Important dates in History
September 30: Sir
Nevill Francis Mott
September 30, 1905: Died August 8, 1966)
English physicist who shared (with P.W. Anderson and J.H. Van Vleck
of the U.S.) the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physics for his independent
researches on the magnetic and electrical properties of amorphous
semiconductors. Whereas the electric properties of crystals are
described by the Band Theory - which compares the conductivity of
metals, semiconductors, and insulators - a famous exception is provided
by nickel oxide. According to band theory, nickel oxide ought to
be a metallic conductor but in reality is an insulator. Mott refined
the theory to include electron-electron interaction and explained
so-called Mott transitions, by which some metals become insulators
as the electron density decreases by separating the atoms from each
other in some convenient way.
September 29: Edison
In 1891, Thomas A. Edison was issued U.S. patent No. 460122 for
a "Process of and Apparatus for Generating Electricity"
and No. 460123 for a "Phonogram-Blank Carrier."
September 28: Seymour
(Born September 28. 1925: Died October 5, 1996)
American electronics engineer who pioneered the use of transistors
in computers and later developed massive supercomputers to run business
and government information networks. He was the preeminent designer
of the large, high-speed computers known as supercomputers.
September 27: William
May 15, 1899: Died September 27, 1968)
British metallurgist, internationally known for his work on the
formation of alloys and intermetallic compounds. During WW II, he
supervised many government contracts for work on complex aluminium
and magnesium alloys. He established that the microstructure of
an alloy depends on the different sizes of the component atoms,
the valency electron concentration, and electrochemical differences.
(Born September 26, 1854)
Inventor and developer of microscopes and optical instruments. In
business, he became chairman Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. His father,
John J. Bausch (1830-1926), was born in Germany, emigrated to America
in 1849, and started a spectacle making business (the Vulcanite
Optical Instrument Co.) with German immigrant Henry Lomb (1828-1908).
By 1866, their company was making a simple microscope. The company
name was changed to Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. in 1874, the year
they produced their first compound microscope. Edward, with brothers
William, and Henry all helped in the design and production of a
full product line of microscopes. Edward held a number of patents
related to the design of microscopes.
September 25: Alfred
(Born September 25, 1807: Died January 18, 1859)
American telegraph pioneer and an associate and financial backer
of Samuel F.B. Morse in the experimentation that made the telegraph
a commercial reality. The final form of the Morse code was perfected
by Vail who simplified the whole process by introducing the telegraph
key. Vail is responsible for the efficiency of the code, using the
principle that the most frequently sent letters should have the
September 24: Georges
(Born September 24, 1870: Died May 23, 1960)
The French engineer, chemist, and inventor of the neon light, Georges
Claude, was born in Paris. He invented the neon light, which was
the forerunner of the fluorescent light. Claude was the first to
apply an electrical discharge to a sealed tube of neon gas, around
1902 and make a neon lamp ("Neon" from Greek "neos,"
meaning "new gas.") He first publicly displayed the neon
lamp on 11 Dec 1910 in Paris. His French company Claude Neon, introduced
neon signs to the U.S. with two "Packard" signs for a
Packard car dealership in Los Angeles, purchased by Earle C. Anthony
In 1930, Johann Ostermeyer of Athegnenber, Germany, patented his
"Improvements in flash lights used for photographic purposes."
(UK patent 324,578). The modern photographic safety flash bulb evolved
from this design, which used aluminium wire or foil in oxygen. Unfortunately,
all too frequently, these versions exploded! The flashbulb was introduced
to the American market in 1930 by General Electric. Flash cubes
came along in 1966, and the percussively ignitable "Magicube"
September 22, 1791: Died August 25, 1867)
English physicist and chemist whose many experiments contributed
greatly to the understanding of electromagnetism. Although one of
the greatest experimentalists, he was largely self-educated. Appointed
by Sir Humphry Davy as his assistant at the Royal Institution, Faraday
initially concentrated on analytical chemistry, and discovered benzene
in 1825. His most important work was in electromagnetism, in which
field he demonstrated electromagnetic rotation and discovered electromagnetic
induction (the key to the development of the electric dynamo and
motor). He also discovered the laws of electrolysis. He published
pioneering papers that led to the practical use of electricity,
and he advocated the use of electric light in lighthouses.
September 21: Heiki
September 21, 1853: Died February 21, 1926)
Dutch winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1913 for his work
on low-temperature physics and his production of liquid helium.
He discovered superconductivity, the almost total lack of electrical
resistance in certain materials when cooled to a temperature near
September 20: Fortran
In 1954, the first FORTRAN computer program was run. Fortran is
the dominating language for technical and scientific applications.
