Oct 22, 1511: German mathematician, Erasmus Reinhold, was born. He was a leading mathematical astronomer in his time. He carefully calculated the first set of planetary tables applying Copernican theory, published in 1551. They were named after his financial supporter (Albert, Duke of Prussia) as the Tabulae Prutenicae. Although Reinhold’s work furthered the acceptance of Copernican views, he expressed no enthusiasm for the heliocentric assumption. He merely accepted it for having merit as a mathematical device yielding practical results. His tables were superceded in three-quarters of a century by Kepler’s improvements.
Oct 22, 1783: Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, French naturalist, traveller and writer, was born. Despite work of variable reliability, he still substantially expanded knowledge with extensive travels, collecting, cataloging and naming huge numbers of plants and some animals. He is credited with being the first to describe many new species.
Years ahead of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, Rafinesque conceived his own ideas. He thought that species had, even within the timeframe of a century, a continuing tendency for varieties to appear that would diverge in their characteristics to the point of forming new species. He was over-enthusiastic at distinguishing what he called new species. He wrote prolifically and often self-published. His work varied from brilliant to careless. His work was often dismissed and he died in poverty.
Oct 22, 1797: The first successful parachute jump was made by André-Jacques Garnerin. He was released from a balloon 2,230 feet above the Parc Monceau, Paris. He rode in a gondola fixed to the lines of a 23 foot diameter parachute, which was supported by a wooden pole and had 32 white canvas gores folded like a closed umbrella. Lacking a vent at the top of the parachute, Garnerin descended with violent oscillations and suffered the first case of airsickness. For his next jump, he added a hole in the top of the parachute. He made his fifth jump on Sep 21, 1802 over London, from a height of 3,000 feet. This was the first parachute descent ever made in England. He omitted the vent this time, resulting in severe oscillations again, and another case of airsickness.
Oct 22, 1807: Swedish physician, Magnus Huss, was born. He coined the word “alcoholism” and was the first to define it as a chronic, relapsing disease.
Oct 22, 1843: American agricultural chemist, Stephen Moulton Babcock, was born. He is often called the father of scientific dairying, chiefly because of his development of the Babcock test in 1890. This is a simple method of measuring the butterfat content of milk. It consists in liberating the fat globules by dissolving the casein in a strong acid and then separating the fat by means of a centrifuge. The test discouraged milk adulteration and provided for the first time an adequate standard by which fair payment for milk could be determined. This stimulated improvement of dairy production and aided in factory manufacture of cheese and butter. He worked for 43 years at the University of Wisconsin, where he established a laboratory where he carried out pioneering research in nutrition and in the chemistry of vitamins.
Oct 22, 1872: Thomas A. Edison was issued U.S, patent #132456, which described a compact machine to punch perforated tape used to transmit telegraphic messages. Keys could punch either a single hole for a dot or three holes for a dash.
Oct 22, 1877: English bacteriologist, Frederick William Twort, was born. He worked with George Ingram and together were the first to publish, in 1912, a method for isolating and culturing the extremely fastidious Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. This is the bacterium that causes Johne’s disease, or chronic dysentery of cattle.
In 1915, he was the first to publish a report on viruses that prey on bacteria, called bacteriophages. Félix d’Hérelle independently made the discovery two years later. Twort’s somewhat accidental discovery happened when he noticed that the bacteria infecting his plates became transparent. Thinking the virus to be a primitive life form, he tried to grow viruses in artificial media, but had difficulty funding the research.
Oct 22, 1878: Thomas A. Edison was issued U.S. patent #209,241 for “Quadruplex-Telegraph Repeaters”. This invention is an improved method for one quadruplex circuit to repeat into another quadruplex circuit. The patent describes the electromagnets, local circuits, switches and connections. The circuits work into and operate each other so that the message is repeated automatically into one circuit by the receiving instrument of another circuit.
Oct 22, 1879: Edison’s long series of experiments testing materials for suitability as an electric light filament reached a turning point. Charles Batchelor, working at Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, produced illumination for 14-1/2 hours from a lamp using a carbonized cotton thread. It failed when extra power was added. However, this was such a substantial improvement that attention turned to improving the carbonized filament. Patents were filed, and within two months progress with the Edison light bulb was made public. An article was published on Dec 21, 1879 by the New York Herald. By then, the Menlo Park laboratory was continuously illuminated by Edison’s incandescent light bulbs.
Oct 22, 1881: American physicist, Clinton Joseph Davisson, was born. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1937 with George P. Thomson for discovering that electrons can be diffracted like light waves, thus verifying the thesis of Louis de Broglie that electrons behave both as waves and as particles. Davisson studied the effect of electron bombardment on surfaces and observed, in 1925, that the angle of reflection could depend on crystal orientation. Following Louis de Broglie’s theory of the wave nature of particles, he realized that his results could be due to diffraction of electrons by the pattern of atoms on the crystal surface. Davisson worked with Lester Germer in an experiment in which electrons bouncing off of a nickel surface produced wave patterns similar to those formed by light reflected from a diffraction grating. This supported de Broglie’s electron wavelength equation being lambda = h/p. This discovery was applied to the study of nuclear, atomic, and molecular structure. Davisson helped develop the electron microscope which uses the wave nature of electrons to view details smaller than the wavelength of visible light.
