Scientist of the Day

Maximilian Hell

May 15, 2019

Maximilian Hell, a Hungarian astronomer and Jesuit priest, was born May 15, 1720.  Hell was head of the Vienna Observatory from 1756 on.   While there, he published an Ephemerides for the meridian of Vienna (1760), which we have in our collections.  In 1769, he headed...

Peder Horrebow

May 14, 2019

Peder Horrebow, a Danish astronomer, was born May 14, 1679. Horrebow was an assistant for four years to Ole Rømer, the accomplished late-seventeenth-century astronomer who first measured the speed of light.  Rømer died in 1710, and Horrebow soon after became director...

Inge Lehmann

May 13, 2019

Inge Lehmann, a Danish seismologist, was born May 13, 1888. In the early 1930s, Lehmann was studying seismic waves that were being reflected from various layers within the earth, and she observed that there were certain reflections that could not be explained by the...

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

May 10, 2019

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, an Anglo-American astronomer, was born May 10, 1900. Completing her undergraduate education in Cambridge, England, she realized early on that the array of opportunities for a woman astronomer in England was very small, so after meeting Harlow...

John Scott Russell

May 9, 2019

John Scott Russell, a Scottish naval engineer, was born May 9, 1808.   Russell was the ship-builder who was responsible for realizing Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s dream of building a gigantic iron-clad trans-oceanic steam-powered vessel, the SS Great Eastern. ...

Nicolaas Witsen

May 8, 2019

Nicolaas Witsen, a Dutch naturalist, cartographer, and city father, was born May 8, 1641.  Witsen is remembered as an important civic figure because he served as mayor of Amsterdam no less than 13 times, but he also travelled to Russia in the 1660s, constructed the...