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#476 2018-12-24 00:39:03

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

443) Joseph Day (Inventor)

Joseph Day (1855 in London – 1946) is a little-known English engineer who developed the extremely widely used crankcase-compression two-stroke petrol engine, as used for small engines from lawnmowers to mopeds and small motorcycles. He trained as an engineer at the Crystal Palace School of Engineering at Crystal Palace in London, began work at Stothert & Pitt in Bath, and in 1889 designed the crankcase-compression two-stroke engine as it is widely known today (in contrast to the two-stroke engine designed by Dugald Clark), the Valve-less Two-Stroke Engine. In 1878 he started his own business, an iron foundry making cranes, mortar mills and compressors amongst other things.

Valveless two-stroke engine

He advertised a new design of "valveless air compressor" which he made on licence from the patentee, Edmund Edwards. By 1889, he was working on an engine design which would not infringe the patents that Otto had on the four-stroke, and that he eventually called the Valveless Two-Stroke Engine. In fact there were two flap valves in Joseph Day's original design, one in the inlet port, where you would probably find a reed valve on a modern two stroke, and one in the crown of the piston, because he did not come up with the idea of the transfer ports until a couple of years later. He made about 250 of these first two-port motors, fitting them to small generating sets, which won a prize at the International Electrical Exhibition in 1892.

It was one of Joseph Day's workmen who made the modification which allowed the skirt of the piston to control the inlet port and do away with valves altogether, giving rise to the classic piston ported two stroke. Only two of these original engines have survived, one in the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the other in the Science Museum in London.

American patent

The first American patent was taken out in 1894, and by 1906, a dozen American companies had taken licences. One of these, Palmers of Connecticut, managed by entrepreneur Julius Briner, had produced over 60,000 two-stroke engines before 1912. Many of these early engines found their way into motorcycles, or onto the back of boats.

Bath factory

His company in Bath was a general engineering one, and his engines were a sideline. Much of his money came from the manufacture of bread making machinery, and the prices of wheat were very turbulent around the turn of the Century. The profitability of Day’s factory fluctuated just as wildly. These were early days for the idea of the limited company, and shareholders, then as now, could panic and bring down a company that they thought to be under threat. The problem was made worse by the publication of rumours, or the deliberate orchestration of publicity campaigns in the press.


Joseph Day suffered from his involvement with both of the aforementioned, with the result that his firm was driven into bankruptcy. A flurry of lawsuits followed, with Day as either plaintiff or defendant. The Treasury Solicitor even tried to have him extradited from the USA where he had gone to try to sell his US patents in order to raise money. The case was eventually settled when the jury found that Day had no case to answer, but it all came too late, and he went into virtual retirement by the seaside. The development of his engine then passed to his licence holders in America, whose royalties restored his finances sufficiently to allow him to launch a spectacular new venture after the First World War. This new enterprise was the exploration for oil.

Obscurity and death

Day lost most of his fortune exploring for oil in Norfolk in the east of England. A second financial disaster was the last straw, and Joseph Day disappeared from public view between 1925 and his death in 1946. His obscurity was so complete that a mere five years after his death, the Science Museum made a public appeal for biographical information about him – with no apparent result.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#477 2018-12-26 01:36:59

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

444) Trevor Baylis

Trevor Graham Baylis (13 May 1937 – 5 March 2018) was an English inventor best known for the wind-up radio. The radio, instead of relying on batteries or external electrical source, is powered by the user winding a crank. This stores energy in a spring which then drives an electrical generator. Baylis invented it in response to the need to communicate information about AIDS to the people of Africa. He ran a company in his name dedicated to helping inventors to develop and protect their ideas and to find a route to market.

Early life and education

Trevor Baylis was born on 13 May 1937 to Cecil Archibald Walter Baylis, an engineer, and his wife, Gladys Jane Brown, an artist, in Kilburn, London. He grew up in Southall, Middlesex, and attended North Primary School and Dormers Wells Secondary Modern School.


His first job was in a Soil Mechanics Laboratory in Southall where a day-release arrangement enabled him to study mechanical and structural engineering at a local technical college.

A keen swimmer, he swam for Great Britain at the age of 15; he narrowly failed to qualify for the 1956 Summer Olympics. In 1959, Baylis started his National Service as a physical-training instructor with the Royal Sussex Regiment and swam for the Army and Imperial Services during this time. When he left the army he took a job with Purley Pools, the company which made the first free-standing swimming pools. Initially he worked in a sales role, but later switched to research and development.

His swimming skills enabled him to demonstrate the pools and drew the crowds at shows, and this led to forming his own aquatic-display company as professional swimmer, stunt performer and entertainer, performing high dives into a glass-sided tank. With money earned from performing as an underwater-escape artist in the Berlin Circus, he set up Shotline Steel Swimming Pools, a company which supplies swimming pools to schools.


Baylis's work as a stunt man exposed him to the needs of disabled people, through colleagues whose injuries had ended their performing careers. By 1985, this involvement had led him to invent and develop a range of products for the disabled called Orange Aids.

In the late 1980s or early 1990s, Baylis saw a television programme about the spread of AIDS in Africa and realised that a way to halt the spread of the disease would be to educate and disseminate information by radio. Within 30 minutes, he had assembled the first prototype of his most well-known invention, the wind-up radio. The original prototype included a small transistor radio, an electric motor from a toy car, and the clockwork mechanism from a music box. Baylis filed his first patent in 1992.

While the prototype worked well, Baylis struggled to find a production partner. The turning point came in 1994 when his prototype was featured on a film produced by Liz Tucker for the BBC TV programme Tomorrow's World, which resulted in an investor coming forward to back the product. With money from investors he formed a company called Freeplay Energy; in 1996, the Freeplay radio was given the BBC Design Awards for Best Product and Best Design. In the same year Baylis met Queen Elizabeth II and Nelson Mandela at a state banquet, and also travelled to Africa with the Dutch Television Service to produce a documentary about his life. He was awarded the 1996 World Vision Award for Development Initiative that year.

The year 1997 saw the production in South Africa of the new generation Freeplay radio, a smaller and cheaper model designed for the Western consumer market which uses rechargeable cells with a generic crank generator.

During the 1990s, Baylis was also a regular on the Channel 4 breakfast programme, The Big Breakfast.

In 2001, Baylis completed a 100-mile walk across the Namib Desert, demonstrating his electric shoes and raising money for the Mines Advisory Group. The "electric shoes", developed in collaboration with the UK's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, use piezoelectric contacts in the heels to charge a small battery that can be used to operate a radio transceiver or cellular telephone.

Following his own experience of the difficulties faced by inventors, Baylis set up the Trevor Baylis Foundation to "promote the activity of Invention by encouraging and supporting Inventors and Engineers". This led to the formation of the company Trevor Baylis Brands PLC which provides inventors with professional partnership and services to enable them to establish the originality of their ideas, to patent or otherwise protect them, and to get their products to market. Their primary goal is to secure licence agreements for inventors, but they also consider starting up new companies around good ideas. The company is based in Richmond, London.

Personal life

For many years, Baylis lived on Eel Pie Island on the river Thames. He regularly attended jazz performances at the Eel Pie Island Hotel. He died on 5 March 2018, at the age of 80, having been debilitated by Crohn's disease.

Awards and honours

Baylis was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for humanitarian services in the 1997 Birthday Honours, and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to intellectual property.  Baylis was awarded 11 honorary degrees from UK universities. He received honorary doctorates from Heriot-Watt University in 2003 and Leeds Metropolitan University in 2005.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#478 2018-12-28 01:07:03

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

445) Randi Altschul

Randice-Lisa "Randi" Altschul (born 1960) is an American toy inventor based in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. She is an inventor of the first disposable cellphone. She began inventing in 1985 and by age 26 became a millionaire. She has granted more than 200 licenses of ideas for games and toys.

Early career/toy inventor

Altschul's first successes were with toys and games. Her first idea was a 'Miami Vice Game' which built on the success of the American television series of the same name. Other notable toys and games included a Barbie's 30th Birthday Game, and a wearable stuffed toy that could give hugs under the control of the child who was wearing it. She also developed a monster-shaped breakfast cereal which turned soft when covered in milk. Altshul also made money from selling her ideas for board games whose marketing relied on a link with other popular American television series like 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' and 'The Simpsons'. Altschul became rich and part of the profits were invested in super-thin technology.

Althschul got the idea for the phone when she lost the signal for her conventional mobile phone and resisted the urge to dispose of an expensive phone. She realized that a disposable phone might assist travelers like herself. Altschul created a new company called Diceland Technologies to exploit these technologies to make the phone she planned.

First disposable cell phone

In November 1999 Altschul teamed up with Lee Volte. Volte had been the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Tyco. Altschul and Volte obtained several patents for what would be the world's first disposable mobile phone. Their intellectual property also included the trademark "Phone-Card-Phone". The new device was a phone that was of a size similar to an existing phone card. The credit card sized device was less than five millimetres thick, and was not made from plastic or metal, but from materials based on recycled paper. The phone incorporated a magnetic strip which meant that credit card companies could store identification which would allow the phone owner to make purchases. The phone was intended to sell at about twenty dollars, and the purchaser would be able to make phone calls totaling up to an hour. The phone was sold as disposable, but it could also be recycled; people who returned their used phones would receive a credit of two to three dollars. Frost & Sullivan, declared the Phone-Card-Phone to be the 2002 Product of the Year.

Altschul and her company, Diceland Technologies, envisioned prospective customers of the Phone-Card-Phone as people who were not impressed by the latest technology or women who just wanted to ensure that their sons and daughters would be able to make phone calls to them and their families. Altschul aimed the marketing at those people who would not be interested in a long-term mobile phone contract or tourists who may not usually need a phone but would need one whilst holidaying abroad for the short period of their vacation.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#479 2018-12-30 00:27:30

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

446) William Cullen

William Cullen, (born April 15, 1710, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scot.—died Feb. 5, 1790, Kirknewton, near Edinburgh), Scottish physician and professor of medicine, best known for his innovative teaching methods.