Oct 22, 1896: American biochemist, Charles Glen King, was born. He discovered vitamin C, an aid in the prevention of scurvy and malnutrition. After five years of painstaking research extracting components from lemon juice, King isolated vitamin C ini 1932. Its structure was quickly determined and it was synthesized by scientists such as Haworth and Reichstein in 1933. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a colourless crystalline water-soluble vitamin found especially in citrus fruits and green vegetables. The name “ascorbic” was chosen from Latin, “a” (without) “scorbus” (scurvy).
Most organisms synthesize Vitamin C from glucose but primates and various other species do not and must obtain it from their diet. It is required for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue. Deficiency leads to scurvy. Vitamin C is readily destroyed by heat and light.
Oct 22, 1902: American chemist, Frank Harold Spedding, was born. During the 1940s and 1950s, he developed processes for reducing individual rare-earth elements to their metallic state at low cost, thereby making these substances available to industry at reasonable prices. Earlier, upon the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939, the U.S. government asked leading scientists to join in the development of nuclear energy. In 1942, Iowa State College’s Frank H. Spedding, an expert in the chemistry of rare earths, agreed to set up the Ames portion of the Manhattan Project, resulting in an easy and inexpensive procedure to produce high quality uranium. Between 1942 and 1945, almost two million pounds of uranium was processed on campus, in the old Popcorn Laboratory.
Oct 22, 1903: George Wells Beadle, American geneticist, was born. He helped found biochemical genetics when he showed that genes affect heredity and act by regulating definite chemical events. He shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Edward Tatum and Joshua Lederberg. Beadle and Tatum succeeded in demonstrating that the body substances are synthesized in the individual cell step-by-step in long chains of chemical reactions, and that genes control these processes by individually regulating definite steps in the synthesis chain. This regulation takes place through formation by the gene of special enzymes.
Oct 22, 1905: Karl Guthe Jansky, American electrical engineer, was born. In 1932, he discovered cosmic radio emissions, the beginning of radio astronomy. At Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, Jansky was tracking down the crackling static noises that plagued overseas telephone reception. He found certain radio waves came from a specific region in the sky every 23 hours and 56 minutes. They came from the direction of Sagittarius toward the center of the Milky Way. In his published results, he suggested that the radio emissions were somehow connected to the Milky Way and that it originated not from stars but from ionized interstellar gas. At the young age of 26, Jansky had made a historic discovery.
Oct 22, 1906: Henry Ford became president of Ford Motor Company. Since the company incorporation paperwork was signed on June 16, 1903, the president had been the investor John S. Gray. Since the company was first formed, he had been the company Vice-President and Chief Engineer. When Gray died in July of 1906, the shareholders elected Ford to take the position of company president. Within two years, the Model T Ford car was made available to the public.
Oct 22, 1912: Thomas A. Edison was issued U.S. patents for a cement kiln conveyor and for a “Phonograph-Stylus” formed of crystallized boron which, because of its hardness could operate on sound records formed from hard materials without wearing away. Small crystals of boron could be formed in an electric furnace and were easier to polish than diamond, while not being as fragile.
Oct 22, 1938: Xerography was demonstrated by Chester F. Carlson. With his assistant, Otto Kornei, Carlson used a sulfur coating on a zinc plate, vigorously rubbed with a handkerchief to apply an electrostatic charge. A glass slide was prepared using India ink to write “10-22-38 ASTORIA” and laid on the sulphur surface in a darkened room. After illuminating them with a bright incandescent lamp for a few seconds, the slide was removed. When lycopodium powder was sprinkled on the sulphur surface and blown off, there remained a near-perfect image of the writing. Permanent copies were made by transferring the powder images to wax paper and heating the sheets to melt the wax. Xerox is a term coming from “xerography” which means dry writing.
Oct 22, 1981: Artificial sweetener, Aspartame, was approved for tabletop use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its permitted uses included candy, tablets, breakfast cereals, instant coffee and tea, gelatins, puddings, fillings, dairy-product toppings, as a flavor enhancer for chewing gum, and many others. It was first approved Jul, 26, 1974, but objections caused a delay on Dec 5, 1975. Years of scrutiny followed.
In December of 1965, while working on an ulcer drug, James M. Schlatter had made the discovery that a mixture of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, had a sweet taste. By weight it was about 200 times sweeter than sugar, with very few calories. G.D. Searle marketed it as NutraSweet, a low-calorie artificial sweetener without the bitter aftertaste of saccharin.
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