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#126 2016-04-04 23:45:04

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

101. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, (October 19, 1910 – August 21, 1995), was an Indian American astrophysicist born in Lahore, Punjab. Chandrasekhar was awarded, along with William A. Fowler, the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics, with Chandrasekhar cited for his mathematical theory of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars. This work led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars, including black holes. The Chandrasekhar limit is named after him.

Chandrasekhar - in distinct periods - worked in various areas, including stellar structure, theory of white dwarfs, stellar dynamics, theory of radiative transfer, quantum theory of the hydrogen anion, hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability, equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, general relativity, mathematical theory of black holes and theory of colliding gravitational waves. At the University of Cambridge, he developed a theoretical model explaining the structure of white dwarf stars that took into account the relativistic variation of mass with the velocities of electrons that comprise their degenerate matter. He showed that the mass of a white dwarf could not exceed 1.44 times that of the Sun – the Chandrasekhar limit. Chandrasekhar revised the models of stellar dynamics originated by Jan Oort and others by considering the effects of fluctuating gravitational fields within the Milky Way on stars rotating about the galactic centre. His solution to this complex dynamical problem involved a set of twenty partial differential equations, describing a new quantity he termed ‘dynamical friction’, which has the dual effects of decelerating the star and helping to stabilize clusters of stars. Chandrasekhar extended this analysis to the interstellar medium, showing that clouds of galactic gas and dust are distributed very unevenly.

Chandrasekhar studied at Presidency College, Madras (now Chennai) and University of Cambridge. He spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, spending some time in its Yerkes Observatory, and serving as editor of The Astrophysical Journal from 1952 to 1971. He served on the University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995 at the age of 84.

Chandrasekhar married Lalitha Doraiswamy in September 1936. He had met her as a fellow student at Presidency College, Madras.

Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.

He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953.

chandra.jpg


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#127 2016-04-06 23:03:05

mathaholic
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Re: crème de la crème

Uh huh. big_smile


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#128 2016-04-07 02:06:20

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

cool mathaholic

102. John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry, and along with other key contemporary industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie, defined the structure of modern philanthropy. In 1870, he founded Standard Oil Company and actively ran it until he officially retired in 1897.

Rockefeller founded Standard Oil as an Ohio partnership with his brother William along with Henry Flagler, Jabez A. Bostwick, chemist Samuel Andrews, and a silent partner, Stephen V. Harkness. As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller's wealth soared and he became the world's richest man and the first American worth more than a billion dollars, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak. His fortune upon his death in 1937 stood at US$1.4 billion (equivalent to $23 billion in 2015 dollars). At the time, his fortune accounted for more than 1.5% of the national economy, equivalent to $253 billion in 2013, making him the richest person in US history.

Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement at his estate, Kykuit, in Westchester County, New York. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy. He was able to do this through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research and were instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever.

Rockefeller was also the founder of both the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University and funded the establishment of Central Philippine University in the Philippines. He was a devoted Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions. Rockefeller adhered to total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco throughout his life. He was a faithful congregant of the Erie Street Baptist Mission Church, where he taught Sunday school, and served as a trustee, clerk, and occasional janitor. Religion was a guiding force throughout his life, and Rockefeller believed it to be the source of his success. Rockefeller was also considered a supporter of capitalism based in a perspective of social darwinism, and is often quoted saying "The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest."

John_D._Rockefeller_1885.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#129 2016-04-09 22:31:52

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

103. Sir William Crookes, (born June 17, 1832, London, Eng.—died April 4, 1919, London), British chemist and physicist noted for his discovery of the element thallium and for his cathode-ray studies, fundamental in the development of atomic physics.

After studying at the Royal College of Chemistry, London, Crookes became superintendent of the meteorological department at Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, in 1854, and the following year gained a post at the College of Science in Chester, Cheshire. Having inherited a large fortune from his father, he devoted himself from 1856 entirely to scientific work of various kinds at his private laboratory in London. His researches on electrical discharges through a rarefied gas led him to observe the dark space around the cathode, now called the Crookes dark space. He demonstrated that cathode rays travel in straight lines and produce phosphorescence and heat when they strike certain materials. He invented many devices to study the behaviour of cathode rays, but his theory of radiant matter, or a fourth state of matter, proved incorrect in many respects.

With the introduction of spectrum analysis by R.W. Bunsen and G.R. Kirchhoff, Crookes applied the new technique to the study of selenium compounds. In 1861 he discovered thallium in some seleniferous deposits. He continued work on that new element, isolated it, studied its properties, and in 1873 determined its atomic weight.

During his studies of thallium, Crookes discovered the principle of the Crookes radiometer, a device that converts light radiation into rotary motion. The principle of this radiometer has found numerous applications in the development of sensitive measuring instruments. Crookes was knighted in 1897.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#130 2016-04-13 00:02:20

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

104. James Prescott Joule

(b. Salford, near Manchester, England, 24 December 1818; d. Sale, England, 11 October 1889)

Joule’s ancestors were Derbyshire yeomen; his grandfather had become wealthy as the founder of a brewery at Salford. James was the second of five children of Benjamin and Alice Prescott Joule. Together with his elder brother, James received his first education at home. From 1834 to 1837 the two brothers were privately taught elementary mathematics, natural philosophy, and some chemistry by John Dalton, then about seventy years old.

James never took part in the management of the4 brewery or engaged in any profession. He shared his father’s Conservative allegiance and entertained conventional Christian beliefs. He married Amelia Grimes, of Liverpool, in 1847, but she died in 1854. He spent the rest of his life with his two children in various residences in the neighborhood of Manchester. He had a shy and sensitive disposition, and his health was delicate.

Joule’s pioneering experiments were carried out in laboratories he installed at his own expense in his successive houses (or in the brewery). Later, owing to financial losses, he could no longer afford to work on his own and received some subsidies from scientific bodies for his last important investigations. His friends eventually procured him a pension from the government, in 1878, but by then his mental powers had begun to decline. He died after a long illness.

Joule’s scientific career presents two successive periods of very different character. During the decade 1837-1847, he displayed the powerful creative activity that led him to the recognition of the general law of energy conservation and the establishment of the dynamical nature of heat. After the acceptance by the scientific world of his new ideas and his election to the Royal Society (1850), he enjoyed a position of great authority in the growing community of scientists.

Joule carried on for almost thirty years a variety of skillful experimental investigations; none of them, however, was comparable to the achievements of his youth. His insufficient mathematical education did not allow him to keep abreast of the rapid development of the new science of thermodynamics, to the foundation of which he had made a fundamental contribution. Here Joule’s fate was similar to that of his German rival Robert Mayer. By the middle of the century, the era of the pioneers was closed, and the leadership passed to a new generation of physicists who possessed the solid mathematical training necessary to bring the new ideas to fruition.

Joule began independent research at the age of nineteen under the influence of William Sturgeon, a typical representative of those amateur scientists whose didactic and inventive activities were supported by the alert tradesmen of the expanding industrial cities of England. Taking up Sturgeon’s interest in the development of electromagnets and electromagnetic engines, the young Joule at once transformed a rather dilettantish effort into a serious scientific investigation by introducing a quantitative analysis of the “duty,” or efficiency, of the designs he tried. This was a far from trivial step, since it implied defining, for the various magnitudes involved, the standards and units that were still almost entirely lacking in voltaic electricity and magnetism. Joule’s preoccupation with this fundamental aspect of physical science is apparent throughout his work and culminated with the precise determination of the mechanical equivalent of heat.

At first Joule was so far removed from any idea of equivalence between the agencies of nature that for a while he hoped that electromagnets could become a source of indefinite mechanical power. He found their mutual attraction to be proportional to the square of the intensity of the electric current, whereas the chemical power necessary to produce the current in the batteries was simply proportional to the intensity. But he soon learned of the counter-induction effect discovered by M. H. Jacobi, which set a limit to the efficiency of electromagnetic engines. Subjecting the question to quantitative measurement, he realized, much to his dismay, that the mechanical effect of the current would always be proportional to the expense of producing it, and that the efficiency of the electromagnetic engines that he could build would be much lower than that of the existing steam engines. He presented this pessimistic conclusion in a public lecture (1841) at the Victoria Gallery in Manchester (one of Sturgeon’s short-lived educational ventures).

Joule’s early work, although rather immature, exhibited features that persisted in all his subsequent investigations and that unmistakably revealed Dalton’s influence. Adopting Dalton’s outlook, Joule believed that natural phenomena are governed by “simple” laws. He designed his experiments so as to discriminate among the simplest relations which could be expected to connect the physical quantities describing the effect under investigation; in fact, the only alternative that he ever contemplated was between a linear or a quadratic relation. This explains the apparent casualness of his experimental arrangements, as well as the assurance with which he drew sweeping conclusions from very limited series of measurements. In the search for simple physical laws, Joule necessarily relied on theoretical representations. We find the first explicit mention of these in the Victoria Gallery lecture, where Joule operated with a crude, but quite effective, atomistic picture of matter. His views embodied then-current ideas about the electric nature of the chemical forces and the electrodynamic origin of magnetization, as well as the concept of heat as a manifestation of vibratory motions on the atomic scale.

Abandoning hope of exploiting electric current as a source of power, Joule decided to study the thermal effects of voltaic electricity. Indirect evidence strongly suggests that this choice was motivated by the wish to enter a field of investigation made “respectable” by Faraday’s example. Yet whatever expectations he had in this respect were quickly dashed by the Royal Society’s frigid reception of his first paper and he turned again to the more sympathetic audience he found in the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society.

Joule derived the quantitative law of heat production by a voltaic current—its proportionality with the square of the intensity of the current and with the resistance—from a brief series of measurements of the simplest description: he dipped a coiled portion of the circuit into a test tube filled with water and ascertained the slight changes of temperature of the water for varying current intensity and resistance (December 1840). The critical step in these, as well as in all his further experiments, was the measurement of small temperature variations; Joule’s success crucially depended on the use of the best available thermometers, sensitive to about a hundredth of a degree. To outsiders, who could not be aware of his extraordinary skill and accuracy, and failed to appreciate the logic underlying the design of his experiments, Joule’s derivation of statements of utmost generality from a few readings of minute temperature differences was bound to appear too rash to be readily trusted. Joule’s self-confidence may be understood only by realizing that his experimental work was deliberately directed toward testing the theoretical conceptions gradually taking shape in his mind.

During the next two years Joule made a systematic study of all the thermal effects accompanying the production and passage of the current in a voltaic circuit. From this study, completed by January 1843, he obtained a clear conception of an equivalence between each type of heat production and a corresponding chemical transformation or resistance to the passage of the current. Regarding the nature of heat, no conclusion could be derived from the phenomena of the voltaic circuit: voltaic electricity was “a grand agent for carrying, arranging and converting chemical heat”; but this heat could either be some substance simply displaced and redistributed by the current, or arise from modifications of atomic motions inseparable from the flow of the current.

