Sunday, June 28, 2015
In 1903 Carrel traveled by train to Lourdes, France and while on the way he examined a young woman suffering from tuberculosis peritonitis. The unconscious woman had a fever with a rapid pulse and respiration and a distended abdomen. Carrel believed the woman was on the verge of death. Her companions poured water from the spring in Lourdes, which is reputed to have miraculous properties, on her abdomen and she appeared to recover. When he examined her later her abdomen was flat and she seemed to have recovered. Later when Carrel returned to Lyons he reported the apparent miracle to his colleagues for which he was criticized and told that he would not be able to pass the examinations required to join the faculty. In 1904 Carrel left France first stopping in French speaking Montreal. He later moved to Chicago where in 1905 where he began working at the University of Chicago with Charles Guthrie.
In 1906 Carrel took a research position at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research,where he would remain until his retirement in 1939. Although he lived the rest of his life in the United States, Carrel never became a citizen and during World War I he served as a major in the French Medical Corps. In 1912 Carrel began an experiment where he took embryonic chicken heart cells and kept them alive in a Pyrex container of his own design. The cells lived for over twenty years with changing of the nutrient broth they lived in, living longer than the normal lifespan of a chicken. Carrel believed that cells could be kept alive and would divide indefinitely if they were given proper nutrients. Later it was found somatic (non-embryonic) cells have a limited number of divisions before they will stop dividing. Carrel's cell culture techniques were later used by others to do viral research and develop vaccines.
In 1935 Carrel published a book called Man, the Unknown, which argued in part that humanity should be governed by an elite group of intellectuals and that a program of eugenic breeding would benefit humanity. In a 1936 German edition he added a preface that praised the eugenic program advocated by the Nazi regime.
Carrel was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1912, "In recognition for his work on vascular structure and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs." Other honors won by Carrel include a Swedish stamp honoring Nobel Prize winners in 1972 and a crater on the moon was named after him in 1979.
Carrel died on November 5, 1945 in Paris, France.
McMurray, Emily J., Editor, "Alexis Carrel" in Notable Scientists of the Twentieth Century; Gale Group; 1995; Retrieved from pbs.org
Sade, Robert M.; "Transplantation at 100 Years; Alexis Carrel, Pioneer Surgeon"; Annals of Thoracic Surgery (2005)80:2415-8
Alexis Carrel Nobel Biography
Alexis Carrel Wikipedia Entry
Sunday, May 31, 2015
After his father's death his mother took Schwarzchild to Gottingen, Germany where he attended gymnasium school. Swarzchild attended Gottingen University first studying mathematics for a year, after which he went to Berlin University where he studied astronomy, after which he returned to Gottingen University where he finished his doctorate in astronomy in 1835. Because of Hitler's rise to power in Germany, Swarzchild took a fellowship in Oslo, Norway and after a month in England he emigrated to the united states in 1937, becoming a citizen in 1942. Swarzchild served in the United States Army Intelligence, earning the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star. After fellowship at Harvard University and a lectureship at Columbia University, Swarzchild was appointed to a full professorship at Princeton University in 1947. He became the Higgins Professor of Astronomy in 1951.
Swarzchild's early research dealt with calibrating the size of the universe and determining its rate of expansion. He observed variable stars that were used as distance markers in determining the rate of the universe's expansion. He also researched stellar evolution (the life cycles of stars) and his text Structure and Evolution of Stars (1958) was a classic text on the subject. He used early computers to work on astronomical problems. Using a balloon borne telescope Swarzchild was the first to observe the photoshphere (the outer layer) of the sun and the Andromeda Galaxy without atmospheric interference, demonstrating the potential for this type of observations now done by the Hubble Telescope.
Swarzchild retired in 1979 although he continued to work on galactic classification. In his life Swarzchild received numerous awards, including the Bruce Medal (1965), Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1969), and the National Medal of Science (1997).
Swarzchild died on April 10, 1997.
