Scientist of the Day

Alexander Kyd and Robert Kyd

November 25, 2020

Alexander Kyd, a British officer, died Nov. 25, 1826, which provides the occasion for this post; the date and year of his birth are unknown.  Alexander was a removed cousin of Robert Kyd, which is to say, Alexander’s grandfather was the brother of Robert’s...

Alfonso X, King of Castile

November 23, 2020

Alfonso X, king of Castile, was born Nov. 23, 1221, in Toledo, Spain. Also known as Alfonso el Sabio or Alfonso the Wise, Alfonso was a scholar with diverse interests, unusual among medieval monarchs; he wrote and collected music and sponsored legal reform (his...

Thomas Tompion

November 20, 2020

Thomas Tompion, an English clock maker, died Nov. 20, 1713, at age 74.  Tompion is often referred to as the “father of English clock-making.”  He came onto the horological scene in 1675, when he made a watch for Robert Hooke.  Christian Huygens had sent a letter...

Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps

November 19, 2020

Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, a French diplomat, was born Nov. 19, 1805.  De Lesseps was deeply involved in two French canal efforts.  The first was the Suez Canal project.  De Lesseps had no training in engineering, but he knew how to make friends with people in power,...

Paul Hindemith

November 16, 2020

Paul Hindemith, a German composer, was born Nov. 16, 1895.  Hindemith wrote 11 operas, the most popular being Mathis der Maler (1938), about the Renaissance artist Matthias Grünewald and his struggle for freedom of expression during the Peasants Revolt of the early...

John Paul Stapp

November 13, 2020

John Paul Stapp, an American physician and pioneer in aerospace medicine, died Nov. 13, 1999, at the age of 89.  Stapp was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army Air Forces at the end of World War II, continued in the field of aviation medicine after the war, and...