit a photon. This was a key theory in the development of quantum mechanics.

1941 - Walther Hermann Nernst died.

Walther Hermann Nernst (1864 - 1941)
Nobel Prize Foundation
Nernst was a Prussian chemist and one of the pioneers of modern physical chemistry. He was awarded the 1920 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to thermochemistry. He introduced the third law of thermodynamics concerning the impossiblility to achieve a temperature of absolute zero. As the temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of the system reaches a minimum.

He is also known for the Nernst equation describing the equilibrium potential of a half-cell electrochemical battery.

1923 - Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was born.

Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (1923 - 1998)
Shepard was an American astronaut and one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. He was the first American in space during the Freedom 7 mission on May 5, 1961, just three weeks after Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin made his historic flight. Shepard was also commander of the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon. During this mission, he hit two golf balls with a six-iron attached to a lunar sample scoop.

1906 - George Wald was born.

Wald was an American biochemist who was awarded one third of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering vitamin A is essential for vision and for research into the effectiveness of retina cells to absorb light. He also extracted the pigments from the retina and measured the light absorbance of each pigment. This allowed him to determine the range of color vision possible from rod and cone cells of the eye.

1897 - Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett was born.

Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett (1897 - 1974)
Sosayso/Wikimedia Commons
Blackett was a British physicist who was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize for the development of the Wilson cloud chamber radiation detector and his studies on cosmic radiation. A cloud chamber is a sealed chamber containing a supersaturated, supercooled vapor of water or alcohol. When ionizing radiation passes through the chamber, it ionizes the vapor and a condensation trail forms where the ions are formed

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