Ostriker, Jeramiah; "Martin Swarzchild: April 31, 1912 - April 10, 1997": in Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Science; 2013; National Academy Press
"Martin Swarzchild"; Physics Today (1997)35:12:90-91\
Martin Swarzchild Wikipedia Entry
Sunday, September 14, 2014
In 1847 Budd visited a patient suffering a fever in the Bristol suburb of Richmond Terrace. Budd diagnosed typhoid fever and his investigation revealed that of the 34 households of Richmond Terrace 13 had experienced cases of typhoid fever. Subsequent investigation revealed that those 13 households all shared the same well as a water supply and the rest of Richmond Terrace used different water sources. With this information Budd hypothesized that the well was the source of the infection. In 1849 when Budd took charge of the water supply for Bristol he concluded that it was responsible for the spread of cholera. Before Budd took control of the water supply a cholera epidemic had killed 2000 in Bristol. In 1866 an outbreak killed only 29. Budd was slow to publish his findings regarding the transmission of cholera waiting for microscopical results which eventually proved inconclusive, but before he published John Snow, a London physician, published his findings concerning the source of cholera spread. Budd honestly gave Snow credit for priority for the discovery that cholera was spread through contaminated water supplies.
In the days before the discovery of the organisms responsible for typhoid fever and cholera Budd's conclusions were greeted with skepticism. Today we know that typhoid fever is caused by the organism Salmonella typhi and cholera is caused by Vibrio cholerae. Both organisms are spread by fecal contamination of water supplies in conditions of poor sanitation. Vibrio cholerae was disovered by Italian microbiologist Filippo Pacini who published in 1854, but it was not until after Budd's death that the causative organism for typhoid fever was discovered.
Budd died on January 9, 1880.
Bettany, George Thomas; "Budd, William" in Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 7; Elder Smith and Co.; 1886; retrieved from en.wikisource.org
Dunnill, Michael S.; "Commentary: William Budd on Cholera"; International Journal of Epidemiology (2013) 42:1576-7
Moorhead, Robert; "William Budd and Typhoid Fever"; Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine; (2002) 95:561-4
William Budd Wikipedia Entry
Sunday, July 13, 2014
Cannizzaro returned to Palermo in 1847 and served as an artillery officer in the 1848 rebellion. Also in 1848 he was elected to the Sicilian Parliament and served as its youngest member. After the fall of Messina on September 7, 1848 Cannizzaro was sent to Taorminna to organize resistance. When the rebellion collapsed Cannizzaro lived a life on the run eventually escaping to Marseilles, France in 1849. Cannizzaro toured France getting access to laboratories where he could and eventually he settled in Alessandria, Italy where he got a position as a professor of physical chemistry and mechanics at the National University in Alessandria. In 1855 Cannizzaro was called to the Chair of Chemistry at the University of Genoa. In 1861 he took a professorship at the University of Palermo where he remained for ten years. In 1871 Cannizaro was called to the professorship at the University of Rome.
Cannizzaro is most remembered for his work popularizing the ideas of another Italian chemist Amedeo Avagadro. Avagadro had proposed that equal volumes of two gasses at the same temperature and pressure would contain the same number of molecules and that the molecular mass of the molecules would be the sum of the atomic masses of the atoms of which the gasses are composed. Using this principal Cannizzaro developed a method for determining the molecular masses of gasses. At the time chemists were still trying to work out the uses of the words atomic and molecular. Cannizzaro's outline, prepared for his students at the University of Genoa, helped chemists understand that gasses are molecules composed of multiple atoms and have the molecular mass of the sum of the atomic masses of the atoms of which they are composed. For example, oxygen gas, composed of two oxygen atoms each having the atomic mass of 16, has the molecular mass of 32. For his work contributing to the understanding of the concepts of atom and molecule Cannizzaro was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society of London in 1891,
Cannizzaro is also remembered for his work in organic chemistry, where he studied amines and aromatic compounds. Aromatic compounds are compounds that contain a benzene ring. The Cannizzaro reaction is the reaction where an aldehyde is reacted with a base and the reaction produces the alcohol and carboxylic acid that correspond to the aldehyde.
Cannizaro died on May 10, 1910.
