Science Gazette

The top ten scientific anniversaries in 2022 are listed below


The list includes diabetes insulin, the slide rule, and the birthdays of Gregor Mendel and Louis Pasteur.

Even though the chances of 2022 being less of a catastrophe than 2021 (or 2020) are only even, it is the finest recent year for building a Top 10 list of scientific anniversaries.

Many of the anniversaries are of deaths, such as those of astronomer William Herschel (1822), Hermann Rorschach, Alexander Graham Bell, and mathematician Sophie Bryant (1922), and Louis Leakey (1922). (1972).

However, there are some significant firsts (for example, the first slide rule) and births, such as the scientist who demonstrated how science may rescue humanity from catastrophic contagious illnesses. The birthdays of scientists Rudolf Clausius (200th), Leon Lederman (100th), and C.N. Yang get honorable honors (100th). They almost missed the oldest anniversary, a death from a previous millennium:

10. The 1,100th anniversary of the death of Al-Nayrz

Ab’l-‘Abbs al-Fal ibn tim al-Nayrz was a Persian mathematician and astronomer who was most likely born about A.D. 865 in the town of Nayriz (in modern-day Iran), thus the name al-Nayrz. He died about the year 922. (close enough for Top 10 purposes). He received a position authoring treatises on algebra and meteorology for the caliph al-Mu’taid in Baghdad, among other things.

Unfortunately, many of al-works Nayrz’s have been lost for a long time. Other sources, on the other hand, cite his works and claim that he was an expert in astronomy and geometry. A translation and discussion on Euclid’s Elements is among his extant works. Al-Nayrz also tried to prove Euclid’s famous premise that parallel lines never cross. The distance to upright things was examined in one of Al-treatises Nayrz’s for the caliph. If golf had yet to be developed, the caliph would have utilized this information to calculate the distance to the flagstick without the need of a GPS app.

9. 100th anniversary of the invention of mathematical weather forecasting

Lewis Fry Richardson, a mathematician who eventually became a psychologist, began his career at the National Peat Industries in England. He was tasked with estimating the best drainage system designs for peat moss exposed to various levels of rain. He figured out the equations and recognized they might be used to solve other issues, such as weather forecasting.

He worked on a book called Weather Prediction by Numerical Process in the years running up to World War I. He demonstrated how his equations might be used to analyze numbers for temperature, humidity, air pressure, and other meteorological data from one day to generate a prediction for the following day. He took a hiatus during the war to work as an ambulance driver before finishing his novel, which was released in 1922.

One US Weather Bureau expert claimed the book demonstrated “that meteorology has become a precise science,” according to Science News-Letter at the time. Unfortunately, it took Richardson six weeks of calculating time to generate the following day’s prediction from one day’s data. Modern electronic computers took decades to make weather forecasting mathematics viable and occasionally beneficial.

8. 400th anniversary of the invention of the slide rule

William Oughtred, a clergyman and part-time mathematician and instructor, was born in England around 1575. In 1631, he published a book covering arithmetic and algebra, which was well-received and afterwards praised by Isaac Newton.

Oughtred invented the first slide rule nine years before his book was published. John Napier created logarithms in 1614, demonstrating how multiplication may be performed by addition. Edmund Gunter, an astronomer, came up with the brilliant concept of marking numbers on a straightedge proportionate to their logarithms six years later. Multiplication could then be done by measuring the distances between the numbers to be multiplied using a compass (the caliper sort, not the one used to determine north).

Oughtred had the even brilliant notion of putting two of these rulers next to each other in 1622. He was able to read the result of a multiplication straight off one of the rulers by sliding one along the other to appropriately locate the numbers of interest. Later, Oughtred created a circular slide rule, but one of his pupils claimed to have come up with the concept earlier, resulting in a bitter priority argument.

Advances in slide rule design, including the incorporation of cubes and trigonometric functions, made slide rules the top computing instruments of the 19th and 20th centuries – UNTIL electronic calculators arrived, robbing slide rules of the chance to live to be 400. However, some individuals still use slide rules and possibly have one in their possession.

