Linda Hall Library
Science Engineering Technology

Scientist of the Day

John Kirk Townsend

August 10, 2017

John Kirk Townsend, an American naturalist and explorer, was born Aug. 10, 1809.  Townsend was a young physician in Philadelphia when he got the call in 1834 to accompany Thomas Nuttall on an expedition to the Pacific Northwest (usually known as the Second Wyeth expedition, after the leader, Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth). Nuttall and Townsend travelled by coach from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, took a steamship to St. Louis, walked across Missouri to Independence, and there met up with Wyeth and his caravan…

Amedeo Avogadro

August 9, 2017

Amedeo Avogadro, an Italian chemist, was born Aug. 9, 1776. In 1808, a French chemist, Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac, announced that when two gases combine, their volumes are in the ratios of small numbers. For example, two volumes of hydrogen combine with exactly one volume of oxygen to form water. This was known as the law of combining volumes, and Avogadro wondered why it was so…

Ernest O. Lawrence

August 8, 2017

Fermilab   KQED Science   Physbot   Berkeley Lab   Berkleyside   Wikipedia   Ernest Orlando Lawrence, an American physicist, was born Aug. 8, 1901.   Lawrence took a position at the University of California in 1928, and he soon began...

Louis de Freycinet

August 7, 2017

Louis Claude Desaulses de Freycinet, an explorer and officer in the French Navy, was born Aug. 7, 1779. From 1817 to 1820, Freycinet commanded the ship L’Uranie on a round-the-world voyage to Australia and New Guinea. This was the first attempted French circumnavigation since the interruption of the Napoleonic wars…

John Venn

August 4, 2017

John Venn, an English philosopher, was born Aug. 4, 1834. In 1880, Venn introduced a new logical device that came to be known as a Venn diagram. Venn diagrams attempt to give visual form to such logical statements as “all A is B” or “some B is C” or “no C is D”. By representing such sets as circles that intersect, lie within, or remain separate from other circles, Venn not only allowed the logician to add a visual dimension to an argument, but also provided a new tool for helping to solve logic problems…

John Scopes

August 3, 2017

John T. Scopes, an American schoolteacher, was born Aug. 3, 1900. Scopes got a job coaching the high-school football team in Dayton, Tennessee, and like many coaches, he was required to teach some science courses as well. In May of 1925, a delegation of Dayton town fathers asked Scopes if he would agree to be arrested and put on trial for violating the Butler Act recently passed by the state of Tennessee…