Cullen received his early education at Hamilton Grammar School, in the town where he was born and where his father, a lawyer, was employed by the duke of Hamilton. In 1726 Cullen went to the University of Glasgow, where he became a student of British surgeon John Paisley. In 1729 Cullen was hired to serve as ship’s surgeon aboard a merchant vessel sailing from London to the West Indies. Upon his return to London, he took a post as an assistant to a local apothecary. Cullen remained in London until 1732, when he ventured home to Scotland and established his own medical practice near the village of Shotts in Lanarkshire (now North Lanarkshire). In 1734 he attended the new medical school at Edinburgh, returning to his private practice in Hamilton two years later. He spent eight years in private clinical practice, attending without fee those too poor to afford his services. In 1740 he received an M.D. from Glasgow, and several years later he obtained permission to deliver a series of independent lectures on chemistry and medicine, the first to be offered in Great Britain. He was elected to the chair of medicine at Glasgow in 1751. In 1755 Cullen returned to the University of Edinburgh, where he was later appointed to the chair of the institutes (theory) of medicine and eventually became sole professor of medicine, the position he held until shortly before his death. In 1777 Cullen was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London.

Cullen was considered a progressive thinker for his time. He was the first to demonstrate in public the refrigeration effects of evaporative cooling, a phenomenon he wrote of in “Of the Cold Produced by Evaporating Fluids and of Some Other Means of Producing Cold” (Essays and Observations, Physical and Literary, vol. 2 [1756]). In medicine he taught that life was a function of nervous energy and that muscle was a continuation of nerve. He organized an influential classification of disease (nosology) consisting of four major divisions: pyrexiae, or febrile diseases; neuroses, or nervous diseases; cachexiae, diseases arising from bad bodily habits; and locales, or local diseases. This system, which Cullen described in his work 'Synopsis Nosologiae Methodicae' (1769), was based on the observable symptoms that arise from disease and that are utilized for diagnosis.

Cullen was most famous, however, for his innovative teaching methods and forceful, inspiring lectures, which drew medical students to Edinburgh from throughout the English-speaking world. He was one of the first to teach in English rather than in Latin, and he delivered his clinical lectures in the infirmary, lecturing not from a text but from his own notes. His 'First Lines of the Practice of Physic' (1777) was widely used as a textbook in Britain and the United States.

Many of Cullen’s pupils went on to make important contributions to science and medicine. Among his most well-known students were British chemist and physicist Joseph Black, known for the rediscovery of “fixed air” (carbon dioxide); English physician William Withering, known for his medical discoveries concerning the use of extracts of foxglove (Digitalis purpurea); British physician John Brown, who was a propounder of the “excitability” theory of medicine; and American physician and political leader Benjamin Rush, who, in addition to being a member of the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was known for his advocacy for the humane treatment of the insane.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#480 2019-01-01 01:43:07

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

447) Alexander Coucoulas

Alexander Coucoulas is an American inventor, research engineer, and author. He was named "Father Of Thermosonic Bonding" by George Harman, the world's foremost authority on wire bonding, where he referenced Coucoulas's leading edge publications in his book, Wire Bonding In Microelectronics. A Thermosonic bond is formed using a set of parameters which include ultrasonic, thermal and mechanical (force) energies. The vibratory motion travels along the coupler system, a portion which is tapered to serve as the velocity transformer. The velocity transformer amplifies the oscilliatory motion and delivers it to a heated bonding tip.

Thermosonic bonding is widely used to electrically connect silicon integrated circuit microprocessor chips into computers as well as a myriad of other electronic devices that require wire bonding.

As a result of Coucoulas introducing thermosonic bonding lead wires in the early 1960s, its applications and scientific investigations by researchers throughout the world have grown as confirmed by the thousands of Google search-sites. The all-important proven reliability of thermosonic bonding, as confirmed by these investigations, has made it the process of choice for connecting these crucially important electronic components. And since relatively low bonding parameters were shown to form reliable thermosonic bonds, the integrity of the fragile silicon integrated circuit chip central processor unit or CPU, is assured throughout its intended lifetime use as the "brains" of the computer.

Personal background

Coucoulas retired from AT&T Bell Labs as a member of the technical staff in 1996 where he pioneered research in the areas of electronic/photonics packaging, laser technology and optical fibers which resulted in numerous patents, and publications. He was twice awarded best paper which he presented at the 20th and 43rd IEEE Electronic Components Conference for "Compliant Bonding" in 1970 " and AlO Bonding in 1993  both of which were his patented inventions. His Ionian-Greek immigrant parents were born in the city of Smyrna. His single-parent father, Demetrios (James) Koukoulas (as a maimed Smyrnaean Greek soldier), was rescued from the coastal waters of the Aegean sea by a Japanese naval cruiser while in view and during the devastating Fire of Smyrna in September 1922. The Japanese cruiser brought him to Pereaus, Greece where he immigrated to The United States via Ellis Island on the SS King Alexander in November of that same year.

Coucoulas is a native New Yorker who served in the US Army as a combat engineer in the Far East Command in the early 1950s, and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal for the Korean War (1950-1954). He then obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science at New York University which was financed by the GI Bill, a graduate scholarship and part-time jobs in the New York Metropolitan area. His graduate thesis was under the tutorage of Dr. Kurt Komarek, who is a former Rector (President) and present professor emeritus of the University Of Vienna. Coucoulas co-authored a paper with Dr. Komarek which included his thesis,. His spouse, Marie Janssen Coucoulas, played a significant supportive role throughout his professional career while also contributing to the welfare of learning disabled children in the capacity of a professional Learning Consultant. His daughters, Diane and Andrea, distinguished themselves as a University of North Carolina Professor and elementary student counselor respectively.

Engineering research

Thermosonic bonding

As mentioned above, in the mid 1960s, Alexander Coucoulas, reported the first thermosonic wire bonds using a combination of heat, ultrasonic vibrations and pressure which led to his first invention. He first set up a commercial ultrasonic wire bonder (capable of transmitting vibratory energy and pressure) in order to investigate the attachment of aluminum wires to tantalum thin films deposited on glass substrates which simulated bonding a lead wire to the fragile metallized silicon integrated circuit "chip". He observed that the ultrasonic energy and pressures levels needed to sufficiently deform the wire and form the required contact areas significantly increased the incidences of cracks in the glass or silicon chip substrates. A means of heating the bond region was then added to the ultrasonic bonder. The bond region was then heated during the ultrasonic bonding cycle which virtually eliminated the glass failure mode since the wire dramatically deformed to form the required contact area while using significantly lower ultrasonic energy and pressure levels. The enhanced wire deformation during the ultrasonic bonding cycle was attributed to the transition from cold working (or strain hardening of the wire) to near hot working conditions where its softness was enhanced. As the bonding temperature was increased the onset of recrystallization (softening mechanism) occurs where the strain hardening is most extensive. Thus the dual mechanisms of thermal softening and ultrasonic softening which is caused by vibratory energy interacting at the atomic lattice level, facilitated the desired wire deformation. Christian Hagar and George Harman stated that in 1970 Alexander Coucoulas reported additional work in forming thermosonic-type bonds which he initially called hot work ultrasonic bonding. In this case, copper wires were bonded to palladium thin films deposited on aluminum oxide substrates. As a result of these earliest reported thermosonic wire bonds, G.Harman stated "as such, Alexander Coucoulas is the Father of Thermosonic Bonding". At present, the majority of connections to silicon integrated circuits (the chip) are made using thermosonic bonding because it employs lower bonding temperatures, forces and dwell times than thermocompression bonding, as well as lower vibratory energy levels than ultrasonic bonding, to form the required bond area. As a result of using lower bonding parameters to form the required contact area, Thermosonic Bonding largely eliminates damaging the relatively fragile silicon integrated circuit micro-chip during the bonding cycle. The proven reliability of thermosonic bonding has made it the process of choice, since such potential failure modes could be costly whether they occur during the manufacturing stage or detected later, during an operational field-failure of a micro-chip which had been permanently connected inside a computer or a myriad of other electronic devices.

Another example showing the importance and reliability of using thermosonic bonding was when L Burmeister et al. of Hamburg University, Germany, reported that using solely ultrasonic power to bond gold wires to YBa2Cu3O7 microstructures, such as microbridges, Josephson junctions and superconducting interference devices (DC SQUIDS) can degrade them. Burmeister et al. stated that the problem was overcome by using Coucoulas's thermosonic bonding process where it left the microstructure device intact so they could be employed.

Growing Applications Of Thermosonic Bonding

At present, the majority of connections to the silicon integrated circuit chip are made using thermosonic bonding because it employs lower bonding temperatures, forces and dwell times than thermocompression bonding, as well as lower vibratory energy levels and forces than ultrasonic bonding to form the required bond area. Therefore, the use of thermosonic bonding eliminates damaging the relatively fragile silicon integrated circuit chip during the bonding cycle. The proven reliability of thermosonic bonding has made it the process of choice, since such potential failure modes could be costly whether they occur during the manufacturing stage or detected later, during an operational field-failure of a chip which had been connected inside a computer or a myriad of other microelectronic devices.

Thermosonic bonding is also used in the flip chip process which is an alternate method of electrically connecting silicon integrated circuits.

Josephson effect and superconducting interference (DC SQUID) devices use the thermosonic bonding process as well. In this case, other bonding methods would degrade or even destroy YBaCuO₇ microstructures, such as microbridges, Josephson junctions and superconducting interference devices (DC SQUID).

When electrically connecting light-emitting diodes with thermosonic bonding techniques, an improved performance of the device has been shown.

Compliant bonding

Following his pioneering of thermosonic bonding, Coucoulas invents "Compliant Bonding which was a means of solid-state bonding the extended electroformed leads of a "beam leaded Chip" to the outside world. It was a unique method of solid state bonding in that the bonding energy (heat and pressure) was transmitted through a compliant aluminum tape. The compliant tape overcame the thickness variations of the beam leads and also acted as a chip carrier to the bonding site. In 1971, he was awarded best paper-presentation for "Compliant Bonding" which was among more than 90 papers presented at the 20th IEEE Electronic Components Conference in 1970 by engineers and research scientists from around the world.

Extruding silica glass tubes for making optical fibers

The first step in producing optical waveguides by the MCVD optical fiber process is making highly concentric fused silica tubes with a minimal variation along their entire length which translates into the critical ovality of the final optical fiber. Coucoulas proposed and reported the making of extruded fused silica tubes that closely followed the Poiseulle-Hagen equation for laminar flow and thus produced cladding tubes with dimensional properties required for making acceptable optical fibers. Coucoulas with collaborative colleagues was awarded patents regarding the tube making process.