7. Maria Goeppert Mayer, on her 50th birthday

In 1906, Maria Goeppert was born in what is now Poland. Maria chose mathematics after her father, a university professor, encouraged her to seek further study. However, in the mid-1920s, her curiosity with a newfangled concept known as quantum mechanics inspired her to change her major to physics. She married a scientist (Joseph Mayer) and migrated to the United States after getting her Ph.D. She was permitted to teach courses while her husband was a member of the faculty (at Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and subsequently Chicago), but she was not awarded a position of her own. She was free to pursue scientific initiatives, frequently in conjunction with her husband or other scientists, and she conducted significant work on a variety of quantum physics and chemical problems.

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She was a master of the math required to comprehend spectroscopy; in the 1940s, her studies of the light emitted by the newly discovered transuranic elements revealed that they belonged to a chemical family related to rare-earth elements, providing crucial information for the transuranics’ proper placement in the periodic table. She started researching nuclear physics after WWII and immediately determined the presence of a shell-like structure in the atomic nucleus for the organization of nucleons (protons and neutrons). Her discoveries supplemented Hans Jensen’s work on the nuclear shell model, with whom she subsequently worked on a book. Jensen and Goeppert Mayer were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 for their work.

A proposal from Enrico Fermi, the scientist recognized for his work on the secret Manhattan Project to produce the atomic weapon, assisted her shell model study. That was only fair, for when Fermi left Columbia University to work on the bomb in 1941, Goeppert Mayer was rushed into teaching his class. In 1960, Goeppert Mayer was finally given her own full-time academic post at the University of California, San Diego, but she had a stroke soon after, severely restricting her capacity to do research in the years leading up to her death in 1972.

6. Aage Bohr celebrates his 100th birthday

In 1922, Niels Bohr received the Nobel Prize in Physics, the same year that his son Aage was born. Aage grew up surrounded by physicists (who traveled from all over the globe to study with his father), thus it was only natural for him to pursue a career in the field. During World War II, Aage traveled to the United States with his father to work on the Manhattan Project, then returned to Denmark to complete his Ph.D. at the University of Copenhagen. During this period, Aage focused on an issue involving the atomic nucleus.

CREDIT: Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

His father’s notion that a nucleus acts like a drop of liquid has been used to explain nuclear fission effectively. Recent research by Maria Goeppert Mayer (remember her?) revealed that nuclei had an inner shell-like structure, implying structured groupings of individual particles rather than collective, liquid-like activity. Aage established a new theoretical viewpoint, demonstrating that his father’s viewpoint and Goeppert Mayer’s shell model could be reconciled. He then worked on tests to back it up, sharing the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics for “discovering the relationship between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and developing a hypothesis of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection.”

5. Gregor Mendel celebrates his 200th birthday

Johann Mendel was born on July 22, 1822, to a family of farmers in what is now the Czech Republic. He chose further study over farming, enrolling in a philosophy program that included arithmetic and physics. When the time came for him to return home and take over the family farm, he chose to join a monastery instead (where he adopted the monastic name Gregor). He didn’t love his religious obligations, so he took a teaching position, which prompted him to enroll at the University of Vienna for further scientific study. He discovered botany there, in addition to additional math and physics. Later, he returned to the monastery, where he used his botanical knowledge to look for patterns in the physical characteristics of consecutive pea plant generations.

He reported findings in 1866 that suggested the presence of “differentiating characteristics” (now known as genes) that combined in different ways when passed down from parents to children. Nobody, not even Charles Darwin, who would have been fascinated by Mendel’s remark that his study was important to “the history of the development of living forms,” apparently read his article. Mendel’s work was only recently translated into English and acknowledged for its significance in the fields of heredity, evolution, and biology in general.

