Charles Darwin FRS

English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, FRS was born in The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on 12 February 1809. He was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side. As an eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting. From September 1818 he joined his older brother Erasmus at the Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder. Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. In Darwin’s second year he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group whose debates strayed into radical materialism. He assisted Robert Edmond Grant’s investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech.

He learned classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum. Charles then went to to Christ’s College, Cambridge, for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson. His cousin William Darwin Fox introduced him to beetle collecting and He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalist. Darwin Stayed at Cambridge until June. He studied Paley’s Natural Theology, which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature. He read John Herschel’s new book, which described the highest aim of natural philosophy and Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative of scientific travels. Inspired with “a burning zeal” to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick’s geology course, then travelled with him, in order to map strata in Wales.

After a week with student friends at Barmouth, Darwin returned home on 29 August he learnt that Henslow had recommended him as suitable gentleman naturalist for a self-funded supernumerary place on HMS Beagle with captain Robert FitzRoy to chart the coastline of South America. The voyage began on 27 December 1831; it lasted almost five years. Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while the Beagle surveyed and charted coasts. He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates.On their first stop ashore at St. Jago, Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs included seashells. Fitzroy gave him a volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology which set out uniformitarian concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods, and Darwin saw things Lyell’s way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology. In Brazil Darwin was delighted by the tropical forest, but detested the sight of slavery. At Punta Alta in Patagonia he made a major find of fossil bones of huge extinct mammals in cliffs beside modern seashells, indicating recent extinction with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe.

He identified the little known Megatherium by a tooth and its association with bony armour which resembled a giant armadillo. The finds brought great interest when they reached England. On rides into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils he gained social, political and anthropological insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. Further south he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as raised beaches showing a series of elevations. He read Lyell’s second volume but his discoveries and theories challenged Lyell’s ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species. Darwin also experienced an earthquake in Chile and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the Andes he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose, oceanic islands sank, and coral reefs round them grew to form atolls. On the geologically new Galápagos Islands Darwin looked for evidence attaching wildlife to an older “centre of creation”, and found mockingbirds allied to those in Chile but differing from island to island. He heard that slight variations in the shape of tortoise shells showed which island they came from. The Beagle investigated how the atolls of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had formed, and the survey supported Darwin’s theories.

When the Beagle reached Falmouth, Cornwall, on 2 October 1836, Darwin was already a celebrity in scientific circles in December 1835 after selected naturalists had been given a pamphlet of his geological letters. hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to catalogue the collections and agreed to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin’s father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking Zoologists and otherexperts to describe the huge collections.Darwin was introduced to the anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen’s surprising results included other gigantic extinct ground sloths as well as the Megatherium, a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium and a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were actually from Glyptodon, a huge armadillo-like creature. Darwin realised that these extinct creatures were related to living species in South America.Darwin wrote his first paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and read it to the Geological Society of London and presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, “gros-beaks” and finches, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches.Darwin was also elected to the Council of the Geological Society

Darwin then moved to London and joined Lyell’s social circle of scientists and experts such as Charles Babbage and writer Harriet Martineau who promoted Malthusianism underlying the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. Transmutation was anathema to Anglicans defending social order,but reputable scientists openly discussed the subject and there was wide interest in John Herschel’s letter praising Lyell’s approach as a way to find a natural cause of the origin of new species. Darwin learnt that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and what Darwin had thought was a “wren” was also in the finch group. The two rheas were also distinct species. Darwin then started writing about Transmutation of Species, and speculated about the possibility that “one species does change into another” to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as the strange Macrauchenia which resembled a giant guanaco.

Darwin Speculated about lifespan, reproduction, variations in offspring to alter and adapt to different environments using the Galápagos tortoises, mockingbirds and rheas as examples postulating a single evolutionary tree containing common ancestors. While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow’s help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, he also planned books on geology.Sadly all this work took it’s toll on Darwin’s health so he took a break in the countryside in Staffordshire where he met his future wife Emma Wedgewood and also formed a new & important theory” regarding the earthworms role in soil formation which Darwin presented at the Geological Society and Darwin became Secretary of the Geological Society. Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation.

