Fantasy & Science Fiction

FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION: PERSONS MENTIONED IN ISAAC ASIMOV'S SCIENCE COLUMN (by date)
Index | Abbreviations
 
Issue Date  Column Title  Person  Comments
1958 DEC  Catching Up With Newton  Newton, Isaac  (1642-1727) English physicist & mathematician; in 1687, formulated Law of Universal Gravitation, every piece of matter in the universe attracted every other piece of matter, & that the quantity of this force can be measured
1958 NOV  Dust of Ages, The  Petterson, Hans  his atmosphere's meteoric dust measurements, reported in Nature, 1 FEB 1958
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Aristotle  (384-322 B.C.) Greek philosopher, believed the universe was made up of 4 basic substances: 'earth', 'water', 'air' & 'fire'
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Heaviside, Oliver & Arthur Edwin Kennelly  (1850-1925; 1861-1939) English physicist & American engineer, discovered independently the 'Kennelly-Heaviside Layer'(now called the E layer of the ionosphere), a layer of ions in the atmoshere that reflect radio waves
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Appleton, Edward Victor  (1892-1965) English physicist, in 1927 discovered the 'Appleton Layers' beyond the E layers, called the F layers(at about 120 & 200 miles up)
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Gay-Lussac, Joseph Louis  (1778-1850) French physicist & chemist, in 1804 went up in a balloon 4½ miles, bringing back some of its air
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Jeffries, John  American hot-air balloonist took a barometer up with him
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Montgolfier, Joseph Michel & Jacques Etienne Montgolfier  (1740-1810; 1745-1799) brothers whose hot-air balloon made the first human flight on 21 NOV 1783
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Boyle, Robert  (1627-1691) Irish chemist & physicist, discovered that air can be compressed, formulated 'Boyle's Law' which relates air's pressure to its temperature
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Guericke, Otto von  (1602-1686) German physicist, mayor of Magdeburg, in 1650 invented the air pump, & created a much harder vacuum to demonstrate dramatically the existence of air pressure
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Torricelli, Evangelista  (1608-1647) Italian physicist, secretary for Galileo, in 1643 discovered that air has weight, invented the barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, at the same time created the first decent vacuum (the 'Torricelli vacuum')
1959 DEC  Thin Air  de Bort, Leon P. Teisserenc  French meteorologist, in the 1890's divided the atmosphere into 2 layers, the lower being the troposphere, or 'the sphere of change', and the upper the stratosphere, or 'sphere of layers', separated by the tropopause, or 'end of change'(10 miles up)
1959 DEC  Thin Air  Galilei, Galileo  could not figure out why a water pump could lift water only 33 feet and no more
1959 JUL  Battle of the Eggheads  Gauss, Karl Friedrich  (1777-1855) German mathematician & astronomer; considered one of the three or four greatest mathematicians of history
1959 JUL  Battle of the Eggheads  Cicero, Marcus Tullius  (106-43 B.C.) Roman statesman, orator & writer; considered the greatest of Roman orators & writers
1959 JUN  Planet of the Double Sun, The  Henderson, Thomas  British astronomer; in 1839 measured distance from Earth to Alpha Centauri (4 light years)
1959 JUN  Planet of the Double Sun, The  Struve, Friedrich Wilhelm  (1793-1864) German-born Russian astronomer; in 1839 measured distance from Earth to Vega (27 light years)
1959 JUN  Planet of the Double Sun, The  Bessel, Friedrich Wilhelm  (1784-1846) German astronomer; in 1839 measured the distance from Earth to 61 Cygni (11 light years), the first to measure the distance of a star
1959 JUN  Planet of the Double Sun, The  Aristarchos of Samos  (c.320-c.250 B.C.) Greek astronomer; about 280 B.C. originated the heliocentric system
1959 JUN  Planet of the Double Sun, The  Hipparchos of Nicaea  (c.190-c.125 B.C.) Greek astronomer; about 150 B.C. worked out the mathematics of the geocentric system
1959 JUN  Planet of the Double Sun, The  Ptolemy, Claudius  (127-151 A.D.) Alexandrian astronomer, mathematician & geographer; about 150 A.D., further worked out the geocentric system so that it is known today as the Ptolemaic system
1959 NOV  C for Celeritas  Einstein, Albert  (1879-1955) in 1905 he formulated his special theory of relativity, which has his equation, e=mc²; Asimov goes on at length discussing this equation, its uses, and especially, on the units that are involved
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Maxwell, James Clerk  (1831-1879) Scottish physicist & mathematician, in 1860 worked out equations(Maxwell's Equations) which expressed the energy distribution of gas molecules at any temp. & gave means of calculating the average kinetic energy
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Réaumur, René Antoine Ferchault de  (1683-1757) French physicist, metallurgist, & entomologist; prior to Celsius' work, came up with his own scale("º R"), on which 0 is the freezing point of water, & 80 is the boiling point of water; still in use in portions of Central Europe
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Galilei, Galileo  (1564-1642) in 1603, he was the first to try to measure the temperature, though the results were skewed by the effects of changing air pressures
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany  by 1654, he had evolved a thermometer which was independent of air pressure, the first reasonably accurate thermometer
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Newton, Isaac  in 1701, he suggested marking off the thermometer tube at intervals, with 0 being the temperature of melting ice, and 12 being body temperature(a duodecimal system similar to the 12-inch foot, 12 units to a dozen, 12 shillings to the pound)
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Fahrenheit, Gabriel Daniel  (1686-1736) German physicist, in 1714 used mercury in place of water or alcohol in thermometer, & devised the temperature scale("º F") named after him(coldest temp. in his lab - ice & salt - at 0, melting ice at 32, body temp. at 96)
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Celsius, Anders  (1701-1744) Swedish astronomer, in 1742 devised the centigrade temperature scale("º C"), with 0 being the freezing point of water, & 100 being the boiling point of water
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Charles, Jacques Alexandre César  in 1787 formulated what would be called Charles's Law, that as a gas cools or is heated, its volume contracts or expands 1/273 of its volume per ºC; later to be found slightly in error
1959 OCT  Height of Up, The  Thomson, William (aka Lord or Baron Kelvin)  (1824-1907) in 1848 suggested that the kinetic energy of molecules be used in a absolute temp. scale(Kelvin scale, º K), with absolute zero is 0, freezing point of water is 273.12, & 372.12 is the boiling point of water
1959 SEP  Varieties of the Infinite  Cantor, Georg  (1845-1918) Russian-born German mathematician; about 1895, he worked out the arithmetic of infinity, & set up a whole series of different varieties of endlessness, which he called transfinite numbers
1959 SEP  Varieties of the Infinite  Freund, John E.  author of A Modern Introduction to Mathematics(1956)
1959 SEP  Varieties of the Infinite  Day, Donald  (1909-1978) editor of Index to the Science Fiction Magazines, 1926-1950(1952)

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