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Newton Darwin Einstein Mendeleev Rutherford Lavoisier Jenner Crick Faraday Pasteur

Albert Einstein - Born March 14 1879

Einstein, Albert (1879-1955), was one of the greatest scientists of all time. He is best known for his theory of relativity, which he first advanced when he was only 26.

Relativity. Einstein's relativity theory revolutionized scientific thought with new conceptions of time, space, mass, motion, and gravitation. He treated matter and energy as interchangeable, not distinct. In so doing, he laid the basis for releasing energy from the atom.

Thus, Einstein was one of the fathers of the nuclear age. His famous equation, relating energy and mass (energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared), became a foundation stone in the development of nuclear energy. Einstein developed his theory through deep philosophical thought and complex mathematical reasoning.



Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin was an English Naturalist who lived between 1809-1882. He laid the foundations for the modern science of biology, and changed how other scientists understood the appearance of life on Earth.

In 1859, following 30 years of study and travels, Darwin published a book called The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, which started a scientific revolution. It showed that life on Earth is constantly changing and only the fittest organisms survive.

Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882), was a British naturalist who became famous for his theories on evolution. Like several other scientists before him, Darwin believed that, through millions of years, all species of plants and animals had evolved (developed gradually) from a few common ancestors.

Darwin's theories included several related ideas. They were: (1) that evolution had occurred; (2) that most evolutionary change was gradual, taking place over thousands or millions of years; (3) that the primary mechanism for evolution was a process called natural selection; and (4) that the millions of species present on earth today arose from a single original life form through a branching process called speciation, by which one species can give rise to two or more species. Darwin set forth his theories in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859).

Darwin's theories shocked most people of his day, who believed that each species had been created by a separate divine act. His book, which is usually called simply The Origin of Species, presented facts that refuted this belief. It caused a revolution in biological science and greatly affected religious thought.

Isaac Newton

Newton, Sir Isaac (1642-1727), an English scientist, astronomer, and mathematician, invented a new kind of mathematics, discovered the secrets of light and colour, and showed how the universe is held together. He is sometimes described as "one of the greatest names in the history of human thought " because of his great contributions to mathematics, physics, and astronomy.

Newton discovered how the universe is held together through his theory of gravitation. He discovered the secrets of light and colour. He invented a branch of mathematics, calculus, also invented independently by Gottfried Leibniz, a German mathematician (see CALCULUS). Newton made these three discoveries within 18 months from 1665 to 1667.

Early life. Newton was born at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, on Dec. 25, 1642. He attended Grantham grammar school. As a boy, he was more interested in making mechanical devices than in studying. His youthful inventions included a small windmill that could grind wheat and maize, a water clock run by the force of dropping water, and a sundial. He left school when he was 14 to help his widowed mother manage her farm. But he spent so much time reading, he was sent back to school.

He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1661. He showed no exceptional ability during his college career, and graduated in 1665 without any particular distinction. He returned to Cambridge as a fellow of Trinity College in 1667.

Newton became professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1669. He lectured once a week on arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, optics, or other mathematical subjects. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1672.






Mendeleev, Dmitri Ivanovich (1834-1907), was a Russian chemist who developed a form of the periodic law, a basic principle in chemistry. His law states that the properties of chemical elements recur in regular patterns when the elements are arranged according to their atomic weight. Mendeleev's work, together with that of the German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer, led to the periodic table, a systematic arrangement of the elements (see ELEMENT, CHEMICAL [Periodic table of the elements]).

In 1869, Mendeleev proposed his arrangement of the elements in order of increasing atomic weight and according to similarity in properties. Mendeleev's table had blank spaces for unknown elements. Later, using the periodic law, he predicted the properties of three unknown elements. His predictions were confirmed by the discovery between 1875 and 1886 of three elements with these properties. Mendeleev also discovered the phenomenon of critical temperature, the temperature at which a gas or vapour may be liquefied by pressure. He was born in Tobolsk, Russia.ev



Rutherford, Ernest (1871-1937), a British physicist, established the nuclear model of the atom in 1911. Later, he became the first person to break up the nucleus of an atom. Because of Rutherford's many contributions to science, he is often regarded as the father of nuclear science.

In the nuclear model of the atom, Rutherford theorized that atoms are constructed much like the solar system. That is, a heavy part, called the nucleus, forms the centre of each atom. Orbiting around the nucleus, particles of negative electricity, called electrons, form the outer part, most of which consists of empty space. In 1913, Niels Bohr combined Rutherford's nuclear model with the quantum theory in the Bohr theory of atomic structure (see BOHR, NIELS).

In 1902, Rutherford and the British chemist Frederick Soddy published their discovery of atomic transmutation. Their observations proved that radioactive elements give off electrically charged particles known as alpha and beta particles. This process changes the parent (original) atom into a daughter atom. Because of the changes, the new atom is a different chemical element. This achievement won Rutherford the 1908 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Rutherford produced the first artificially created atomic disintegration in 1917 when he bombarded nitrogen atoms with alpha particles and produced protons, positively charged particles from the nucleus of the atom.

