Top 10 scientific anniversaries that we will celebrate in 2019

9052x 01. 04. 2019 1 Reader

This year's remarkable nostalgia includes important anniversaries - birth, death, expedition and table. Identifying anniversaries is not the most pressing issue of science today. There are much more important things. Such as expressing the severity of climate change and finding new knowledge to help combat it. Or deal with sexual harassment and discrimination. Or provide reliable funding from a dysfunctional government. Not to mention what black matter is.

Yet, maintaining mental health requires occasional divergence from sources of darkness, despair and depression. Sometimes, on bleak days, he helps to recall happier moments and think about some of the scientific achievements and the scientists who answer for them. Luckily, in 2019, there are many opportunities to celebrate, much more than it can fit into Top 10. So don't be overwhelmed if your favorite anniversary is on the list (such as 200's anniversary anniversary of J. Presper Eckert, John Couch Adams or 200's Jean Foucault birthday or 150's Caroline Furness birthday)

1) Andrea Cesalpino, 500. birthday

If you are not an extraordinary fan of botany, you probably never heard of Cesalpin, born 6. June 1519. He was a physician, philosopher and botanist at the University of Pisa until the Pope, who needed a good doctor, called him to Rome. As a medical researcher, Cesalpino studied blood and had knowledge of its circulation long before William Harvey, an English physician, came to a great blood count. Cesalpino was most impressive as a botanist, and was generally credited with the first botany textbook. Of course, he didn't have everything right, but he described many plants accurately and classified them more systematically than previous scientists, who mostly considered plants as a source of drugs. Today, his name is remembered under a flowering plant of the genus Caesalpinia.

2) Leonardo da Vinci, 500. anniversary of death

Less than a month before Cesalpino was born, Leonardo died of 2. May 1519. Leonardo is much more known as an artist than a scientist, but he was also a real anatomist, geologist, technician and mathematician (hey, Renaissance man). His role in the history of science was limited because many of his sophisticated ideas were in the notebooks that nobody had read until long after his death. But he was a productive and resourceful observer of the world. He developed elaborated geological views of the river valleys and the mountains (he thought the peaks of the Alps were once islands in the higher ocean). As a technician, he understood that complex machines combined a few simple mechanical principles and insisted on the impossibility of eternal motion. He developed basic ideas about work, energy, and strength that became the cornerstones of modern physics, which were then developed more precisely by Galileo and others, more than a century later. And, of course, Leonardo would probably develop a plane if he had enough money to do so.

3) Petrus Peregrinus Discourse on Magnetism, 750. anniversary

Magnetism has been known since time immemorial as a property of some iron-containing rocks known as "lodestones". But nobody knew much about it until they were in 13. In the 19th century, Petrus Peregrinus (or Peter Pilgrim) did not discover it. He left little information about his personal life; nobody knows when he was born or when he died. But he had to be a very talented mathematician and technician, widely appreciated by the well-known critical philosopher Roger Bacon (if Peter, whom he was actually referring to as Pilgrim).

In any case, Peter composed the first major scientific treatise on magnetism (completed 8. August 1269), explaining the concept of magnetic poles. He even found that when you break the magnet into pieces, each piece becomes a new magnet with its own two poles - the north and the south, analogous to the poles of the "celestial sphere" allegedly carried by stars around the Earth. But Peter didn't realize the compasses were working because Earth itself was a huge magnet. He also had no idea of ​​the laws of thermodynamics when he proposed what he thought was a machine constantly powered by magnetism. Leonardo would not recommend that he get a patent for it.

4 Magellan's World Tour, 500. anniversary

20. September 1519 leaves Ferdinand Magellan from southern Spain with five ships on a transoceanic journey that would require three years to embrace the globe. But Magellan lasted only half, because he was killed in a conflict in the Philippines. However, the voyage still retains its name, although some modern sources favor the name of the Magellan-Elcano expedition to include Juan Sebastian Elcano, the commander of Victoria, the only ship of the original five to return to Spain. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison noted that Elcano "completed the navigation, but only followed Megell's plan."

Amongst the great navigators of Age of Discovery Morison, "Magellan stands highest" and given his contributions to navigation and geography, "the scientific value of his journey is unquestionable." Although it was certainly not necessary to sail around the Earth to prove that it was round, surely the first circumnavigation of the world qualifies as a significant human success, even though it is only slightly behind the visit of the Moon.

5) Landing on the Moon, 50. anniversary

Above all, Apollo 11 was a symbolic (though technically difficult) achievement, yet significant in science. In addition to strengthening the lunar geology science by bringing moonshine, Apollo astronauts have set up a scientific apparatus to measure the moon's shake (and thus learn more about the Moon's interior), study lunar soil and the solar wind, leaving a mirror as the target for lasers on Earth. aim to accurately measure the distance to the moon. Later, the Apollo mission carried out more extensive experiments.

But more than providing new scientific results, Apollo's mission was to celebrate past scientific achievements - understanding the laws of motion and gravity and chemistry and propulsion (not to mention electromagnetic communication) - accumulated by previous scientists who had no idea that their work would once make Neil Armstrong famous.

