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6 Famous Scientists You Thought You Knew

January 30, 2012
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Creator of the Periodic Table of Elements

It is time to honor Dmitri Mendeleev, and 5 other scientists, as I promote science from Chicago. On February 8, the founder of one of my favorite tools in science, turns 188 years old. Being the youngest sibling among 14 in Russia, he probably suffered from 14th Child Syndrome, usually only seen in Irish Catholic families. Nearing his high school graduation his father passed away. In an attempt to make ends meet, his mother started a glass factory which eventually burnt to the ground. Desperate for money, her and Dmitri moved to Saint Petersburg where he would begin a science career that found him a spot in history.

We all know him for creating the Periodic Table of Elements, but you probably didn’t know these 3 fun facts:

1. Mendeleev was a romantic. After courting Anna Ivanova Popova for 5 years, he proposed to her and threatened suicide if she refused.

2. After being recommended for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1906, he was rejected due to impediments created by some of his contemporaries, mainly Nobel Laureate Svante Arrhenius (whose 152nd birthday is coming up on February 19).

3. There is a crater on the moon named after him, seen here: Crater Mendeleev.

Since I like to post fun facts you didn’t know about, below are fun facts about a few of the greatest scientists in the world:

chicago science mendeleev

What don't you know about them? (click to enlarge)

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) – Probably the greatest scientist you never knew about. Besides creating the alternating current (AC) electrical system used worldwide today, he developed an EARTHQUAKE MACHINE! Seriously, he developed a man-made system to cause earthquakes. When he died, several of his laboratory notebooks disappeared. Who knows which government or person (if any) is in control of his science notes.

Issac Newton (1643-1727) – Best known for conceiving the idea of gravity and the 3 laws of motion, what you may not have known was he invented calculus. Yes, the class us science majors most feared (besides organic chemistry).

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) – Almost 100 years before anyone coined the term ‘Molecular Biology’, I’d call Darwin the 1st Molecular Biologist for his research on evolution that’s still up for debate today. What you didn’t know about him (you probably learned at some point and forgot), the ship that took him on his voyage to South America was called the HMS Beagle. When I hear beagle, only 1 image comes to mind– the local hangout of one of the funniest TV characters of the early 80’s, The Regal Beagle.

Madam Curie (1867-1934) – Known as the 1st person to be honored with 2 Nobel Prizes (1903 in Physics, 1911 in Chemistry), I bet you didn’t know she was a French citizen most of her life but named the first element she discovered, Polonium, for her native country, Poland.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – His theory of relativity is complex science, there is no doubt about it. However, I think I can sum it up with this statement: You may think you’re rich when hanging out with this family, but when visiting your uncle you’re relatively poor. What you may not have known about good ole Albert, is that he looked like this in his younger days:

einstein mendeleev chicago science

Doesn’t he look a little like James Franco? Those are some sexy ‘staches!

chicago science dmitri mendeleev

A resemblance to a young Einstein?

Thanks for reading about Science from Chicago. Be yourself or be no one, let you be you!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. stevi permalink
    December 10, 2013 3:09 PM

    Albert Einstein does not look like James Franco. he looks like either Shia Labeouf or the boy from boy meets world.

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