Twenty-three years after being awarded best paper for "Compliant Bonding" as mentioned above, Coucoulas was again awarded Outstanding Paper at the 43rd Electronic Components and Technology Conference in 1993 (which he presented and co-authored with his collaborative colleagues).It was titled,"AlO Bonding: A Method of Joining Oxide Optical Components to Aluminum Coated Substrates." He also was awarded a U.S. patent for inventing AlO Bonding.[9]

Microstructure of Solid Carbon Dioxide ("Dry Ice")

His first industrial research position was at Air Reduction Central Research facility in New Jersey where he investigated and co-authored a paper in the Transactions of the Metallurgical Society of AIME entitled, "Some Observations on the Microstructure and Fragmentation of Solid Carbon Dioxide" with the following abstract:

Solid carbon dioxide (dry ice), which exists metastably as a constantly subliming molecular solid in a normal room temperature environment, was shown to exhibit many microstructural features which are similar to those observed in metals and ceramics at temperatures approaching their melting points. An investigation was made of factors affecting a costly brittleness condition known as "sandiness" which occurred in manufactured blocks of dry ice (polycrystalline solid carbon dioxide). The sandiness was found to be highly dependent on specific manufacturing and storage conditions that cause excessive grain growth which leads to a concentration of gas filled pores in the decreasing grain boundary regions.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#481 2019-01-03 00:19:01

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

448) Katharine Burr Blodgett

American scientist, Katharine Burr Blodgett is known for numerous important contributions to the field of industrial chemistry. She is mainly acknowledged for her invention of the color gauge and non-reflecting or “invisible” glass.

Early life and Education and Career:

Born in Schenectady, New York on January 10, 1898, Katharine or Katie (her nickname) was the second child of Katharine Burr and George Blodgett, a patent lawyer for the General Electric Company. Her father was killed only a few weeks before she was born. Her father’s death left more than sufficient amount of wealth to the family.

After Katie’s birth, the family moved to New York City, then to France in 1901, and then back to New York City in 1912. Here she completed her schooling from the Rayson School and developed an early interest in mathematics. She completed high school at the age of fifteen and earned a scholarship to Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and received her B.A. degree in 1917.


Her interest in physics began when she attended college. After college, Blodgett decided that a career in scientific research would allow her to further pursue her interest in both mathematics and physics.

During her vacations, Blodgett traveled to upstate New York in search of employment opportunities at the Schenectady General Electric plant. Some of her father’s former colleagues in Schenectady introduced Katie to research chemist Irving Langmuir. While showing his laboratory, Irving Langmuir recognized Katie’s aptitude and advised her to continue her scientific education. Following his advice she went on to pursue master’s degree in science and was the first woman to be ever awarded a doctorate in physics from Cambridge University.

After her masters she became the first woman to be hired as a scientist at General Electric. Langmuir encouraged her to participate in some of his earlier discoveries.

First, he put her on the task of perfecting tungsten filaments in electric lamps (the work for which he had received a patent in 1916). He later asked Blodgett to concentrate her studies on surface chemistry.

Her most important contribution came from her independent research on an oily substance that Langmuir had developed in the lab. The then existing methods for measuring this unusual substance, were only accurate to a few thousandths of an inch but Katie’s way proved to be accurate to about one millionth of an inch. Her new discovery of measuring transparent objects led to her invention of non-reflecting glass in 1938. This invisible glass proved to be a very effective device for physicists, chemists, and metallurgists. It has been put to use in many consumer products from picture frames to camera lenses and has also been exceptionally helpful in optics.

During the Second World War Blodgett made another outstanding breakthrough: the smoke screens. The smoke screens saved many lives by covering the troops thereby protecting them from the exposure of toxic smoke.

Blodgett’s work was acknowledged by many awards, including the Garvan Medal in 1951. She earned honorary degrees from Elmira College in 1939, Brown University in 1942, Western College in1942, and Russell Sage College in 1944. She was nominated to be part of the American Physical Society and was a member of the Optical Society of America.


Katharine Burr Blodgett died in her home on October 12, 1979 aged 81.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#482 2019-01-05 00:19:59

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

449) George Ballas

George Charles Ballas Sr. (June 28, 1925 – June 25, 2011) was an American entrepreneur. He invented the first string trimmer, known as the Weed Eater in 1971. He is the father of ballroom dancer, Corky Ballas, and grandfather of professional dancer Mark Ballas of 'Dancing with the Stars'.

Early life

Ballas was born in Ruston, Louisiana. He was the son of Karolos ("Charles") Ballas and Maria (née Lymnaos), who were Greek immigrants that ran a restaurant. His brother is Peter Ballas.

He enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17 in 1942 during World War II and was a bombardier. Ballas would later serve in the Korean War.


He married Maria Marulanda who was of Mexican and Spanish descent in 1951.

He had five children, Corky Ballas, George Ballas Jr., Michelle Ballas Pritchard, Maria Ballas Jamail, and Lillian Ballas Miles.

His grandson Mark Ballas is a dancer in 'Dancing with the Stars'. He had six other grandchildren.


Ballas got the idea for the trimmer while driving through an automatic car wash, where the rotating brushes gave him an idea. Using a tin can laced with fishing line and an edge trimmer, he tried out his idea, which worked. After some refinements, he shopped it around to several tool makers, who all rejected his invention. He went on to develop the garden tool himself. The first year, sales were over a half million dollars. By 1977 they were $80 million, and Ballas sold his company the following year to Emerson Electric Company.

("string trimmer", "weed-whacker", a "weed eater", a "line trimmer" or a "strimmer" (in the UK and Ireland), is a tool which uses a flexible monofilament line instead of a blade for cutting grass and other plants near objects, or on steep or irregular terrain. It consists of a cutting tip at the end of a long shaft with a handle.)


The whipper-snipper was invented in the early 1970s by George Ballas of Houston, Texas, who conceived the idea while watching the revolving action of the cleaning brushes in an automatic car wash. His first trimmer was made by attaching pieces of heavy-duty fishing line to a popcorn can bolted to an edger. Ballas developed this into what he called the "Weed Eater", since it chewed up the grass and weeds around trees.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#483 2019-01-05 15:56:06

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

450) Maria Montessori

Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) was an Italian physician and educator best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. At an early age, Montessori broke gender barriers and expectations when she enrolled in classes at an all-boys technical school, with hopes of becoming an engineer. She soon had a change of heart and began medical school at the University of Rome, where she graduated – with honors – in 1896. Her educational method is in use today in many public and private schools throughout the world.

Life and career

Birth and family

Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy. Her father, Alessandro Montessori, 33 years old at the time, was an official of the Ministry of Finance working in the local state-run tobacco factory. Her mother, Renilde Stoppani, 25 years old, was well educated for the times and was the great-niece of Italian geologist and palaeontologist  Antonio Stoppani. While she did not have any particular mentor, she was very close to her mother who readily encouraged her. She also had a loving relationship with her father, although he disagreed with her choice to continue her education.

1883–1896: Education

Early education

The Montessori family moved to Florence in 1873 and then to Rome in 1875 because of her father's work. Montessori entered a public elementary school at the age of 6 in 1876. Her early school record was "not particularly noteworthy", although she was awarded certificates for good behavior in the 1st grade and for "lavori donneschi", or "women's work", the next year.

Secondary school

In 1883 or 1884, at the age of 13, Montessori entered a secondary, technical school, Regia Scuola Tecnica Michelangelo Buonarroti, where she studied Italian, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, accounting, history, geography, and sciences. She graduated in 1886 with good grades and examination results. That year, at the age of 16, she continued at the technical institute Regio Istituto Tecnico Leonardo da Vinci, studying Italian, mathematics, history, geography, geometric and ornate drawing, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, and two foreign languages. She did well in the sciences and especially in mathematics.

She initially intended to pursue the study of engineering upon graduation, an unusual aspiration for a woman in her time and place. However, by the time she graduated in 1890 at the age of 20, with a certificate in physics–mathematics, she had decided to study medicine instead, an even more unlikely pursuit given cultural norms at the time.

University of Rome—Medical school

Montessori moved forward with her intention to study medicine. She appealed to Guido Baccelli, the professor of clinical medicine at the University of Rome, but was strongly discouraged. Nonetheless, in 1890, she enrolled in the University of Rome in a degree course in natural sciences, passing examinations in botany, zoology, experimental physics, histology, anatomy, and general and organic chemistry, and earning her diploma di licenza in 1892. This degree, along with additional studies in Italian and Latin, qualified her for entrance into the medical program at the University in 1893.

She was met with hostility and harassment from some medical students and professors because of her gender. Because her attendance of classes with men in the presence of a undressed body was deemed inappropriate, she was required to perform her dissections of cadavers alone, after hours. She resorted to smoking  tobacco to mask the offensive odor of formaldehyde. Montessori won an academic prize in her first year, and in 1895 secured a position as a hospital assistant, gaining early clinical experience. In her last two years she studied pediatrics and psychiatry, and worked in the pediatric consulting room and emergency service, becoming an expert in pediatric medicine. Montessori graduated from the University of Rome in 1896 as a doctor of medicine. Her thesis was published in 1897 in the journal Policlinico. She found employment as an assistant at the University hospital and started a private practice.

1896–1901: Early career and family

From 1896 to 1901, Montessori worked with and researched so-called "phrenasthenic" children—in modern terms, children experiencing some form of mental retardation, illness, or disability. She also began to travel, study, speak, and publish nationally and internationally, coming to prominence as an advocate for women's rights and education for mentally disabled children.

On 31 March 1898, her only child – a son named Mario Montessori (March 31, 1898 – 1982) was born. Mario Montessori was born out of her love affair with Giuseppe Montesano, a fellow doctor who was co-director with her of the Orthophrenic School of Rome. If Montessori married, she would be expected to cease working professionally; instead of getting married, Montessori decided to continue her work and studies. Montessori wanted to keep the relationship with her child's father secret under the condition that neither of them would marry anyone else. When the father of her child fell in love and subsequently married, Montessori was left feeling betrayed and decided to leave the university hospital and place her son into foster care with a family living in the countryside opting to miss the first few years of his life. She would later be reunited with her son in his teenage years, where he proved to be a great assistant in her research.

