Scientist of the Day

Giovanni Battista Beccaria

October 3, 2019

Giovanni Battista Beccaria, an Italian physicist, was born Oct. 3, 1716. In 1748, Beccaria was appointed professor at the University of Turin, a post for which other factions were also lobbying, and Beccaria and his patron were subjected to a barrage of complaints...

William Ramsay

October 2, 2019

William Ramsay, a Scottish chemist, was born Oct. 2, 1852.  In the early 1890s, it was discovered by Lord Rayleigh that nitrogen produced in the laboratory is slightly lighter than atmospheric nitrogen, suggesting that there was some other gas in the atmosphere as yet...

Marsilio Ficino

October 1, 2019

Marsilio Ficino, an Italian humanist, died Oct. 1, 1499, at the age of 65. Ficino was largely responsible for the revival of Plato in the mid-fifteenth century that shaped so much of Renaissance thought and culture. The writings of Aristotle had been available in the...

Joseph Portlock

September 30, 2019

Joseph Ellison Portlock, geologist and British army officer, was born September 30, 1794. He was the only son of Nathaniel Portlock, a captain in the British Royal Navy who sailed with Captain Cook’s third voyage. The younger Portlock was educated at the Royal...

Daniel Kirkwood

September 27, 2019

Daniel Kirkwood, an American astronomer, was born Sep. 27, 1814.   He joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1856 as professor of mathematics, and he spent most of the next thirty-five years there, until he moved on to Stanford University in 1891, when he was 77...

Nehemiah Grew

September 26, 2019

Nehemiah Grew, an English botanist and microscopist, was baptized Sep. 26, 1641; his date of birth was not recorded. Grew was a pioneer in plant anatomy in the 1670s, wielding the new compound microscope to great effect in unraveling the vascular systems of plants,...