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).
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).
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.
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).
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).
- Science-Rosalind Franklin (Rosalind Franklin (DNA), Rosalind Franklin (NIH), and Rosalind Franklin (Nature))
- Technology-Beulah Louise Henry (Beulah Henry (Invent), Beulah Henry (MIT), and Beulah Henry (Patent))
- Engineering-Beatrice Shilling (Beatrice Shilling (Revival), Beatrice Shilling (WES), and Beatrice Shilling (STEM-UK))
- Mathematics-Ada Lovelace (Ada Lovelace (Biography), Ada Lovelace (Computer), and Ada Lovelace (SDSC))
- Conservation-David Attenborough (David Attenborough (Britannica) and David Attenborough (Film))
- Science-Edward Jenner (Edward Jenner (Institute), Edward Jenner (BBC), and Edward Jenner (HistoricUK))
- Technology-Benjamin Franklin (Benjamin Franklin (US History), Benjamin Franklin (Britannica), and Benjamin Franklin (Biography))
- Engineering-Alice H. Parker (Alice H. Parker (BlackPast) and Alice H. Parker (HVAC))
- Mathematics-Fibonacci (Fibonacci (Britannica) and Fibonacci (Math))
- Conservation-MaVynee Oschun Betsch (Beach Lady (History Maker) and Beach Lady (Smithsonian))
- Science-Hakim Ibn-Sina (Avicenna) (Avicenna (Britannica), and Avicenna (Conversation))
- Technology-Clara Barton (Clara Barton (Red Cross), Clara Barton (NWHM), and Clara Barton (Biography))
- Engineering-Lillian Moller Gilbreth (Lillian Moller Gilbreth (NWHM) and Lillian Moller Gilbreth (Britannica))
- Mathematics-Nicolaus Copernicus (Copernicus (Stanford), Copernicus (Biography), and Copernicus (Space))
- Conservation-Jane Goodall (Jane Goodall (Goodall Institute) and Jane Goodall (Biography))
- Science-Irène Joliot-Curie (Irène Joliot-Curie (Nobel Prize) and Irène Joliot-Curie (RSC))
- Technology-Johannes Gutenberg (Johannes Gutenberg (Biography) and Johannes Gutenberg (Thought))
- Engineering-Nicolas Cugnot (Nicolas Cugnot (Britannica) and Nicolas Cugnot (Garage))
- Mathematics-Georg Reimann (Georg Reimann (Britannica) and Georg Reimann (Berkeley))
- Conservation-Anna Botsford Comstock (Anna Botsford Comstock (Britannica), Anna Botsford Comstock (Early Women in Science), and Anna Botsford Comstock (NYBG))
- Science-Susumu Tonegawa (Susumu Tonegawa (Britannica) and Susumu Tonegawa (Nobel Prize))
- Technology-Florence Nightingale (Florence Nightingale (Time) and Florence Nightingale (Biography))
- Engineering-Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo da Vinci (Net) and Leonardo da Vinci (Museum of Science))
- Mathematics-Euclid (Euclid (Ancient.eu) and Euclid (Story of Mathematics))
- Conservation-Ansel Adams (Ansel Adams (Gallery), Ansel Adams (Biography), and Ansel Adams (Yosemite))
- Science-Marie Curie (Marie Curie (Nobel) and Marie Curie (Britannica))
- Technology-George Washington Carver (George W. Carver (Biography) and George W. Carver (History))
- Engineering-Emily Warren Roebling (Emily Roebling (ASCE) and Emily Roebling (A Mighty Girl))
- Mathematics-Grace Hopper (Grace Hopper (Women’s History), Grace Hopper (Biography), and Grace Hopper (HP))
- Conservation-Wangari Maathai (Wangari Maathai (Nobel) and Wangari Maathai (Biography))
- Science-Abu Ali al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (Alhazen (Famousscientists), Alhazen (UCSB) and Alhazen (Britannica)
- Technology-Hedy Lamarr (Hedy Lamarr (Women’s History) or Hedy Lamarr (Forbes)
- Engineering-Neil Armstrong (Neil Armstrong (NASA) or Neil Armstrong (Space.com)
- Mathematics-René Descartes (Rene Descartes (Britannica), Rene Descartes (Biography), or Rene Descartes (Stanford)
- Conservation-Aldo Leopold (The Leopold Foundation, The Wilderness Society, or Aldo Leopold (Iowa State University).
- Science-Roger Bacon (Roger Bacon (Stanford) or Roger Bacon (Britannica))
- Technology-Archimedes (Archimedes (Britannica) or Archimedes (Ancient.eu))
- Engineering-Imhotep (Imhotep (Ancient.eu) and Imhotep (arce.org))
- Mathematics-Brahmagupta ( Brahmagupta (St. Andrews.ac.uk) and Brahmagupta (Britannica))
- Conservation-Rachel Carson (Silent Spring , Rachelcarson.org, and Rachel Carson (fws.gov).