Heinrich Olbers

Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers, a German astronomer, was born Oct. 11, 1758.   Olbers is known for two asteroids and a paradox.  We begin with the asteroids.  The first asteroid, Ceres, had been discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi on Jan. 1, 1801. Ceres was tracked for a...

Benjamin Wright

Benjamin Wright, an American civil engineer, was born Oct. 10, 1770. Wright wasn’t just a civil engineer, he was the “Father of American Civil Engineering,” or so says the American Society of Civil Engineers. He earned that title by being Chief Engineer of...

Leif Erikson

Oct. 9 is Leif Erikson Day, if you live in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and a few other states of the upper Midwest, or Saskatchewan in Canada. We don’t know the birth or death date of Erikson – we are not even sure of the exact years of his life – but he seems to have...

Ejnar Hertzsprung

Ejnar Hertzsprung, a Danish astronomer, was born Oct. 8, 1873.  Hertzsprung came of astronomical age at the very time that Antonia Maury and Annie Jump Cannon at Harvard College Observatory were publishing the results of their spectroscopic classification of the stars...

Niels Bohr

Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist, was born Oct. 7, 1885. In 1913, Bohr launched the modern era of atomic physics when he combined the quantum theory of Max Planck with the new nuclear atom of Ernest Rutherford. Planck had proposed in 1900 that energy is not continuous,...