Luminaries

Each month or so, we will feature a new set of STEM Luminaries (one each from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and a Conservation Leader from the Past and Present.  There are many notable figures down through the ages that we’ve heard of-Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein, but what we plan to do here is to introduce you to names you may not have heard of, and that is where we begin. For each person, we will provide you with a couple of links, so you can learn more (with your parent’s permission.) If there is someone you think we should feature, let us know (Michael McDowell).

May-June 2021

Science-Tycho Brahe

Prior to the invention of the telescope, one astronomer stands out, Tycho Brahe.  Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer born in 1546.  Over the course of Tycho’s career, he designed, built, and calibrated instrumentation for nightly observations of the stars and the planets.  Tycho Brahe spent some 20 years making nightly observations of the planets, something that no one had done up to that point.  This work enable an assistant of his, Johannes Kepler, to devise the Laws of Planetary Motion.  Kepler gets credit for the Laws, but without Brahe’s observations they could not have been established.

If you would like to learn more about Tycho Brahe (and his metal nose), and with your parent or guardian’s permission, check out this links–Tycho Brahe (Galileo), Tycho Brahe (Space), and Tycho Brahe (Britannica).

Technology-Les Paul

Sometimes technology is used in new and unexpected ways, such as the electric guitar. Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss) was an American guitar player and inventor.  He was one of the pioneers of solid body electric guitars.  In addition to his contributions in the area of guitar design, he was an innovator in the recording studio.

If you would like to learn more about Les Paul and his guitars, and with your parent or guardian’s permission, check out the following links–Les Paul (Foundation) and Les Paul (NYT).

Engineering-Charles Babbage

In last month’s edition, we introduced Ada Lovelace and her work in computer programming. In this edition, we will introduce Charles Babbage and his difference engine (or computer). Charles Babbage was born in 1791 in London.  He could easily be placed in the Technology category or the Mathematics category as he was an inventor and a mathematician, but we will consider him and engineer for this edition.  Babbage’s Difference Engines were ahead of their time and there are few remaining pieces left.  When efforts were made to reconstruct his Difference Engine in the mid-1800’s, they produced results of amazing accuracy.

If you would like to learn more about Charles Babbage and his Difference Engines, and with your parent or guardian’s permission, check out these links–Charles Babbage (Institute), Charles Babbage (CHM), and Charles Babbage (BBC).

Mathematics-Al-Khwarizmi

Ever wonder where the term Algorithm comes from? What about everyone’s favorite subject Algebra? Where did that come from? The answer to all these questions is Muhammad Ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi, or just Al-Khwarizmi.  Al-Khwarizmi was born in Persia and lived in the 9th Century (800’s).  He was one of the first Director’s of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.

The term Algebra is derived from the title of his most important work.  He was a strong advocate for the Hindu number system we still use to this day 0 & 1-9, now referred to as Hindu-Arabic numerals.  Al-Khwarizmi’s work influenced many of the names already presented on the STEM-Mathematics Luminaries.

If you would like to learn more about Al-Khwarizmi and his work, and with your parent or guardian’s permission, check out these links–Al-Khwarizmi (Math), Al-Khwarizmi (History), and Al-Khwarizmi (Britannica).

Conservation-Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s 1947 best seller, The Everglades: River of Grass, raised America’s consciousness and transformed the Florida Everglades from an area that was looked upon as a useless swamp – to be drained and developed commercially – to a national park that is seen as a valuable environmental resource to be protected and preserved.

If you would like to learn more about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and with your parent or guardian’s permission, check out these links–Marjory Stoneman Douglas (NWHOF) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Women’s History).

The Archives

January-February 2021:

November-December 2020:

July 2020:

June 2020:

May 2020:

Venturing

Sea Scouts

Exploring

International

Highlander

Shooting Sport

STEM

Scouting for Food

Order of the Arrow