Joule saw the possibility of settling this last question —and at the same time of subjecting the equivalence idea to a crucial test—by extending the investigation to currents not produced by chemical change but induced by direct mechanical effect. This brilliant inference led him to the next set of experiments, among the most extraordinary ever conceived in physics. He enclosed the revolving armature of an electromagnetic engine in a cylindrical container filled with a known amount of water and rotated the whole apparatus during a given time between the poles of the fixed electromagnet, ascertaining the small change of temperature of the water; the heat produced in this way could only be dynamical in origin. Moreover, by studying the heating effects of the induced current, to which a voltaic one was added or subtracted, he established, by a remarkably rigorous argument, the strict equivalence of the heat produced on revolving the coil and the mechanical work spent in the operation. He thus obtained a first determination of the coefficient of equivalence (1843).

After this accomplishment, his last series of experiments concerned with the mechanical equivalent of heat—those described in every elementary textbook —appear rather pedestrian by comparison, although they offer further examples of Joule’s virtuosity as an experimenter. They consist in direct measurements of the heat produced or absorbed by mechanical process: the expansion and compression of air (1845) and the friction of rotating paddle wheels in water and other liquids (1847). The experiments with air are of special interest because they were based on the same argument used by Mayer in his own derivation of the equivalent (letter to Baur, September 1841). But while Joule performed all the necessary experiments himself, Mayer made an extremely skillful use of available experimental results—most notably the difference of the specific heats at constant pressure and constant volume, and Gay-Lussac’s little-known demonstration (1806) that if a gas expands without doing work, its temperature remains constant. This law (which, strictly speaking, applies only to ideal gases) is usually ascribed to Joule—not without justification, since his experiment was much more accurate than Gay-Lussac’s.

Joule did not announce his momentous conclusions to a wider audience before he had completed single- handed all his painstaking measurements. Significantly, he did not venture outside his familiar Manchester environment. He simply gave a public lecture in the reading room of St. Ann’s Church (May 1847) and was content to have the text of his address published in the Manchester Courier (a newspaper for which his brother wrote musical critiques). This synthetic essay, entitled “On Matter, Living Force, and Heat,” gave the full measure of his creative imagination. In a few pages of limpid, straightforward description, he managed to draw a vivid picture of the transformation of “living force” into work and heat and to pass on to the kinetic view of the nature of heat and the atomic constitution of matter.

At the same time, he did not neglect to present a more technical account of his work before the scientific public. In particular, he reported his final determinations of the equivalent to the French Academy of Sciences, and presented this learned body with the iron paddle-wheel calorimeter he had used in the case of mercury. In contrast to previous occasions, Joule’s report to the British Association meeting at Oxford (June 1847) met with a lively response from the twenty-two-year-old William Thomson, an academically trained physicist who was better prepared than his elders to receive fresh ideas. How this dramatic encounter stimulated Thomson to formulate his own theory of thermodynamics is a story that no longer belongs to Joule’s biography. Indeed, the very moment of Joule’s belated recognition marked the end of his influence on scientific progress. Although Thompson had the highest regard for Joule’s experimental virtuosity, and repeatedly enlisted him in undertakings that required measurements of high accuracy, the scope of Thompson’s research was no longer within Joule’s full grasp.

The only substantial contribution to thermodnamics to which the joint names of Joule and Thomson, are attached belongs to an idea conceived by Thomson, who saw the possibility of analyzing the deviations of gas properties from the ideal behavior. In particular, a non-ideal gas, made to expand slowly through a porous plug (so as to approximate a specified mathematical condition—constant enthalpy), would in general undergo a cooling (essentially a transformation of atomic motion into work spent against the interatomic attractions). For the delicate test of this effect Thomson required Joule’s unsurpassed skill (1852). But the application of the Joule- Thomson effect to the technology of refrigeration belongs to a later stage in the development of thermodynamics.

In 1867 Joule was induced to carry out two high-precision determinations of the equivalent on behalf of the British Association Committee on Standards of Electrical Resistance. The first experiment, based on the thermal effect of currents, was designed by Thomson to test the proposed resistance standard. Because his result showed a 2 percent discrepancy from the original paddle-wheel calorimeter determination, Joule was asked to repeat the latter. He did so in painstaking experiments from 1875 to 1878 and fully confirmed his previous value. Joule’s results thus displayed the necessity of improving the resistance standard. This was Joule’s last contribution to the science his pioneering work had initiated.

joule.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#131 2016-04-15 14:50:25

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

105. Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, (born June 14, 1736, Angoulême, France—died August 23, 1806, Paris), French physicist best known for the formulation of Coulomb’s law, which states that the force between two electrical charges is proportional to the product of the charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Coulombic force is one of the principal forces involved in atomic reactions.

Coulomb spent nine years in the West Indies as a military engineer and returned to France with impaired health. Upon the outbreak of the French Revolution, he retired to a small estate at Blois and devoted himself to scientific research. In 1802 he was appointed an inspector of public instruction.

Coulomb developed his law as an outgrowth of his attempt to investigate the law of electrical repulsions as stated by Joseph Priestley of England. To this end he invented sensitive apparatus to measure the electrical forces involved in Priestley’s law and published his findings in 1785–89. He also established the inverse square law of attraction and repulsion of unlike and like magnetic poles, which became the basis for the mathematical theory of magnetic forces developed by Siméon-Denis Poisson. He also did research on friction of machinery, on windmills, and on the elasticity of metal and silk fibres. The coulomb, a unit of electric charge, was named in his honour.

CoulombCharles300px.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#132 2016-04-17 00:54:42

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

106. Heinrich Rudolph Hertz

Heinrich Rudolph Hertz was born on February 22, 1857, in a well-to-do family in Hamburg, Germany. His parents began his education with the intention of shaping his career in architecture and engineering. But soon they realized his interest in pure science and research. He was a curious child with a habit of observing and learning about new ideas and things. Heinrich joined Berlin University, where a person of rare intelligence, versatility and multifaceted personality – Professor Hermann Von Helmholtz, taught various subjects like physiology, anatomy, physics and mathematics.

On the basis of his researches in physics, he conducted research in measurement of the speed of the throbbing of arteries. He produced electromagnetic waves in the laboratory and analysed their wavelength and speed. He also conducted analysis of oscillation and speed. He also conducted analysis of oscillation and speed of sound waves, principles of rhythm in music, gave a new statement on the conservation of energy; principles of the colour spectrum, etc. Besides, he also invented the ophthalmo-scope, to check eye diseases. This equipment is used even today for observation and correct diagnosis of the eye diseases.

Hertz learnt a lot under the able guidance of Helmholtz. At the same time, Helmholtz also realized that he had a very talented pupil in Hertz. Both reciprocated each other with satisfaction. Hertz graduated in 1880 and was soon appointed as his deputy by Helmholtz in his research work in physics.

In 1883, he was appointed professor of physics at Kiel in Northern Germany. He joined it and worked on Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory. The theory of electromagnetism was first published in the form of an essay in 1865. Many of the present day advancements in science are based on this theory. Hertz’s initiation into research brought him fame and provided him a new direction in research. He now concentrated on the experimental study of implication thought out the maxwell’s mathematical equations. He wondered if electromagnetic waves could also travel like light waves. He also began to visualize on the experiments that could be conducted on the subject. Meanwhile, he joined Karlsruhe Polytechnic as professor of physics. Now he thought of conducting research on the production and propagation of electromagnetic waves. He wondered how much time it would take to propagate such waves from one place to another and how to accurately measure such a small interval of time?

Heinrich constructed the world’s first radio transmitter and radio receiver for the purpose, generating radio waves. Prior to this no one had heard about it. Hertz’s equipment later laid the foundation for invention of the modern radio, radar and television. He conducted his experiments in a small 10m X 10m room. A wave traveling from one end to the other and back covered a distance of 20 meters. It was very difficult to measure the time taken by the wave to cover this distance as it was expected to be less than one microsecond. A brilliant idea struck him – a Leyden jar could be used for the pupose. A Leyden Jar (a type of capacitor) could be used as an instrument to measure time because the electric discharge that took place between two points was a very fast process. Another thought that struck him was that there could be some conductor, which could produce electric discharge.

Hertz demonstrated the production and propagation of radio waves (electromagnetic waves of long wavelength). Next, he wanted to prove that however brief, a wave took specific time to another point. For this he once again returned to sound waves and dwelt on Helmholtz’s work. Waves originating from the same source but reaching destination by separated paths could either be weak or very powerful. In terms of frequently modulation one can call them constructive or destructive. As the receiver moves from one point to the other, the vibration will cease at a certain nodal point which in scientific terminology is called destructive interference. The distance between two such points is equal to half the wavelength. Hertz succeeded in measuring the wavelength of an electromagnetic radiation using the phenomenon of interference.

Thereafter, Hertz studied many properties of the electromagnetic waves: like the radiations of light, these electromagnetic waves can be focused, distorted, reflected, refracted, polarized, etc. Similarly, he also measured the speed of the electromagnetic waves, which equaled the speed of light, i.e. 3 X 108 metre/second. Thus, through a series of experiments Hertz proved that the electromagnetic waves were quite similar to light waves. “My experiments have proved the solidarity of Maxwell’s doctrines.” He would say this in all modesty.

In 1889, at a meeting held at Heidelberg, the Association for the advancement of Natural Sciences described and discussed Hertz’s experiments and findings. Researchers and scientists present at the meeting lauded his efforts. At the age of 32, Hertz was appointed professor of physics at the University of Bonn. Hertz met an untimely death, due to blood poisoning, at the age of 37 in 1894. The SI unit of frequency, the Hetz (Hz), is named after him.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#133 2016-04-18 17:54:20

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

107. Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include those of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history. It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the basis for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena. He similarly discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology.

As a chemist, Faraday discovered benzene, investigated the clathrate hydrate of chlorine, invented an early form of the Bunsen burner and the system of oxidation numbers, and popularised terminology such as anode, cathode, electrode, and ion. Faraday ultimately became the first and foremost Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a lifetime position.

Faraday was an excellent experimentalist who conveyed his ideas in clear and simple language; his mathematical abilities, however, did not extend as far as trigonometry or any but the simplest algebra. James Clerk Maxwell took the work of Faraday and others, and summarized it in a set of equations that is accepted as the basis of all modern theories of electromagnetic phenomena. On Faraday's uses of the lines of force, Maxwell wrote that they show Faraday "to have been in reality a mathematician of a very high order – one from whom the mathematicians of the future may derive valuable and fertile methods." The SI unit of capacitance is named in his honour: the farad.

Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall, alongside pictures of Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell. Physicist Ernest Rutherford stated; "When we consider the magnitude and extent of his discoveries and their influence on the progress of science and of industry, there is no honour too great to pay to the memory of Faraday, one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time".

Michael_Faraday2.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#134 2016-04-18 22:21:52

bobbym
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Re: crème de la crème

Michael Faraday, one of my favorites.


In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.
Always satisfy the Prime Directive of getting the right answer above all else.

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#135 2016-04-19 00:57:43

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

Thanks, bobbym!

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#136 2016-04-20 00:31:35

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

108. James Clerk Maxwell 

James Clerk Maxwell (13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) was a Scottish scientist in the field of mathematical physics. His most notable achievement was to formulate the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as manifestations of the same phenomenon. Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism have been called the "second great unification in physics" after the first one realised by Isaac Newton.

