Society: Arts and Science – May 2

Swedish and Norwegian committees bestow Nobel Prizes in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Giulio Natta died on this date in 1979. He was an Italian chemist and Nobel laureate. He won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 with Karl Ziegler for work on high polymers. He was also a recipient of Lomonosov Gold Medal in 1969.
Sir John Carew Eccles AC FRS FRACP FRSNZ FAA died on this date in 1997. He was an Australian neurophysiologist and philosopher who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the synapse. He shared the prize with Andrew Huxley and Alan Lloyd Hodgkin.

Society: Arts and Science – November 28

Today is International Thanksgiving Day! A day to celebrate your life in a special way…

Swedish and Norwegian committees bestow Nobel Prizes in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. In 1895, the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Enrico Fermi died on this date in 1954. He was an Italian physicist, best known for his work on Chicago Pile-1 (the first nuclear reactor), and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics. He is one of the men referred to as the “father of the atomic bomb”.[4] Fermi held several patents related to the use of nuclear power and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity by neutron bombardment and the discovery of transuranic elements. He was widely regarded as one of the very few physicists to excel both theoretically and experimentally. Fermi’s first major contribution was to statistical mechanics. After Wolfgang Pauli announced his exclusion principle in 1925, Fermi followed with a paper in which he applied the principle to an ideal gas, employing a statistical formulation now known as Fermi–Dirac statistics. Today, particles that obey the exclusion principle are called “fermions”. Later Pauli postulated the existence of an uncharged invisible particle emitted along with an electron during beta decay, to satisfy the law of conservation of energy. Fermi took up this idea, developing a model that incorporated the postulated particle, which he named the “neutrino”. His theory, later referred to as Fermi’s interaction and still later as weak interaction, described one of the four fundamental forces of nature. Through experiments inducing radioactivity with recently discovered neutrons, Fermi discovered that slow neutrons were more easily captured than fast ones, and developed the Fermi age equation to describe this. After bombarding thorium and uranium with slow neutrons, he concluded that he had created new elements; although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery, the new elements were subsequently revealed to be fission products. Fermi left Italy in 1938 to escape new Italian Racial Laws that affected his Jewish wife Laura. He emigrated to the United States where he worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. Fermi led the team that designed and built Chicago Pile-1, which went critical on 2 December 1942, demonstrating the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. He was on hand when the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge, Tennessee went critical in 1943, and when the B Reactor at the Hanford Site did so the next year. At Los Alamos, he headed F Division, part of which worked on Edward Teller’s thermonuclear “Super” bomb. He was present at the Trinity test on 16 July 1945, where he used his Fermi method to estimate the bomb’s yield. After the war, Fermi served under J. Robert Oppenheimer on the influential General Advisory Committee, which advised the Atomic Energy Commission on nuclear matters and policy. Following the detonation of the first Soviet fission bomb in August 1949, he strongly opposed the development of a hydrogen bomb on both moral and technical grounds. He was among the scientists who testified on Oppenheimer’s behalf at the 1954 hearing that resulted in the denial of the latter’s security clearance. Fermi did important work in particle physics, especially related to pions and muons, and he speculated that cosmic rays arose through the material being accelerated by magnetic fields in interstellar space. Many awards, concepts, and institutions are named after Fermi, including the Enrico Fermi Award, the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station, and the synthetic element fermium.

Society: Arts and Science – June 14


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Karl Landsteiner, ForMemRS was born on this date in 1868. He was an Austrian biologist and physician.[2] He is noted for having first distinguished the main blood groups in 1900, having developed the modern system of classification of blood groups from his identification of the presence of agglutinins in the blood, and having identified, with Alexander S. Wiener, the Rhesus factor, in 1937, thus enabling physicians to transfuse blood without endangering the patient′s life. With Constantin Levaditi and Erwin Popper, he discovered the polio virus, in 1909. In 1930 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He was awarded a Lasker Award in 1946 posthumously and is recognized as the father of transfusion medicine.
Salvatore Quasimodo died on this date in 1968. He was an Italian author and poet. In 1959 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for his lyrical poetry, which “with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”. Along with Giuseppe Ungaretti and Eugenio Montale, he is one of the foremost Italian poets of the 20th century.


Society: Arts and Science – April 25


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Guglielmo Marconi, 1st Marchese of Marconi was born on this date in 1874. He was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer, known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”. An entrepreneur, businessman, and founder in 1897 of The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company (which became the Marconi Company), Marconi succeeded in making a commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists. In 1924, the King of Italy ennobled Marconi as a Marchese.
Wolfgang Ernst Pauli was born on this date in 1900. He was an Austrian-born Swiss theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. In 1945, after having been nominated by Albert Einstein, Pauli received the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle.” The discovery involved spin theory, which is the basis of a theory of the structure of matter.


