View:

Bunsen burner

Bunsen burner   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
285 words

...The easily adjusted flame burned hot and clean, and was perfectly suited to laboratory operations. The present form of the Bunsen burner, familiar to every science student today, has scarcely changed from the original of 1855 . G. Lockemann , The Centenary of the Bunsen Burner , Journal of Chemical Education 33 (1956): 20–21. A. J....

grand tour

grand tour   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
796 words

...Society, and a tireless fighter for improved educational opportunities for women. R. E. W. Maddison , Studies in the Life of Robert Boyle, F. R. S. Part VII: The Grand Tour , Royal Society Notes and Records 20 (1965): 51–77. G. Le. Turner , The London Trade in Scientific Instrument-Making in the 18th Century , Vistas in Astronomy 20 (1976): 173–182. Darwin H. Stapleton , Accounts of European Science, Technology, and Medicine Written by American Travelers Abroad, 1735–1860, in the Collections of the American Philosophical Society (1985). Jeremy...

chemical and biological warfare

chemical and biological warfare   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
755 words

...would so burden war industries with the production of protective gear and decontaminants that the Germans would lose more than their opponents. All the major belligerents nevertheless prepared extensively for chemical warfare; the United States' Chemical Warfare Service employed 20,000 in 1942 and built thirteen new production plants between 1942 and 1945 . A biological arms race began in the 1930s. The Japanese Pingfan Institute near Harbin, under the direction of General Shiro Ishii , weaponized half a dozen different diseases, carried out human...

low-temperature physics

low-temperature physics   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
969 words

...), and the Royal Institution in London ( James Dewar )—engaged in a race to lower temperatures and the liquefaction of hydrogen and, after its discovery on Earth in 1895 , helium. In 1898 , Dewar won the race for hydrogen, using a variation on Linde's technique to reach about 20° Kelvin. In 1908 , Kamerlingh Onnes used liquid hydrogen to cool helium enough to condense it at low pressure, at around 5° K. The Leiden laboratory thereafter enjoyed a fifteen-year monopoly in the production of liquid helium. The early history of cryogenics illustrates the...

Genes

Genes   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
3,546 words

...and phosphate, were rungs that connected subunits called bases, one on each chain. From the chemists, Crick and Watson also knew that there were four kinds of bases: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine, A, T, C and G. By making model molecules, the scientists realized that to make rungs of equal length, A had always to pair with T, and C with G. ‘It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.’ That throwaway remark at the end of the short paper that Watson...

Galaxies

Galaxies   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
1,667 words

...Láctea , Voie Lactée , Milchstrasse or Milky Way of everyday speech. They figured out that the Galaxy is a flattened assembly of many billions of stars seen edge-on from inside it. But by the 20th century they needed ‘galaxy’ as a general name for many similar star- swarms seen scattered like ships in the ocean of space. To distinguish our cosmic home a capital G was not enough, so they went back to the vernacular, not minding that Milky Way Galaxy was like saying Galaxy Galaxy. The tautology has merit, because every naked-eye star in the sky belongs to the...

Extremophiles

Extremophiles   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
2,356 words

...surprise in outdoor biology in the 20th century. Instead elementary instructions had to come by radio, about how to preserve specimens. Robert Ballard , a young member of the expedition later celebrated for finding Titanic and other historic wrecks, recalled that it was like walking into Disneyland. ‘We had to use bottles of vodka and bourbon to pickle what we found,’ Ballard said. ‘We raided the ship's hospital and were quickly out of all the alcohol there. So we were using booze.’ Some like it hot By the end of the 20th century, biologists had changed...

astrophysics

astrophysics   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
1,315 words

...for his work on the mechanisms of energy production in stars. See also Astronomy ; Astronomy, Non-Optical ; Cosmology . Cecilia Payne , Stellar Atmospheres (1925). A. S. Eddington , Stars and Atoms, Fourth Impression (1929). Otto Struve and Velta Zebergs , Astronomy of the 20 th Century (1962). Helen Wright , Joan N. Warnow , and Charles Weiner , The Legacy of George Ellery Hale: Evolution of Astronomy and Scientific Institutions, in Pictures and Documents (1972). J. B. Hearnshaw , The Analysis of Starlight: One Hundred and Fifty Years of...

elements, chemical

elements, chemical   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
1,368 words

...but with different atomic weights. Frederick Soddy coined the term “isotope” to signify any of these chemically identical “elements.” In 1912 Joseph John Thomson obtained results suggesting that the inert gas neon (atomic number 10) is a mixture of neon atoms weighing 20 and 22. After World War I, Francis Aston designed a mass spectrograph that sorted out ions by weight and determined that isotopes can be found generally among the chemical elements. Thus a chemical element had a unique atomic number, but an average atomic weight determined by the...

error and the personal equation

error and the personal equation   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
1,128 words

...of Science 18 (1987): 367–382. Giora Hon , On Kepler's Awareness of the Problem of Experimental Error , Annals of Science 44 (1987): 545–591. Giora Hon , Towards a Typology of Experimental Errors: An Epistemological View , Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 20 (1989): 469–504. Gerd Gigerenzer, et al. , eds., The Empire of Chance (1990). Kathryn...