With the publication of A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field in 1865, Maxwell demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves moving at the speed of light. Maxwell proposed that light is an undulation in the same medium that is the cause of electric and magnetic phenomena. The unification of light and electrical phenomena led to the prediction of the existence of radio waves.

Maxwell helped develop the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution, a statistical means of describing aspects of the kinetic theory of gases. He is also known for presenting the first durable colour photograph in 1861 and for his foundational work on analysing the rigidity of rod-and-joint frameworks (trusses) like those in many bridges.

His discoveries helped usher in the era of modern physics, laying the foundation for such fields as special relativity and quantum mechanics. Many physicists regard Maxwell as the 19th-century scientist having the greatest influence on 20th-century physics. His contributions to the science are considered by many to be of the same magnitude as those of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. In the millennium poll - a survey of the 100 most prominent physicists - Maxwell was voted the third greatest physicist of all time, behind only Newton and Einstein. On the centenary of Maxwell's birthday, Einstein described Maxwell's work as the "most profound and the most fruitful that physics has experienced since the time of Newton".

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#137 2016-04-21 17:36:37

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

109. Niels Henrik David Bohr

Niels Henrik David Bohr (7 October 1885 – 18 November 1962) was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr was also a philosopher and a promoter of scientific research.

Bohr developed the Bohr model of the atom, in which he proposed that energy levels of electrons are discrete and that the electrons revolve in stable orbits around the atomic nucleus but can jump from one energy level (or orbit) to another. Although the Bohr model has been supplanted by other models, its underlying principles remain valid. He conceived the principle of complementarity: that items could be separately analysed in terms of contradictory properties, like behaving as a wave or a stream of particles. The notion of complementarity dominated Bohr's thinking in both science and philosophy.

Bohr founded the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen, now known as the Niels Bohr Institute, which opened in 1920. Bohr mentored and collaborated with physicists including Hans Kramers, Oskar Klein, George de Hevesy and Werner Heisenberg. He predicted the existence of a new zirconium-like element, which was named hafnium, after the Latin name for Copenhagen, where it was discovered. Later, the element bohrium was named after him.

During the 1930s, Bohr helped refugees from Nazism. After Denmark was occupied by the Germans, he had a famous meeting with Heisenberg, who had become the head of the German nuclear weapon project. In September 1943, word reached Bohr that he was about to be arrested by the Germans, and he fled to Sweden. From there, he was flown to Britain, where he joined the British Tube Alloys nuclear weapons project, and was part of the British mission to the Manhattan Project. After the war, Bohr called for international cooperation on nuclear energy. He was involved with the establishment of CERN and the Research Establishment Risø of the Danish Atomic Energy Commission, and became the first chairman of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in 1957.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#138 2016-04-23 00:03:44

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

110. Karl Friedrich Benz

Karl Friedrich Benz was a German engineer and entrepreneur who designed and developed the world’s first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. Karl and his wife Bertha were the founding members of the Mercedez-Benz company. Benz was born into a poor family in 1844. His father died when he was two years old, and his mother strove to provide him with the best education that she could afford. Benz was an exemplary student in school. He then enrolled at the Poly-Technical University and later studied mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe, graduating at the age of 19 in 1864.

Benz was fond of riding his bicycle, and dreamt about making a fully mechanized automobile, or “the horseless carriage”. He worked in a number of engineering jobs but found none that satisfied him. He settled in Mannheim, where he established an iron foundry and sheet metal workshop with his partner August Ritter. The business ran into difficulties but was saved by his fiancé Bertha who bought out Ritter’s share. Karl and Bertha were married in 1872 and had five children.

Karl began to develop various parts of the vehicle he had envisioned, including ignition, spark plugs, gear, carburetor, water radiator, and clutch. He assembled it in the first fully powered gas car with two seats for a driver and a passenger. It was finished on New Years’ Eve in 1885 and a patent for a two stroke engine was granted to him in January 1886. His invention was marvelous but the problem lay in demonstrating its utility to the world. Such a thing had never existed before and people saw no use for it, neither did they find it practical. This situation was deftly tackled by Bertha; in 1888, she drove the car to her mother’s house in Pforzheim, traveling a distance of 106 kilometers. This was done without the knowledge of her husband and she only informed him of her safe arrival via telegram when she had reached. This was the first long distance trip ever attempted and it changed public opinion about the safety and practicality of this means of transport. An antique car race is now held every two years along the stretch of road that she traveled to commemorate the drive undertaken there by Bertha.

Karl set about to improve the features of the car, adding brake linings and an extra gear for driving over slopes. Sales began to take off, and his cars received tremendous publicity and appreciation at the 1889 World Fair in Paris. Demand soared and production facilities were expanded accordingly. The number of employees grew from 50 in 1889 to 430 in 1899. Karl and Bertha launched a series of companies to in the early 1900s, and maintained their position as the leading automobile producers in Europe. By the 1920s, however, there was intense competition between Benz and Daimler – the makers of the Mercedes engine. Production costs were rising due to inflation and sales were tapering for both companies. In 1924, the two companies signed an “Agreement of Mutual Interest” which led to combined production, marketing, purchasing and advertising efforts but each company still maintained its own brand name. Eventually in 1926, the two companies merged into Daimler-Benz, and started producing Mercedes-Benz cars as we know them today.

Karl Benz became a board member of the newly founded company and remained so for the remainder of his life. The merger proved fruitful as sales tripled in 1927. The company also launched its diesel trucks line in the same year. Karl Benz died at the age of 84 on April 4, 1929 at his home in Ladenburg, where Bertha continued to reside until her death at the age of 95 in 1944.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#139 2016-04-24 00:52:04

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

111. Sir William Ramsay, (born Oct. 2, 1852, Glasgow, Scot.—died July 23, 1916, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, Eng.) British physical chemist who discovered four gases (neon, argon, krypton, xenon) and showed that they (with helium and radon) formed an entire family of new elements, the noble gases. He was awarded the 1904 Nobel Prize for Chemistry in recognition of this achievement.

Education

Ramsay, the only child of a civil engineer, decided at an early age that he would become a chemist. He studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland (1866–70); during his final 18 months there he pursued additional studies in the laboratory of the city analyst, Robert Tatlock. In October 1870 he left Glasgow without taking a degree, intending to become a pupil of the German analytical chemist Robert Bunsen at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, but he abandoned this plan. Six months later, Ramsay became a doctoral student under the German organic chemist Rudolf Fittig at the University of Tübingen in Germany, where he received a doctorate in 1872.

Early research

After graduating from Tübingen, Ramsay returned to Glasgow to work at Anderson College (1872–74) and then at the University of Glasgow (1874–80). During this period, Ramsay’s research focused on alkaloids (complex chemical compounds derived from plants). He studied their physiological action and established their structural relationship to pyridine, a nitrogen-containing compound closely resembling benzene. In 1879 he turned to physical chemistry to study the molecular volumes of elements at their boiling points. Following his appointment to the chair of chemistry at University College, Bristol (1880–87; he became principal of the college in 1881), he continued this research with the British chemist Sydney Young; they published more than 30 papers on the physical characteristics of liquids and vapours. This work helped Ramsay to develop the technical and manipulative skills that later formed the hallmark of his work on the noble gases. In 1887 Ramsay became professor of general chemistry at University College London, where he remained until his retirement in 1913. For several years he continued to work on projects related to the properties of liquids and vapours, and in 1893 he and chemist John Shields verified Hungarian physicist Roland Eötvös’s law for the constancy of the rate of change of molecular surface energy with temperature. During the following year, Ramsay began the research that was eventually to make him the most famous chemist in Britain—the discovery of the noble gases.

Discovery of noble gases

The British physicist John William Strutt (better known as Lord Rayleigh) showed in 1892 that the atomic weight of nitrogen found in chemical compounds was lower than that of nitrogen found in the atmosphere. He ascribed this discrepancy to a light gas included in chemical compounds of nitrogen, while Ramsay suspected a hitherto undiscovered heavy gas in atmospheric nitrogen. Using two different methods to remove all known gases from air, Ramsay and Rayleigh were able to announce in 1894 that they had found a monatomic, chemically inert gaseous element that constituted nearly 1 percent of the atmosphere; they named it argon. The following year, Ramsay liberated another inert gas from a mineral called cleveite; this proved to be helium, previously known only in the solar spectrum. In his book The Gases of the Atmosphere (1896), Ramsay showed that the positions of helium and argon in the periodic table of elements indicated that at least three more noble gases might exist. In 1898 he and the British chemist Morris W. Travers isolated these elements—called neon, krypton, and xenon—from air brought to a liquid state at low temperature and high pressure. Working with the British chemist Frederick Soddy in 1903, Ramsay demonstrated that helium (together with a gaseous emanation called radon) is continually produced during the radioactive decay of radium, a discovery of crucial importance to the modern understanding of nuclear reactions. In 1910, using tiny samples of radon, Ramsay proved that it was a sixth noble gas, and he provided further evidence that it was formed by the emission of a helium nucleus from radium. This research demonstrated the high degree of experimental skill that Ramsay had developed, but it also marked his last notable scientific contribution. Intrigued by the new science of radiochemistry, he made many unsuccessful attempts to further explore the phenomenon.

Later years

Ramsay had many interests, including languages, music, and travel. He was strongly supportive of science education, a concern that grew out of his experiences at Bristol, where he had been deeply involved in the campaign to obtain government funding for the university colleges. He was the first to write textbooks based on the periodic classification of elements: A System of Inorganic Chemistry and Elementary Systematic Chemistry for the Use of Schools and Colleges (both 1891). After the turn of the 20th century, and especially following the award of the Nobel Prize, Ramsay’s time was increasingly taken up by external commitments. His fame was such that he was in demand as a consultant to industry and as an expert witness in legal cases. He expanded his range of interests to include the business world, becoming a director of some (ultimately short-lived) chemical companies. He also wrote semipopular magazine articles on science, some of which were published in his Essays Biographical and Chemical (1908). The recipient of many awards and honours, Ramsay was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1888 and knighted in 1902; and he served as president of the Chemical Society (1907–09) and the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1911). Following his retirement, he moved to Buckinghamshire and continued to work in a private laboratory at his home. Upon the outbreak of war in 1914, he became involved in efforts to secure the participation of scientific experts in the creation of government science policy. He continued to write on war-related matters until his death from cancer.

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Last edited by ganesh (2016-04-24 00:58:15)


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#140 2016-04-24 19:21:29

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

112. Akio Morita

Born     26 January 1921, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Died 3 October 1999 (aged 78), Tokyo, Japan.

Akio Morita (26 January 1921 – 3 October 1999) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka.

Early life

Akio Morita was born in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Morita's family was involved in sake, miso and soy sauce production in the village of Kosugaya (currently a part of Tokoname City) on the western coast of Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture since 1665. He was the oldest of four siblings and his father Kyuzaemon trained him as a child to take over the family business. Akio, however, found his true calling in mathematics and physics, and in 1944 he graduated from Osaka Imperial University with a degree in physics. He was later commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and served in World War II. During his service, Morita met his future business partner Masaru Ibuka in the Navy's Wartime Research Committee.