Work with mentally disabled children

After graduating from the University of Rome in 1896, Montessori continued with her research at the University's psychiatric clinic, and in 1897 she was accepted as a voluntary assistant there. As part of her work, she visited asylums in Rome where she observed children with mental disabilities, observations which were fundamental to her future educational work. She also read and studied the works of 19th-century physicians and educators Jean Marc Gaspard Itard and Édouard Séguin, who greatly influenced her work. Maria was intrigued by Itard's ideas and created a far more specific and organized system for applying them to the everyday education of children with disabilities. When she discovered the works of Jean Itard and Édouard Séguin they gave her a new direction in thinking and influenced her to focus on children with learning difficulties. Also in 1897, Montessori audited the University courses in pedagogy and read "all the major works on educational theory of the past two hundred years".

Public advocacy

In 1897 Montessori spoke on societal responsibility for juvenile delinquency at the National Congress of Medicine in Turin. In 1898, she wrote several articles and spoke again at the First Pedagogical Conference of Turin, urging the creation of special classes and institutions for mentally disabled children, as well as teacher training for their instructors. In 1899 Montessori was appointed a councilor to the newly formed National League for the Protection of Retarded Children, and was invited to lecture on special methods of education for retarded children at the teacher training school of the College of Rome. That year Montessori undertook a two-week national lecture tour to capacity audiences before prominent public figures. She joined the board of the National League and was appointed as a lecturer in hygiene and anthropology at one of the two teacher-training colleges for women in Italy.

Orthophrenic School

In 1900 the National League opened the Scuola Magistrale Ortofrenica, or Orthophrenic School, a "medico-pedagogical institute" for training teachers in educating mentally disabled children with an attached laboratory classroom. Montessori was appointed co-director. 64 teachers enrolled in the first class, studying psychology, anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, anthropological measurements, causes and characteristics of mental disability, and special methods of instruction. During her two years at the school, Montessori developed methods and materials which she would later adapt to use with mainstream children.
The school was an immediate success, attracting the attention of government officials from the departments of education and health, civic leaders, and prominent figures in the fields of education, psychiatry, and anthropology from the University of Rome. The children in the model classroom were drawn from ordinary schools but considered "uneducable" due to their deficiencies. Some of these children later passed public examinations given to so-called "normal" children.

1901–1906: Further studies

In 1901, Montessori left the Orthophrenic School and her private practice, and in 1902 she enrolled in the philosophy degree course at the University of Rome. (Philosophy at the time included much of what we now consider psychology.) She studied theoretical and moral philosophy, the history of philosophy, and psychology as such, but she did not graduate. She also pursued independent study in anthropology and educational philosophy, conducted observations and experimental research in elementary schools, and revisited the work of Itard and Séguin, translating their books into handwritten Italian. During this time she began to consider adapting her methods of educating mentally disabled children to mainstream education.

Montessori's work developing what she would later call "scientific pedagogy" continued over the next few years. Still in 1902, Montessori presented a report at a second national pedagogical congress in Naples. She published two articles on pedagogy in 1903, and two more the following year. In 1903 and 1904, she conducted anthropological research with Italian schoolchildren, and in 1904 she was qualified as a free lecturer in anthropology for the University of Rome. She was appointed to lecture in the Pedagogic School at the University and continued in the position until 1908. Her lectures were printed as a book titled Pedagogical Anthropology in 1910.

1906–1911: Casa dei Bambini and the spread of Montessori's ideas

The first Casa

In 1906 Montessori was invited to oversee the care and education of a group of children of working parents in a new apartment building for low-income families in the San Lorenzo district in Rome. Montessori was interested in applying her work and methods to mentally normal children, and she accepted. The name Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, was suggested to Montessori, and the first Casa opened on January 6, 1907, enrolling 50 or 60 children between the ages of two or three and six or seven.

At first, the classroom was equipped with a teacher's table and blackboard, a stove, small chairs, armchairs, and group tables for the children, and a locked cabinet for the materials that Montessori had developed at the Orthophrenic School. Activities for the children included personal care such as dressing and undressing, care of the environment such as dusting and sweeping, and caring for the garden. The children were also shown the use of the materials Montessori had developed. Montessori herself, occupied with teaching, research, and other professional activities, oversaw and observed the classroom work, but did not teach the children directly. Day-to-day teaching and care were provided, under Montessori's guidance, by the building porter's daughter.

In this first classroom, Montessori observed behaviors in these young children which formed the foundation of her educational method. She noted episodes of deep attention and concentration, multiple repetitions of activity, and a sensitivity to order in the environment. Given free choice of activity, the children showed more interest in practical activities and Montessori's materials than in toys provided for them, and were surprisingly unmotivated by sweets and other rewards. Over time, she saw a spontaneous self-discipline emerge.

Based on her observations, Montessori implemented a number of practices that became hallmarks of her educational philosophy and method. She replaced the heavy furniture with child-sized tables and chairs light enough for the children to move, and placed child-sized materials on low, accessible shelves. She expanded the range of practical activities such as sweeping and personal care to include a wide variety of exercises for care of the environment and the self, including flower arranging, hand washing, gymnastics, care of pets, and cooking. She also included large open air sections in the classroom encouraging children to come and go as they please in the room's different areas and lessons. In her book  she outlines a typical winter's day of lessons, starting at 09:00 AM and finishing at 04:00 PM:
•    9–10. Entrance. Greeting. Inspection as to personal cleanliness. Exercises of practical life; helping one another to take off and put on the aprons. Going over the room to see that everything is dusted and in order. Language: Conversation period: Children give an account of the events of the day before. Religious exercises.
•    10–11. Intellectual exercises. Objective lessons interrupted by short rest periods. Nomenclature, Sense exercises.
•    11–11:30. Simple gymnastics: Ordinary movements done gracefully, normal position of the body, walking, marching in line, salutations, movements for attention, placing of objects gracefully.
•    11:30–12. Luncheon: Short prayer.
•    12–1. Free games.
•    1–2. Directed games, if possible, in the open air. During this period the older children in turn go through with the exercises of practical life, cleaning the room, dusting, putting the material in order. General inspection for cleanliness: Conversation.
•    2–3. Manual work. Clay modelling, design, etc.
•    3–4. Collective gymnastics and songs, if possible in the open air. Exercises to develop forethought: Visiting, and caring for, the plants and animals.

She felt by working independently children could reach new levels of autonomy and become self-motivated to reach new levels of understanding. Montessori also came to believe that acknowledging all children as individuals and treating them as such would yield better learning and fulfilled potential in each particular child. She continued to adapt and refine the materials she had developed earlier, altering or removing exercises which were chosen less frequently by the children. Also based on her observations, Montessori experimented with allowing children free choice of the materials, uninterrupted work, and freedom of movement and activity within the limits set by the environment. She began to see independence as the aim of education, and the role of the teacher as an observer and director of children's innate psychological development.

Spread of Montessori education in Italy

The first Casa dei Bambini was a success, and a second was opened on April 7, 1907. The children in her programs continued to exhibit concentration, attention, and spontaneous self-discipline, and the classrooms began to attract the attention of prominent educators, journalists, and public figures. In the fall of 1907, Montessori began to experiment with teaching materials for writing and reading—letters cut from sandpaper and mounted on boards, moveable cutout letters, and picture cards with labels. Four- and five-year-old children engaged spontaneously with the materials and quickly gained a proficiency in writing and reading far beyond what was expected for their age. This attracted further public attention to Montessori's work. Three more Case dei Bambini opened in 1908, and in 1909 Italian Switzerland began to replace Froebellian methods with Montessori in orphanages and kindergartens.

In 1909, Montessori held the first teacher training course in her new method in Città di Castello, Italy. In the same year, she described her observations and methods in a book titled 'Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica Applicato All'Educazione Infantile Nelle Case Dei Bambini' (The Method of Scientific Pedagogy Applied to the Education of Children in the Children's Houses). Two more training courses were held in Rome in 1910, and a third in Milan in 1911. Montessori's reputation and work began to spread internationally as well, and around that time she gave up her medical practice to devote more time to her educational work, developing her methods and training teachers. In 1919 she resigned from her position at the University of Rome, as her educational work was increasingly absorbing all her time and interest.

1909–1915: International recognition and growth of Montessori education

As early as 1909, Montessori's work began to attract the attention of international observers and visitors. Her work was widely published internationally, and spread rapidly. By the end of 1911, Montessori education had been officially adopted in public schools in Italy and Switzerland, and was planned for the United Kingdom. By 1912, Montessori schools had opened in Paris and many other Western European cities, and were planned for Argentina, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Syria, the United States, and New Zealand. Public programs in London, Johannesburg, Rome, and Stockholm had adopted the method in their school systems. Montessori societies were founded in the United States (the Montessori American Committee) and the United Kingdom (the Montessori Society for the United Kingdom). In 1913 the first International Training Course was held in Rome, with a second in 1914.

Montessori's work was widely translated and published during this period. 'Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica' was published in the United States as The Montessori Method: Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in the Children's Houses, where it became a best seller. British and Swiss editions followed. A revised Italian edition was published in 1913. Russian and Polish editions came out in 1913 as well, and German, Japanese, and Romanian editions appeared in 1914, followed by Spanish (1915), Dutch (1916), and Danish (1917) editions. Pedagogical Anthropology was published in English in 1913. In 1914, Montessori published, in English, Doctor Montessori's Own Handbook, a practical guide to the didactic materials she had developed.

Montessori in the United States

In 1911 and 1912, Montessori's work was popular and widely publicized in the United States, especially in a series of articles in McClure's Magazine, and the first North American Montessori school was opened in October 1911, in Tarrytown, New York. The inventor Alexander Graham Bell and his wife became proponents of the method and a second school was opened in their Canadian home. The Montessori Method sold quickly through six editions. The first International Training Course in Rome in 1913 was sponsored by the American Montessori Committee, and 67 of the 83 students were from the United States. By 1913 there were more than 100 Montessori schools in the country. Montessori traveled to the United States in December 1913 on a three-week lecture tour which included films of her European classrooms, meeting with large, enthusiastic crowds wherever she traveled.

Montessori returned to the United States in 1915, sponsored by the National Education Association, to demonstrate her work at the Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California, and to give a third international training course. A glass-walled classroom was put up at the Exposition, and thousands of observers came to see a class of 21 students. Montessori's father died in November 1915, and she returned to Italy.

