Society: Arts and Science – January 12

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.
Paul Hermann Müllerwas born on this date in 1899. He was a Swiss chemist who received the 1948 Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

Society: Arts and Science – August 9

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.
Hermann Hesse died on this date in 1962. He was a German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. His best-known works include Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Cecil Frank Powell, FRS died on this date in 1969. He was a British physicist, and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and for the resulting discovery of the pion (pi-meson), a subatomic particle. Powell was born in Tonbridge, Kent, England, the son of a local gunsmith, and educated at a local elementary school before gaining a scholarship to the Judd School, Tonbridge, which now has one of its four houses named after Powell (the house colour is green), and awards the Powell Physics and Mathematics Prize to an upper sixth form student every year in his honour. Following this he attended Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, graduating in 1925 in the natural sciences. After completing his bachelor’s degree he worked at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, under C.T.R. Wilson and Lord Rutherford, conducting research into condensation phenomena, and gaining his Ph.D. in Physics in 1927. In 1928 he took up a post as Research Assistant to A.M. Tyndall in the H.H. Wills Physical Laboratory at the University of Bristol, later being appointed lecturer, and in 1948 appointed Melville Wills Professor of Physics. In 1932 Powell married Isobel Artner, and the couple had two daughters. In 1936 he took part in an expedition to the West Indies as part of a study of volcanic activity, and where he appears on a stamp issued in Grenada. During his time at Bristol University Powell applied himself to the development of techniques for measuring the mobility of positive ions, to establishing the nature of the ions in common gases, and to the construction and use of a Cockcroft generator to study the scattering of atomic nuclei. He also began to develop methods employing specialised photographic emulsions to facilitate the recording of the tracks of elementary particles, and in 1938 began applying this technique to the study of cosmic radiation, exposing photographic plates at high-altitude, at the tops of mountains and using specially designed balloons, collaborating in the study with Giuseppe Occhialini, H. Muirhead and young Brazilian physicist César Lattes. This work led in 1946 to the discovery of the pion (pi-meson), which proved to be the hypothetical particle proposed in 1935 by Yukawa Hideki in his theory of nuclear physics. In 1949 Powell became a Fellow of the Royal Society and received the society’s Hughes Medal the same year. In 1950 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics “for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and his discoveries regarding mesons made with this method”. From 1952 Powell was appointed director of several expeditions to Sardinia and the Po Valley, Italy, utilizing high-altitude balloon flights. In 1955, Powell, also a member of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, added his signature to the Russell-Einstein Manifesto put forward by Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein and scientist Joseph Rotblat, and was involved in preparations for the first Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs. As Rotblat put it, “Cecil Powell has been the backbone of the Pugwash Movement. He gave it coherence, endurance and vitality.” Powell chaired the meetings of the Pugwash Continuing Committee, often standing in for Bertrand Russell, and attended meetings until 1968. In 1961 Powell received the Royal Medal, and served on the Scientific Policy Committee of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that year, and in 1967 he was awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (now Russian Academy of Sciences) “for outstanding achievements in the physics of elementary particles”. Powell died on 9 August 1969, whilst out walking in the foothills of the Alps near the Valsassina region of Italy, where he had been staying with friends. A bench with commemorative plaque was erected near the site of his death and dedicated to his memory.