Sony

On May 7, 1946, Morita and Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, the forerunner of Sony Corporation) with about 20 employees and initial capital of ¥190,000. Ibuka was 38 years old, Morita, 25. Morita's family invested in Sony during the early period and was the largest shareholder.

In 1949, the company developed magnetic recording tape and in 1950, sold the first tape recorder in Japan. In 1957, it produced a pocket-sized radio (the first to be fully transistorized), and in 1958, Morita and Ibuka decided to rename their company Sony (derived from "sonus"--Latin for "sound" - and Sonny-boys the most common American expression). Morita was an advocate for all the products made by Sony. However, since the radio was slightly too big to fit in a shirt pocket, Morita made his employees wear shirts with slightly larger pockets to give the radio a "pocket sized" appearance. In 1960, it produced the first transistor television in the world. In 1973, Sony received an Emmy Award for its Trinitron television-set technology. In 1975, it released the first Betamax home video recorder, a year before VHS format came out. In 1979, the Walkman was introduced, making it the world's first portable music player. In 1984, Sony launched the Discman series which extended their Walkman brand to portable CD products.

In 1960, the Sony Corporation of America (SONAM, currently abbreviated as SCA) was established in the United States. In 1961, Sony Corporation was the first Japanese company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in the form of American depositary receipts (ADRs), which are traded over-the-counter. Sony bought CBS Records Group which consisted of Columbia Records, Epic Records and other CBS labels in 1988 and Columbia Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and others) in 1989.

On November 25, 1994, Morita stepped down as Sony chairman after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while playing tennis. He was succeeded by Norio Ohga, who had joined the company in the 1950s after sending Morita a letter denouncing the poor quality of the company's tape recorders.

Other affiliations

Morita was vice chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations), and was a member of the Japan-U.S. Economic Relations Group, also known as the "Wise Men's Group". He was also the third Japanese chairman of the Trilateral Commission. His amateur radio call sign is JP1DPJ.

Publications

In 1966, Morita wrote a book called Gakureki Muyō Ron (Never Mind School Records), where he stresses that school records are not important to success or one's business skills. In 1986, Morita wrote an autobiography titled Made in Japan. He co-authored the 1991 book 'The Japan That Can Say No' with politician Shintaro Ishihara, where they criticized American business practices and encouraged Japanese to take a more independent role in business and foreign affairs. The book was translated into English and caused controversy in the United States, and Morita later had his chapters removed from the English version and distanced himself from the book.

Awards

Morita was awarded the Albert Medal by the United Kingdom's Royal Society of Arts in 1982, the first Japanese to receive the honor. Two years later, he received the prestigious Legion of Honour, and in 1991, was awarded the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan. In 1993, he was awarded an honorary British knighthood (KBE). Morita received the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the University of Manitoba in 1987. He was posthumously awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 1999.

Death

Morita suffered a stroke in 1993, during a game of tennis. On November 25, 1994, he stepped down as Sony chairman. On October 3, 1999, Morita died of pneumonia at the age of 78.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#141 2016-04-25 16:28:14

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

113. Werner von Siemens

Ernst Werner Siemens (von Siemens from 1888; 13 December 1816 – 6 December 1892) was a German inventor and industrialist. Siemens’s name has been adopted as the SI unit of electrical conductance, the siemens. He was also the founder of the electrical and telecommunications company Siemens.

Early years

Ernst Werner Siemens was born in Lenthe, today part of Gehrden, near Hannover, in the Kingdom of Hanover in the German Confederation, the fourth child (of fourteen) of a tenant farmer of the Siemens family, an old family of Goslar, documented since 1384. He was a brother of Carl Heinrich von Siemens and Carl Wilhelm Siemens, sons of Christian Ferdinand Siemens (31 July 1787 – 16 January 1840) and wife Eleonore Deichmann (1792 – 8 July 1839).

Middle years

After finishing school, Siemens intended to study at the Bauakademie Berlin. However, since his family was highly indebted and thus could not afford to pay the tuition fees, he chose to join the Prussian Military Academy's School of Artillery and Engineering, between the years 1835-1838, instead, where he received his officers training. Siemens was thought of as a good soldier, receiving various medals, and inventing electrically-charged sea mines, which were used to combat a Danish blockade of Kiel. Upon returning home from war, he put his mind to other uses. He is known world-wide for his advances in various technologies, and chose to work on perfecting technologies that had already been established. In 1843 he sold the rights to his first invention to Elkington of Birmingham. Siemens invented a telegraph that used a needle to point to the right letter, instead of using Morse code. Based on this invention, he founded the company Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske on 1 October 1847, with the company taking occupation of its workshop on 12 October.

The company was internationalised soon after its founding. One brother of Werner represented him in England (Sir William Siemens) and another in St.Petersburg, Russia (Carl von Siemens), each earning recognition. Following his industrial career, he was ennobled in 1888, becoming Werner von Siemens. He retired from his company in 1890 and died in 1892 in Berlin.

The company, reorganized as Siemens & Halske AG, Siemens-Schuckertwerke and – since 1966 – Siemens AG was later led by his brother Carl, his sons Arnold, Wilhelm, and Carl Friedrich, his grandsons Hermann and Ernst and his great-grandson Peter von Siemens. Siemens AG is one of the largest electrotechnological firms in the world. The von Siemens family still owns 6% of the company shares (as of 2013) and holds a seat on the supervisory board, being the largest shareholder.

Later years

Apart from the pointer telegraph Siemens made several contributions to the development of electrical engineering and is therefore known as the founding father of the discipline in Germany. He built the world's first electric elevator in 1880. His company produced the tubes with which Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen investigated x-rays. He claimed invention of the dynamo although others invented it earlier. On 14 December 1877 he received German patent No. 2355 for an electromechanical "dynamic" or moving-coil transducer, which was adapted by A. L. Thuras and E. C. Wente for the Bell System in the late 1920s for use as a loudspeaker. Wente's adaptation was issued US patent 1,707,545 in 1929. Siemens is also the father of the trolleybus which he initially tried and tested with his "Elektromote" on 29 April 1882.

Personal life

He was married twice, first in 1852 to Mathilde Duman (died 1 July 1867) and second in 1869 to his relative Antonie Siemens (1840–1900). His children from first marriage were Arnold von Siemens and Georg Wilhelm von Siemens, and his children from second marriage were Hertha von Siemens (1870 - 5 January 1939), married in 1899 to Carl Dietrich Harries, and Carl Friedrich von Siemens.

Siemens was an advocate of Social Democracy, and he hoped that industrial development would not be used in favour of capitalism, stating:

    A number of great factories in the hands of rich capitalists, in which "slaves of work" drag out their miserable existence, is not, therefore, the goal of the development of the age of natural science, but a return to individual labour, or where the nature of things demands it, the carrying on of common workshops by unions of workmen, who will receive a sound basis only through the general extension of knowledge and civilization, and through the possibility of obtaining cheaper capital

He also rejected the claim that science lead to materialism, stating instead:

    Equally unfounded is the complaint that the study of science and the technical application of the forces of nature gives to mankind a thoroughly material direction, makes them proud of their knowledge and power, and alienates ideal endeavours. The deeper we penetrate into the harmonious action of natural forces regulated by eternal unalterable laws, and yet so thickly veiled from our complete comprehension, the more we feel on the contrary moved to humble modesty, the smaller appears to us the extent of our knowledge, the more active is our endeavour to draw more from the inexhaustible fountain of knowledge, and understanding, and the higher rises our admiration of the endless wisdom which ordains and penetrates the whole creation.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#142 2016-04-26 01:24:49

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

114. Henry Ford

Henry Ford, (born July 30, 1863, Wayne county, Michigan, U.S.—died April 7, 1947, Dearborn, Michigan) American industrialist who revolutionized factory production with his assembly-line methods.

Ford spent most of his life making headlines, good, bad, but never indifferent. Celebrated as both a technological genius and a folk hero, Ford was the creative force behind an industry of unprecedented size and wealth that in only a few decades permanently changed the economic and social character of the United States. When young Ford left his father’s farm in 1879 for Detroit, only two out of eight Americans lived in cities; when he died at age 83, the proportion was five out of eight. Once Ford realized the tremendous part he and his Model T automobile had played in bringing about this change, he wanted nothing more than to reverse it, or at least to recapture the rural values of his boyhood. Henry Ford, then, is an apt symbol of the transition from an agricultural to an industrial America.

Early life

Henry Ford was one of eight children of William and Mary Ford. He was born on the family farm near Dearborn, Michigan, then a town eight miles west of Detroit. Abraham Lincoln was president of the 24 states of the Union, and Jefferson Davis was president of the 11 states of the Confederacy. Ford attended a one-room school for eight years when he was not helping his father with the harvest. At age 16 he walked to Detroit to find work in its machine shops. After three years, during which he came in contact with the internal-combustion engine for the first time, he returned to the farm, where he worked part-time for the Westinghouse Engine Company and in spare moments tinkered in a little machine shop he set up. Eventually he built a small “farm locomotive,” a tractor that used an old mowing machine for its chassis and a homemade steam engine for power.

Ford moved back to Detroit nine years later as a married man. His wife, Clara Bryant, had grown up on a farm not far from Ford’s. They were married in 1888, and on November 6, 1893, she gave birth to their only child, Edsel Bryant. A month later Ford was made chief engineer at the main Detroit Edison Company plant with responsibility for maintaining electric service in the city 24 hours a day. Because he was on call at all times, he had no regular hours and could experiment to his heart’s content. He had determined several years before to build a gasoline-powered vehicle, and his first working gasoline engine was completed at the end of 1893. By 1896 he had completed his first horseless carriage, the “Quadricycle,” so called because the chassis of the four-horsepower vehicle was a buggy frame mounted on four bicycle wheels. Unlike many other automotive inventors, including Charles Edgar and J. Frank Duryea, Elwood Haynes, Hiram Percy Maxim, and his Detroit acquaintance Charles Brady King, all of whom had built self-powered vehicles before Ford but who held onto their creations, Ford sold his to finance work on a second vehicle, and a third, and so on.

During the next seven years he had various backers, some of whom, in 1899, formed the Detroit Automobile Company (later the Henry Ford Company), but all eventually abandoned him in exasperation because they wanted a passenger car to put on the market while Ford insisted always on improving whatever model he was working on, saying that it was not ready yet for customers. He built several racing cars during these years, including the “999” racer driven by Barney Oldfield, and set several new speed records. In 1902 he left the Henry Ford Company, which subsequently reorganized as the Cadillac Motor Car Company. Finally, in 1903, Ford was ready to market an automobile. The Ford Motor Company was incorporated, this time with a mere $28,000 in cash put up by ordinary citizens, for Ford had, in his previous dealings with backers, antagonized the wealthiest men in Detroit.

