Scientist of the Day

Edward Pickering

July 19, 2018

Edward Charles Pickering, an American astronomer, was born July 19, 1846. Pickering became director of Harvard College Observatory in 1877, when astronomy was changing rapidly because of two new developments: spectroscopy and photography. Attempts had begun to classify the stars by…

Elizabeth Gould

July 18, 2018

Elizabeth Coxen Gould, an English artist, was born July 18, 1804. In 1829, she married John Gould, an up-and-coming ornithologist, and Elizabeth immediately became the official family draughtswoman, finishing John’s rough drawings and executing the lithographs for the fascicles of bird prints that John began issuing by subscription in 1830. The examples above are all from…

Pierre de Maupertuis

July 17, 2018

Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, a French mathematician and physicist, was born July 17, 1698. In 1732, Maupertuis published a slim treatise, Discours sur les differentes figures des astres (Discourse on the different figures of the stars, second image), in which he examined the Cartesian and Newtonian systems of the world. The French had always been partial to…

Giuseppe Piazzi

July 16, 2018

Giuseppe Piazzi, an Italian astronomer, was born July 16, 1746. Piazzi presided over the observatory at Palermo on the island of Sicily, and on the first day of the new century, Jan. 1, 1801, Piazzi discovered…

William Hedley

July 13, 2018

William Hedley, a British mine superintendent and engineer, was born July 13, 1779. In 1813, Hedley, working with Timothy Hackworth and Jonathan Forster, designed and had constructed a steam locomotive to haul coal on a five-mile track from the mines in Newcastle to the river Tyne. This locomotive, called…

Buckminster Fuller

July 12, 2018

Buckminster Fuller, an American inventor, architect, and engineer, was born July 12, 1895. Fuller is best known for his geodesic dome, and for buckminsterfullerene, the carbon molecule that was named for its resemblance to Fuller’s hexagonal dome. But we are especially fond of two other Fuller inventions…