Society: Arts and Science – May 21

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.
Charles Albert Gobat was born on this day in 1843. He was a Swiss lawyer, educational administrator, and politician who jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with Élie Ducommun in 1902 for their leadership of the Permanent International Peace Bureau.
Louis Renault was born on this date in 1843. He was a French jurist and educator, the co-winner in 1907 (with Ernesto Teodoro Moneta) of the Nobel Prize for Peace. Renault was born at Autun. From 1868 to 1873 Renault was a professor of Roman and commercial law at the University of Dijon. From 1873 until his death he was a professor in the faculty of law at the University of Paris, where in 1881 he became a professor of international law. In 1890 he was appointed jurisconsult of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a post created for him in which he scrutinised French foreign policy in the light of international law. He served at numerous conferences in this capacity, notably at the two Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907) and the London Naval Conference of 1908-09. Renault was prominent as an arbitrator, his more famous cases including the Japanese House Tax case of 1905, the Casa Blanca Case of 1909, the Sarvarkar Case of 1911, the Carthage case of 1913, and the Manouba case of 1913. Among his writings are articles and monographs on the specialised topics of international law. Together with his friend and colleague C. Lyon-Caen, he produced several works on commercial law, including a compendium in two volumes, a treatise in eight volumes, and a manual that ran to many editions. In 1879 Renault published his Introduction to the Study of International Law and in 1917, First Violations of International Law by Germany, concerning the invasion of Belgium and of Luxembourg in breach of Germany’s treaty obligations.
Léon Victor Auguste Bourgeois was born on this date in 1851. He was a French statesman. His ideas influenced the Radical Party regarding a wide range of issues. He promoted progressive taxation such as progressive income taxes and social insurance schemes, along with economic equality, expanded educational opportunities, and cooperatives. In foreign policy, he called for a strong League of Nations, and the maintenance of peace through compulsory arbitration, controlled disarmament, economic sanctions, and perhaps an international military force. Following World War I, he became President of the Council of the League of Nations and won the 1920 Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
Willem Einthoven was born on this date in 1860. He was a Dutch doctor and physiologist. He invented the first practical electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) in 1903 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1924 for it.
James Franck died on this date in 1964. He was a German physicist and Nobel laureate. He completed his PhD in 1906 and received his venia legendi, or Habilitation, for physics in 1911, both at the University of Berlin, where he lectured and taught until 1918, having reached the position of extraordinarius professor. Franck served as a volunteer in the German Army during World War I. He was seriously injured in 1917 in a gas attack and he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. Franck became the Head of the Physics Division of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft for Physical Chemistry. In 1920, Franck became an ordinarius professor of experimental physics and Director of the Second Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Göttingen. While there he worked on quantum physics with Max Born, who was Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics. In 1925, Franck received the Nobel Prize in Physics, mostly for his work in 1912–1914, which included the Franck–Hertz experiment, an important confirmation of the Bohr model of the atom. In 1933, after the Nazis came to power, Franck resigned his post in Germany in a letter which he sent to the press for publication. He assisted Frederick Lindermann in helping dismissed Jewish scientists in finding work overseas, before he left Germany in November 1933 to continue his research in the United States, first at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and then, after a year in Denmark, in Chicago. It was there that he became involved in the Manhattan Project during World War II; he was Director of the Chemistry Division of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. He was also the chairman of the Committee on Political and Social Problems regarding the atomic bomb; the committee consisted of himself and other scientists at the Met Lab, including Donald J. Hughes, J. J. Nickson, Eugene Rabinowitch, Glenn T. Seaborg, J. C. Stearns and Leó Szilárd. The committee is best known for the compilation of the Franck Report, finished on 11 June 1945, which recommended not to use the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities, based on the problems resulting from such a military application. Following the end of the war, repelled by the use of the atomic bomb he changed his field of research to photosynthesis. When Nazi Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of Max von Laue and James Franck in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from stealing them. He placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. After the war, he returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The Nobel Society then recast the Nobel Prizes using the original gold.
Jane Addams died on this date in 1935. She was a pioneer American settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women’s suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn America to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognised as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognised as the founder of the social work profession in the United States.