The company was a success from the beginning, but just five weeks after its incorporation the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers threatened to put it out of business because Ford was not a licensed manufacturer. He had been denied a license by this group, which aimed at reserving for its members the profits of what was fast becoming a major industry. The basis of their power was control of a patent granted in 1895 to George Baldwin Selden, a patent lawyer of Rochester, New York. The association claimed that the patent applied to all gasoline-powered automobiles. Along with many rural Midwesterners of his generation, Ford hated industrial combinations and Eastern financial power. Moreover, Ford thought the Selden patent preposterous. All invention was a matter of evolution, he said, yet Selden claimed genesis. He was glad to fight, even though the fight pitted the puny Ford Motor Company against an industry worth millions of dollars. The gathering of evidence and actual court hearings took six years. Ford lost the original case in 1909; he appealed and won in 1911. His victory had wide implications for the industry, and the fight made Ford a popular hero.

“I will build a motor car for the great multitude,” Ford proclaimed in announcing the birth of the Model T in October 1908. In the 19 years of the Model T’s existence, he sold 15,500,000 of the cars in the United States, almost 1,000,000 more in Canada, and 250,000 in Great Britain, a production total amounting to half the auto output of the world. The motor age arrived owing mostly to Ford’s vision of the car as the ordinary man’s utility rather than as the rich man’s luxury. Once only the rich had travelled freely around the country; now millions could go wherever they pleased. The Model T was the chief instrument of one of the greatest and most rapid changes in the lives of the common people in history, and it effected this change in less than two decades. Farmers were no longer isolated on remote farms. The horse disappeared so rapidly that the transfer of acreage from hay to other crops caused an agricultural revolution. The automobile became the main prop of the American economy and a stimulant to urbanization—cities spread outward, creating suburbs and housing developments—and to the building of the finest highway system in the world.

The remarkable birth rate of Model T’s was made possible by the most advanced production technology yet conceived. After much experimentation by Ford and his engineers, the system that had evolved by 1913–14 in Ford’s new plant in Highland Park, Michigan, was able to deliver parts, subassemblies, and assemblies (themselves built on subsidiary assembly lines) with precise timing to a constantly moving main assembly line, where a complete chassis was turned out every 93 minutes, an enormous improvement over the 728 minutes formerly required. The minute subdivision of labour and the coordination of a multitude of operations produced huge gains in productivity.

In 1914 the Ford Motor Company announced that it would henceforth pay eligible workers a minimum wage of $5 a day (compared to an average of $2.34 for the industry) and would reduce the work day from nine hours to eight, thereby converting the factory to a three-shift day. Overnight Ford became a worldwide celebrity. People either praised him as a great humanitarian or excoriated him as a mad socialist. Ford said humanitarianism had nothing to do with it. Previously profit had been based on paying wages as low as workers would take and pricing cars as high as the traffic would bear. Ford, on the other hand, stressed low pricing (the Model T cost $950 in 1908 and $290 in 1927) in order to capture the widest possible market and then met the price by volume and efficiency. Ford’s success in making the automobile a basic necessity turned out to be but a prelude to a more widespread revolution. The development of mass-production techniques, which enabled the company eventually to turn out a Model T every 24 seconds; the frequent reductions in the price of the car made possible by economies of scale; and the payment of a living wage that raised workers above subsistence and made them potential customers for, among other things, automobiles—these innovations changed the very structure of society.

Control of the company

During its first five years the Ford Motor Company produced eight different models, and by 1908 its output was 100 cars a day. The stockholders were ecstatic; Ford was dissatisfied and looked toward turning out 1,000 a day. The stockholders seriously considered court action to stop him from using profits to expand. In 1909 Ford, who owned 58 percent of the stock, announced that he was only going to make one car in the future, the Model T. The only thing the minority stockholders could do to protect their dividends from his all-consuming imagination was to take him to court, which Horace and John Dodge did in 1916.

The Dodge brothers, who formerly had supplied chassis to Ford but were now manufacturing their own car while still holding Ford stock, sued Ford for what they claimed was his reckless expansion and for reducing prices of the company’s product, thereby diverting money from stockholders’ dividends. The court hearings gave Ford a chance to expound his ideas about business. In December 1917 the court ruled in favour of the Dodges; Ford, as in the Selden case, appealed, but this time he lost. In 1919 the court said that, while Ford’s sentiments about his employees and customers were nice, a business is for the profit of its stockholders. Ford, irate that a court and a few shareholders, whom he likened to parasites, could interfere with the management of his company, determined to buy out all the shareholders. He had resigned as president in December 1918 in favour of his son, Edsel, and in March 1919 he announced a plan to organize a new company to build cars cheaper than the Model T. When asked what would become of the Ford Motor Company, he said, “Why I don’t know exactly what will become of that; the portion of it that does not belong to me cannot be sold to me, that I know.” The Dodges, somewhat inconsistently, having just taken him to court for mismanagement, vowed that he would not be allowed to leave. Ford said that if he was not master of his own company, he would start another. The ruse worked; by July 1919 Ford had bought out all seven minority stockholders. (The seven had little to complain about: in addition to being paid nearly $106,000,000 for their stock, they received a court-ordered dividend of $19,275,385 plus $1,536,749 in interest.) Ford Motor Company was reorganized under a Delaware charter in 1920 with all shares held by Ford and other family members. Never had one man controlled so completely a business enterprise so gigantic.

The planning of a huge new plant at River Rouge, Michigan, had been one of the specific causes of the Dodge suit. What Ford dreamed of was not merely increased capacity but complete self-sufficiency. World War I, with its shortages and price increases, demonstrated for him the need to control raw materials; slow-moving suppliers convinced him that he should make his own parts. Wheels, tires, upholstery, and various accessories were purchased from other companies around Detroit. As Ford production increased, these smaller operations had to speed their output; most of them had to install their own assembly lines. It became impossible to coordinate production and shipment so that each product would arrive at the right place and at the right time. At first he tried accumulating large inventories to prevent delays or stoppages of the assembly line, but he soon realized that stockpiling wasted capital. Instead he took up the idea of extending movement to inventories as well as to production. He perceived that his costs in manufacturing began the moment the raw material was separated from the earth and continued until the finished product was delivered to the consumer. The plant he built in River Rouge embodied his idea of an integrated operation encompassing production, assembly, and transportation. To complete the vertical integration of his empire, he purchased a railroad, acquired control of 16 coal mines and about 700,000 (285,000 hectares) acres of timberland, built a sawmill, acquired a fleet of Great Lakes freighters to bring ore from his Lake Superior mines, and even bought a glassworks.

The move from Highland Park to the completed River Rouge plant was accomplished in 1927. At 8 o’clock any morning, just enough ore for the day would arrive on a Ford freighter from Ford mines in Michigan and Minnesota and would be transferred by conveyor to the blast furnaces and transformed into steel with heat supplied by coal from Ford mines in Kentucky. It would continue on through the foundry molds and stamping mills and exactly 28 hours after arrival as ore would emerge as a finished automobile. Similar systems handled lumber for floorboards, rubber for tires, and so on. At the height of its success the company’s holdings stretched from the iron mines of northern Michigan to the jungles of Brazil, and it operated in 33 countries around the globe. Most remarkably, not one cent had been borrowed to pay for any of it. It was all built out of profits from the Model T.

Later years

The unprecedented scale of that success, together with Ford’s personal success in gaining absolute control of the firm and driving out subordinates with contrary opinions, set the stage for decline. Trusting in what he believed was an unerring instinct for the market, Ford refused to follow other automobile manufacturers in offering such innovative features as conventional gearshifts (he held out for his own planetary gear transmission), hydraulic brakes (rather than mechanical ones), six- and eight-cylinder engines (the Model T had a four), and choice of colour (from 1914 every Model T was painted black). When he was finally convinced that the marketplace had changed and was demanding more than a purely utilitarian vehicle, he shut down his plants for five months to retool. In December 1927 he introduced the Model A. The new model enjoyed solid but not spectacular success. Ford’s stubbornness had cost him his leadership position in the industry; the Model A was outsold by General Motors’ Chevrolet and Chrysler’s Plymouth and was discontinued in 1931. Despite the introduction of the Ford V-8 in 1932, by 1936 Ford Motor Company was third in sales in the industry.

A similar pattern of authoritarian control and stubbornness marked Ford’s attitude toward his workers. The $5 day that brought him so much attention in 1914 carried with it, for workers, the price of often overbearing paternalism. It was, moreover, no guarantee for the future; in 1929 Ford instituted a $7 day, but in 1932, as part of the fiscal stringency imposed by falling sales and the Great Depression, that was cut to $4, below prevailing industry wages. Ford freely employed company police, labour spies, and violence in a protracted effort to prevent unionization and continued to do so even after General Motors and Chrysler had come to terms with the United Automobile Workers. When the UAW finally succeeded in organizing Ford workers in 1941, he considered shutting down before he was persuaded to sign a union contract.

During the 1920s, under Edsel Ford’s nominal presidency, the company diversified by acquiring the Lincoln Motor Car Company, in 1922, and venturing into aviation. At Edsel’s death in 1943 Henry Ford resumed the presidency and, in spite of age and infirmity, held it until 1945, when he retired in favour of his grandson, Henry Ford II.

Henry Ford was a complex personality. Away from the shop floor he exhibited a variety of enthusiasms and prejudices and, from time to time, startling ignorance. His dictum that “history is more or less bunk” was widely publicized, as was his deficiency in that field revealed during cross-examination in his million-dollar libel suit against the Chicago Tribune in 1919; a Tribune editorial had called him an “ignorant idealist” because of his opposition to U.S. involvement in World War I, and while the jury found for Ford it awarded him only six cents. One of Ford’s most publicized acts was his chartering of an ocean liner to conduct himself and a party of pacifists to Europe in November 1915 in an attempt to end the war by means of “continuous mediation.” The so-called Peace Ship episode was widely ridiculed. In 1918, with the support of Pres. Woodrow Wilson, Ford ran for a U.S. Senate seat from Michigan. He was narrowly defeated after a campaign of personal attacks by his opponent.

In 1918 Ford bought a newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and in it published a series of scurrilous attacks on the “International Jew,” a mythical figure he blamed for financing war; in 1927 he formally retracted his attacks and sold the paper. He gave old-fashioned dances at which capitalists, European royalty, and company executives were introduced to the polka, the Sir Roger de Coverley, the mazurka, the Virginia reel, and the quadrille; he established small village factories; he built one-room schools in which vocational training was emphasized; he experimented with soybeans for food and durable goods; he sponsored a weekly radio hour on which quaint essays were read to “plain folks”; he constructed Greenfield Village, a restored rural town; and he built what later was named the Henry Ford Museum and filled it with American artifacts and antiques from the era of his youth when American society was almost wholly agrarian. In short, he was a man who baffled even those who had the opportunity to observe him close at hand, all except James Couzens, Ford’s business manager from the founding of the company until his resignation in 1915, who always said, “You cannot analyze genius and Ford is a genius.”

Ford died at home in 1947, exactly 100 years after his father had left Ireland for Michigan. His holdings in Ford stock went to the Ford Foundation, which had been set up in 1936 as a means of retaining family control of the firm and which subsequently became the richest private foundation in the world.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#143 2016-04-26 23:19:36

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

115. Bartolomeu Dias

Bartolomeu Dias, in full Bartolomeu Dias de Novais, Bartolomeu also spelled Bartholomew, Dias also spelled Diaz (born c. 1450—died May 29, 1500, at sea, near Cape of Good Hope) Portuguese navigator and explorer who led the first European expedition to round the Cape of Good Hope (1488), opening the sea route to Asia via the Atlantic and Indian oceans. He is usually considered to be the greatest of the Portuguese pioneers who explored the Atlantic during the 15th century.

