Happy Birthday, Frances Spence

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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Caty Fairclough November 23, 2017

Throughout his lifetime, Johannes Diderik van der Waals worked toward increasing our understanding of liquids and gases. With his groundbreaking work, he made a name for himself in molecular science and earned a Nobel Prize in Physics.

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Caty Fairclough October 27, 2017

Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau was an innovative chemical engineer who designed the first commercial penicillin plant. This plant enabled scientists to produce large quantities of the life-saving drug. Rousseau’s other accomplishments include developing high-octane gasoline and becoming the first woman to join the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). On this day, her birthday, we explore her life and legacy.

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Caty Fairclough October 18, 2017

How might a rainbow-colored crustacean help improve cancer detection? The answer lies within the mantis shrimp’s amazing visual system, which is one of the most advanced in the animal kingdom. By using the mantis shrimp as inspiration for an imaging system design, one research group hopes to provide a new cancer detection tool.

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Brianne Costa October 17, 2017

Imagine that reading books with no pictures and 12-point font is all you know. One day, someone hands you a pair of 3D glasses and takes you to see a movie. This is how thousands of researchers and scientists in astrophysics might feel right now — they have been closely working on the recent groundbreaking gravitational waves discovery that enables us to get a clearer, brighter view of the universe.

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Caty Fairclough October 6, 2017

George Westinghouse was a prolific inventor who helped shape how we use electricity in America and throughout the world. Among his notable achievements, he improved the safety of trains and furthered the acceptance and use of alternating current (AC) as a standard way to supply electricity. Throughout his life, Westinghouse started many companies and fostered strong ties to other great thinkers. As today is his birthday, we’d like to celebrate his life and accomplishments.

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