Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #33

Whewell’s Gazette

Your weekly digest of all the best of

Internet history of science, technology and medicine

Editor in Chief: The Ghost of William Whewell

Whewell's Masthead

Volume #33

Monday 02 February 2015

EDITORIAL:

Another seven days have past and it’s time again for the latest edition of Whewell’s Gazette the unique #histSTM weekly links list brought to you by the Whewell’s Ghost editorial team. I’m going to go a bit C.P. Snow on you in this week’s editorial.

Most educated people in Europe or America on hearing the theme music to the film Chariots of Fire would know that it was composed and recorded by the Greek keyboard wizard Vangelis. Likewise they would associate the terms Hobbit or Hogwarts with J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling respectively. However when it comes to modern science or technology their response would be more hesitant if they responded at all.

The laser is an iconic symbol of post World War Two technology. Whether it be slicing a table in two and threatening to do the same to 007’s genitalia in the lair of the baddy in a James Bond movie or providing the weapons of choice in the form of light sabres in the Star Wars epics, the laser in a favourite of Hollywood film makers. It is also a favourite of gigantomaniac rock bands in the form of laser light shows. No lecture, these days, is complete without a laser pointer and astronomers measure the distance between the earth and the moon to an unbelievably accurate level by bouncing laser beams off a mirror left on the moon by American astronauts. The laser is an all-present piece of high-tech in our world but who invented it? On the tip of your tongue? No idea!

Based on a theoretical concept published by Albert Einstein, he gets in on the act all over the place, the maser, the microwave predecessor of the laser, was developed by Charles Hard Townes and others in 1953. In 1957 Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow went on to develop the laser or ‘optical maser’ as they first called it. Townes who went on to have a very distinguished career in physics received the Physics Nobel Prize for the maser in 1964. Schawlow received it for the laser in 1981. Townes died on 27 January 2015 at the venerable age of 99. The edition of Whewell’s Gazette is dedicated to the memory of Charles Hard Townes.

Townes in 2007

Townes in 2007

UC Berkeley: News Center: Nobel laurate and laser inventor Charles Townes dies at 99

Nature.com: From the maser to the laser

The Washington Post: Charles H. Townes, Nobel laureate and laser pioneer, dies at 99

LA Times: Charles Townes, physicist who invented the laser, dies at 99

The Guardian: Laser inventor Charles Townes dies

The New York Times: Charles H. Townes, Who Paved Way for the Laser in Daily Life, Dies at 99

IEEE Spectrum: Maser Man Charles Townes Dead at 99

Believed to be the 1st photograph of a laser beam. Photo appeared on cover of Electronics, McGraw-Hill Weekly 1963.

Believed to be the 1st photograph of a laser beam. Photo appeared on cover of Electronics, McGraw-Hill Weekly 1963.

 

Since I wrote the editorial above another giant of twentieth century science has passed away, the chemist. Carl Djerassi who contributed substantially to the development of the oral contraceptive pill. Just how much this invention has influenced the world is shown by the fact that when we refer to it we just say ‘the pill’ and nobody asks which pill?

As one of those whose sex life (in the pre-aids era) benefited from the freedom granted by this wonderful invention I wish to also dedicate this edition to Carl Djerassi.

 

Carl Djerassi, recipient of the AIC Gold Medal, 2004  Source: Wikimedia Commons

Carl Djerassi,
recipient of the AIC Gold Medal, 2004
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Die Welt: The co-inventor of the “pill” is dead

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Carl Djerassi, UW grad who helped create “the pill”, dies at 91

The New York Times: Carl Djerassi, at 91, a Creator of the Birth Control Pill, Dies

Stanford News: Carl Djerassi, Stanford professor and world-renowned chemist, dead at 91

CHF: CHF Remembers Carl Djerassi

ChemBark: RIP Carl Djerassi…and the Importance of the Nobel Prize

The Guardian: Casrl Djrassi, chemist who developed the birth control pill, dies at age 91

 

The Guardian: Father of the pill

The Curious Wavefunction: Carl Djerassi (1923-2015): Chemist, writer, polymath, cultural icon

Quotes of the week:

“As for everything else, so for a mathematical theory: beauty can be perceived but not explained” Arthur Cayley