Early life and prelude to the expedition

Almost nothing is known of Dias’s early life. His supposed descent from one of Prince Henry the Navigator’s pilots is unproved, and his rank was the comparatively modest one of squire of the royal household.

In 1474 King Afonso V entrusted his son, Prince John (later John II), with the supervision of Portugal’s trade with Guinea and the exploration of the western coast of Africa. John sought to close the area to foreign shipping and after his accession in 1481 ordered new voyages of discovery to ascertain the southern limit of the African continent. The navigators were given stone pillars (padrões) to stake the claims of the Portuguese crown. Thus, one of them, Diogo Cão, reached the Congo and sailed down the coast of Angola to Cape Santa Maria at 13°26′ S, where he planted one of John’s markers. Cão was ennobled and rewarded and sailed again: that time he left a marker at 15°40′ S and another at Cape Cross, continuing to 22°10′ S. Royal hopes that he would reach the Indian Ocean were disappointed, and nothing more is heard of Cão. John II entrusted command of a new expedition to Dias. In 1486 rumour arose of a great ruler, the Ogané, far to the east, who was identified with the legendary Christian ruler Prester John. John II then sent Pêro da Covilhã and one Afonso Paiva overland to locate India and Abyssinia and ordered Dias to find the southern limit of Africa.

The voyage

Dias’s fleet consisted of three ships: his own São Cristóvão, the São Pantaleão under his associate João Infante, and a supply ship under Dias’s brother Pêro (Diogo in some sources). The company included some of the leading pilots of the day, among them Pêro de Alenquer and João de Santiago, who earlier had sailed with Cão. A 16th-century historian, João de Barros, places Dias’s departure in August 1486 and says that he was away 16 months and 17 days, but since two other contemporaries, Duarte Pacheco Pereira and Christopher Columbus, put his return in December 1488, it is now usually supposed that he left in August 1487.

Dias passed Cão’s marker, reaching the “Land of St. Barbara” on December 4, Walvis Bay on December 8, and the Gulf of St. Stephen (Elizabeth Bay) on December 26. After January 6, 1488, he was prevented by storms from proceeding along the coast and sailed south out of sight of land for several days. When he again turned to port, no land appeared, and it was only on sailing north that he sighted land on February 3. He had thus rounded the Cape without having seen it. He called the spot Angra de São Brás (Bay of St. Blaise, whose feast day it was) or the Bay of Cowherds, from the people he found there. Dias’s black companions were unable to understand those people, who fled but later returned to attack the Portuguese. The expedition went on to Angra da Roca (present-day Algoa Bay). The crew was unwilling to continue, and Dias recorded the opinions of all his officers, who were unanimously in favour of returning. They agreed to go on for a few days, reaching Rio do Infante, named after the pilot of São Pantaleão; this is the present Great Fish (Groot-Vis) River.

Faced with strong currents, Dias turned back. He sighted the cape itself in May. Barros says that he named it Cape of Storms and that John II renamed it Cape of Good Hope. Duarte Pacheco, however, attributes the present name to Dias himself, and that is likely, since Pacheco joined Dias at the island of Príncipe. Little is known of the return journey except that Dias touched at Príncipe, the Rio do Resgate (in the present Liberia), and the fortified trading post of Mina. One of Dias’s markers, at Padrão de São Gregório, was retrieved from False Island, about 30 miles (48 km) short of the Great Fish River, in 1938. Another marker once stood at the western end of the Gulf of St. Christopher, since renamed Dias Point.

Later life

Dias returned to Portugal in December 1488. Nothing is known of Dias’s reception by John II. Dias was later employed to supervise the construction of the São Gabriel and the São Raphael vessels used for Vasco da Gama’s 1497 expedition to India. He was allowed to sail with da Gama’s expedition only as far as the Cape Verde Islands. Dias later sailed with Pedro Álvares Cabral, part of the expedition that landed on the coast of Brazil on April 22, 1500—Cabral is generally credited as the first European to do so—while en route to India. The next month Dias died after his ship was lost at sea near the Cape of Good Hope during a storm.

Dias had a son, António, and his grandson, Paulo Dias de Novais, governed Angola and founded the first European city in Southern Africa, São Paulo de Luanda, in 1576.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#144 2016-04-27 16:51:34

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

116. Jean Charles Athanase Peltier

Jean Charles Athanase Peltier (22 February 1785 – 27 October 1845) was a French physicist. He was originally a watch dealer, but at 30 years old took up experiments and observations in the physics.

Peltier was the author of numerous papers in different departments of physics, but his name is specially associated with the thermal effects at junctions in a voltaic circuit. He introduced the Peltier effect. Peltier also introduced the concept of electrostatic induction (1840), based on the modification of the distribution of electric charge in a material under the influence of a second object closest to it and its own electrical charge. This effect has been very important in the recent development of non-polluting cooling mechanisms.

Biography

Peltier initially trained as a watchmaker and was up to his 30s working as a watch dealer. Peltier worked with Abraham Louis Breguet in Paris. Later, he worked with various experiments on electrodynamics and noticed that in an electronic element when current flows through, a temperature difference or temperature difference is generated at a current flow. In 1836 he published his work and in 1838 his findings were confirmed by Emil Lenz. Furthermore, Peltier dealt with topics from the atmospheric electricity and meteorology. In 1840, he published a work on the causes and formation of hurricanes.

Peltier's papers, which are numerous, are devoted in great part to atmospheric electricity, waterspouts, cyanometry and polarization of sky-light, the temperature of water in the spheroidal state, and the boiling-point at great elevations. There are also a few devoted to curious points of natural history. But his name will always be associated with the thermal effects at junctions in a voltaic circuit, a discovery of importance quite comparable with those of Seebeck and Cumming.

Peltier discovered the calorific effect of electric current passing through the junction of two different metals. This is now called the Peltier effect (or Peltier–Seebeck effect). By switching the direction of current, either heating or cooling may be achieved. Junctions always come in pairs, as the two different metals are joined at two points. Thus heat will be moved from one junction to the other.

Peltier effect

The Peltier effect is the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors (1834).His great experimental discovery was the heating or cooling of the junctions in a heterogeneous circuit of metals according to the direction in which an electric current is made to pass round the circuit. This reversible effect is proportional directly to the strength of the current, not to its square, as is the irreversible generation of heat due to resistance in all parts of the circuit. It is found that, if a current pass from an external source through a circuit of two metals, it cools one junction and heats the other. It cools the junction if it be in the same direction as the thermoelectric current which would be caused by directly heating that junction. In other words, the passage of a current from an external source produces in the junctions of the circuit a distribution of temperature which leads to the weakening of the current by the superposition of a thermo-electric current running in the opposite direction.

When electromotive current is made to flow through a electronic junction between two conductors (A and B), heat is removed at the junction. To make a typical pump, multiple junctions are created between two plates. One side heats and the other side cools. A dissipation device is attached to the hot side to maintain cooling effect on the cold side. Typically, the use of the Peltier effect as a heat pump device involves multiple junctions in series, through which a current is driven. Some of the junctions lose heat due to the Peltier effect, while others gain heat. Thermoelectric pumps exploit this phenomenon, as do thermoelectric cooling Peltier modules found in refrigerators.

Jean_Peltier.jpg


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#145 2016-04-27 23:49:28

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

117. Joseph Henry, (born December 17, 1797, Albany, New York, U.S. - died May 13, 1878, Washington, D.C.) one of the first great American scientists after Benjamin Franklin. He aided and discovered several important principles of electricity, including self-induction, a phenomenon of primary importance in electronic circuitry.

While working with electromagnets at the Albany Academy (New York) in 1829, he made important design improvements. By insulating the wire instead of the iron core, he was able to wrap a large number of turns of wire around the core and thus greatly increase the power of the magnet. He made an electromagnet for Yale College that could support 2,063 pounds, a world record at the time.

Henry also searched for electromagnetic induction—the process of converting magnetism into electricity - and in 1831 he started building a large electromagnet for that purpose. Because the room at the Albany Academy in which he wanted to build his experiment was not available, he had to postpone his work until June 1832, when he learned that British physicist Michael Faraday had already discovered induction the previous year. However, when he resumed his experiments, he was the first to notice the principle of self-induction.

In 1831 Henry built and successfully operated, over a distance of 2.4 km (1.5 miles), a telegraph of his own design. He became professor of natural philosophy at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1832. Continuing his researches, he discovered the laws upon which the transformer is based. He also found that currents could be induced at a distance and in one case magnetized a needle by using a lightning flash 13 km (8 miles) away. That experiment was apparently the first use of radio waves across a distance. He aided Samuel F.B. Morse in the development of the telegraph by giving him 8 km (5 miles) of copper wire and writing a letter to Congress in 1842 encouraging it to support an 80-km (50-mile) test line. By using a thermogalvanometer, a heat-detection device, he showed that sunspots radiate less heat than the general solar surface.

In 1846 Henry became the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., where he organized and supported a corps of volunteer weather observers. The success of the Smithsonian meteorological work led to the creation of the U.S. Weather Bureau (later Service). One of Lincoln’s chief technical advisers during the U.S. Civil War, he was a primary organizer of the National Academy of Sciences and its second president. In 1893 his name was given to the standard electrical unit of inductive resistance, the henry.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#146 2016-04-28 17:00:16

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

118. Claudius Ptolemy

The Greek astronomer, astrologer, and geographer Claudius Ptolemy (ca. 100-ca. 170) established the system of mathematical astronomy that remained standard in Christian and Moslem countries until the 16th century.

Ptolemy is known to have made astronomical observations at Alexandria in Egypt between 127 and 141, and he probably lived on into the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180). Beyond the fact that his On the Faculty of Judgment indicates his adherence to Stoic doctrine, nothing more of his biography is available.

The Almagest

The earliest and most influential of Ptolemy's major writings is the Almagest. In 13 books it establishes the kinematic models (purely mathematical and nonphysical) used to explain solar, lunar, and planetary motion and determines the parameters which quantify these models and permit the computation of longitudes and latitudes; of the times, durations, and magnitudes of lunar and solar eclipses; and of the times of heliacal risings and settings. Ptolemy also provides a catalog of 1, 022 fixed stars, giving for each its longitude and latitude according to an ecliptic coordinate system.

Ptolemy's is a geocentric system, though the earth is the actual center only of the sphere of the fixed stars and of the "crank mechanism" of the moon; the orbits of all the other planets are slightly eccentric. Ptolemy thus hypothesizes a mathematical system which cannot be made to agree with the rules of Aristotelian physics, which require that the center of the earth be the center of all celestial circular motions.

In solar astronomy Ptolemy accepts and confirms the eccentric model and its parameters established by Hipparchus. For the moon Ptolemy made enormous improvements in Hipparchus's model, though he was unable to surmount all the difficulties of lunar motion evident even to ancient astronomers. Ptolemy discerned two more inequalities and proposed a complicated model to account for them. The effect of the Ptolemaic lunar model is to draw the moon close enough to the earth at quadratures to produce what should be a visible increase in apparent diameter; the increase, however, was not visible. The Ptolemaic models for the planets generally account for the two inequalities in planetary motion and are represented by combinations of circular motions: eccentrics and epicycles. Such a combination of eccentric and epicyclic models represents Ptolemy's principal original contribution in the Almagest.

