(Editor’s note: February 12, 1809 turned out to be a very big day for humankind. Two remarkable men born on that day. One changed the way we look at ourselves and one changed the way we look at others.)
U. S. Birthday
Abraham Lincoln– “The Great Emancipator” 16th President of the United States
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery. As the war was drawing to a close, Lincoln became the first American president to be assassinated. Before his election in 1860 as the first Republican president, Lincoln had been a lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and twice an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Senate.
Robert Boyle– English natural philosopher, one of the founders of modern chemisty.
Robert Boyle (25 January 1627 – 30 December 1691) was an Irish-born English theologian, natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor, and early gentleman scientist, noted for his work in physics and chemistry. He is best known for the formulation of Boyle’s law. Although his research and personal philosophy clearly has its roots in the alchemical tradition, he is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry. Among his works, The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry.
Sir Isaac Newton, (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727 ) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian and one of the most influential men in human history.
Louis Pasteur ( December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French chemist andmicrobiologist born in Dole. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of disease. His discoveries reduced mortality from puerperal fever, and he created the first vaccine for rabies. His experiments supported the germ theory of disease. He was best known to the general public for inventing a method to stop milk and wine from causing sickness, a process that came to be called pasteurization. He is regarded as one of the three main founders of microbiology, together with Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch. Pasteur also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry, most notably the molecular basis for the asymmetry of certain crystals. His body lies beneath the Institute Pasteur in Paris in a spectacular vault covered in depictions of his accomplishments in Byzantine mosaics.
James Cook – British explorer who made the first European contact with Hawaiians.
Captain James Cook (7 November [O.S. 27 October] 1728 – 14 February 1779), was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. Cook was the first to map Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean during which he achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands as well as the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek (born on October 24, 1632 – baptized on November 4, and died on August 26, 1723 – buried on August 30) was a Dutch tradesman and scientist from Delft, the Netherlands. He is commonly known as “the Father of Microbiology“, and considered to be the first microbiologist. He is best known for his work on the improvement of the microscope and for his contributions towards the establishment of microbiology. Using his handcrafted microscopes he was the first to observe and describe single celled organisms, which he originally referred to as animalcules, and which we now refer to as microorganisms. He was also the first to record microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa and blood flow in capillaries (small blood vessels). Van Leeuwenhoek never wrote books, just letters.
Neils Bohr – Pioneer in the development of nuclear physics.
Niels Henrik David Bohr (7 October 1885 – 18 November 1962) was a Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr mentored and collaborated with many of the top physicists of the century at his institute in Copenhagen. He was part of a team of physicists working on the Manhattan Project. Bohr married Margrethe Nørlund in 1912, and one of their sons, Aage Bohr, grew up to be an important physicist who in 1975 also received the Nobel prize. Bohr has been described as one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century.
Thomas Hunt Morgan – American geneticist and first Nobel Prize winner in the field of genetics.
Thomas Hunt Morgan (September 25, 1866 – December 4, 1945) was an American geneticist and embryologist. Morgan received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1890 and researched embryology during his tenure at Bryn Mawr. Following the rediscovery of Mendelian inheritance in 1900, Morgan’s research moved to the study of mutation in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In his famous Fly Room at Columbia University Morgan was able to demonstrate that genes are carried on chromosomes and are the mechanical basis of heredity. These discoveries formed the basis of the modern science of genetics. When he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933 he was the first person awarded the Prize in genetics, for his discoveries concerning the role played by the chromosome in heredity.