Happy Birthday, Leonhard Euler

Thomas Forrister April 15, 2018

Prolific and profound, Leonhard Euler is considered one of the greatest mathematical scientists of all time. He made formative contributions to whole branches of mathematics, among them infinitesimal calculus, graph theory, and topology. Best known for his eponymous formula and identity equation, part of his genius was the ability to apply equations to the world around him and explain scientific concepts in terms that a layperson could understand.

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Brianne Costa March 27, 2018

In early 2018, the northeast coast of the U.S. was hit with three major winter storms (locals “lovingly” call them nor’easters) all in a matter of weeks. Cape Cod in Massachusetts faced especially severe coastal erosion that damaged many homes and businesses. After one of the storms, residents surveyed the aftermath and noticed something interesting…

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Thomas Forrister March 23, 2018

Pierre-Simon Laplace was a French physicist who made many contributions to mathematics and astronomy and is best known for demonstrating the stability of our solar system. Sometimes referred to as “the French Sir Isaac Newton”, Laplace confirmed Newton’s theory of gravitation by applying it to planetary orbits. Many of his formulas are still used by physicists today.

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Jenn Nguyen March 14, 2018

“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” –Albert Einstein A passionate and curious intellectual, Albert Einstein is considered one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century. The German-born mathematician and physicist made numerous discoveries throughout his lifetime. Most notably, he developed the special and general theories of relativity. For discovering the law of the photoelectric effect, he earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.

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Caty Fairclough March 6, 2018

In 1801, the building around a glassmaker apprentice named Joseph von Fraunhofer collapsed, trapping him in rubble. While he didn’t know it at the time, this dramatic event (and resulting encounter with a prince-elector and politician) set him on the path toward improving the field of optics…

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Thomas Forrister March 2, 2018

Frances Spence was an American mathematician and one of the first computer programmers in history. She is best known for her work as a programmer of the first digital computer, Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). Although she helped program the computer during WWII, her contributions to computer programming have only recently been recognized.

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Thomas Forrister February 18, 2018

“I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.” So begins the iconic scene in Frankenstein, which was first published in 1818. While Shelley infused a spark of life into science fiction, Alessandro Volta helped foster innovation in the field of electrochemistry through also trying to “spark life” into a lifeless thing — literally.

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Caty Fairclough February 6, 2018

Robert Maillart was a civil engineer who balanced his artistic and technical abilities to create world-renowned structures, such as the Salginatobel Bridge. Maillart’s innovative work revolutionized the use of reinforced concrete and influenced future generations of architects and engineers.

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Brianne Costa January 12, 2018

“Where?” “Of what?” “Why?” These are questions often asked of someone who is planning on getting a tattoo. Another common question: “Is it safe?” You can vet the cleanliness of a tattoo parlor and the artist’s qualifications, but there hasn’t been much research into what happens to ink once it enters the body. A research group recently investigated if tattoo pigment can harm skin and the lymphatic system using techniques such as mass spectrometry and X-ray fluorescence.

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Caty Fairclough December 25, 2017

Ernst Ruska was an electrical engineer who earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. During his lifetime, he advanced the field of electron optics and developed the first electron microscope, enabling scientists to study objects too small to be observed with light microscopes.

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Caty Fairclough November 29, 2017

You’re driving on the highway as an ambulance goes by, siren blaring. After the ambulance passes your car, you notice that the pitch of the siren suddenly drops. This happens due to the Doppler effect, which is named after physicist and mathematician Christian Doppler.

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