Science History

The Icebreaker Yermak

Vice-Admiral S. Makaroff of the Imperial Russian Navy was primarily an oceanographer.   His paper On some Oceanographic Problems, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Vol. XXII, contains, amongst detailed reports of his oceanographic investigations, an explanation of why the icebreaker Yermak* was built.  Quite simply, the ship was intended to promote seaborne commerce where Arctic ice had always been a barrier.  It seems that Makaroff had an idea that perhaps, one day, after much experience had been gained, an icebreaker might just possibly reach the North Pole.
A Brief History of Arctic Warming

The Moon And The Telephone

In the history of the discovery of climate change and its causes, there are many pioneers whose work in relevant areas is all but forgotten.  Some of these people are not widely known.  Others are widely known, but their climate-related work tends to lie forgotten in the archives.  For example: Edison is famous as an inventor and Langley is famous as an aviation pioneer, but both men made little-known contributions to our knowledge of heat.
King Solomon is credited with a lot.   He knew everything, he could turn lead into gold, conjure demons and become invisible. Jamaicans even credit him with discovering marijuana.  If you know the Captain Marvel comic book superhero, the keyword he uses to change from Billy Batson to Captian Marvel is an acronym, SHAZAM - the S stands for Solomon and Solomon gave Cap wisdom.(1)

But he was also the prototype for Faust.  According to the Talmud, written around 500 A.D., Solomon cut a deal with the devil to build the great temple of Jerusalem – with disastrous consequences.
Journalism as an occupation with ethical standards was a 20th century invention.  For a brief, shining moment in time, journalists were interested in truth and newspapers flourished.  Truth is subjective, of course, and so are editors who set the tone of newspapers and during the time when the press had power across all society, editors were on the left and the right.   Newspapers reached everyone, multiple times each day.

Today, the 'fourth estate', as Edmund Burke termed it in the 18th century, still has considerable power - it makes presidents and brings down companies - but it is less trusted than it was two generations ago.
Émilie Du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #3

This is a plain text transcription of Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu - Part 2.

For introductory comments, please see Émilie du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #1.

[edit - inserted image at page 55 and corrected a few minor typos.]

Transcription of part 2 follows below this page break.

    -  51  -

    DU FEU

Émilie Du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #2

This is a plain text transcription of Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu.

For introductory comments, please see Émilie du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #1.

Transcription of part 1 follows below this page break.

Ignea convexis vis, & sine pondere coeli
Emecuit, summâque locum sibi legit in arce.
Émilie du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #1

In 1739 the Paris Academy of Sciences proposed a question: what is fire?  A prize was offered for the best response. Entries were to be presented anonymously. The prize was awarded to Euler.  Voltaire, who had also entered the competition, did not know until the list of entrants was published with the prize award notification that his entry had been in competition against one from his lover.  Although Émilie du Châtelet did not win the prize, her entry was considered so remarkable that, at the request of Réaumur, the Academy decided to have it printed at its own expense.

Science, history and a little detective work?  Yes, please!  

Tony Lupo, professor and department chair of atmospheric sciences at the University of Missouri, and Mike Madden, a meteorology student,  pulled together bits and pieces of global meteorological flotsam to compile a Missouri weather forecast from 150 years.

They created their weather forecast for the Battle of Carthage, which took place early in the Civil War on July 5, 1861.  Why that one?  Well, they live in Missouri.
Other Suns, Other Colors

    It seems to be a law of universal application that if a task is boring and low paid, it should be given to a woman.  Many of the women given such tasks in the past performed them with such skill and dedication that their work has become part of the strong foundations of modern science.  It seems to me to be a matter of great shame that many people today do not know the names of these women.