You know you’re a scientist when you attempt to explain what a thesaurus is and find yourself saying “It’s full of, you know, word isotopes” @marekkukula

Birthdays of the week:

Roy Chapman Andrews born 26 January 1884

Roy Chapman Andrews Source: Embryo Project

Roy Chapman Andrews Source: Embryo Project

The Embryo Project: Roy Chapman Andrews (1884– 1960)

History of Geology: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Kingdom of the Cretaceous Skulls

Fossil History: Meet the Naturalist: Roy Chapman Andrews

PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY:

Dannen:com: A Physicist’s Lost Love: Leo Szilard and Gerda Philipsborn

Jacob Philipsborn family, Wildbad 1910. Front row, left to right: unidentified woman, Gerda. Back row: unidentified man, Claire, Ida, unidentified woman, Jacob. Photo courtesy Gerry Brent.

Jacob Philipsborn family, Wildbad 1910. Front row, left to right: unidentified woman, Gerda. Back row: unidentified man, Claire, Ida, unidentified woman, Jacob. Photo courtesy Gerry Brent.

Yovisto: Henry Biggs and the Popularization of Logarithms

Gallica tourne rond

Lunar and Planetary Institute: To a Rocky Moon: A Geologist’s History of Lunar Exploration

Yovisto: Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

The Royal Society: The Repository: Julian to Gregorian

Wired: The Challenge of the Planets, Part Three: Gravity

Uncertain Principles: Surprise!

I.I. Rabi at a blackboard; somewhat ironically, as he was famously a terrible lecturer.

I.I. Rabi at a blackboard; somewhat ironically, as he was famously a terrible lecturer.

Motherboard: When Einstein Proposed a Limit to the Universe

Gizmodo: The Theft and Half-Century Journey of Einstein’s Brain

Voices of the Manhattan Project: Grace Grove’s Interview

EXPLORATION and CARTOGRAPHY:

British Library: Untold lives blog: Colonial Knowledge: Lorimer’s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia

Oxford Dictionaries: Exploring the language of longitude

Georgian Gent: 1st February 1709 reprised – a red letter day for Alexander Selkirk!

 

selkirk1

MEDICINE:

The Royal Society: The Repository: Rabies, the Royal Society and the renown of Louis Pasteur

19th Century-Disability: The Palmer Patent Leg

Wallifaction: Happy birthday to Thomas Willis

Frontispiece to Thomas Willis' 1663 book "Diatribae duae medico-philosophicae – quarum prior agit de fermentatione", engraved and published by Gerbrandus Schagen in Amsterdam Source: Wikimedia Commons

Frontispiece to Thomas Willis’ 1663 book “Diatribae duae medico-philosophicae – quarum prior agit de fermentatione”, engraved and published by Gerbrandus Schagen in Amsterdam
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Gibson Girl’s Guide to Glamour: Mystery Solved – Cold Cream is from Galen!

The Recipes Project: Syphilis and seiseinyū: manufacturing a mercurial drug in early modern Japan

Smithsonian.com: The First Woman in America to Receive an M.D. Was Admitted to Med School as a Joke

Elizabeth Blackwell was a pioneer of women in medicine. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

Elizabeth Blackwell was a pioneer of women in medicine. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

Boingboing: Stiffs, Skulls and Skeletons – Over 400 medical portraits taken in the 1800s and early 1900s

 

Yovisto: Thomas Willis and the Royal Society

Medical History: The Impact of Tuberculosis on History, Literature and Art

The Public Domain Review: When Chocolate was Medicine: Colmenero, Wadsworth and Dufour

Seat 6A: Mondays in Maryland: The Medical Museum

Gizmodo: Terrifying Medical Instruments Found on Blackbeard’s Sunken Ship

D News: Blackbeard’s Pirate Ship Yields Medical Supplies

Smithsonian.com: How Halitosis Became a Medical Condition With a “Cure”

The H-Word: Medical Training: How long does it take to make a doctor?

