Scientist of the Day

Squire Whipple

September 16, 2020

Squire Whipple, an American civil engineer, was born Sep. 16, 1804.  Whipple was one of the first engineers in the United States to design truss bridges made of iron.  He came of age when the Erie Canal was expanding from its original 40-foot width to 70 feet, which...

Charles du Fay

September 14, 2020

Charles-François de Cisternay du Fay, a French physical scientist, was born Sep. 14, 1698.  We see above a portrait that was printed in a late 19th-century history of technology. Du Fay (sometimes Dufay) was one of the pioneer investigators of electrical phenomena in the crazy decade of the 1730s, when no one had a clue what electricity was…

Ulisse Aldrovandi

September 11, 2020

Ulisse Aldrovandi, an Italian naturalist, was born Sep. 11, 1522.  We published a post on Aldrovandi two years ago, and since it was one of our better efforts, we have no wish to tamper with it or replace it.  There are two reasons for this second...

Joseph Leidy

September 9, 2020

Joseph Leidy, an American physician and naturalist, was born Sep. 9, 1823. Leidy was a prominent member of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and he was the first to recognize dinosaur remains in North America. In 1856, Leidy identified some teeth that...

Marin Mersenne

September 3, 2020

Marin Mersenne, a French natural philosopher and priest, was born Sep. 8, 1588. At age 24, Mersenne joined the Order of Minims, and he spent most of his life at the Minim convent off the Place Royale (now the Place des Vosges) in Paris. Upon his cell converged some of...

Joseph Wright

September 3, 2020

Joseph Wright, an English painter, was born Sep. 3, 1734. Usually known as Joseph Wright of Derby, he was one of very few 18th-century British artists to take an interest in natural philosophy, and to make science a focus in his paintings.  Three of his paintings are...