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January 23 Science History

Science History for January 23


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

1988 - Charles Glen King died.

Vitamin C - Ascorbic Acid
King was an American biochemist who independently discovered and isolated ascorbic acid (vitamin C). He was attempting to discover the molecule responsible for preventing scurvy in lemon juice and found ascorbic acid. Albert Szent-Gyorgi also made the same discovery and would go on to receive the Nobel Prize for his role in the discovery. King would also make discoveries in nutritional chemistry involving vitamins, fats and enzymes.

1978 - Aerosol Sprays Banned

Sweden becomes the first nation to ban the use of aerosol sprays which use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant. CFCs are believed to damage the Earth's ozone layer.

1918 - Gertrude Belle Elion was born.

Elion was an American biochemist who shares the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine with James Black and George Hitchings for their work in developing drugs for a multitude of diseases and pathogens. Elion and Hitchings designed pharmaceuticals that relied on subtle biochemical differences between healthy cells and the pathogens that affect these cells. The drugs would target the difference and stop or kill the pathogen without harming the healthy cells.

1907 - Hideki Yukawa was born.

Yukawa was a Japanese theoretical physicist who was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize in Physics for his prediction of the meson particles in explaining the forces that hold a nucleus together. The pion particle is an important particle in explaining the strong nuclear force and was first detected by César Lattes in 1947. This discovery verified Yukawa's theories and advanced the understanding of nuclear physics.

1876 - Otto Paul Hermann Diels was born.

Diels was a German chemist who shares the 1950 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Kurt Alder for their development of diene synthesis, otherwise known as the Diels-Alder reaction. A diene is a hydrocarbon with two double bonds. The Diels-Alder reaction converts dienes and alkenes into ring molecules. It is important in the synthesis of many polymers, steroids and alkaloids.

1849 - First Female American to Receive an MD Degree

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821 - 1910)
National Institute of Health
English-born Elizabeth Blackwell receives a medical degree from the Medical Institution of Geneva, NY.

1810 - Johann Wilhelm Ritter died.

Johann Wilhelm Ritter (1776 - 1810)
Wikimedia Commons
Ritter was a German scientist who was a pioneer of electrochemistry. He developed a dry pile galvanic battery using alternating stacks of silver foil, zinc foil, and paper. He also discovered the process of electroplating one metal to another using electricity. After studying the effects of sunlight on silver crystals, he was first to identify ultraviolet light.

1796 - Karl Karlovich Klaus was born.

Karl Klaus (1796-1864)
Wikipedia Commons

Klaus was a Russian chemist who discovered the element ruthenium. He was researching platinum metals or osmium, palladium, iridium and rhodium and found ruthenium in the waste material from a platinum refinery.

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