Anon.; "Stanislao Cannizaro"; retrieved from chemheritage.org
Thorpe, Sir Thomas Edward; "Stanislao Canniaro" in Essays in Historical Chemistry; MacMillian and Co.; 1902
Stanislao Cannizaro Wikipedia Entry
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Waage is most remembered for his discovery, with his brother-in-law Otto Guldberg, of the law of mass action. The law of mass action says that the rate of a chemical reaction is proportional to the concentration of the chemical reacting. For the chemical reaction A + B --> AB the rate of the reaction is =k[A][B], where [A] and [B] are the concentrations of the reactants A and B and k is the the rate constant. The rate constant, k, varies depending on what the reaction is. Waage and Guldberg also studied the effects of temperature on chemical reactions. Because their paper was published in Norwegian it was largely unnoticed. The paper was later published in French and German and gained wide acceptance when the results were repeated by William Esson and Vernon Harcourt of Oxford University.
Waage and Guldberg were brother-in-laws twice over. Waage and Guldberg married sisters and after Waage's first wife died he married Guldberg's sister. Waage also discovered ways of preparing unsweetened condensed milk and sterile canned milk. Waage developed a condensed fish meal used as rations by the Norwegian Navy.
Waage died on January 13, 1900.
Albe, Joseph and Smith, Michelle; "Otto Guldberg and Peter Wage";
Ringnes, Vivi; "Peter Wage"; Retrived from vitten.no
Peter Wage Wikipedia Entry
Sunday, June 22, 2014
After two years of obligatory military service in 1887 Minkowski was appointed privatdozent at the University of Bonn. In 1892 Minkowski became an asOsociate professor at Bonn. In 1894 Minkowski joined the faculty of Zurich Polytechnic, where one of his students was Albert Einstein. In 1902 Minkowski took a chair in mathematics which had been created especially for him at Gottingen University. Minkowski remained in Gottingen util his death.
Minkowski is most remembered for his work on geometry and space-time. In Euclidean geometry there are three dimensions, representing the three dimensions of space. Minkowski incorporated a fourth dimension representing time to the Euclidean system where time and space are interlinked together forming a whole four dimensional system. This four dimensional space is called Minkowski space-time and arises naturally when consequences of relativity are considered.
Minkowski died suddenly of appendicitis on January 12, 1909.
O'Connor, J.J. and Robertson, E.F.; "Hermann Minkowski"; MacTuror; Retrieved from: http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/
Manhanti, Subodh; "Hermann Minkowski: Founder of Geometry of Numbers"; Dream 2047 Vol.14 (May 2012) p40-42
Hermann Mikowski Wikipedia Entry
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Enders was working on growing viruses in culture. Viruses, unlike bacteria, are unable to reproduce on their own, so strictly speaking they are not living organisms. Viruses require a host cell in order to reproduce. Each cell has a mechanism by which it reproduces itself. Viruses take over this mechanism and use it to produce more viruses. Viruses grown in the laboratory must be grown in a cell culture. Different viruses infect and use different types of cells to reproduce. Enders and Weller were studying which types of cultured cells could be used to grow different types of viruses. Working with Enders, Weller was the first to be able to grow poliovirus in culture. Poliovirus enters humans via the the cells of the alimentary canal and migrates to other cells. It can infect motor neuron cells causing paralysis. For their development of the ability to cultivate the poliovirus Weller, Enders, and Frederick C. Robbins were awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. With the ability to grow poliovirus in culture Jonas Salk was able to create a vaccine for polio and the disease has virtually been eliminated.
In 1954 Weller was appointed the Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Tropical Public Health, which he remained until 1983. In addition to his work growing polio virus, Weller also isolated and grew varicella virus (the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles). He was also able to grow rubella and cytomeglovirus. Weller was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1964. Weller was made professor emeritus in 1984.
Weller died on August 23, 2008.
McIntosh, Kenneth; "Thomas H. Weller:1915-2008"; National Academy Press; 2011
Roache, Christina; "Thomas H. Weller, Nobel Laureate, Professor Emeritus, Dies"; Harvard School of Public Health press releases; August 26, 2008
Thomas Weller Nobel Biography
Thomas Weller Wikipedia Entry