Society: Arts and Science – April 22


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Henri La Fontaine was born on this date in 1854. He was a Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913.
Róbert Bárány was born on this date in 1876. He was an Austro-Hungarian otologist. For his work on the physiology and pathology of the vestibular apparatus of the ear he received the 1914 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Emilio Gino Segrè diedn on this date in 1989. He was an Italian physicist and Nobel laureate who discovered the elements technetium and astatine, and the antiproton, a sub-atomic antiparticle, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959. Born in Tivoli, near Rome, Segrè studied engineering at the University of Rome La Sapienza before taking up physics in 1927. Segrè was appointed assistant professor of physics at the University of Rome in 1932 and worked there until 1936, becoming one of the Via Panisperna boys. From 1936 to 1938 he was Director of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Palermo. After a visit to Ernest O. Lawrence’s Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, he was sent a molybdenum strip from the laboratory’s cyclotron deflector in 1937 which was emitting anomalous forms of radioactivity. After careful chemical and theoretical analysis, Segrè was able to prove that some of the radiation was being produced by a previously unknown element, dubbed technetium, which was the first artificially synthesized chemical element which does not occur in nature. In 1938, Benito Mussolini’s fascist government passed anti-Semitic laws barring Jews from university positions. As a Jew, Segrè was now rendered an indefinite émigré. At the Berkeley Radiation Lab, Lawrence offered him a job as a Research Assistant. While at Berkeley, Segrè helped discover the element astatine and the isotope plutonium-239, which was later used to make the Fat man atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. From 1943 to 1946 he worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a group leader for the Manhattan Project. He found in April 1944 that Thin Man, the proposed plutonium gun-type nuclear weapon would not work because of the presence of plutonium-240 impurities. In 1944, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. On his return to Berkeley in 1946, he became a professor of physics and of history of science, serving until 1972. Segrè and Owen Chamberlain were co-heads of a research group at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory that discovered the antiproton, for which the two shared the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physics. Segrè was also active as a photographer, and took many photos documenting events and people in the history of modern science, which were donated to the American Institute of Physics after his death. The American Institute of Physics named its photographic archive of physics history in his honor.


Society: Arts and Science – April 8


The Nobel Prize is bestowed annually in categories as selected by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Róbert Bárány died on this date in 1936. He was an Austro-Hungarian otologist. For his work on the physiology and pathology of the vestibular apparatus of the ear he received the 1914 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Erik Axel Karlfeldt died on this date in 1931. He was a Swedish poet whose highly symbolist poetry masquerading as regionalism was popular and won him the Nobel Prize in Literature posthumously in 1931. It has been rumored that he had been offered, but declined, the award already in 1919. Karlfeldt was born into a farmer’s family in Karlbo, in the province of Dalarna. Initially, his name was Erik Axel Eriksson, but he assumed his new name in 1889, wanting to distance himself from his father, who had suffered the disgrace of a criminal conviction. He studied at Uppsala University, simultaneously supporting himself by teaching school in several places, including Djursholms samskola in the Stockholm suburb of Djursholm and at a school for adults. After completing his studies, he held a position at the Royal Library of Sweden, in Stockholm, for five years. In 1904 Karlfeldt was elected a member of the Swedish Academy and held chair number 11. In 1905 he was elected a member of the Nobel Institute of the Academy, and, in 1907, of the Nobel Committee. In 1912 he was elected permanent secretary of the Academy, a position he held until his death. Uppsala University, Karlfeldt’s alma mater, awarded him the title of Doctor honoris causae in 1917.
Daniel Bovet ForMemRS died on this date in 1992. He was a Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist who won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of drugs that block the actions of specific neurotransmitters. He is best known for his discovery in 1937 of antihistamines, which block the neurotransmitter histamine and are used in allergy medication. His other research included work on chemotherapy, sulfa drugs, the sympathetic nervous system, the pharmacology of curare, and other neuropharmacological interests. In 1965, Bovet led a study team which concluded that smoking of tobacco cigarettes increased users’ intelligence. He told The New York Times that the object was not to “create geniuses, but only [to] put the less-endowed individual in a position to reach a satisfactory mental and intellectual development. Bovet was born in Fleurier, Switzerland. He was a native Esperanto speaker. He graduated from the University of Geneva in 1927 and received his doctorate in 1929. Beginning in 1929 until 1947 he worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He then moved in 1947 to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Superior Institute of Health) in Rome. In 1964, he became a professor in at the University of Sassari in Italy. From 1969 to 1971, he was the head of the National Research Council in Rome before stepping down to become a professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza. He retired in 1982.
Melvin Ellis Calvin was born on this date in 1911. He was an American chemist most famed for discovering the Calvin cycle along with Andrew Benson and James Bassham, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He spent most of his five-decade career at the University of California, Berkeley.