4. Pioneer 10 marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s founding

Pioneer 10 was the first robotic spacecraft to be launched into space from Earth. It was the first ship to travel beyond Mars’ orbit and beyond the gap between Neptune and the rest of the solar system’s planets. Pioneer 10 was launched on March 2, 1972, with the purpose of visiting Jupiter and taking some stunning pictures of the big planet and a couple of its moons. Pioneer’s escape velocity from Earth exceeded 51,000 kilometers per hour (about 32,000 miles per hour), a solar system speed record for any flying vehicle or bird at the time. Pioneer 10 arrived near the solar system’s biggest planet in late 1973, coming within 131,000 kilometers (about 81,000 miles) on December 4, after avoiding asteroids (for the most part).

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The record-setting Pioneer 10 launched in 1972 to fly by and take pictures of Jupiter.

Pioneer continued to send signals back to Earth until 1997, when NASA was compelled to cease listening save for periodic check-ins due to budget limitations. The final signal was received on January 23, 2003, at a distance of 7.6 billion miles. Pioneer 10 is currently around 12 billion miles distant, on its path to the star Aldebaran. In around 2 million years, it will come. Perhaps any Aldebaranians who come across it will be able to read the drawings of a man and lady, as well as the map identifying the location of origin, and refill it and send it back.

3. Diabetes is treated with insulin, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of its discovery

One of the earliest and most spectacular medical miracles in a century was the discovery of insulin for the treatment of diabetes. In ancient times, diabetes was regarded as a dangerous condition. By the twentieth century, scientists suspected that the pancreas produced a substance that assisted in the metabolism of carbohydrates; a malfunctioning pancreas prevented a person from extracting energy from carbohydrates in food, resulting in dangerously high blood sugar levels and a lack of energy in the body. In youngsters, it was almost invariably deadly, and adults with diabetes could only expect to live for a few more years.

Diabetes was placed “alongside cancer in lethality and incurability,” according to Science News-Letter in 1922. However, in that same year, a young doctor claimed success in curing diabetes using a pancreatic material. Frederick Banting, the doctor who delivered the first insulin injection to a human, a 14-year-old boy, in January 1922, had attempted the technique with dogs the year before. Banting employed animal-derived insulin at first, but researchers have developed more sophisticated versions for human usage in the decades following. Even with the animal insulin, however, Banting and his lab director John Macleod were given the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1923 for their work.

2. Science News celebrates its 100th birthday

The organization then known as Scientific Service sent a weekly packet of mimeographed pages (named Science News Bulletin) to newspapers and other media around the nation in its first year of bringing science news to the globe. However, when more organizations (such as libraries) and people started to request the package, Science Service changed its tactics with issue No. 50. Science News-Letter debuted on March 13, 1922, with a redesigned masthead and a $5 per year postpaid subscription offer. The first item was a description of a report by the US Department of Commerce on the allotment of radio frequencies. “Widespread use of radio for the dissemination of public information and other things of popular interest” was promised in the report. The journal changed its name from “Letter” to “Science News” in 1966, offering a cause for another centenary celebration in 2066.

1. The 200th birthday of Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur, who was born in December 1822 in France, was not a bright child. His first interests were in art, but some inspired lectures subsequently turned his focus to chemistry, and he went on to become one of the finest scientists of all time. One of the best biologists of all time. Despite his lack of medical training, he laid the groundwork for contemporary medicine’s capacity to combat illness.

Pasteur’s research of germs led to the realization that they had the potential to harm human health. His perseverance in performing rigorous tests and his brash public presentation of his discoveries established the germ hypothesis of illness and sparked the development of new sanitation technologies. He was often asked to come up with answers to difficult challenges that plagued diverse sectors. He was the one who rescued the silk business. He demonstrated how to keep wine from spoiling and how to make milk safe to consume. He developed vaccinations for a variety of ailments, including a rabies vaccine. No one in history has been more responsible for saving human health and averting needless deaths than Pasteur. He is fortunate, though, as he was born 200 years ago. If he were still alive today, he would be receiving death threats.

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