Ludwig Boltzmann

Ludwig Boltzmann, an Austrian physicist, was born Feb. 20, 1844. Boltzmann was a founder of what is called statistical thermodynamics. By assuming that a gas is made up of atoms moving with random velocities in all directions, he was able to predict large-scale (macroscopic) properties of the gas, such as its temperature and pressure, with great accuracy…

William Borlase

William Borlase, an English naturalist and antiquary, was born Feb. 2, 1696. Borlase lived and died in Cornwall, where he amassed a large collection of fossils, gems, antiquities, and natural history objects. Eventually he published The Antiquities of Cornwall (1754) and The Natural History of Cornwall (1758)…

Edward Donovan

Edward Donovan, an Irish/English naturalist and illustrator, was born Feb. 1, 1768. Donovan was an odd sort of naturalist, in that he did not collect his own specimens in the field, but rather purchased them from commercial vendors and other collectors. He established a variety of museums in London in the early 19th century…

George Bennett

George Bennett, an English/Australian naturalist, was born Jan. 31, 1804. Bennett got the travel bug early, sailing to Sri Lanka and Mauritius before he was 15. He came back to London long enough to study medicine in London, where he became friends with the future comparative anatomist Richard Owen, also just starting his career. Bennett soon set out again, this time for New Zealand and Australia, where he caught the first pearly nautilus ever captured alive (by a European)…

Sam Loyd

Sam Loyd, an American puzzle and mathematical games designer, was born Jan. 30 (or Jan. 31), 1841. Loyd was trained as a mechanical engineer, but he discovered early on that he had quite a knack for creating chess problems, of the variety “white to play and mate in three”, except that Loyd’s were more clever and far more fiendish…