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Posts Tagged ‘Curie

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”*…

 

Your correspondent is old enough to remember the Cold War and the Civil Defense efforts (booklets, films, duck-and-cover drills) aimed at “preparing” us for atomic conflict.  It’s a sad sign of our times that they’re re-emerging:  “Where to Hide If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off In Your Area.”

(If there’s a silver lining in this fallout-laced cloud, it’s that it’s re-directing attention to a problem– a threat– that never actually went away; c.f., Ploughshares.)

* J. Robert Oppenheimer

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As we enter the Twilight Zone, we might recall that it was on this date in 1903 that The Times (London) newspaper reported that Marie and Pierre Curie communicated to the Academy of Sciences that the recently discovered Radium…

… possesses the extraordinary property of continuously emitting heat, without combustion, without chemical change of any kind, and without any change to its molecular structure, which remains spectroscopically identical after many months of continuous emission of heat … such that the pure Radium salt would melt more than its own weight of ice every hour … A small tube containing Radium, if kept in contact with the skin for some hours … produces an open sore, by destroying the epidermis and the true skin beneath … and cause the death of living things whose nerve centres do not lie deep enough to be shielded from their influence.

That same year the Curies (and Antoine Henri Becquerel) were awarded the Noble Prize in Physics for their work on radioactivity and radiation.

Marie and Pierre Curie

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Written by LW

March 25, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Nothing is more memorable than truth beautifully told”*…

 

If physicists and mathematicians can’t be rock stars, they can at least have rock star logos.  Dr. Prateek Lala, a physician and amateur calligrapher from Toronto has obliged with 50 nifty “scientific typographics” of important cosmologists and scientists through the ages.

 

Inspired by the “type biographies” of Indian graphic designer Kapil Bhagat, Lala designed his logos to make the lives and discoveries of various scientists more engaging and more immediately relatable to students.

Dr. Lala’s work was for a poster that was published in the latest issue of Inside The Perimeter, the official magazine of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.  One can subscribe to the magazine by email for free here.

Meantime, one can read the backstory, and see many more of Dr. L’s lyrical logos at CoDesign.

* Rick Julian

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As we ponder personal branding, we might send dynamic birthday greetings to Daniel Bernoulli; he was born on this date in 1700.  One of the several prominent mathematicians and physicists in the Swiss Bernoulli family, Daniel is best remembered for or his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics.  His name is commemorated in the Bernoulli principle, a particular example of the conservation of energy, which describes the mathematics of the mechanism underlying the operation of two important technologies of the 20th century: the carburetor and the airplane wing.

A contemporary and close friend of Leonhard Euler (see above), Bernoulli was the son of Johann Bernoulli (one of the early developers of calculus), nephew of Jakob Bernoulli (who was the first to discover the theory of probability), and the brother of Johann II (an expert on magnetism and the propagation of light).  Daniel is said to have had a bad relationship with his father: when they tied for first place in a scientific contest at the University of Paris, Johann, unable to bear the “shame” of being compared as Daniel’s equal, banned Daniel from his house.  Johann Bernoulli then plagiarized some key ideas from Daniel’s book Hydrodynamica in his own book Hydraulica, which he backdated to before Hydrodynamica.  Despite Daniel’s attempts at reconciliation, his father carried the grudge until his death.

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Written by LW

February 8, 2014 at 1:01 am

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