Canobic Inscription

This brief text was inscribed on a stele erected at Canobus near Alexandria in Egypt in 146 or 147. It contains the parameters of Ptolemy's solar, lunar, and planetary models as given in the Almagest but modified in some instances. There is also a section on the harmony of the spheres. The epoch of the Canobic Inscription is the first year of Augustus, or 30 B.C.

Planetary Hypotheses

In the two books of Planetary Hypotheses, an important cosmological work, Ptolemy "corrects" some of the parameters of the Almagest and suggests an improved model to explain planetary latitude. In the section of the first book preserved only in Arabic, he proposes absolute dimensions for the celestial spheres (maximum and minimum distances of the planets, their apparent and actual diameters, and their volumes). The second book, preserved only in Arabic, describes a physical actualization of the mathematical models of the planets in the Almagest. Here the conflict with Aristotelian physics becomes unavoidable (Ptolemy uses Aristotelian terminology but makes no attempt to reconcile his views of the causes of the inequalities of planetary motion with Aristotle's), and it was in attempting to remove the discrepancies that the "School of Maragha" and also Ibn al-Shatir in the 13th and 14th centuries devised new planetary models that largely anticipate Copernicus's.

The Phases

This work originally contained two books, but only the second has survived. It is a calendar of the parapegma type, giving for each day of the Egyptian year the time of heliacal rising or setting of certain fixed stars. The views of Eudoxus, Hipparchus, Philip of Opus, Callippus, Euctemon, and others regarding the meteorological phenomena associated with these risings and settings are quoted. This makes the Phases useful to the historian of early Greek astronomy, though it is certainly the least important of Ptolemy's astronomical works.

The Apotelesmatica

Consisting of four books, the Apotelesmatica is Ptolemy's contribution to astrological theory. He attempts in the first book to place astrology on a sound scientific basis. Astrology for Ptolemy is less exact than astronomy is, as the former deals with objects influenced by many other factors besides the positions of the planets at a particular point in time, whereas the latter describes the unswerving motions of the eternal stars themselves. In the second book, general astrology affecting whole states, societies, and regions is described; this general astrology is largely derived from Mesopotamian astral omina. The final two books are devoted to genethlialogy, the science of predicting the events in the life of a native from the horoscope cast for the moment of his birth. The Apotelesmatica was long the main handbook for astrologers.

The Geography

In the eight books of the Geography, Ptolemy sets forth mathematical solutions to the problems of representing the spherical surface of the earth on a plane surface (a map), but the work is largely devoted to a list of localities with their coordinates. This list is arranged by regions, with the river and mountain systems and the ethnography of each region also usually described. He begins at the West in book 2 (his prime meridian ran through the "Fortunate Islands, " apparently the Canaries) and proceeds eastward to India, the Malay Peninsula, and China in book 7.

Despite his brilliant mathematical theory of map making, Ptolemy had not the requisite material to construct the accurate picture of the world that he desired. Aside from the fact that, following Marinus in this as in much else, he underestimated the size of the earth, concluding that the distance from the Canaries to China is about 180° instead of about 130°, he was seriously hampered by the lack of all the gnomon observations that are necessary to establish the latitudes of the places he lists. For longitudes he could not utilize astronomical observations because no systematic exploitation of this method of determining longitudinal differences had been organized. He was compelled to rely on travelers' estimates of distances, which varied widely in their reliability and were most uncertain guides. His efforts, however, provided western Europe, Byzantium, and Islam with their most detailed conception of the inhabited world.

Harmonics and Optics

These, the last two works in the surviving corpus of Ptolemy's writings, investigate two other fields included in antiquity in the general field of mathematics. The Harmonics in three books became one of the standard works on the mathematical theory of music in late antiquity and throughout the Byzantine period. The Optics in five books discussed the geometry of vision, especially mirror reflection and refraction. The Optics survives only in a Latin translation prepared by Eugenius, Admiral of Sicily, toward the end of the 12th century, from an Arabic version in which the first book and the end of the fifth were lost. The doubts surrounding its authenticity as a work of Ptolemy seem to have been overcome by recent scholarship.

His Influence

Ptolemy's brilliance as a mathematician, his exactitude, and his masterful presentation seemed to his successors to have exhausted the possibilities of mathematical astronomy and geography. To a large extent they were right. Without better instrumentation only minor adjustments in the Ptolemaic parameters or models could be made. The major "improvements" in the models—those of the School of Maragha—are designed primarily to satisfy philosophy, not astronomy; the lunar theory was the only exception. Most of the deviations from Ptolemaic methods in medieval astronomy are due to the admixture of non-Greek material and the continued use of pre-Ptolemaic elements. The Geography was never seriously challenged before the 15th century.

The authority of the astronomical and geographical works carries over to the astrological treatise and, to a lesser extent, to the Harmonics and Optics. The Apotelesmatica was always recognized as one of the works most clearly defending the scientific basis of astrology in general, and of genethlialogy in particular. But Neoplatonism as developed by the pagans of Harran provided a more extended theory of the relationship of the celestial spheres to the sublunar world, and this theory was popularized in Islam in the 9th century. The Harmonics ceased to be popular as Greek music ceased to follow the classical modes, and the Optics was rendered obsolete by Moslem scientists. Ptolemy's fame and influence, then, rest primarily on the Almagest, his most original work, justly subtitled The Greatest.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

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#147 2016-04-28 23:49:18

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

119. John Napier

John Napier, Napier also spelled Neper (born 1550, Merchiston Castle, near Edinburgh, Scot.—died April 4, 1617, Merchiston Castle) Scottish mathematician and theological writer who originated the concept of logarithms as a mathematical device to aid in calculations.

Early life

At the age of 13, Napier entered the University of St. Andrews, but his stay appears to have been short, and he left without taking a degree.

Little is known of Napier’s early life, but it is thought that he traveled abroad, as was then the custom of the sons of the Scottish landed gentry. He was certainly back home in 1571, and he stayed either at Merchiston or at Gartness for the rest of his life. He married the following year. A few years after his wife’s death in 1579, he married again.

Theology and inventions

Napier’s life was spent amid bitter religious dissensions. A passionate and uncompromising Protestant, in his dealings with the Church of Rome he sought no quarter and gave none. It was well known that James VI of Scotland hoped to succeed Elizabeth I to the English throne, and it was suspected that he had sought the help of the Catholic Philip II of Spain to achieve this end. Panic stricken at the peril that seemed to be impending, the general assembly of the Scottish Church, a body with which Napier was closely associated, begged James to deal effectively with the Roman Catholics, and on three occasions Napier was a member of a committee appointed to make representations to the King concerning the welfare of the church and to urge him to see that “justice be done against the enemies of God’s Church.”

In January 1594, Napier addressed to the King a letter that forms the dedication of his Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of Saint John, a work that, while it professed to be of a strictly scholarly character, was calculated to influence contemporary events. In it he declared:

    Let it be your Majesty’s continuall study to reforme the universall enormities of your country, and first to begin at your Majesty’s owne house, familie and court, and purge the same of all suspicion of Papists and Atheists and Newtrals, whereof this Revelation forthtelleth that the number shall greatly increase in these latter daies.

The work occupies a prominent place in Scottish ecclesiastical history.

Following the publication of this work, Napier seems to have occupied himself with the invention of secret instruments of war, for in a manuscript collection now at Lambeth Palace, London, there is a document bearing his signature, enumerating various inventions “designed by the Grace of God, and the worke of expert craftsmen” for the defense of his country. These inventions included two kinds of burning mirrors, a piece of artillery, and a metal chariot from which shot could be discharged through small holes.

Contribution to mathematics

Napier devoted most of his leisure to the study of mathematics, particularly to devising methods of facilitating computation, and it is with the greatest of these, logarithms, that his name is associated. He began working on logarithms probably as early as 1594, gradually elaborating his computational system whereby roots, products, and quotients could be quickly determined from tables showing powers of a fixed number used as a base.

His contributions to this powerful mathematical invention are contained in two treatises: Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Descriptio (Description of the Marvelous Canon of Logarithms), which was published in 1614, and Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonis Constructio (Construction of the Marvelous Canon of Logarithms), which was published two years after his death. In the former, he outlined the steps that had led to his invention.

Logarithms were meant to simplify calculations, especially multiplication, such as those needed in astronomy. Napier discovered that the basis for this computation was a relationship between an arithmetical progression—a sequence of numbers in which each number is obtained, following a geometric progression, from the one immediately preceding it by multiplying by a constant factor, which may be greater than unity (e.g., the sequence 2, 4, 8, 16 . . . ) or less than unity (e.g., 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2 . . . ).

In the Descriptio, besides giving an account of the nature of logarithms, Napier confined himself to an account of the use to which they might be put. He promised to explain the method of their construction in a later work. This was the Constructio, which claims attention because of the systematic use in its pages of the decimal point to separate the fractional from the integral part of a number. Decimal fractions had already been introduced by the Flemish mathematician Simon Stevin in 1586, but his notation was unwieldy. The use of a point as the separator occurs frequently in the Constructio. Joost Bürgi, the Swiss mathematician, between 1603 and 1611 independently invented a system of logarithms, which he published in 1620. But Napier worked on logarithms earlier than Bürgi and has the priority due to his prior date of publication in 1614.

Although Napier’s invention of logarithms overshadows all his other mathematical work, he made other mathematical contributions. In 1617 he published his Rabdologiae, seu Numerationis per Virgulas Libri Duo (Study of Divining Rods, or Two Books of Numbering by Means of Rods, 1667); in this he described ingenious methods of multiplying and dividing of small rods known as Napier’s bones, a device that was the forerunner of the slide rule. He also made important contributions to spherical trigonometry, particularly by reducing the number of equations used to express trigonometrical relationships from 10 to 2 general statements. He is also credited with certain trigonometrical relations—Napier’s analogies—but it seems likely that the English mathematician Henry Briggs had a share in these.

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#148 2016-04-30 00:06:37

ganesh
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Re: crème de la crème

120. Abraham de Moivre

Abraham de Moivre (26 May 1667 – 27 November 1754) was a French mathematician known for de Moivre's formula, one of those that link complex numbers and trigonometry, and for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory. He was a friend of Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, and James Stirling. Even though he faced religious persecution he remained a "steadfast Christian" throughout his life. Among his fellow Huguenot exiles in England, he was a colleague of the editor and translator Pierre des Maizeaux.

De Moivre wrote a book on probability theory, The Doctrine of Chances, said to have been prized by gamblers. De Moivre first discovered Binet's formula, the closed-form expression for Fibonacci numbers linking the nth power of the golden ratio φ to the nth Fibonacci number. He also was the first to postulate the Central Limit Theorem, a cornerstone of probability theory.