John Backus at IBM supervised the development of the programming
language that would allow uses to express their problems in commonly
understood mathematical formulae - later to be named FORTRAN. By
1958 the language was expanded to Fortran II, which included subroutines,
functions and common blocks, and in 1962 IBM introduced the extended
September 19: Chester
Died 19 Sep 1968 (born 8 Feb 1906) (Born February 8, 1906: Died
September 19, 1968)
Chester Floyd Carlson was an American physicist who invented xerography,
an electrostatic dry-copying process that found applications ranging
from office copying to reproducing out-of-print books. The process
involved sensitizing a photoconductive surface to light by giving
it an electrostatic charge Carlson developed it between 1934 and
1938, and initially described it as electrophotography It was immediately
protected by Carlson with an impenetrable web of patents, though
it was not until 1944 that he was able to obtain funding for further
development. In 1947 he sold the commercial rights for his invention
to the Haloid Company, a small manufacturer of photographic paper
(which later became the Xerox Corporation).
September 18: Siegfried
September 18, 1831)
Inventor who built four of the world's earliest gasoline-powered
automobiles. Marcus held about 76 patents in about a dozen countries,
including an electric lamp (1877) and an igniter for explosives.
He built and marketed internal combustion engines. Marcus first
started working on a self-propelled vehicle about 1860, making significant
contributions in the course of further development. Photographs
of his first car, built about 1864, were taken in 1870. The second
car - the landmark - was built about 1875 in his Vienna factory.
It was first equipped with a two-cycle engine, and later, a four-cycle
Mercury vapor lamp
In 1901, the first U.S. patents for a mercury vapor lamp were issued
to Peter Cooper Hewitt of New York City, the inventor. These eight
patents covered the design of an elongated vacuum tube fitted with
a mercury electrode at one end and an iron electrode at the other
end. Light was produced when an electric current passed through
the mercury vapour, through it. However, it was a garish blue-green
colour, lacking any red light. The lamps were subsequently manufactured
by the Cooper Hewitt Electric Company in New York City, in Dec 1902.
September 16: Gabriel
(Born May 14, 1686: Died September 16, 1736)
German physicist. Invented the Fahrenheit scale mercury thermometer.
He lived in Holland for most of his life and was involved in the
manufacture of meteorological instruments. In 1714, he created the
first thermometer to use mercury instead of alcohol. He originally
took as the zero of his scale the temperature of an equal ice-salt
mixture, 30° for the freezing point of water and 90° for
normal body temperature. Later, he adjusted to 32° for the freezing
point of water and 212° for the boiling point of water, the
interval between the two being divided into 180 parts. He also invented
a hygrometer to measure relative humidity and experimented with
other liquids discovering that each liquid had a different boiling
point that would change with atmospheric pressure.
September 15: William
(Born January 28, 1855: Died September 15, 1898)
American inventor of the first recording adding machine and pioneer
of its manufacture. It was because Burroughs began his career as
a bank clerk that he was inspired to invent such a mechanical device.
In 1885, Burroughs submitted his first patent for his "calculating
machine." In 1886, Burroughs and several St. Louis businessmen
formed the American Arithmometer Co. to market the machine. Burroughs
was dissatisfied with the durability of this first model. His 1892
patent not only improved the machine but added a printer. The company
later became Burroughs Corporation (1905) and eventually Unisys.
Charles Du Fay
(Born September 14, 1698: Died July 16, 1739)
Charles François de Cisternay Du Fay was a French chemist
who made early experiments in electricity. He proposed electrical
fluid existed in two types he designated "vitreous electricity"
and "resinous electricity" depending on the objects that
produced the charge. He learned that objects charged with vitreous
electricity repel each other but attract objects charged with resinous
electricity. These were subsequently given the current names of
"positive" and "negative" by Benjamin Franklin.
Du Fay noted that electricity may be conducted in the gaseous matter
adjacent to a red-hot body. (The charge-carrying gaseous matter
is now known as plasma).
September 13: Taconite
In 1956, full production of taconite began at a the first U.S. plant
established for large-scale commercial production. Taconite is a
hard ore containing 25 to 30% iron. The rock was crushed, ground
and magnetically separated to yield small pellets containing about
62% iron, with an annual prodction of 3,750,000 tons. Preliminary
operations had begun in the fall of 1955. The plant, known as the
E.W. Davis Works at Silver Bay, Minn., was built by the Reserve
Mining Company (Duluth, Minn.) and jointly owned by the Armco Steel
and Republican Steel corporations.
September 12: Richard
(Born September 12, 1812: Died June 7, 1886)
American inventor who developed and manufactured the first successful
rotary printing press.
September 11: Deadly
In 1997, lightning killed 19 persons and injured 6 at Andhra Pradesh,
September 10: Waldo
September 10, 1898: Died May 26, 1999)
American chemical engineer who invented plasticized PVC (vinyl).