 

The Sloane Letters Blog: Measles in History

Discover: Body Horrors: Abracadabra

Scientific American: Medical Technology, 1915 [Slideshow]

CHEMISTRY:

distillatio: Purification of Saltpetre, part one

EARTH & LIFE SCIENCES:

Embryo Project: Nikolai Ivanovic Vavilov (1887–1943)

Notches: Radical Relations: An Interview with Daniel W. Rivers

Concocting History: Beauty spot

A More Human Nature: How the Invention of the Telegraph Led to our Modern Conception of “Weather”

Palaeoblog: Died This Day: Adam Sedgwick

Haaretz: The Nazi commandments for a pure Aryan society

Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: ‘Sophie’

Sophie

Sophie

Embryo Project: Carol Widney Greider (1961-)

Notches: Beyond the Binary: Trans* History in Early America

BBC: Museum’s ‘Dippy’ dinosaur makes way for blue whale

Atlas Obscura: Anthropomorphic Taxidermy: How Dead Rodents Became The Darlings of the Victorian Elite

Niche: William McKay’s Character Book: Tracing Environmental Change in Archival Fragments

Rapid Uplift: Darwin: An Encounter With Beetles

 

Yovisto: The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

American Museum of Natural History: Loch Ness Outdone

 

Embryo Project: Wilhelm Friedrich Phillip Pfeffer (1845–1920)

 

Trowelblazers: Gertrude Caton Thompson

TECHNOLOGY:

Picture: Slide rule on the rim of a snuff box, described in 1816 by Jomard as being invented & made by the ‘mécanicien’ Hoyau

Picture: Slide rule on the rim of a snuff box, described in 1816 by Jomard as being invented & made by the ‘mécanicien’ Hoyau

Ptak Science Books: “The World’s First Game Developer” and the First Computer Chess Machine, 1915

The Conversation: The female enigmas of Bletchley Park in the 1940s should encourage those of tomorrow

Jean Valentine, a bombe operator at Bletchley in the 1940s. Rui Vieira/PA

Jean Valentine, a bombe operator at Bletchley in the 1940s. Rui Vieira/PA

Stories from the Stores: Alexander Parkes: Living in a material world

Conciatore: Scientific Glassware

Culture 24: National Museum of Computing enlists sound artist Matt Parker to create sound archive of computing

DPLA: Unexpected: Snow Removal

National Geographic: Human Ancestors May Have Used Tools Half-Million Years Earlier than Thought

99% Invisible: Episode 150: Under the Moonlight

Atlas Obscura: Schwäbisches Turmuhrenmuseum

Conciatore: Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Blink: Telegraphic tales from the Raj

Ptak Science Books: The History of the Future of Skyscrapers: Thomas Nast, 1881

Mashable: c.1957–1970 The Soviet Union’s Dog That Conquered Space

Spitalfields Life: Frost Bros, Rope Makers & Yarn Spinners

IEEE Spectrum: Innovation Magazine and the Birth of a Buzzword

META – HISTORIOGRAPHY, THEORY, RESOURCES and OTHER:

Ether Wave Propaganda: Wakefield’s Nightmare, Pt. 2: Divided Opinion on the Political Economic Importance of Enlightenment Intellectual Culture

Andre Wakefield

Andre Wakefield

The Finch & Pea: On Beauty in Technical Science Writing

ChoM News: Southard in the Spotlight

 

The National Museum of American History: Exhibition: “Hear My Voice”: Alexander Graham Bell and the Origins of Recorded Sound 26 Jan–25 Oct 2015

The Washington Post: Milton Rosen, rocket engineer and NASA executive dies at 99

Mosaic: Science for the people!

British Library: The Newsroom blog: Into the void

The Science and Entertainment Laboratory: Evangelizing the Cosmos: Science Documentaries and the Dangers of Wonder Overload

BSHS: BJHS Themes inaugural issue “Intersections: Science and Technology in Twentieth Century China and India”

 

Communications of the ACM: The Tears of Donald Knuth

Bodleian Libraries: Thousands of early English books released online to public by Bodleian Libraries and partners

Atlas Obscura: Secret Libraries in Rome

 

Storify: The dinosaur in the “iconic Victorian Hintze Hall”

Early Modern Medical Humanities Research Network New Blog

History Applied: Domains of Literature – Geographies of Science

Until Darwin: Science & the Origins of Race: Eight classic works from Archive.org

The Nation: Latin Lives

Unique at Penn: An Occult and Alchemical Library

Forbes: How Chronologists Moved From Ancient Text to Ancient Earth

Arts Journal: An Ambitious Plan To Bring Out-Of-Print Academic Books Back to Life

 

Making Science Public: Science communication and ‘vulgarisation scientifique’: Do words matter?