Although Montessori and her educational approach were highly popular in the United States, she was not without opposition and controversy. Influential progressive educator William Heard Kilpatrick, a follower of American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey, wrote a dismissive and critical book titled The Montessori Method Examined, which had a broad impact. The National Kindergarten Association was critical as well. Critics charged that Montessori's method was outdated, overly rigid, overly reliant on sense-training, and left too little scope for imagination, social interaction, and play. In addition, Montessori's insistence on tight control over the elaboration of her method, the training of teachers, the production and use of materials, and the establishment of schools became a source of conflict and controversy. After she left in 1915, the Montessori movement in the United States fragmented, and Montessori education was a negligible factor in education in the United States until 1952.

1915–1939: Further development of Montessori education

In 1915, Montessori returned to Europe and took up residence in Barcelona, Spain. Over the next 20 years Montessori traveled and lectured widely in Europe and gave numerous teacher training courses. Montessori education experienced significant growth in Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

Spain (1915–1936)

On her return from the United States, Montessori continued her work in Barcelona, where a small program sponsored by the Catalan government begun in 1915 had developed into the Escola Montessori, serving children from three to ten years old, and the Laboratori i Seminari de Pedagogia, a research, training, and teaching institute. A fourth international course was given there in 1916, including materials and methods, developed over the previous five years, for teaching grammar, arithmetic, and geometry to elementary school children from six to twelve years of age. In 1917 Montessori published her elementary work in L'autoeducazionne nelle Scuole Elementari' (Self-Education in Elementary School), which appeared in English as The Advanced Montessori Method. Around 1920, the 'Catalan independence movement began to demand that Montessori take a political stand and make a public statement favoring Catalan independence, and she refused. Official support was withdrawn from her programs. In 1924, a new military dictatorship closed Montessori's model school in Barcelona, and Montessori education declined in Spain, although Barcelona remained Montessori's home for the next twelve years. In 1933, under the Second Spanish Republic, a new training course was sponsored by the government, and government support was re-established. In 1934, she published two books in Spain, Psicogeometrica and Psicoarithemetica. However, with the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, political and social conditions drove Montessori to leave Spain permanently.

The Netherlands (1917–1936)

In 1917, Montessori lectured in Amsterdam, and the Netherlands Montessori Society was founded. She returned in 1920 to give a series of lectures at the University of Amsterdam. Montessori programs flourished in the Netherlands, and by the mid-1930s there were more than 200 Montessori schools in the country. In 1935 the headquarters of the Association Montessori Internationale, or AMI, moved permanently to Amsterdam.

The United Kingdom (1919–1936)

Montessori education was met with enthusiasm and controversy in England between 1912 and 1914. In 1919, Montessori came to England for the first time and gave an international training course which was received with high interest. Montessori education continued to spread in the United Kingdom, although the movement experienced some of the struggles over authenticity and fragmentation that took place in the United States. Montessori continued to give training courses in England every other year until the beginning of World War II.

Italy (1922–1934)

In 1922, Montessori was invited to Italy on behalf of the government to give a course of lectures and later to inspect Italian Montessori schools. Later that year Benito Mussolini's Fascist government came to power in Italy. In December, Montessori came back to Italy to plan a series of annual training courses under government sponsorship, and in 1923, the minister of education Giovanni Gentile expressed his official support for Montessori schools and teacher training. In 1924 Montessori met with Mussolini, who extended his official support for Montessori education as part of the national program. A pre-war group of Montessori supporters, the 'Societa gli Amici del Metodo Montessori' (Society of Friends of the Montessori Method) became the Opera Montessori (Montessori Society) with a government charter, and by 1926 Mussolini was made honorary president of the organization. In 1927 Mussolini established a Montessori teacher training college, and by 1929 the Italian government supported a wide range of Montessori institutions. However, from 1930 on, Montessori and the Italian government came into conflict over financial support and ideological issues, especially after Montessori's lectures on Peace and Education. In 1932 she and her son Mario were placed under political surveillance. Finally, in 1933, she resigned from the Opera Montessori, and in 1934 she left Italy. The Italian government ended Montessori activities in the country in 1936.

Other countries

Montessori lectured in Vienna in 1923, and her lectures were published as Il Bambino in Famiglia, published in English in 1936 as The Child in the Family. Between 1913 and 1936 Montessori schools and societies were also established in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Serbia, Canada, India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.

The Association Montessori Internationale

In 1929, the first International Montessori Congress was held in Elsinore, Denmark, in conjunction with the Fifth Conference of the New Education Fellowship. At this event, Montessori and her son Mario founded the Association Montessori Internationale or AMI "to oversee the activities of schools and societies all over the world and to supervise the training of teachers."  AMI also controlled rights to the publication of Montessori's works and the production of authorized Montessori didactic materials. Early sponsors of the AMI included Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and Rabindranath Tagore.


In 1932, Montessori spoke on Peace and Education at the Second International Montessori Congress in Nice, France; this lecture was published by the Bureau International d'Education, Geneva, Switzerland. In 1932, Montessori spoke at the International Peace Club in Geneva, Switzerland, on the theme of Peace and Education. Montessori held peace conferences from 1932 to 1939 in Geneva, Brussels, Copenhagen, and Utrecht, which were later published in Italian as Educazione e Pace, and in English as Education and Peace. In 1949, and again in 1950 and in 1951, Montessori was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, receiving a total of six nominations.

Laren, the Netherlands (1936–1939)

In 1936 Montessori and her family left Barcelona for England, and soon moved to Laren, near Amsterdam. Montessori and her son Mario continued to develop new materials here, including the knobless cylinders, the grammar symbols, and botany nomenclature cards. In the context of rising military tensions in Europe, Montessori increasingly turned her attention to the theme of peace. In 1937, the 6th International Montessori Congress was held on the theme of "Education for Peace", and Montessori called for a "science of peace" and spoke about the role of education of the child as a key to the reform of society. In 1938, Montessori was invited to India by the Theosophical Society to give a training course, and in 1939 she left the Netherlands with her son and collaborator Mario.

1939–1946: Montessori in India

An interest in Montessori had existed in India since 1913, when an Indian student attended the first international course in Rome, and students throughout the 1920s and 1930s had come back to India to start schools and promote Montessori education. The Montessori Society of India was formed in 1926, and Il Metodo was translated into Gujarati and Hindi in 1927. By 1929, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore had founded many "Tagore-Montessori" schools in India, and Indian interest in Montessori education was strongly represented at the International Congress in 1929. Montessori herself had been personally associated with the Theosophical Society since 1907. The Theosophical movement, motivated to educate India's poor, was drawn to Montessori education as one solution.

Internment in India

Montessori gave a training course at the Theosophical Society in Madrasin 1939, and had intended to give a tour of lectures at various universities, and then return to Europe. However, when Italy entered World War II on the side of the Germans in 1940, Britain interned all Italians in the United Kingdom and its colonies as enemy aliens. In fact only Mario Montessori was interned, while Montessori herself was confined to the Theosophical Society compound, and Mario was reunited with his mother after two months. The Montessoris remained in Madras and Kodaikanal until 1946, although they were allowed to travel in connection with lectures and courses.

Elementary material, cosmic education, and birth to three

During her years in India, Montessori and her son Mario continued to develop her educational method. The term "cosmic education" was introduced to describe an approach for children aged from six to twelve years that emphasized the interdependence of all the elements of the natural world. Children worked directly with plants and animals in their natural environments, and the Montessoris developed lessons, illustrations, charts, and models for use with elementary aged children. Material for botany, zoology, and geography was created. Between 1942 and 1944 these elements were incorporated into an advanced course for work with children from six to twelve years old. This work led to two books: 'Education for a New World' and 'To Educate the Human Potential'.

While in India, Montessori observed children and adolescents of all ages, and turned to the study of infancy. In 1944 she gave a series of thirty lectures on the first three years of life, and a government-recognized training course in Sri Lanka. These lectures were collected in 1949 in the book 'What You Should Know About Your Child'.
In 1944 the Montessoris were granted some freedom of movement and traveled to Sri Lanka. In 1945 Montessori attended the first All India Montessori Conference in Jaipur, and in 1946, with the war over, she and her family returned to Europe.

1946–1952: Final years

In 1946, at the age of 76, Montessori returned to Amsterdam, but she spent the next six years travelling in Europe and India. She gave a training course in London in 1946, and in 1947 opened a training institute there, the Montessori Centre. After a few years this centre became independent of Montessori and continued as the St. Nicholas Training Centre. Also in 1947, she returned to Italy to re-establish the Opera Montessori and gave two more training courses. Later that year she returned to India and gave courses in Adyar and Ahmedabad. These courses led to the book The Absorbent Mind, in which Montessori described the development of the child from birth onwards and presented the concept of the Four Planes of Development. In 1948 Il Metodo was revised again and published in English as 'The Discovery of the Child'. In 1949 she gave a course in Pakistan and the Montessori Pakistan Association was founded.

In 1949 Montessori returned to Europe and attended the 8th International Montessori Congress in Sanremo, Italy, where a model classroom was demonstrated. The same year, the first training course for birth to three years of age, called the 'Scuola Assistenti all'infanzia' (Montessori School for Assistants to Infancy) was established. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Montessori was also awarded the French Legion of Honor, Officer of the Dutch Order of Orange Nassau, and received an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Amsterdam. In 1950 she visited Scandinavia, represented Italy at the UNESCO conference in Florence, presented at the 29th international training course in Perugia, gave a national course in Rome, published a fifth edition of Il Metodo with the new title 'La Scoperta del Bambino' (The Discovery of the Child), and was again nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1951 she participated in the 9th International Montessori Congress in London, gave a training course in Innsbruck, was nominated for the third time for the Nobel Peace Prize. Montessori died of a cerebral hemorrhage on May 6, 1952 at the age of 81 in Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands.


Maria Montessori and Montessori schools were featured on coins and banknotes of Italy, and on stamps of the Netherlands, India, Italy, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,
Educational philosophy and pedagogy

Early influences

Montessori's theory and philosophy of education were initially heavily influenced by the work of Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, Édouard Séguin, Friedrich Fröbel, and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, all of whom emphasized sensory exploration and manipulatives. Montessori's first work with mentally disabled children, at the Orthophrenic School in 1900–1901, used the methods of Itard and Séguin, training children in physical activities such as walking and the use of a spoon, training their senses by exposure to sights, smells, and tactile experiences, and introducing letters in tactile form. These activities developed into the Montessori "Sensorial" materials.