Society: Arts and Science – March 23

Today is International Thanksgiving Day. Find a way to celebrate your life today…
Swedish and Norwegian committees bestow Nobel Prizes in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. In 1895, the will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Ludwig Quidde was born on this date in 1858 (Bremen) He was a German pacifist who is mainly remembered today for his acerbic criticism of German Emperor Wilhelm II. Quidde’s long career spanned four different eras of German history: that of Bismarck (up to 1890); the Hohenzollern Empire under Wilhelm II (1888–1918); the Weimar Republic (1918–1933); and, finally, Nazi Germany. In 1927, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Born into a wealthy bourgeois merchant family, Quidde grew up in Bremen, read history and also got involved in the activities of the German Peace Society (Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft). In the earlier years of his career, he had already opposed Bismarck’s policies. In 1881 he received his PhD at the University of Göttingen. In 1894 Quidde published a seventeen-page pamphlet entitled Caligula. Eine Studie über römischen Caesarenwahnsinn (Caligula: A Study of Imperial Insanity). Containing 79 footnotes, the short essay is exclusively about the Roman Empire of the 1st century AD. However, Quidde drew an implicit parallel between the Roman Emperor Caligula and Wilhelm II, de facto accusing both rulers of megalomania. The author had insisted on publishing his pamphlet under his real name, which effectively ended his academic career as a historian when, in some periodical, a short review explained the parallels which otherwise might have gone unnoticed. After he made a derogatory comment on a new medal in honour of William the Great, German Emperor from 1871 to 1888, he was criminally convicted of lèse majesté, and sentenced to three months in prison, which he served in Stadelheim Prison. After the end of the First World War, Quidde, like most other Germans, vehemently opposed the Treaty of Versailles but for different reasons from German militarists, who hated mainly the vast restrictions laid upon the German armed forces and the impending economic disaster that would be caused by payment of the high reparations that were decreed. He and other German pacifists thought ahead and hoped that US President Woodrow Wilson would win the day, pointing out that such severe conditions would already sow the seeds of a new war. A humiliated and torn German nation condemned to economic misery would be a constant danger to world peace, just as a protected German nation whose inalienable rights and subsistence are safeguarded would be a strong pillar of such world peace. “May those who are in power today think beyond this day and consider the future of mankind. Their responsibility is enormous. Today, an altogether new order can be created for the benefit of all peoples. Short-sighted misuse of that power can ruin everything.” (“Announcement of the German Peace Society”, November 15, 1918, co-authored by Quidde) When Hitler came to power in 1933, Quidde escaped to Switzerland, finally settling down in Geneva for the rest of his days. He remained an optimist throughout his life. Aged 76, he published his essay “Landfriede und Weltfriede” (1934) at a time when militarism was again on the rise, believing that modern technology might serve as a deterrent from war.”[It is] today’s technological development which has turned modern war into a suicidal nightmare and an end to all wars. This was already predicted by Kant, who expected “perpetual peace” to be established not due to the moral perfection of man but due to modern warfare, which would be so unbearable that mankind would see itself forced to guarantee everlasting peace.” Ludwig Quidde died in his Swiss exile in 1941, aged 82.
Hermann Staudinger was born on this date in 1881. He was a German chemist who demonstrated the existence of macromolecules, which he characterised as polymers. For this work, he received the 1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is also known for his discovery of ketenes and of the Staudinger reaction.
Daniel Bovet ForMemRS was born on this date in 1907. He was a Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist who won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of drugs that block the actions of specific neurotransmitters. He is best known for his discovery in 1937 of antihistamines, which block the neurotransmitter histamine and are used in allergy medication. His other research included work on chemotherapy, sulfa drugs, the sympathetic nervous system, the pharmacology of curare, and other neuropharmacological interests. In 1965, Bovet led a study team which concluded that smoking of tobacco cigarettes increased users’ intelligence. He told The New York Times that the object was not to “create geniuses, but only [to] put the less-endowed individual in a position to reach a satisfactory mental and intellectual development. Bovet was born in Fleurier, Switzerland. He was a native Esperanto speaker. He graduated from the University of Geneva in 1927 and received his doctorate in 1929. Beginning in 1929 until 1947 he worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He then moved in 1947 to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Superior Institute of Health) in Rome. In 1964, he became a professor in at the University of Sassari in Italy. From 1969 to 1971, he was the head of the National Research Council in Rome before stepping down to become a professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza. He retired in 1982.