Oct 2, 1608: Johannes Lippershey demonstrated his new invention, the first optical telescope. He showed it to the Netherlands States General. Lippershey was a lens grinder who made eyeglasses or spectacles. One of his apprentices discovered that by holding a long-focus lens at a distance from the eye and a short-focus lens directly in front of the eye, distant objects appeared closer. Lippershey mounted lenses in tubes and applied for a patent in 1608. He also offered them for sale to the Dutch government, which appreciated their military value.

When Galileo heard of the device, he made a similar one and used it to study the sky. The word “telescope” was coined by a guest attending a banquet honoring Galileo on April 14, 1611, where he demonstrated the device.

Oct 2, 1721: The first record of the importation of an African camel into America was an advertisement in the Boston Gazette, announcing that the camel was being exhibited in Boston, Massachusetts, and that it stood 7 feet high and 12 feet long. The first commercial importation of camels into the USA was made in 1856. They were to be used for military purposes, mainly in the desert Southwest.

Oct 2, 1832: Julius von Sachs, a German botanist famous for studying plant physiology, nutrition, and tropism (response to environmental stimuli) was born. He discovered transpiration — that absorbed water moves in tubes in the plant walls without the cooperation of living cells. In 1865, Sachs discovered chlorophyll, the green substance of plants, that it is located in special bodies within plant cells, later called chloroplasts, that glucose is made by the action of chlorophyll, and that the glucose is usually stored as starch. Sachs also studied the formation of growth rings in trees, the role of tissue tension in promoting organ growth, and he invented the clinostat to measure the effects of such external factors such as light and gravity on the movement of growing plants. His work was a significant contribution to the knowledge of plant physiology during the second half of the 19th century.

Oct 2, 1832: English anthropologist, Edward Burnett Tylor, regarded as the founder of cultural anthropology, was born. After travelling in the USA in 1855, he proceeded to Cuba where he met Henry Christy the ethnologist. Together, they visited Mexico, where Christy’s influence greatly stimulated Tylor’s interest in anthropology. Seeing the rich prehistoric remains in Mexico inspired Tylor to make a systematic study.

His most important work, Primitive Culture, published in 1871, was influenced by Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. Tylor developed the theory of an evolutionary, progressive relationship between primitive and modern cultures.

Oct 2, 1836: Charles Darwin returned from his famous five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle to the Pacific. It would be 23 years before he published Origin of Species.

Oct 2, 1846: American physician, Eliza Maria Mosher, whose wide-ranging medical career included an educational focus on physical fitness and health maintenance, was born. Upon receiving her doctorate in medicine in 1875, she began private practice in Poughkeepsie, New York. In 1877 she was made resident physician at the Massachusetts State Reformatory Prison for Women at Sherborn, Massachusetts. Subsequently, she became superintendent of the institution, though an injury to her knee forced her to return to private practice and university positions.

In private research she investigated medical aspects of posture. She designed the seats in several types of rapid-transit streetcars, invented an orthopedically sound kindergarten chair, and was a founder of the American Posture League.

Oct 2, 1852: Scottish chemist, William Ramsay, who discovered who discovered the elements neon, krypton and xenon and co-discovered argon, radon, calcium and barium. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1904, “in recognition of his services in the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air, and his determination of their place in the periodic system.” The so-called “inert gases” are now called “noble gases” because some examples of chemical reactions have been discovered.

Oct 2, 1854: Scottish biologist and sociologist, Sir Patrick Geddes, who was one of the modern pioneers of the concept of town and regional planning, was born. He studied under Darwin’s champion, Thomas Henry Huxley. As a professor of botany, Geddes emphasized the development of sexual reproduction as a major step in organic evolution and, with the naturalist John Arthur Thomson, published The Evolution of Sex (1889). Geddes turned his attention to sociology after an attack of blindness in Mexico hampered his biological experimentation. His researches in India, Palestine, Mexico, and Scotland led to his conviction that the development of human communities was primarily biological in nature, consisting of interactions among people, their environment, and their activities.

Oct 2, 1858: Gerhard (Jakob), Friherre De Geer (Baron), Swedish geologist, was born. He originated the varve-counting method used in geochronology. A varve is a seasonal coarse-fine layer of clay deposited in still water. The layers were produced by the annual meltwater sequence with rapid melting and discharge in summer depositing coarse sediments and slow settling of fine-grained material during the winter months. The method he devised of counting of layers in glaciers was good for dating back to 18,000 years. In 1920 De Geer visited the United States to study the varves of New England.

Oct 2, 1866: The first U.S. patent for a tin can with a key opener was issued to J. Osterhoudt of New York City, US #58,554.

Oct 2, 1878: German geophysicist and petroleum engineer, Conrad Schlumberger, was born. He is noted for his invention in 1927 of a method of continuous electric logging of boreholes. Beginning in 1912, Conrad Schlumberger conceived the idea for electrical measurements to map subsurface rock bodies. He was first joined by his brother, Marcel, in 1919 for work together in Normandy, France, opening their first office in 1921.