Scientific pedagogy

Montessori considered her work in the Orthophrenic School and her subsequent psychological studies and research work in elementary schools as "scientific pedagogy", a concept current in the study of education at the time. She called for not just observation and measurement of students, but for the development of new methods which would transform them. "Scientific education, therefore, was that which, while based on science, modified and improved the individual." Further, education itself should be transformed by science: "The new methods if they were run on scientific lines, ought to change completely both the school and its methods, ought to give rise to a new form of education."

Casa dei Bambini

Working with non-disabled children in the Casa dei Bambini in 1907, Montessori began to develop her own pedagogy. The essential elements of her educational theory emerged from this work, described in 'The Montessori Method' in 1912 and in 'The Discovery of the Child' in 1948. Her method was founded on the observation of children at liberty to act freely in an environment prepared to meet their needs. Montessori came to the conclusion that the children's spontaneous activity in this environment revealed an internal program of development, and that the appropriate role of the educator was to remove obstacles to this natural development and provide opportunities for it to proceed and flourish.

Accordingly, the schoolroom was equipped with child-sized furnishings, "practical life" activities such as sweeping and washing tables, and teaching material that Montessori had developed herself. Children were given freedom to choose and carry out their own activities, at their own paces and following their own inclinations. In these conditions, Montessori made a number of observations which became the foundation of her work. First, she observed great concentration in the children and spontaneous repetition of chosen activities. She also observed a strong tendency in the children to order their own environment, straightening tables and shelves and ordering materials. As children chose some activities over others, Montessori refined the materials she offered to them. Over time, the children began to exhibit what she called "spontaneous discipline".

Further development and Montessori education today

Montessori continued to develop her pedagogy and her model of human development as she expanded her work and extended it to older children. She saw human behavior as guided by universal, innate characteristics in human psychology which her son and collaborator Mario Montessori identified as "human tendencies" in 1957. In addition, she observed four distinct periods, or "planes", in human development, extending from birth to six years, from six to twelve, from twelve to eighteen, and from eighteen to twenty-four. She saw different characteristics, learning modes, and developmental imperatives active in each of these planes, and called for educational approaches specific to each period. Over the course of her lifetime, Montessori developed pedagogical methods and materials for the first two planes, from birth to age twelve, and wrote and lectured about the third and fourth planes. Maria created over 4,000 Montessori classrooms across the world and her books were translated into many different languages for the training of new educators. Her methods are installed in hundreds of public and private schools across the United States.

Montessori method

One of Montessori's many accomplishments was the Montessori method. This is a method of education for young children that stresses the development of a child's own initiative and natural abilities, especially through practical play. This method allowed children to develop at their own pace and provided educators with a new understanding of child development. Montessori's book, The Montessori Method, presents the method in detail. Educators who followed this model set up special environments to meet the needs of students in three developmentally-meaningful age groups: 2–2.5 years, 2.5–6 years, and 6–12 years. The students learn through activities that involve exploration, manipulations, order, repetition, abstraction, and communication. Teachers encourage children in the first two age groups to use their senses to explore and manipulate materials in their immediate environment. Children in the last age group deal with abstract concepts based on their newly developed powers of reasoning, imagination, and creativity.


Montessori published a number of books, articles, and pamphlets during her lifetime, often in Italian, but sometimes first in English. According to Kramer, "the major works published before 1920 (The Montessori Method, Pedagogical Anthropology, The Advanced Montessori Method—Spontaneous Activity in Education and The Montessori Elementary Material), were written in Italian by her and translated under her supervision." However, many of her later works were transcribed from her lectures, often in translation, and only later published in book form.

Montessori's major works are given here in order of their first publication, with significant revisions and translations.

•    (1909) Il Metodo della Pedagogia Scientifica applicato all'educazione infantile nelle Case dei Bambini
o    revised in 1913, 1926, and 1935; revised and reissued in 1950 as La scoperta del bambino
o    (1912) English edition: The Montessori Method: Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in the Children's Houses
o    (1948) Revised and expanded English edition issued as 'The Discovery of the Child'
o    (1950) Revised and reissued in Italian as La scoperta del bambino
•    (1910) Antropologia Pedagogica
o    (1913) English edition: Pedagogical Anthropology
•    (1914) Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook
o    (1921) Italian edition: Manuale di pedagogia scientifica
•    (1916) L'autoeducazione nelle scuole elementari
o    (1917) English edition: The Advanced Montessori Method, Vol. I: Spontaneous Activity in Education; Vol. II: The Montessori Elementary Material.
•    (1922) I bambini viventi nella Chiesa
•    (1923) Das Kind in der Familie (German)
o    (1929) English edition: The Child in the Family
o    (1936) Italian edition: Il bambino in famiglia
•    (1934) Psico Geométria (Spanish)
o    (2011) English edition: Psychogeometry
•    (1934) Psico Aritmética
o    (1971) Italian edition: Psicoaritmetica
•    (1936) L'Enfant(French)
o    (1936) English edition: The Secret of Childhood
o    (1938) Il segreto dell'infanzia
•    (1948) De l'enfant à l'adolescent
o    (1948) English edition: From Childhood to Adolescence
o    (1949) Dall'infanzia all'adolescenza
•    (1949) Educazione e pace
o    (1949) English edition: Peace and Education
•    (1949) Formazione dell'uomo
o    (1949) English edition: The Formation of Man
•    (1949) The Absorbent Mind
o    (1952) La mente del bambino. Mente assorbente
•    (1947) Education for a New World
o    (1970) Italian edition: Educazione per un mondo nuovo
•    (1947) To Educate the Human Potential
o    (1970) Italian edition: Come educare il potenziale umano


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#484 2019-01-07 00:16:49

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

451) Nikolay Benardos

Nikolay Nikolayevich Benardos  (1842–1905) was a Russian inventor of Greek origin who in 1881 introduced carbon arc welding, which was the first practical arc welding method.


Nikolay Benardos was born on July 8, 1842 in Benardosivka, Kherson Governorate, Russian Empire (now Mostove Bratske Raion Mykolaiv Oblast Ukraine).
During the 1860s and 1870s he investigated the electric arc, and he worked on this in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kineshma. Nikolay Benardos was the first to apply an electric arc to heat the edges of the steel sheets to the plastic state. He demonstrated a new way of metal compounds in Paris in 1881.

He could not stay in the capital due to his financial state of affairs and in 1899 he moved to Fastiv (now Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine).

He died at the age of 63 in Fastiv.

M. M. Benardos Museum in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine

The museum was established in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi (Ukraine) in 1981 to commemorate 100 years after inventing the Elektrogefest. The museum consists of five rooms: a study, living room, workshop, laboratory and the exhibition hall.

Who invented electric arc welding?

Nikolay Nikolaevich Benardos was born on July 8, 1842 in the Kherson province, in a family with rich military traditions. Already in childhood, the future inventor showed great interest in various crafts, which was greatly facilitated by the fact that his father had several small workshops. His favorite activities were plumbing and blacksmithing.

In 1862, at the insistence of his father, Nikolai entered the medical faculty of Kiev University. His first invention - the dental filling - falls on student years. The seal was silver. Benardos' first patient was a batman, whom he had rid of toothache with a silver filling.

Four years later, he transferred to the Petrovsky Agricultural and Forestry Academy in Moscow in the Department of Agricultural Sciences. During his studies, he invented and tested many devices. After three years of study, Benardos leaves the academy, and devotes all his time to inventing, living in a family estate.

Virtually all his funds Benardos allowed either to provide technical support for his research, or to arrange the life of the surrounding peasants. He provided extensive medical care to residents of nearby villages, organized a pharmacy, where he gave out medicines free of charge.

The most important invention that brought him worldwide fame was the method of electric arc welding developed by him in 1882. In addition to welding, Benardos’s method was also suitable for electrical cutting of metals.

He owns one of the first projects of the AC power station on the Neva River (1892). In the same year, at the 4th Electric Exhibition in St. Petersburg, Benardos was awarded the highest award of the Russian Technical Society - the gold medal for successful use of the arc in the electric welding invented by him. In 1899, he was awarded the title of honorary electrical engineer.

Nikolai Nikolayevich Benardos died on September 21, 1905 in Fastov, Kiev province.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#485 2019-01-09 00:29:56

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

452) Seth Boyden

Seth Boyden (November 17, 1788 – March 31, 1870) was an American inventor.


He was born in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on November 17, 1798. He had a brother, Uriah A. Boyden.

He worked as a watchmaker and moved to Newark, New Jersey.

Boyden perfected the process for making patent leather, created malleable iron, invented a nail-making machine, and built his own steamboat. He is also credited with having invented a cut off switch for steam engines and a method for producing zinc from ore. At the time of his death, he told friends that he had, even at that time, enough experiments on hand to last two whole lifetimes.

In 1818, Boyden received a piece of German manufactured high-gloss leather (said to be a German military cap front) from a local carriage manufacturer and used that to investigate the possibility of creating a version of leather in the United States that was treated in such a way that the material would be decidedly more dressy than work boots and similar leather goods, but retained its desirable qualities of protection and durability. To reverse engineer the European leather, Boyden set up a shed at the Malleable Cast Iron Foundry of Condit & Bowles at 25 Orange Street in Newark, New Jersey and ultimately discovered a way to produce his own patent leather. Using a formula that was based on a series of treatments using layers of linseed oil-based coats, the new shiny leather began commercial production on September 20, 1819. Boyden’s efforts resulted in the production of glossy leather that quickly caught on as a complement for formal dress. Despite its name, Boyden never patented his process.

Boyden began his work with malleable iron in 1820, when he was 32 years old. From observing the behavior of iron that stuck to the walls of his grandfather's forge, he had developed a theory about the heat treatment of iron. He completed his research in 1826, and won an award ("Premium No. 4") from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia two years later, who noted that Boyden's annealed cast iron specimen No. 363, containing an assortment of buckles, bits, and other castings, were "remarkable for their smoothness and malleability" and "the first attempt in this country to anneal cast iron for general purposes." This invention, now called blackheart iron, is one of the most important contributions to metallurgy by an American.

Several sources state that Boyden "made the first American daguerreotype" and this statement appears on a plaque at the base of a Boyden statue in Newark's Washington Park. While it has long been accepted that D.W. Seager of New York City produced the first daguerreotype in America, it is unclear which other Americans may have been experimenting with the process prior to a public display of Seager's daguerreotypes in the Summer of 1839. A daguerrean camera built by Boyden still exists in the collection of the Newark Museum.

