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The Giants’ Shoulders #51: Tales of Patriotic Science-Nerds, Vortex Cannons and Nuking the Goat

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Welcome to the September installment of “The Giants’ Shoulders“, the carnival devoted to the history of science and the scientists behind astonishing facts and discoveries.

Physicist beeing Awesome

Mathematics and Physics:
I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.” (Herman Melville in “Moby-Dick” 1851), Koerth-Baker provides a little help to all the students struggling to circumnavigate the obstacles provided by physics, in the “Gorgeous 1939 map of physics” you can see how the different disciplines of physics are related and merge together (a stunning example of Scientific Art). Sir Isaac Newton would appreciate the color scheme, as he himself already in early ages compiled an “Alphabet of Color” as presented on the Ptak Science BooksBlog and mathematician William Thurston would surely appreciate the complex topographic relationships of physics displayed on a simple 2D-map, as his legacy as “The Scientist” comprises research on how “complex shapes … fit into multidimensional spaces.
That physicist Nikola Tesla caused the Tunguska explosion with his “Death Ray” is a modern myth and nevertheless his contributions to the development of alternating current are quite more impressive – A miscellany of Science presents “The Wizard” reading a book…. And speaking of death-devices, despite the martial name, a “Vortex Cannon!” is a very peaceful and save demonstration of physics, as shown by skullsinthestars.

Chemistry:
The Renaissance Mathematicus remembers in the post that there is no “father of…” chemistry, but many fathers (and mothers…).

Sure, I could stay in the past...Hail to the King, Baby!

Paleontology:

THEHWORDHIGGITT&HEGGIE introduces us to “Thomas Jefferson, science enthusiast“, and as such biologist Dugatkin remembers the glorious nerd-battle between Jefferson and Buffon, when “Thomas Jefferson defended America with a giant moose“.
Performing Humanity shows that “Living Animals” provided already in the early sixteen century the key to understand the anatomy of  “Dead Humans“. Victorian paleontologist Richard Owen will later make a career in comparative anatomy and during the day a respected museum custodian, in his spare time he became “Richard Owen, the Sea-Serpent Killer“.

Medicine:

Genotopia introduces us to the world of genes, in “Decoding ENCODE” he discusses the recent discovery that junk -DNA isn’t so useless as previously  and in “Our Future-Together and Individually” the use and possible misuse of the modern possibility to screen the code of life for deathly genetic diseases. Speaking of “Cures of all Kinds“, From the Hands of Quacks offers a collection of depictions of strange rituals and here is also a “Rare 500-year-old illustrated medical book shows doctors analyzing urine to diagnose illness“.

Nuclear Launch Detected

Fri(d)nge-science & Hard to Classify:

Not quite pseudoscience, but as fringe-science I would classify the experiments involving and nuking goats suffering a nervous breakdown, as retold by Providentia – A biased look at psychology in the post “Down on the Heebie-Jeebie Farm“.
Finally in the history of science there is also a place for pseudoscience and misconduct in science, like hoaxing, forging, trimming and cooking, even if the post “Fraud and the Decline of Science” shows that accusations of this kind can also be misused to sabotage a career. And if somebody doubts if any of the posts I presented are untrue, he must read on Wonders & Marvels the true tale about the “Truth Serum

David Bressan About the Author: Freelance geologist dealing with quaternary outcrops interested in the history and the development of geological concepts through time. Follow on Twitter @David_Bressan.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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