Society: Arts and Science – May 13

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.
Sir Ronald Ross, KCB, FRS was born on this day in 1857. He was an Indian-born British medical doctor who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria. His discovery of the malarial parasite in the gastrointestinal tract of mosquito led to the realisation that malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes, and laid the foundation for combating the disease. He was quite a polymath, writing a number of poems, published several novels, and composed songs. He was also an amateur artist and natural mathematician. He worked in the Indian Medical Service for twenty five years. It was during his service that he made the groundbreaking medical discovery. After resigning from his service in India, he joined the faculty of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and continued as Professor and Chair of Tropical Medicine of the institute for ten years. In 1926, he became Director-in-Chief of the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which was established in honour of his works. He remained there until his death.
Charles Édouard Guillaume died in Sèvres on this date in 1938 at age 77. He was a Swiss physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1920 in recognition of the service he had rendered to precision measurements in physics by his discovery of anomalies in nickel steel alloys. Guillaume is known for his discovery of nickel-steel alloys he named invar and elinvar. Invar has a near-zero coefficient of thermal expansion, making it useful in constructing precision instruments whose dimensions need to remain constant in spite of varying temperature. Elinvar has a near-zero thermal coefficient of the modulus of elasticity, making it useful in constructing instruments with springs that need to be unaffected by varying temperature, such as the marine chronometer. Elinvar is also non-magnetic, which is a secondary useful property for antimagnetic watches. As the son of a Swiss horologist Guillaume took an interest in marine chronometers. For use as the compensation balance he developed a slight variation of the invar alloy which had a negative quadratic coefficient of expansion. The purpose of doing this was to eliminate the “middle temperature” error of the balance wheel. Guillaume was head of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. He worked with Kristian Birkeland, serving at the Observatoire de Paris – Section de Meudon. He conducted several experiments with thermostatic measurements at the observatory. He was the first to determine accurately the temperature of space. Guillaume was married in 1888 to A.M. Taufflieb, with whom he had three children.
Fridtjof Nansen died on this date in 1930. He was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, and humanitarian. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater, he led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, and won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his North Pole expedition of 1893–96. Although he retired from exploration after his return to Norway, his techniques of polar travel and his innovations in equipment and clothing influenced a generation of subsequent Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Nansen studied zoology at the Royal Frederick University in Christiania (renamed Oslo in 1925), and later worked as a curator at the Bergen Museum where his research on the central nervous system of lower marine creatures earned him a doctorate and helped establish modern theories of neurology. After 1896 his main scientific interest switched to oceanography; in the course of his research he made many scientific cruises, mainly in the North Atlantic, and contributed to the development of modern oceanographic equipment. As one of his country’s leading citizens, in 1905 Nansen spoke out for the ending of Norway’s union with Sweden, and was instrumental in persuading Prince Charles of Denmark to accept the throne of the newly independent Norway. Between 1906 and 1908 he served as the Norwegian representative in London, where he helped negotiate the Integrity Treaty that guaranteed Norway’s independent status. In the final decade of his life, Nansen devoted himself primarily to the League of Nations, following his appointment in 1921 as the League’s High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1922 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of the displaced victims of the First World War and related conflicts. Among the initiatives he introduced was the “Nansen passport” for stateless persons, a certificate recognised by more than 50 countries. He worked on behalf of refugees until his sudden death in 1930, after which the League established the Nansen International Office for Refugees to ensure that his work continued. This office received the Nobel Peace Prize for 1938. Nansen was honoured by many nations, and his name is commemorated in numerous geographical features, particularly in the polar regions.

Society: Arts and Science – May 8

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.
Jean Henri Dunant was born on this day in 1828. Also known as Henry Dunant, he was a Swiss businessman and social activist. During a business trip in 1859, he was witness to the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino in modern-day Italy. He recorded his memories and experiences in the book A Memory of Solferino which inspired the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1863. The 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant’s ideas. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy.
André Michel Lwoff was born on this date in 1902. He was a French microbiologist. Lwoff was born in Ainay-le-Château, Allier, in Auvergne, France, the son of Marie (Siminovitch), an artist, and Solomon Lwoff, a psychiatrist.[4] He joined the Institute Pasteur in Paris when he was 19 years old. In 1932, he finished his PhD and, with the help of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, moved to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research of Heidelberg to Otto Meyerhof, where he did research on the development of flagellates. Another Rockefeller grant allowed him to go to the University of Cambridge in 1937. In 1938, he was appointed departmental head at the Institut Pasteur, where he did groundbreaking research on bacteriophages, microbiota and on the poliovirus. He was awarded numerous prizes from the French Académie des Sciences, the Grand Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer, the Leeuwenhoek Medal of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1960 and the Keilin Medal of the British Biochemical Society in 1964. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1965 for the discovery of the mechanism that some viruses (which he named proviruses) use to infect bacteria. Throughout his career, he partnered with his wife Marguerite Lwoff although he gained considerably more recognition. Lwoff was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1958.

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 24

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.
Max Theodor Felix von Laue died on this date in 1960. He was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. In addition to his scientific endeavors with contributions in optics, crystallography, quantum theory, superconductivity, and the theory of relativity, he had a number of administrative positions which advanced and guided German scientific research and development during four decades. A strong objector to National Socialism, he was instrumental in re-establishing and organizing German science after World War II.
Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler was born on this date in 1845. He was a Swiss poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1919. His work includes both pessimistic and heroic poems.
Gerhard Johannes Paul Domagk died on this date in 1964. He was a German pathologist and bacteriologist. He is credited with the discovery of Sulfonamidochrysoidine (KI-730) – the first commercially available antibiotic (marketed under the brand name Prontosil) – for which he received the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.