In 1926's, he discovered how to convert polyvinyl chloride from
a hard, unworkable substance to a pliable one. It is now used in
hundreds of products such as floor tile, garden hose, imitation
leather, shower curtains, and coatings. It is produced in larger
quantities than any other plastic except polyethylene. Semon also
made pioneering contributions in polymer science, including new
rubber antioxidants. His technical leadership led to discovery of
three major new polymer families: thermoplastic polyurethane, synthetic
"natural" rubber, and oil-resistant synthetic rubbers.
Semon held 116 U.S. patents.
September 9: John
(Born September 9, 1852)
British physicist who introduced a theorem (1884-85) that assigns
a value to the rate of flow of electromagnetic energy known as the
Poynting vector, introduced in his paper On the Transfer of Energy
in the Electromagnetic Field (1884). In this he showed that the
flow of energy at a point can be expressed by a simple formula in
terms of the electric and magnetic forces at that point. He determined
the mean density of the Earth (1891) and made a determination of
the gravitational constant (1893) using accurate torsion balances.
He was also the first to suggest, in 1903, the existence of the
effect of radiation from the Sun that causes smaller particles in
orbit about the Sun to spiral close and eventually plunge in.
September 8: Hermann
(Born March 23, 1881: Died September 8, 1965)
German chemist who won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for demonstrating
that polymers are long-chain molecules. His work laid the foundation
for the great expansion of the plastics industry later in the 20th
September 7: David
(Born September 7, 1912: Died March 26, 1996)
American electrical engineer and entrepreneur who cofounded the
Hewlett-Packard Company, a manufacturer of computers, computer printers,
and analytic and measuring equipment.
September 6: Johann
Salamo Christoph Schweigger
April 8, 1779: Died September 6, 1857)
German physicist who invented the galvanometer (1820), a device
to measure the strength of an electric current. He developed the
principle from Oersted's experiment (1819) which showed that current
in a wire will deflect a compass needle. Schweigger realized that
suggested a basic measuring instrument, since a stronger current
would produce a larger deflection, and he increased the effect by
winding the wire many times in a coil around the magnetic needle.
He named this instrument a "galvanometer" in honour of
Luigi Galvani, the professor who gave Volta the idea for the first
battery. Seebeck (1770-1831) named the innovative coil, Schweigger's
multiplier. It became the basis of moving coil instruments and loudspeakers.
September 5: Gas
In 1885, Sylvanus Bowser, inventor of the first U.S. gas pump, made
his initial sale to Jake Gumper, owner of a service station in Fort
Wayne, Indiana. The pump held one barrel of gasoline, and used marble
vales and a wooden plunger. It was built in Bowser's barn, and patented
September 4: First
electric central station
In 1882, the first electric central station to supply light and
power was the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York City.
It had one generator which produced power for 800 electric light
bulbs. Within 14 months, the service had 508 subscribers and 12,732
September 3: Harold
(Born September 3, 1883: Died July 10, 1933)
American physicist whose research led to the development of long-distance
telephony and radio communication. He worked at Western Electric
on thermionic tubes, which amplified radio and telephone signals,
leading to transcontinental telephony (July 1914). Even before the
transcontinental line was completed, Arnold was directing work on
the development of new higher power tubes to extend telephone service
by radio to other continents. The first transcontinental demonstration
of radio telephone (Sept. 29, 1915) was transmitted from New York
City to Arlington, Virginia, then to San Francisco and Honolulu.
Arnold later became the first director of research at Bell Telephone
Labs (1925 to his death in 1933).
September 2: (René-)Maurice
(Born September 2, 1878: Died June 4, 1973)
René-Maurice Fréchet was a French mathematician known
chiefly for his contribution to real analysis. He is credited with
being the founder of the theory of abstract spaces, which generalized
the traditional mathematical definition of space as a locus for
the comparison of figures; in Fréchet's terms, space is defined
as a set of points and the set of relations. In his dissertation
of 1906, he investigated functionals on a metric space and formulated
the abstract notion of compactness. In 1907, he discovered an integral
representation theorem for functionals on the space of quadratic
Lebesgue integrable functions. He also made important contributions
to statistics, probability and calculus.
September 1, 1902: Died January 31, 1966)
Dutch-born U.S. astronomer and geophysicist known for his achievements
in celestial mechanics, especially for his pioneering application
of high-speed digital computers for astronomical computations. While
still a student he determined the mass of Titan from its influence
on other Saturnian moons. Brouwer developed general methods for
finding orbits and computing errors and applied these methods to
comets, asteroids, and planets. He computed the orbits of the first
artificial satellites and from them obtained increased knowledge
of the figure of the earth. His book, Methods of Celestial Mechanics,
taught a generation of celestial mechanicians. He also redetermined
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