Scientist of the Day

John Wallis

December 3, 2019

John Wallis, an English mathematician, was born Dec.3, 1616.  Wallis studied at Cambridge and was an ordained minister serving in various capacities throughout the 1640s, when out of the blue, in 1649, he was appointed the Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford, a...

Joseph Bell

December 2, 2019

Joseph Bell, a Scottish physician and surgeon, was born Dec. 2, 1837.  Bell earned his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh medical school and remained there to teach. He subsequently became senior surgeon at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, which is where...

Jacques Gaffarel

December 1, 2019

Jacques Gaffarel, a French classical scholar and orientalist, died Dec. 1, 1681. Historians of science sometimes highlight individuals who do not really fit their times and seem to have appeared just to show that the evolution of ideas is in no way linear and...

Anders Celsius

November 27, 2019

Anders Celsius, a Swedish geographer and astronomer, was born Nov. 27, 1701.  Celsius was part of the French expedition to measure the length of a degree of latitude in Lapland in 1735 (see our post on Abbé Reginald Outhier). Perhaps it was in Lapland that Celsius...

Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan

November 26, 2019

Jean-Jacques d’Ortous de Mairan, a French mathematician, was born Nov. 26, 1678. In 1728, Mairan published a paper, “Dissertation on the motive force of bodies,” in which he attempted to resolve the so-called “vis viva” controversy in...

Robert Havell, Jr.

November 25, 2019

Robert Havell, Jr., an English engraver, was born Nov. 25, 1793. His father, Robert senior, ran a print shop in London. When John James Audubon, trying to launch his projected Birds of America, was having problems with the Edinburgh engraving firm of William Lizars,...