Boyden rarely patented his inventions, preferring instead to take individual contracts and to build and sell off businesses. He did make large sums from this, but not enough to support his research and to provide for his old age. During the last 15 years of his life, Boyden lived in near-poverty in Hilton, New Jersey (now Maplewood, New Jersey) and developed a hybrid strawberry known as the Hilton strawberry.


Seth Boyden's name is found on an elementary school in Maplewood, New Jersey, and a complex of public housing projects in Newark, New Jersey. Additionally, a statue of Boyden stands in Newark's Washington Park. This statue is the first one raised in the United States which honored an engineer.

Additional Information

Seth Boyden, “one of America’s greatest inventors,” according to Thomas Edison, spent the last 15 years of his life in “Middleville”—what is now Hilton. Although Newark was the site of most of his innovations and inventions, it is in the Hilton neighborhood of Maplewood where he is honored by both “Boyden Avenue” and “Seth Boyden Elementary School.” The simple farmhouse where he spent the last years of his life still exists, adjacent the school that bears his name.

Seth Boyden was born to Seth and Susan Boyden in 1788 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. During his youth, he worked on his father’s farm, and learned about cast iron and hand-wrought iron at his grandfather’s iron furnace. His skill at mechanics and engraving was apparent when he was just a teenager. Although he lacked formal education, he educated himself in the fields of chemistry, optics, metallurgy, astronomy, electricity, geology and botany.

Boyden’s achievements range from inventing a machine to make nails (at the age of 21), a machine to split leather hides, innovations to the processes of plating silver and making “patent leather.” He produced the first daguerreotype camera in this country after reading a description of the process. His most famous invention was the process for making malleable cast iron. Boyden also constructed three steam locomotives and invented a cut-off valve for steam engines.

Boyden married Abigail Sherman in 1814. The following year, at the age of 27, he came to Newark, New Jersey and set up a harness and leather shop—the beginning of 55 years of contribution to American industry. After years of experimenting in a small forge he had built in his house, Boyden discovered the process for making malleable cast iron. This is considered his most valuable invention because it freed American industry from its dependence on European iron. Boyden’s method was one of the most important steps in the development of modern steel.

Seth Boyden established a small factory and employed over sixty men to operate its furnaces. By 1835, Boyden sold his iron business and began to work on steam locomotives. The Morris and Essex Railroad, the forerunner of the Lackawanna, needed an engine that was strong enough to pull a train up the steep grade between Newark and Orange. After three years, Boyden produced the “Orange” and the “Essex”—two steam engines with mechanical improvements he had invented that gave them the power to climb steep grades. Boyden even built a steam engine for a railroad in Cuba—the “Cometa.”

In 1850, at 62 years of age and accompanied by his son, Seth Boyden crossed the Isthmus of Panama on a donkey and in one of the earliest steamboats on the Pacific, embarked on an adventure—the California Gold Rush. After little success in this endeavor, father and son returned to Newark all but penniless, but welcomed home with a salute of guns in Washington Park.

Boyden’s lack of interest in wealth was well known. He was a man of great generosity, who preferred to share his ideas rather than hold on to them. Too busy to apply for patents, Boyden lost potential income from his many inventions. Only once did he apply for a patent and that was for one of his latest inventions—a hat-body forming machine. Typical of his generous nature, Boyden turned the patent over to a manufacturer who later employed him in a hat factory for $50 a month.

Boyden’s impoverished state compelled several Newark businessmen who had profited by his inventions, to purchase a small farm and house in Middleville, just several miles from Newark. This was intended as a home for his old age. Boyden moved there in 1855 at the age of 67, and in this community, spent the last 15 years of his life. He had a small workshop beyond the house where children brought him their pennies to be nickel-plated. In this little shop, Boyden continued to tinker and invent. He was fascinated with lightening and set up an electric barometer on the roof of his house. Local farmers paid attention to his predications about the weather, which were often correct. Boyden continued to work at the hat factory in Newark in order to support himself.

While living in Middleville Boyden became interested in horticulture and he turned his efforts to the cultivation of strawberries. In order to improve the size and flavor of local strawberries, Boyden experimented with hybridization. He set out plants of the large, sour type in alternate rows with those of small and sweet berries. The “Boyden” and the “Hilton” strawberries were the result. Other varieties developed by Seth Boyden were “Boyden’s Mammoth”, “Green Prolific”, and “Agriculturalist.” “Boyden’s No. 30” became widely known as the best of them all. Because the normal process of producing seeds took so long, Boyden manipulated the soil by adding a freezing mixture. He was able to do in 48 hours what typically would take all winter. Typical of this generous man, Boyden gave plants to all of his neighbors as well as advice about growing them. Soon it seemed that all Boyden’s friends and neighbors were growing strawberries. Elias W. Durand of Irvington became so proficient under Boyden’s direction, that several years after Boyden’s death, his berries took medals at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876.

Henry Jerolamon bought the Boyden house after Seth Boyden’s death and found three rows of “Boyden’s No. 30” berries. Jerolamon had great success with his strawberries and was known as the “Strawberry King.” Strawberries were still being grown commercially in Hilton as late as 1915, however, the yield became progressively less, until it took so many plants to produce a quart of berries, it was now longer economical.

Not long before he died, Boyden told a friend “I have enough ideas to last two more lifetimes.” Boyden died in Middleville on March 31, 1870 at age 82. His funeral was at the Universalist Church in Newark and he was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark. A movement to erect a statue to the memory of Seth Boyden began the year after his death. The site chosen was a spot in the center of Washington Park in Newark, not far from the site of his old workshop. The statue was unveiled May 3, 1890.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#486 2019-01-11 01:22:02

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

453) Hugh Bradner

Hugh Bradner (November 5, 1915 – May 5, 2008) was an American physicist at the University of California who is credited with inventing the neoprene wetsuit, which helped to revolutionize scuba diving.

A graduate of Ohio's Miami University, he received his doctorate from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in 1941. He worked at the US Naval Ordnance Laboratory during World War II, where he researched naval mines. In 1943, he was recruited by Robert Oppenheimer to join the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory. There, he worked with scientists including Luis Alvarez, John von Neumann and George Kistiakowsky on the development of the high explosives and exploding-bridgewire detonators required by atomic bombs.

After the war, Bradner took a position studying high-energy physics at the University of California, Berkeley, under Luis Alvarez. Bradner investigated the problems encountered by frogmen staying in cold water for long periods of time. He developed a neoprene suit which could trap the water between the body and the neoprene, and thereby keep them warm. He became known as the "father of the wetsuit."

Bradner worked on the 1951 Operation Greenhouse nuclear test series on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. He joined the Scripps Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics as a geophysicist in 1961. He remained there for the rest of his career, becoming a full professor in 1963, and retiring in 1980. In retirement, continued to work both on oceanographic research, as well as on the DUMAND deep ocean neutrino astronomy project.

Early life

Hugh Bradner was born in Tonopah, Nevada, on November 5, 1915,  but he was raised in Findlay, Ohio. His father, Donald Byal Bradner, was briefly director of the Chemical Warfare Service at Maryland's Edgewood math. His mother was Agnes Claire Bradner née Mead. He had an older brother, Mead Bradner. Bradner graduated from Ohio's Miami University in 1936 and later received his doctorate from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in 1941, writing his thesis on "Electron-optical studies of the photoelectric effect" under the supervision of William Vermillion Houston.

Manhattan Project

After receiving his doctorate from Caltech, Bradner worked at the US Naval Ordnance Laboratory where he researched naval mines until 1943. He was recruited by Robert Oppenheimer to join the Manhattan Project in 1943 at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, which helped to develop the first atomic bomb. Bradner helped to develop a wide range of technology needed for the bomb, including research on the high explosives and exploding-bridgewire detonators needed to implode the atomic bomb, developed the bomb's triggering mechanism, and even helped design the new town around the laboratory. He worked closely with some of the most prominent scientists including Luis Alvarez, John von Neumann and George Kistiakowsky. He witnessed the Trinity test, the first nuclear weapons test, at Alamogordo on July 16, 1945.

Bradner met his future wife, Marjorie Hall Bradner, who was also working as a secretary on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory. The couple were married in Los Alamos in 1943. Security at the top secret facility was so tight that neither Bradner's nor Hall's parents were allowed to attend the ceremony, though Oppenheimer was among the wedding guests. The couple remained together for over 65 years until she died on April 10, 2008 at the age of 89.


After the war, Bradner took a position studying high-energy physics at the University of California, Berkeley under Luis Alvarez, whom he had worked with at the Manhattan Project. He remained at the University until 1961. He worked on the 1951 atomic bombing test on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which was part of the Operation Greenhouse nuclear test series.

Bradner's job at Berkeley required him to do a number of underwater dives. He had previously talked to United States Navy frogmenduring World War II concerning the problems of staying in cold water for long periods of time, which causes the diver to lose large amounts of body heat quickly. He worked on developing a new suit that would counter this in the basement of his family's home on Scenic Avenue in Berkeley, California, and researched the new wetsuit at a conference in Coronado, California, in December 1951. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the wetsuit was invented in 1952. Bradner and other engineers founded the Engineering Development Company (EDCO) in order to develop it. He and his colleagues tested several versions and prototypes of the wetsuit at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Scripps scientist and engineer Willard Bascom advised Bradner to use neoprene for the suit material, which proved successful. He found that it "would trap the water between the body and the neoprene, and the water would heat up to body temperature and keep you warm".

A 1951 letter showed that Bradner clearly understood that the insulation in such a suit was not provided by the water between the suit and the skin, but rather that this layer of water next to the skin, if trapped, would quickly heat to skin temperature, if the material in the suit were insulative. Thus, the suit only needed to limit purging by fresh cold water, and it did not need to be dry to work. He applied for a U.S. patent for the wetsuit, but his patent application was turned down due to its similar design with the flight suit. The United States Navy also did not adopt the new wetsuits because of worries that the neoprene in the wetsuits might make its swimmers easier to spot by underwater sonar and, thus, could not exclusively profit from his invention.

Bradner and his company, EDCO, tried to sell his wetsuits in the consumer market. However, he failed to successfully penetrate the wetsuit market the way others have done - including Bob Meistrell and Bill Meistrell, the founders of Body Glove, and Jack O'Neill. Various claims have been made over the years that it was the O'Neill or the Meistrell brothers who actually invented the wetsuit instead of Bradner, but recent researchers have concluded that it was Bradner who created the original wetsuit, and not his competitors. In 2005 the ‘Los Angeles Times’  concluded that Bradner was the "father of the wetsuit", and a research paper published by Carolyn Rainey at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1998 provided corroborating evidence.

