Science History

In 1855, a specimen of the brain of mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss was taken and preserved. But the over 150-year-old slice of his brain, which scientists had long been examining in the belief that it was Gauss's brain, turns out to not be his brain at all.

Instead, the preserved specimens of the brains of Gauss and Göttingen physician Conrad Heinrich Fuchs, a medical scholar and founder of the University of Göttingen's anatomical pathology collection, were switched, probably soon after the death of both men in 1855, says  Renate Schweizer, a neuroscientist at Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

Technology may not seem like more of a woman's world than science, but in some ways it is - Ada Lovelace is revered by computer programmers and is well-known in popular culture, while Laura Bassi, the first women to forge a professional scientific career, is basically unknown outside physics.

Laura Bassi was born in Bologna in 1711 and rose to celebrity status across the globe, gaining a reputation as being the best physics teacher of her generation and helping to develop the discipline of experimental physics.She was the "woman who understood Newton", even more of a fascination then because so few men in science understood Newton.

A few days ago, I was watching an episode of the Antiques Roadshow.  People were bringing their treasured objects for expert examination to the grounds of a stately house in St Ives, Cambridgeshire.  The items included an early pocket calculator by Sinclair (made locally), and a traction engine arrived in full steam.  But my ears really pricked up when a valuable jug bought for a fiver (in today’s money, perhaps $50) was identified as a Bellarmine Jug


Amy Harmon's excellent, recent article in the New York Times describes how the Florida orange juice industry may soon be wiped-out because of a new bacterial disease spread by an introduced insect.  It looks like there could be a technology-fix for the problem using genetic engineering.  The question is whether the growers will get to apply that solution.
The contrarian in me forces me to argue against sides I would ordinarily agree with when the argument is made from a flawed premise; California's Proposition 37 got a thumbs down from me because there's no reason a terrifically unhealthy Whole Foods organic cupcake should have zero ingredient labeling requirements while a cupcake mix you buy in a store should have a warning label - the Whole Foods organic cupcake is far less healthy in every way.
Electric Batteries - by A. Volta

In this article I present my translation of Alessandro (Alexander) Volta's original French paper, which I published as -
Batteries électriques - By A. Volta
Batteries électriques - by Alexander Volta

In 1800 the Royal Society published Alexander Volta's description of how he built his batteries.

It is not widely known that Volta invented both the 'wet' and the 'dry' battery.  Most writers mention Volta's pile - a 'dry' battery, but omit to mention his 'crown of cups', or 'wet' battery.

News (?), Top-Secret (?), Latest revelation (?)
Strange, the EU was aware of the NSA (spying) global gathering of electronic data since 2001.  Sorry folks, this is not news.  I wrote about this several years ago in this forum under the title: Quantum Physics; Humor, Sensationalizing, Hard Science, Espionage

Part of this post is quoted below.

"Espionage-

In A. D. 1300 in Poland, more precisely in the region of Kashubia, was coined the term "nachzehrer" to define the female vampire, or "chewing the shroud" or "devourer of the night." 

The Nachzehrer would be a special kind of vampire who lives in a constant state of numbness in his grave, without understanding what is happening around and just like a child, chewing spasmodically his dress.

Most people, including many scientists and electrical engineers, have never heard of Wilhelm Josef Sinsteden.  He invented the lead-acid battery and published his findings in 1854.  In 1860 an improved construction by Gaston Raimond Planté was the first commercially viable version.  It is probably the wide marketing and adoption of the Planté cell which has led to so many books and articles - even a majority of scientific papers - stating that Planté invented the first of these batteries, usually giving 1859 as the date.