Scientist of the Day

Christian Wolff

January 24, 2020

Christian Wolff, a Silesian/German philosopher, was born Jan. 24, 1679.  Wolff spent his first 20 years in Wroclaw, Silesia (now Breslau, Poland), then studied philosophy at Jena and Leipzig.  Gottfried Leibniz in Hanover read his thesis and was impressed, and the two...

Elmer Riggs

January 23, 2020

Elmer Riggs, an American paleontologist, was born Jan. 23, 1869. In 1898, he joined the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago (now the Field Museum of Natural History), with the assigned task of finding dinosaurs for the collection, even though his specialty was fossil...

Lev Landau

January 22, 2020

Lev Davidovich Landau, a Soviet physicist, was born Jan. 22, 1908.  Landau distinguished himself as a physics student, spent some time studying at the Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, working briefly with Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli, and then returned to head up...

William Henry Smyth

January 21, 2020

William Henry Smyth, a British naval officer and amateur astronomer, was born Jan. 21, 1788. Smyth spent an entire career in the Royal Navy, enlisting as a seaman, serving in the Napoleonic Wars, distinguishing himself by his accurate coast surveys of the...

August Weismann

January 17, 2020

August Weismann, a German biologist, was born Jan. 17, 1834. Weismann became an early convert to Darwinian evolution in the 1870s, which wasn’t all that uncommon, but he also subscribed wholeheartedly to Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection, a step that most...

Johann Schoner

January 16, 2020

Johann Schöner, a German mathematician and astronomer, was born Jan. 16, 1477.  We celebrated his birthday four years ago, when we discussed his connections with Georg Rheticus, Nicholas Copernicus, and Johannes Petreius (publisher of Copernicus’ milestone book), as...