Rutherford was born in Nelson, New Zealand. He taught at McGill University in Montreal, the University of Manchester, and Cambridge University. In 1903, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He wrote several books, including Radioactive Substances and Their Radiations (1913). In 1931, he received the title of Baron Rutherford of Nelson.



Antoine Laurent Lavoisier

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, 1743-1794, French chemist. Lavoisier's attended the College Mazarin from 1754 to 1761, studying chemistry, botany, astronomy, and mathematics. His first chemical publication appeared in 1764. In 1767 he worked on a geological survey of Alsace and Lorraine.

Beginning in 1775 he served on the Royal Gunpowerder Administration, where his work led to improvements in the production of gunpowder and the use of agricultural chemistry.

Although he exaggerated its importance, Lavoisier was the first to understand the significance of Priestley's work on oxygen, and is considered by some to have discovered the element. He disproved phlogiston theory by demonstrating that oxygen is required for combustion, rusting, and respiration. He combined his chemical abilities with an interest in zoology to produce pioneering work on anatomy and physiology.

Lavoisier is best known, though, not for major experiments or discoveries, but for his synthesis of chemical knowledge in his Traité elémentaire de chimie (1789), considered by many the first textbook on modern chemistry. Here for the first time the modern notion of elements is laid out systematically; the three or four elements of classical chemistry gave way to the modern system, and Lavoisier worked out reactions in chemical equations that respect the conservation of mass.

Politically, Lavoisier was a moderate constitutionalist, and Marat and other radicals held him in contempt. He became involved in the Ferme Generale, a private tax-collection firm, which became a target during the Terror. He died on the guillotine in 1794.




Jenner, Edward (1749-1823), a British doctor, discovered vaccination as a means of preventing smallpox. This disease was an ever-present horror through the centuries (see SMALLPOX).

It was common knowledge in Jenner's time that a person could catch smallpox only once. Many people tried to inoculate themselves with matter from smallpox sores. They hoped to catch a light case of the disease, and then be immune to it for the rest of their lives. But the method was dangerous.

Jenner's work. Jenner began experimenting in his home town, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England. Many people there believed that dairymaids who had caught cowpox could not catch smallpox. Cowpox is a minor disease that causes a few sores on the hands but carries little danger of disfigurement or death. In 1796, Jenner took matter from the hand of Sarah Nelmes, a local dairymaid. She had become infected with cowpox while milking the cows. Jenner then made two cuts on the arm of James Phipps, a healthy eight-year-old boy, and inserted the matter from one of Sarah's cowpox sores. The boy then caught cowpox. Forty-eight days later, Jenner introduced smallpox matter into the boy's arm. Ordinarily fatal, the smallpox matter had no effect, because the boy had been vaccinated with cowpox matter. Jenner's experiment proved to be successful. This was the first vaccination ever given.

Recognition. After several more experiments, Jenner published Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae (1798). He then went to London to make his discovery known to the medical world. In 1799, he published Further Observations on the Variolae Vaccinae or Cowpox, which he wrote chiefly as a reply to people who opposed vaccination. After 1800, vaccination became accepted as a means of preventing people catching smallpox.

Honours came to Jenner from all parts of the world. Parliament granted him 10,000 pounds in 1802, and another 20,000 pounds in 1806, because he devoted so much of his time to his discovery that he lost income from his regular medical practice. Oxford University conferred an honorary Doctor of Medicine degree on Jenner in 1813.

Jenner was born on May 17, 1749, in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. In 1770 he went to London to study medicine under John Hunter, a British surgeon. He returned to Berkeley, where he began practising medicine, and he remained there most of his life.



Crick Francis H

Crick, Francis H. C. (1916-...), is a British biologist. He shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine with American biologist James D. Watson and biophysicist Maurice H. F. Wilkins, also of Great Britain. Crick and Watson built a model of the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the substance that transmits genetic information from one generation to the next. The model, resembling a twisted ladder, is called the double helix. Later, Crick helped explain how DNA determines the development of living things.




Faraday, Michael (1791-1867), one of the greatest English chemists and physicists, discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction in 1831 (see ELECTRICITY). He found that moving a magnet through a coil of copper wire caused an electric current to flow in the wire. The electric generator and electric motor are based on this principle. Joseph Henry, an American physicist, discovered induction shortly before Faraday, but failed to publish his findings (see HENRY, JOSEPH).

Faraday's work in electrochemistry led him to discover a mathematical relationship between electricity and the valency (combining power) of a chemical element. Faraday's law states this relationship. It gave the first clue to the existence of electrons (see ELECTRON). Faraday introduced ideas that would become the basis of field theory in physics. He maintained that magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces are passed from one body to another through lines of force, or strains in the area between the two bodies.




Pasteur, Louis (1822-1895), a French scientist, made major contributions to chemistry, medicine, and industry that have greatly benefited humanity. His discovery that diseases are spread by bacteria saved countless lives. Pasteur was a great theoretical scientist who applied his basic discoveries to important practical problems in both industry and medicine.

Louis Pasteur stated that "Chance favors the prepared mind."

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