Later career and life

Bradner joined the Scripps Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics as a geophysicist in 1961. He became a full professor in 1963 and retired in 1980. He remained interested in oceanography, scuba diving, seashell collecting and the outdoors throughout his later years, and continued to work both on oceanographic research, as well as on the DUMAND deep ocean neutrino astronomy project, which combined his two careers in physics and oceanography.
Hugh Bradner died at the age of 92 at his home in San Diego, California, on May 5, 2008, from complications of pneumonia. He was survived by his daughter, Bari Cornet, three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#487 2019-01-13 00:58:43

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

454) Harry Coover

Harry Wesley Coover Jr. (March 6, 1917 – March 26, 2011) was the inventor of Eastman 910, commonly known as Super Glue.

Life and career

Coover was born in Newark, Delaware, and received his Bachelor of Science from Hobart College before earning his Master of Science and Ph. D. from Cornell University. He worked as a chemist for Eastman Kodak from 1944–1973 and as Vice President of the company from 1973-1984. He later moved to Kingsport, Tennessee, where he spent the rest of his life.


In 1942, while searching for materials to make clear plastic gun sights, Coover and his team at Eastman Kodak examined cyanoacrylates, a material that was used during both World Wars (1914-1918; 1939-1945) as an alternative to stitches on large cuts and wounds,[citation needed] rejecting them as too sticky. Nine years later, Coover was overseeing Kodak chemists investigating heat-resistant polymers for jet canopies when cyanoacrylates were once again tested and proved too sticky. That time around, however, Coover recognized that he had discovered a unique adhesive. In 1958, the adhesive, marketed by Kodak as Super Glue, was introduced for sale.

Generally, cyanoacrylate is an acrylic resin which rapidly polymerises in the presence of water (specifically hydroxide ions), forming long, strong chains, joining the bonded surfaces together. Because the presence of moisture causes the glue to set, exposure to moisture in the air can cause a tube or bottle of glue to become unusable over time. To prevent an opened container of glue from setting before use, it must be stored in an airtight jar or bottle with a package of silica gel. Another convenient way is attaching a hypodermic needle on the opening of glue. After applying, residual glue soon clogs the needle, keeping moisture out. The clog is removed by heating the needle (e.g. by a lighter) before use.

Cyanoacrylate is used as a forensic tool to capture latent fingerprints on non-porous surfaces like glass, plastic, etc. Cyanoacrylate is warmed to produce fumes which react with the invisible fingerprint residues and atmospheric moisture to form a white polymer (polycyanoacrylate) on the fingerprint ridges. The ridges can then be recorded. The developed fingerprints are, on most surfaces (except on white plastic or similar), visible to the unaided eye. Invisible or poorly visible prints can be further enhanced by applying a luminescent or non-luminescent stain.

While much attention was given to the glue's capacity to bond solid materials, Coover was also the first to recognize and patent cyanoacrylates as a tissue adhesive. First used in the Vietnam War to temporarily patch the internal organs of injured soldiers until conventional surgery could be performed, tissue adhesives are now used worldwide for a variety of sutureless surgical applications.

Other inventions

Coover held 460 patents and Super Glue was just one of his many discoveries. He viewed "programmed innovation," a management methodology emphasizing research and development, among his most important work. Implemented at Kodak, programmed innovation resulted in the introduction of 320 new products and sales growth from $1.8 billion to $2.5 billion. Coover later formed an international management consulting practice, advising corporate clients around the world on programmed innovation methodology.

Coover received the Southern Chemist Man of the Year Award for his outstanding accomplishments in individual innovation and creativity. He also held the Earle B. Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management, the Maurice Holland Award, the IRI Achievement Award, and was a medalist for the Industrial Research Institute. In 1983, Coover was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2004, Coover was inducted into the 'National Inventor's Hall of Fame'. In 2010, Coover received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Coover died of natural causes at his home in Kingsport, Tennessee, on March 26, 2011.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


#488 Today 00:51:20

Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 26,620

Re: crème de la crème

455) Édouard Branly

Édouard Eugène Désiré Branly (23 October 1844 – 24 March 1940) was a French inventor, physicist and professor at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He is primarily known for his early involvement in wireless telegraphy and his invention of the Branly coherer around 1890.


He was born on 23 October 1844. Édouard Branly died in 1940. His funeral was at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and was attended by the President of France, Albert Lebrun. He was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


Temistocle Calzecchi-Onesti's experiments with tubes of metal filings, as reported in "Il Nuovo Cimento" in 1884, led to the development of the first radio wave detector, the coherer, by Branly some years later. It was the first widely used detector for radio communication. This consisted of iron filings contained in an insulating tube with two electrodes that will conduct an electric current under the action of an applied electrical signal. The operation of the coherer is based upon the large electrical contact resistance offered to the passage of electric current by loose metal filings, which decreases when direct current or alternating current is applied between the terminals of the coherer at a predetermined voltage. The mechanism is based on the thin layers of oxide covering all the filings, which is highly resistive. The oxide layers are broken down when a voltage is applied of the right magnitude, causing the coherer to "latch" into its low-resistance state until the voltage is removed and the coherer is physically tapped.

Branly's coherer

The coherer became the basis for radio reception, and remained in widespread use for about ten years, until about 1907. British radio pioneer Oliver Lodge made the coherer into a practical receiver by adding a "decoherer" which tapped the coherer after each reception to dislodge clumped filings, thus restoring the device's sensitivity. It was further developed by Guglielmo Marconi, then replaced about 1907 by crystal detectors.

In 1890, Branly demonstrated what he later called the "radio-conductor", which Lodge in 1893 named the coherer, the first sensitive device for detecting radio waves. Shortly after the experiments of Hertz, Dr. Branly discovered that loose metal filings, which in a normal state have a high electrical resistance, lose this resistance in the presence of electric oscillations and become practically conductors of electricity. This Branly showed by placing metal filings in a glass box or tube, and making them part of an ordinary electric circuit. According to the common explanation, when electric waves are set up in the neighborhood of this circuit, electromotive forces are generated in it which appear to bring the filings more closely together, that is, to cohere, and thus their electrical resistance decreases, from which cause this piece of apparatus was termed by Sir Oliver Lodge a coherer. Hence the receiving instrument, which may be a telegraph relay, that normally would not indicate any sign of current from the small battery, can be operated when electric oscillations are set up.[ Prof. Branly further found that when the filings had once cohered they retained their low resistance until shaken apart, for instance, by tapping on the tube.

In On the Changes in Resistance of Bodies under Different Electrical Conditions, he described how the electrical circuit was made by means of two narrow strips of copper parallel to the short sides of the rectangular plate, and forming good contact with it by means of screws. When the two copper strips were raised the plate was cut out of the circuit. He also used as conductors fine metallic filings, which he sometimes mixed with insulating liquids. The filings were placed in a tube of glass or ebonite, and were held between two metal plates. When the electrical circuit, consisting of a Daniell cell, a galvanometer of high resistance, and the metallic conductor, consisting of the ebonite plate, and the sheet of copper, or of the tube containing the filings, was completed, only a very small current flowed; but there was a sudden diminution of the resistance which was proved by a large deviation of the galvanometer needle when one or more electric discharges were produced in the neighbourhood of the circuit. In order to produce these discharges a small Wimshurst influence machine may be used, with or without a condenser, or a Ruhmkorff coil. The action of the electrical discharge diminishes as the distance increases; but he observed it easily, and without taking any special precautions, at a distance of several yards. By using a Wheatstone bridge, he observed this action at a distance of 20 yards, although the machine producing the sparks was working in a room separated from the galvanometer and the bridge by three large apartments, and the noise of the sparks was not audible. The changes of resistance were considerable with the conductors described. They varied, for instance, from several millions of ohms to 2000, or even to 100, from 150,000 to 500 ohms, from 50 to 35, and so on. The diminution of resistance was not momentary, and sometimes it was found to remain for twenty-four hours. Another method of making the test was, by connecting the electrodes of a capillary electrometer to the two poles of a Daniell cell with a sulphate of cadmium solution. The displacement of mercury which takes place when the cell is short-circuited, only takes place very slowly when an ebonite plate, covered with a sheet of copper of high resistance, is inserted between one of the poles of the cell, and the corresponding electrode of the electrometer; but when sparks are produced by a machine, the mercury is rapidly thrown into the capillary tube owing to the sudden diminution in the resistance of the plate.

Branly found that, upon examination of the conditions necessary to produce the phenomena, the following data:

The circuit need not be closed to produce the result.

The passage of an induced current in the body produces a similar effect to that of a spark at a distance.

An induction-coil with two equal lengths of wire was used, a current is sent through the primary while the secondary forms part of a circuit containing the tube with filings and a galvanometer. The two induced currents caused the resistance of the filings to vary.

When working with continuous currents the passage of a strong current lowers the resistance of the body for feeble currents.

Summing up, he stated that in all these tests the use of ebonite plates covered with copper or mixtures of copper and tin was less satisfactory than the use of filings; with the plates he was unable to obtain the initial resistance of the body after the action of the spark or of the current, while with the tubes and filings the resistance could be brought back to its normal value by striking a few sharp blows on the support of the tube.


Branly was nominated thrice for a Nobel Prize, but never received it. In 1911, he was elected to the French Academy of Sciences, winning over his rival Marie Curie. Both had opponents in the Academy: she a female and he a devout catholic, who had left Sorbonne for a chair in the Catholic University of Paris. Branly eventually won the election by two votes. In 1936 he was elected to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Branly was named as Marconi's inspiration during the first radio communication across the English Channel, when Marconi's message was: "Mr. Marconi sends to Mr. Branly his regards over the Channel through the wireless telegraph, this nice achievement being partly the result of Mr. Branly's remarkable work."

Branly's discovery of radioconduction was named an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing in 2010.


The quai Branly – a road that runs alongside the River Seine in Paris – is named after Branly. It is the name of this road, not of Branly himself, that led to the naming of the Musée du quai Branly.

Branly is also commemorated by a technical High School (lycée) in Châtellerault, a commune in the Vienne department in the Poitou-Charentes region.


It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge - Enrico Fermi. 

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.


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