Early years

Abraham de Moivre was born in Vitry-le-François in Champagne on May 26, 1667. His father, Daniel de Moivre, was a surgeon who believed in the value of education. Though Abraham de Moivre's parents were Protestant, he first attended Christian Brothers' Catholic school in Vitry, which was unusually tolerant given religious tensions in France at the time. When he was eleven, his parents sent him to the Protestant Academy at Sedan, where he spent four years studying Greek under Jacques du Rondel. The Protestant Academy of Sedan had been founded in 1579 at the initiative of Françoise de Bourbon, the widow of Henri-Robert de la Marck.

In 1682 the Protestant Academy at Sedan was suppressed, and de Moivre enrolled to study logic at Saumur for two years. Although mathematics was not part of his course work, de Moivre read several works on mathematics on his own including Elémens des mathématiques by Jean Prestet and a short treatise on games of chance, De Ratiociniis in Ludo Aleae, by Christiaan Huygens. In 1684, de Moivre moved to Paris to study physics, and for the first time had formal mathematics training with private lessons from Jacques Ozanam.

Religious persecution in France became severe when King Louis XIV issued the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, which revoked the Edict of Nantes, that had given substantial rights to French Protestants. It forbade Protestant worship and required that all children be baptized by Catholic priests. De Moivre was sent to the Prieure de Saint-Martin, a school that the authorities sent Protestant children to for indoctrination into Catholicism.

It is unclear when de Moivre left the Prieure de Saint-Martin and moved to England, since the records of the Prieure de Saint-Martin indicate that he left the school in 1688, but de Moivre and his brother presented themselves as Huguenots admitted to the Savoy Church in London on August 28, 1687.

Middle years

By the time he arrived in London, de Moivre was a competent mathematician with a good knowledge of many of the standard texts. To make a living, de Moivre became a private tutor of mathematics, visiting his pupils or teaching in the coffee houses of London. De Moivre continued his studies of mathematics after visiting the Earl of Devonshire and seeing Newton's recent book, Principia Mathematica. Looking through the book, he realized that it was far deeper than the books that he had studied previously, and he became determined to read and understand it. However, as he was required to take extended walks around London to travel between his students, de Moivre had little time for study, so he tore pages from the book and carried them around in his pocket to read between lessons.

According to a possibly apocryphal story, Newton, in the later years of his life, used to refer people posing mathematical questions to him to de Moivre, saying, "He knows all these things better than I do."

By 1692, de Moivre became friends with Edmond Halley and soon after with Isaac Newton himself. In 1695, Halley communicated de Moivre's first mathematics paper, which arose from his study of fluxions in the Principia Mathematica, to the Royal Society. This paper was published in the Philosophical Transactions that same year. Shortly after publishing this paper, de Moivre also generalized Newton's noteworthy binomial theorem into the multinomial theorem. The Royal Society became apprised of this method in 1697, and it made de Moivre a member two months later.

After de Moivre had been accepted, Halley encouraged him to turn his attention to astronomy. In 1705, de Moivre discovered, intuitively, that "the centripetal force of any planet is directly related to its distance from the centre of the forces and reciprocally related to the product of the diameter of the evolute and the cube of the perpendicular on the tangent." In other words, if a planet, M, follows an elliptical orbit around a focus F and has a point P where PM is tangent to the curve and FPM is a right angle so that FP is the perpendicular to the tangent, then the centripetal force at point P is proportional to FM/(R*(FP)3) where R is the radius of the curvature at M. The mathematician Johann Bernoulli proved this formula in 1710.

Despite these successes, de Moivre was unable to obtain an appointment to a chair of mathematics at any university, which would have released him from his dependence on time-consuming tutoring that burdened him more than it did most other mathematicians of the time. At least a part of the reason was a bias against his French origins.

In November 1697 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1712 was appointed to a commission set up by the society, alongside MM. Arbuthnot, Hill, Halley, Jones, Machin, Burnet, Robarts, Bonet, Aston, and Taylor to review the claims of Newton and Leibniz as to who discovered calculus.

Throughout his life de Moivre remained poor. It is reported that he was a regular customer of Slaughter's Coffee House, St. Martin's Lane at Cranbourn Street, where he earned a little money from playing chess.

Later years

De Moivre continued studying the fields of probability and mathematics until his death in 1754 and several additional papers were published after his death. As he grew older, he became increasingly lethargic and needed longer sleeping hours. A common, though disputable, claim is that he noted he was sleeping an extra 15 minutes each night and correctly calculated the date of his death as the day when the sleep time reached 24 hours, November 27, 1754. He died in London and his body was buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields, although his body was later moved.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#149 2016-05-01 16:53:54

ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 23,427

Re: crème de la crème

121. John von Neumann

John von Neumann (December 28, 1903 – February 8, 1957) was a Hungarian-American pure and applied mathematician, physicist, inventor, computer scientist, and polymath. He made major contributions to a number of fields, including mathematics (foundations of mathematics, functional analysis, ergodic theory, geometry, topology, and numerical analysis), physics (quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics, fluid dynamics and quantum statistical mechanics), economics (game theory), computing (Von Neumann architecture, linear programming, self-replicating machines, stochastic computing), and statistics.

He was a pioneer of the application of operator theory to quantum mechanics, in the development of functional analysis, a principal member of the Manhattan Project and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (as one of the few originally appointed), and a key figure in the development of game theory and the concepts of cellular automata, the universal constructor and the digital computer. He published 150 papers in his life; 60 in pure mathematics, 20 in physics, and 60 in applied mathematics. His last work, an unfinished manuscript written while in the hospital, was later published in book form as 'The Computer and the Brain'.

Von Neumann's mathematical analysis of the structure of self-replication preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA. In a short list of facts about his life he submitted to the National Academy of Sciences, he stated "The part of my work I consider most essential is that on quantum mechanics, which developed in Göttingen in 1926, and subsequently in Berlin in 1927–1929. Also, my work on various forms of operator theory, Berlin 1930 and Princeton 1935–1939; on the ergodic theorem, Princeton, 1931–1932."

During World War II he worked on the Manhattan Project with J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, developing the mathematical models behind the explosive lenses used in the implosion-type nuclear weapon. After the war, he served on the General Advisory Committee of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and later as one of its commissioners. He was a consultant to a number of organizations, including the United States Air Force, the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Along with theoretical physicist Edward Teller, mathematician Stanislaw Ulam, and others, he worked out key steps in the nuclear physics involved in thermonuclear reactions and the hydrogen bomb.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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#150 2016-05-02 19:00:34

ganesh
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Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 23,427

Re: crème de la crème

122. Noah Webster

Noah Webster, (born October 16, 1758, West Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.—died May 28, 1843, New Haven, Connecticut) American lexicographer known for his American Spelling Book (1783) and his American Dictionary of the English Language, 2 vol. (1828; 2nd ed., 1840). Webster was instrumental in giving American English a dignity and vitality of its own. Both his speller and dictionary reflected his principle that spelling, grammar, and usage should be based upon the living, spoken language rather than on artificial rules. He also made useful contributions as a teacher, grammarian, journalist, essayist, lecturer, and lobbyist.

Webster entered Yale in 1774, interrupted his studies to serve briefly in the American Revolution, and was graduated in 1778. He taught school, did clerical work, and studied law, being admitted to the bar in 1781.

While teaching in Goshen, New York, in 1782, Webster became dissatisfied with texts for children that ignored the American culture, and he began his lifelong efforts to promote a distinctively American education. His first step in this direction was preparation of A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, the first part being The American Spelling Book (1783), the famed “Blue-Backed Speller,” which has never been out of print. The spelling book provided much of Webster’s income for the rest of his life, and its total sales have been estimated as high as 100,000,000 copies or more.

A grammar (1784) and a reader (1785) completed the Institute. The grammar was based on Webster’s principle (enunciated later in his dictionary) that “grammar is formed on language, and not language on grammar.” Although he did not always follow this principle and often relied on analogy, reason, and true or fanciful etymology, his inconsistencies were no greater than those of his English contemporaries. He spoke of American English as “Federal English,” always contrasting the superior usage of the yeoman of America with the alleged affectations of London. The reader consisted mainly of American selections chosen to promote democratic ideals and responsible moral and political conduct.

The absence of a federal copyright law until 1790 and discrepancies among the state laws left the author of a popular book open to piracy unless he exerted strenuous efforts. Webster’s letters to various state legislatures reflect his activity on his own behalf, and he traveled widely, lobbying for uniform copyright laws and teaching, lecturing, and giving singing lessons to help support himself. In 1787 he founded the short-lived American Magazine in New York City. This publication combined literary criticism with essays on education, government, agriculture, and a variety of other subjects. After his marriage in 1789, Webster practiced law in Hartford until 1793, when he founded in New York a pro-Federalist daily newspaper, The American Minerva, and a semi-weekly paper, The Herald, which was made up of reprinted selections from the daily. He sold both papers in 1803.

Webster wrote on many subjects: politics (“Sketches of American Policy,” 1785, sometimes called the first statement of the U.S. Constitution), economics, medicine, physical science, and language. He noted the living language as he traveled but with varying degrees of approbation, according to the degree of correspondence between what he heard and what he himself used. His early enthusiasm for spelling reform abated in his later works, but he is largely responsible for the differences that exist today between British and U.S. spelling. Although he was himself assailed for including slang and jargon in his dictionary, Webster was extremely touchy about the common taboo words. He commented often on the vulgarity of some of the words and citations in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary (1755), and in later life he published an expurgated version of the Bible in which euphemism replaced the franker statements of the Authorized Version.

Webster moved in 1798 to New Haven, where he was elected to the Common Council and remained active in local politics for the rest of his life. He was a founder of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Massachusetts legislature, and a participant in founding Amherst Academy and Amherst College.

In 1806 Webster published his Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. Though it was no more than a preparation for his later dictionary, it contained not only about 5,000 more words than Johnson’s dictionary but also a number of innovations, including perhaps the first separation of i and j, and of u and v, as alphabetical entities. He started work on the American Dictionary in 1807, acquiring at least a nodding acquaintance with about 20 languages and traveling in France and England in 1824–25 in search of materials unavailable to him in the United States. His attempts to find plausible etymologies, however, were not supported by investigation of the actual state of linguistic knowledge.

The first edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language was published in two volumes in 1828, when Webster was 70 years old. It comprised 2,500 copies in the U.S. and 3,000 in England, and it sold out in little more than a year, despite harsh attacks on its “Americanisms,” its unconventional preferences in spelling, its tendency to advocate U.S. rather than British usage and spelling, and its inclusion of nonliterary words, particularly technical terms from the arts and sciences. The dictionary contained about 70,000 entries and between 30,000 and 40,000 definitions that had not appeared in any earlier dictionary. Despite his frequent disparagement of Johnson, his indebtedness to Johnson’s literary vocabulary is apparent in both definitions and citations. The American Dictionary was relatively unprofitable, and the 1841 revision was not successful. The rights were purchased from Webster’s estate by George and Charles Merriam.

Webster died in 1843 and was buried in a cemetery adjacent to the Yale campus. A controversialist in his youth—quick to defend his literary efforts and to demolish his critics—and a conservative in religion and in politics in his later years, he was the last lexicographer of the English language to be remembered for his personality and as a public figure as well as for his work.

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It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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