Manhattan Project

Manhattan Project   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
1,138 words

...generate a critical mass. The plutonium bomb required a more difficult design: high explosives imploded a spherical plutonium shell to critical density. Only this design required testing. On 16 July 1945 , at the “Trinity” site in New Mexico, a test bomb exploded with the force of 20,000 tons of TNT. By early August two bombs were ready: “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” so-called from the long, narrow shape of the uranium gun assembly and from the spherical configuration of the plutonium bomb. The army had originally planned its complexes as military installations...

Human genome

Human genome   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
3,502 words

...in 23 pairs of chromosomes at the heart of microscopic cells throughout the human body. At Rockville the DNA in all the chromosomes was tackled in one great spree, by the shotgun method. That meant taking DNA from five individuals and chopping it with enzyme scissors into more than 20 million fragmented but overlapping sequences. The chromosome fragments were inserted by genetic engineering into bacteria, to produce millions of copies of each. The analysers read off the letters in the fragments. From these, a remarkable system of 800 interconnected computers...

Energy and mass

Energy and mass   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
2,500 words

...electricity in nuclear power stations. Controlled fusion of lightweight elements, in the manner of the Sun, was another great hope, but always jam tomorrow. In the 1950s, practical fusion reactors were said to be 20 years off. Half a century later, after huge expenditures on fusion research in the Soviet Union, the USA and Europe, they were still 20 years off. That the principle remains sound is confirmed at every sunrise, but whether magnetic confinement devices, particle accelerators or laser beams will eventually implement it, no one can be sure. Nuclear...

High-speed travel

High-speed travel   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
3,092 words

...not only because of the direct effect of your motion towards them. The apparent distance that you have to go keeps shrinking, as another effect of relativity at high speeds. In a 1 g spaceship, you can for example set out at age 20, and travel right out of our Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy, which is 2 million light-years away. By starting in good time to slow down (still at 1 g ) you can land on a planet in that galaxy and celebrate your 50th birthday there. Have a look around before setting off for home, and you can still be back for your 80th birthday. But...

Chaos

Chaos   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
3,351 words

...evidence of latent orderliness that distinguishes certain kinds of erratic behaviour from mere chance. ‘Chaos is not random: it is apparently random behaviour resulting from precise rules,’ explained Ian Stewart of Warwick . ‘Chaos is a cryptic form of order.’ During the next 20 years, the mathematical idea of chaos swept through science like a tidal wave. It was the smart new way of looking at everything from fluid dynamics to literary criticism. Yet by the end of the century the subject was losing some of its glamour. Exhibit A, for anyone wanting to...

Black holes

Black holes   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
3,668 words

..., a Yorkshire clergyman who moonlighted as a scientific genius, forestalled Einstein by suggesting that light was subject to the force of gravity. A very large star might therefore be invisible, he reasoned, if its gravity were too strong for light to escape. Since early in the 20th century, Michell's gigantic star has been replaced by matter compacted by gravity into an extremely small volume—perhaps even to a geometric point, though we can't see that far in. Surrounding the mass, at some distance from the centre, is the surface of the black hole where...

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
2,854 words

...carbon is drawn from the carbon dioxide of the air every year and incorporated into living tissue. Chlorophyll, photons and electrons The machinery of photosynthesis gradually became clearer, in the microscopic and molecular contents of commonplace leaves. During the 19th and early 20th centuries scientists found that the natural green pigment chlorophyll is essential. It concentrates in small bodies within the leaf cells, called chloroplasts. The key chemical reaction of photosynthesis splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, and complex series of other reactions...

Quantum tangles

Quantum tangles   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
3,734 words

...baffling to the human mind. ‘An element of chance’ Theorists did not wait for verification of de Broglie's matter waves. In the mid-1920s they snatched up the idea and constructed the theory of quantum mechanics. It swiftly overtook Einstein's relativity as the dominant concept in 20th-century physics. Niels Bohr of Copenhagen was the great coordinator, reconciling the ideas of the bright youngsters, mostly from Germany and Austria. There are quaint tales of scientists waiting on station platforms all across Europe to ask Bohr's opinion on the latest wheeze...

Speech

Speech   Reference library

Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern Science

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Science and technology, History of Science
Length:
2,949 words

...engravings mean, but in my opinion they are symbolic,’ he commented. ‘I like to imagine whoever made them explaining the patterns to their colleagues in a language of our own articulate kind.’ People just as bright as us In saying so, Henshilwood updated a leading hypothesis of the 20th century. This saw the transformation of human beings during the most recent ice age, from modestly successful hunter-gatherers into the dominant species of the planet, coming with the acquisition of the modern powers of language. It was supposedly the key factor that enabled the...

Teller, Edward

Teller, Edward (1908–2003)   Reference library

Gregg Herken and Elspeth Knewstubb

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

.... Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004. Excellent biography provides insights into Teller and his peers as well as the intersection of science and technology with policy. Mullet, Shawn . “Teller, Edward.” In Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography . Vol. 25, pp. 20–25. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008. Gregg Herken ; updated by Elspeth...

View: