Daily Scientists

To cherish scientific figures, their musings and achievements

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sci-universe:

The real Heisenberg

The name Heisenberg gained new fame thanks to the show called Breaking Bad. It was the main character Walter White's pseudonym for the drug underworld. This name was a tribute to a famous physicist, but out of all the scientists out there, why did Walt choose this one?

Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901 – 1976) was a German theoretical physicist and a revolutionary man, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 “for the creation of quantum mechanics”. He is best known for his 1927’s uncertainty principle. It basically says that nothing has a definite position, a definite trajectory, or a definite momentum. In other words, uncertainty is inherent in the quantum realm. (The uncertainty principle reflects the extent to which Walter White’s life is also steeped in uncertainty)

Moreover, Breaking Bad’s allusion to Heisenberg and quantum physics also connects with the concept of duality. Just as an electron is both a wave and a particle (and neither of these), Walt is both a chemistry teacher and a meth cook, both a victim and a murderer.

Werner Heisenberg also formulated various other significant breakthroughs in quantum field theory and high-energy particle physics are associated with him. He wrote more than 600 original research papers, philosophical essays and explanations for general audiences. Heisenberg also played a vital role in the reconstruction of German science after the WWII.

Like Walter White, Werner Heisenberg discovered to have cancer. He died of cancer of the kidneys and gall bladder at his home, on 1 February 1976.

(via quantumaniac)

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October 15th is the Ada Lovelace Day, an annual celebration of the achievements of women in science and technology.

Ada Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852), often described as the world’s first computer programmer, showed a keen interest in mathematical studies from an early age and was taught by her mother, Annabella, who was also a gifted mathematician.

In correspondence with Charles Babbage, who was working on the ideas for a machine that is now recognised as a forerunner of the modern computer, Ada demonstrated her gift for mathematics and was described by him as “the enchantress of numbers”.

She was introduced to him by another female scientist famous in her day, the mathematician Mary Somerville, who mentored Ada during her relatively short life.

Babbage was impressed by the mathematical skills Ada possessed and invited her to translate a piece in Italian written by Luigi Menabrea describing Babbage’s ‘analytical engine’, so that it could be published in England.

Her notes include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine, while she also speculated on its future ability to create graphics and complex music.

Born in 1815, she had no relationship with her father, who died when she was eight. In 1835, she married William King, who was created Earl of Lovelace in 1838. She died in 1852 at the age of 36.

Her lasting legacy as role model for girls and young women considering careers in technology is remembered on Ada Lovelace Day, which is dedicated to the celebration of the achievements of women in science and technology. (Source: http://www.theguardian.com)

Filed under Ada Lovelace mathematics computer science algorithm science mid modern

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breakingnews:

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter dies at age 88NBC News: NASA pioneer astronaut Scott Carpenter died Thursday at the age of 88 due to medical complications from a recent stroke, his family announced.
His death leaves John Glenn as the last remaining member of the Mercury 7.Carpenter had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke last month in Vail, Colo., where he has his home. Word of his death came from a friend in Florida, Mark Widick, via NBC News’ Cape Canaveral correspondent, Jay Barbree.
Photo: NASA file

breakingnews:

Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter dies at age 88

NBC News: NASA pioneer astronaut Scott Carpenter died Thursday at the age of 88 due to medical complications from a recent stroke, his family announced.

His death leaves John Glenn as the last remaining member of the Mercury 7.

Carpenter had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke last month in Vail, Colo., where he has his home. Word of his death came from a friend in Florida, Mark Widick, via NBC News’ Cape Canaveral correspondent, Jay Barbree.

Photo: NASA file

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ladieslovescience:

Lenka Kotková has discovered 250 asteroids (one was also named after her by 2 of her colleagues). Kotková is a Czech astronomer who works at the Astronomical Institiute in Ondřejov, a village outside of Prague. Kotková received the Zdeněk Kvíz Award for her research concerning variable stars. Variable stars are stars whose brightness, or magnitude, appears to change when viewed from Earth. These changes can be attributed to either a change in light emitted or by something blocking the star’s light.
LLS

ladieslovescience:

Lenka Kotková has discovered 250 asteroids (one was also named after her by 2 of her colleagues). Kotková is a Czech astronomer who works at the Astronomical Institiute in Ondřejov, a village outside of Prague. Kotková received the Zdeněk Kvíz Award for her research concerning variable stars. Variable stars are stars whose brightness, or magnitude, appears to change when viewed from Earth. These changes can be attributed to either a change in light emitted or by something blocking the star’s light.

LLS

Filed under Lenka Kotkova Astronomy profile

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gunsandposes:

"As a boy Kepler had been captured by a vision of cosmic splendor, a harmony of the worlds which he sought so tirelessly all his life. Harmony in this world eluded him. His three laws of planetary motion represent, we now know, a real harmony of the worlds, but to Kepler they were only incidental to his quest for a cosmic system based on the Perfect Solids, a system which, it turns out, existed only in his mind. Yet from his work, we have found that scientific laws pervade all of nature, that the same rules apply on Earth as in the skies, that we can find a resonance, a harmony, between the way we think and the way the world works.

When he found that his long cherished beliefs did not agree with the most precise observations, he accepted the uncomfortable facts, he preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions. That is the heart of science.”

Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, 1990

(Source: digitalgallery.nypl.org, via humanoidhistory)

Filed under Johannes Kepler Astronomy

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Peter Higgs profile: the self-deprecating physicist revered by his peers
For scientists of a certain calibre, these early days of October can bring on a bad case of the jitters. The nominations are in. The reports compiled. All that remains is for the Nobel committees to cast their final votes. There are no sure bets on who will win the most prestigious prize in science this year, but there are expectations aplenty. Speak to particle physicists, for example, and one name comes up more than any other. Top of their wishlist of winners – the awards are announced next Tuesday – is the self-deprecating British octagenarian, Peter Higgs.
Higgs, 84, is no household name, but he is closer to being one than any Nobel physics laureate since Richard Feynman, the Manhattan project scientist, who accepted the award reluctantly in 1964. But while Feynman was a showman who adored attention, Higgs is happy when eclipsed by the particle that bears his name, the elusive boson that scientists at Cern’s Large Hadron Collider triumphantly discovered last year.
Read more…

Peter Higgs profile: the self-deprecating physicist revered by his peers

For scientists of a certain calibre, these early days of October can bring on a bad case of the jitters. The nominations are in. The reports compiled. All that remains is for the Nobel committees to cast their final votes. There are no sure bets on who will win the most prestigious prize in science this year, but there are expectations aplenty. Speak to particle physicists, for example, and one name comes up more than any other. Top of their wishlist of winners – the awards are announced next Tuesday – is the self-deprecating British octagenarian, Peter Higgs.

Higgs, 84, is no household name, but he is closer to being one than any Nobel physics laureate since Richard Feynman, the Manhattan project scientist, who accepted the award reluctantly in 1964. But while Feynman was a showman who adored attention, Higgs is happy when eclipsed by the particle that bears his name, the elusive boson that scientists at Cern’s Large Hadron Collider triumphantly discovered last year.

Read more…

Filed under Peter Higgs physics particle physics higgs boson science profile

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scinerds:

On October 7th, 1959 (44 years ago) Russian space probe Luna 3 captured the first ever photos of the dark side of the moon. 

Though the pictures were low quality, they were a great feat in the early years of space exploration was an exciting moment for humanity. The dark side of the moon became less of a mystery, and astronomy began sparking the interest of many young, budding scientists. 

The photos also revealed the key features of the far side of the moon, and though they were low resolution — gave scientists a very good idea of the topology of the far hemisphere of the moon. 

Filed under moon this day in history space exploration