ESOTERIC:

Conciatore: The Desert Knows Me Well

Sotheby’s: Alchemical Manuscript

Fine Books& Collections: Penn Library Acquires Collection of 18th-Century Occult and Alchemical Manuscripts

Forbidden Histories: The Mathematician and the World Beyond: The Visions of Girolamo Cardano

Gerolamo Cardano Source: Wikimedia Commons

Gerolamo Cardano
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Darin Hayton: Astrologer Ralph Kraum’s Copy of the Tuckerman Tables

BOOK REVIEWS:

Roots of Unity: Learning to count like an Egyptian

Count Like an Egyptian by David Reimer. Image: Princeton University Press.

Count Like an Egyptian by David Reimer. Image: Princeton University Press.

Kestrels and Cerevisiae: Book Thoughts: Leviathan and the Air-Pump

Science Book a Day: Earth’s Deep History: How It Was Discovered and Why it Matters

strategy+business: The Hard Work of Invention

Scientific American: The Powerhouse: Inside the Invention of a Battery to Save the World

NEW BOOKS:

CUP: The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book

New Books in Astronomy: Observing by Hand: Sketching the Nebulae in the Nineteenth Century

Chicago Journals: Osiris Volume 29: Chemical Knowledge in the Early Modern World51+9TpA1aeL._AA160_THEATRE:

The Guardian: After Turing and Hawking, now it’s the stage story of Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the bomb

Robert Oppenheimer, right, with Albert Einstein in 1947. Photograph: Alfred Eisenstaedt/Life Picture Collection/Getty

Robert Oppenheimer, right, with Albert Einstein in 1947. Photograph: Alfred Eisenstaedt/Life Picture Collection/Getty

FILM:

Inside the Science Museum: How Eddie Redmayne Mastered Stephen Hawking’s Voice

TELEVISION:

SLIDE SHARE:

VIDEOS:

Youtube: What is the History of Emotions?

 

ESPN Video: Signals: The Queen of Code (Grace Hopper)

Grace Hopper on Letterman

 

RADIO:

PODCASTS:

Student Society for Science: Scientists Say: Coprolite

Cabinet: Conversation: “Lives in the Margins”, with Anthony Grafton and William Sherman

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Charles University in Prague: CfP: Material Perspectives on Culture: Making Archaeology Relevant 12 May 2015

University of Wisconsin-Madison: CfP: 2015 Midwest Junto for the History of Science

The Royal Society: CfP: Archival Afterlives: Life, Death and Knowledge-Making in Early Modern British Scientific and Medical Archives 2 June 2015

University of Kent: School of History: Victorian magic lantern show 24 February

Spencer Museum of Art: Hybrid Practices in the arts, sciences, & technology from the 1960s today 10-13 March 2015

The Royal Society: Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture: Andrea Stella – Is chemistry really so difficult? 9 February 2015

H-Environment: CfP: Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS) 2015 CU Boulder 2-4 October 2015

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow: Glasgow History of Medicine Group – Spring Meetings 2015

St John’s University: CfP: World History Theory and Practice: Gender, Technology, Culture

Saint Louis University & Washington University in St. Louis: Vesalius and the Invention of the Modern Body 26-28 February 2015

 

Royal Geographical Society: International Conference of Historical Geographers 2015 5-10 July

The Royal Institution: Talks: John Tyndall: In the sky, not under it 4 March 2015

LOOKING FOR WORK:

Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main: Three PhD positions in the field of History of Science

BSHS: Undergraduate Dissertation Archive Grants 2015

CHF Center for Oral History Fellowship Announcement

BSHS Strategic Conference Grants

University of Western Australia: Research Associate Emotions in Early Modern Colonial Encounters 1600–1800

Yale University: Two Postdoctoral Positions in Biological Anthropology

University of London: Huguenot Scholarship (Hint: There were Huguenot scientists!)

Newcastle University: Research Assistant/Associate (Historical and Cultural Landscapes)

MPIHS Berlin: Two month postdoctoral fellowships deadline 16 March

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About thonyc

Aging freak who fell in love with the history of science and now resides mostly in the 16th century.
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