6) Alexander von Humboldt, 250. birthday

Born in Berlin 14. September 1769, von Humboldt was probably the best 19 candidate. century on the designation Renaissance Man. Not only a geographer, a geologist, a botanist and an engineer, he was also a world explorer and one of the most popular writers of popular science of the century. With botanist Aimé Bonpland, von Humboldt spent five years exploring plants of South America and Mexico while observing 23 observations in geology and minerals, meteorology and climate, and other geophysical data. He was a profound thinker who wrote a five-part work called Cosmos, which basically passed on to the general public a summary of modern science (then). And he was also one of the leading humanitarian scientists who were vigorously opposed to slavery, racism and anti-Semitism.

7 Thomas Young's Work on Measurement Error, 200. anniversary

An Englishman, famous for his experiment that shows the wave nature of light, Young was also a doctor and a linguist. This year's anniversary commemorates one of his deepest works, published two centuries ago (January 1819), about mathematics about the probability of error in scientific measurements. He commented on the use of probability theory to express the reliability of experimental results in "numerical form". He found it interesting to show why "a combination of a large number of independent sources of error" has a natural tendency to "reduce the overall variation of their joint effect." In other words, if you make many measurements, the magnitude of the probable error of your result will be less than if you do only one measurement. And mathematics can be used to estimate the probable magnitude of error.

However, Young warned that such methods could be misused. "This calculation sometimes tried in vain to replace common sense arithmetic," he stressed. In addition to random errors, it is necessary to protect yourself from "constant causes of errors" (now referred to as "systematic errors"). And he noted that it is "very rarely safe to rely on the complete absence of such causes", especially when "observation is done by one instrument or even by one observer." He warned that confidence in mathematics without fear of these considerations could lead to erroneous conclusions: To consider this indispensable condition, the results of many elegant and sophisticated investigations that relate to the probability of error can ultimately be completely ineffective. ”So that.

8) Johannes Kepler and his Harmonica Mundi, 400. anniversary

Kepler, one of the greatest physicist-astronomers 17. He tried to reconcile the ancient idea of ​​the harmony of spheres with modern astronomy that he helped to create. The original idea, attributed to the Greek philosopher-mathematician Pythagoras, that spheres carrying celestial bodies around the earth formed musical harmony. Obviously no one has heard this music because some of Phytagoras's supporters said it was present at birth and that was the unnoticed background noise. Kepler believed that the construction of the universe is more with the sun in its center than with the Earth, observing the harmonic mathematical conditions.

He has long tried to explain the architecture of the solar system as corresponding to nested geometric bodies, thus prescribing the distances separating (elliptical) planetary orbits. In Harmonica Mundi, published in 1619, admitted that matter itself could not have been precisely counted for the details of the planetary orbit - more principles were needed. Most of his book is no longer relevant to astronomy, but its lasting contribution was Kepler's third law of planetary motion, which showed the mathematical relationship between the planet's distance from the sun and the time the planet needs to complete one path.

9 Solar Eclipse confirmed by Einstein, 100. anniversary

Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, completed in 1915, predicted that light from a distant star passing near the sun would be bent by the sun's gravity, altering the apparent star's position in the sky. Newtonian physics could explain some such bending, but only half of what Einstein calculated. Watching such light seemed to be a good way to test Einstein's theory, except for the small problem that stars are not visible at all when the sun is in the sky. However, both Newton and Einstein's physicists agreed when the next solar eclipse would be, which would briefly make the stars near the Sun's edge.

British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington led an 1919 expedition in May, watching an eclipse from an island off the coast of West Africa. Eddington found that the deviations of some of the stars from their previously recorded position corresponded to the general relativity prognosis enough to proclaim Einstein as the winner. In addition to making Einstein famous, the result was not very important at that time (in addition to encouraging the general theory of relativity in cosmology theory). But the general relativity became a major problem a decade later, when new astrophysical phenomena had to be explained, and the GPS device could be accurate enough to get rid of the road maps.

10) Periodic Table, Sesquicentennial!

Dmitri Mendeleev was not the first chemist to notice that several element groups have similar characteristics. But in 1869, he identified the guiding principle for classifying elements: if you put them in order of increasing atomic mass, elements with similar properties are repeated at regular (periodic) intervals. Using this view, he created the first periodic table of elements, one of the greatest achievements in the history of chemistry. Many of the greatest scientific achievements have emerged in the form of erratic mathematical formulas or have required sophisticated experiments requiring intuitive genius, great manual dexterity, huge cost, or complex technology.

However, the periodic table is a wall chart. This allows anyone at first sight to understand the basics of the entire scientific discipline. The Mendelian table has been reconstructed many times and its governing rule is now the atomic number rather than the atomic mass. However, it remains the most versatile consolidation of the deep scientific information ever built - the iconic representation of all kinds of matter from which the earth's substances are made. And you will find it not only in the classroom on the walls, but also on ties, T-shirts and coffee cups. One day he might decorate the chemistry walls of the restaurant - called Periodic Tables.

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