For three years, starting in 1923, Schlumberger teams conducted geophysical surveys in Romania, Serbia, Canada, South Africa, Belgian Congo and the USA. Electrical prospecting was used for the first time to map a subsurface oil-bearing structure: a salt dome in Romania. In 1927, the first electrical resistivity log was recorded in a well in Pechelbronn, France.

Today, Schlumberger Limited is the world’s largest oilfield services company. Schlumberger employs approximately 100,000 people working in more than 85 countries.

Oct 2, 1883: Karl (Anton von) Terzaghi, Austrian-American civil engineer, was born. He who founded the branch of civil engineering science known as soil mechanics, a term he coined for the study of the properties of soil under stresses and under the action of flowing water. Soil dynamics deals with soil properties and behaviour under changing stress, such as may occur due to earthquakes, bomb blasts, fast-moving traffic, wind, or wave action.

Oct 2, 1886: Swiss-American astronomer, Robert Julius Trumpler, who moved to the USA in 1915 and worked at the Lick Observatory, was born. In 1922, by observing a solar eclipse, he confirmed Einstein’s theory of relativity. He made extensive studies of galactic star clusters, and demonstrated the presence throughout the galactic plane of a faint haze of interstellar material that absorbs light generally, that dims and reddens the light of distant star clusters.

The presence of this obscuring haze revealed how the size of spiral galaxies had been over-estimated. Harlow Shapley, in 1918, determined the distance to the centre of the Milky Way to be 50,000 light-years away. Trumpler’s work reduced this to 30,000 light-years.

Oct 2, 1901: American aeronautical engineer, educator, and science administrator, Charles Stark Draper, was born. He who earned degrees from Stanford, Harvard, and MIT. In 1939, he became head of MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory, which was a center for the design of navigational and guidance systems for ships, airplanes, and missiles from World War II through the Cold War. He developed gyroscope systems that stabilized and balanced gunsights and bombsights and which were later expanded to an inertial guidance system for launching long-range missiles at supersonic targets. He was the “father of inertial navigation.” The Apollo contract for guiding man and spacecraft to the moon was placed with the Draper Instrumentation Lab, which developed the Apollo’s onboard computer and many other instruments.

Oct 2, 1903: The first US steam-turbine of large capacity for commercial service was placed in service at the Fiske Street station of the Commonwealth Edison Co., Chicago, Illinois. It was built by General Electric Co in Schenectady, New York, and had been factory-tested on March 4, 1903. Compared to the reciprocating engine it replaced, the turbine needed only one-third the floor space, had one-eighth the weight, and cost one-third as much. The turbine developed 6,500 horsepower, operating at a steam pressure 175 psi and a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oct 2, 1906: German-American engineer, Willy Ley, who was a founder of the German Rocket Society, was born. The society was the first group of men (with the sole exception of Robert Goddard) to experiment with rockets. Ley introduced Wernher von Braun to the society. Ley was consultant for the science fiction film Frau im Mond in which the countdown from ten to zero was introduced. Fiercely anti-Nazi, unlike Von Braun, he emigrated to the USA in 1934 rather than pursue military applications of rocketry. In the USA, he became a popularizer of space exploration and travel, writing many popular books.

Oct 2, 1907: Baron Alexander R(obertus) Todd (of Trumpington), British biochemist, was born. His research on the structure and synthesis of nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes gained him the 1957 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Nucleotides, found in the chromosomes and also in cell plasma, are connected with the units of heredity. It was known that they are built up of three very different “building stones”: phosphoric acid, a sugar, and a heterocyclic base containing nitrogen, assembled in one macromolecule. Todd researched how they are connected to each other.

Oct 2, 1917: Belgian cytologist and biochemist, Christian René de Duve, was born. He discovered lysosomes (the digestive organelles of cells) and peroxisomes (organelles that are the site of metabolic processes involving hydrogen peroxide). Lysosomes have been shown by de Duve and others to be engaged in a series of cellular activities during which biological material must be degraded. The lysosomes are used in defense mechanisms against bacteria, during resorption, and secretion. They can also be used for a controlled degradation of the cell in which they are contained, for example, to remove worn out components. For this work he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Albert Claude and George Palade.

Oct 2, 1937: Motion pictures of moving X-ray images on a fluoroscopic screen showing the movement of organs of the human body were shown at the American Roentgen Ray Society convention in New York City. The images were filmed with a home 16 mm movie camera at 16 frames per second. Two second long shots could capture two or three beats of the heart, the act of breathing, movements of the diaphragm or motion of joints. The clips could be looped to show repeating motion. The films were made by Drs William H. Stewart, William J. Hoffman and Francis H. Ghiselin from Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

Oct 2, 1956: The Atomicron, the first atomic clock in the USA, was unveiled at the Overseas Press Club in New York City. The time base was the frequency of the transitions between two hyperfine grounds states of cesium, which results in a frequency of 9,192,631,770 Hz. For greatest precision this should be adjusted for the influence of Earth’s magnetic field and Earth’s orbit around the sun. However, when the cesium standard was adopted in 1960, these adjustments weren’t necessary because the precision of the clock exceeded the precision of all other scientific measurements ever made.