Darwin’s health deteriorated and For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress. During another break he went “geologising” in Scotland. He visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel “roads” cut into the hillsides at three heights. After recuperating he returned to Shrewsbury and Continuing his research in London, Darwin’s wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population, and asserted that human “population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio”, a geometric progression so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe & compare this to de Candolle’s “warring of the species” of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, & favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would result in the formation of new species.

Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian Nature so that “every part of newly acquired structure is fully practical and perfected”. He later called his theory natural selection. On 29 January Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in Shropshire.Darwin’s book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs on his theory of atoll formation was also published in May 1842 and he then wrote his first draft of his theory of natural selection. Darwin completed his third geological book in 1846. He now renewed a fascination and expertise in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days classifying the barnacles he had collected on the voyage, enjoying observing beautiful structures and thinking about comparisons with allied structures.

In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Darwin visited Malvern spa and benefited from hydrotherapy. After eight years of work on barnacles (Cirripedia), Darwin’s theory helped him to find “homologies” showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions This earned him the Royal Society’s Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist & realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to diversified places in the economy of nature.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travelacross seawater to spread species across oceans.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Darwin began work on a “big book on species” entitled Natural Selection and also presented a thesis On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection to the Linnean Society. At first There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory & Despite suffering from ill health he was getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends.


Upon it’s publication On the Origin of Species proved unexpectedly popular, In the book, Darwin set out “one long argument” of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections, and states that many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive so there is a recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it changes in any manner helpful to itself, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. He put a strong case for common descent, but avoided the then controversial term “evolution”, The book aroused international interest, although there was less controversy than had greeted the popular Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation,The Church of England’s response was mixed. Darwin’s old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas, but liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.

Though Darwin’s illness kept him away from the public debates, he eagerly scrutinised the scientific response, commenting on press cuttings, reviews, articles, satires and caricatures, and corresponded on it with colleagues worldwide. Darwin had only said “Light will be thrown on the origin of man”. Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last years of his life, Darwin’s work continued. Having published On the Origin of Species as an abstract of his theory, he pressed on with experiments, research, and writing of his “big book”. He covered human descent from earlier animals including evolution of society and of mental abilities, as well as explaining decorative beauty in wildlife and diversifying into innovative plant studies.Enquiries about insect pollination led in 1861 to novel studies of wild orchids, showing adaptation of their flowers to attract specific moths to each species and ensure cross fertilisation.

In 1862 Fertilisation of Orchids gave his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection to explain complex ecological relationships, making testable predictions. As his health declined, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with inventive experiments to trace the movements of climbing plants. In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called “angina pectoris” which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed anginal attacks”, and “heart-failure”. He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”.

He was buried at Westminster Abbey close to John Herschel and Sir Isaac Newton, at the request of His colleagues, and after public and parliamentary petitioning, by William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) .Darwin had convinced most scientists that evolution as descent with modification was correct, and he was regarded as a great scientist who had revolutionised ideas. Though few agreed with his views on “natural selection” he was honoured in June 1909 by more than 400 officials and scientists from across the world who met in Cambridge to commemorate his centenary and the fiftieth anniversary of On the Origin of Species. During this period, which has been called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which proved untenable. The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, suggested natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution.


National Inventors Day

National Inventors day takes place annually on February 11 to coincide with the birth of Thomas Edison who was born 11 February 1847, and to recognise the important contributions inventors make and inspire would-be inventors to invent something useful and make a difference. It was created by Former US President Ronald Reagan In recognition of the enormous contribution inventors make to the nation and the world, the Congress, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 140 (Public Law 97 – 198), designated February 11, the anniversary of the birth of the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who held over 1,000 patents.

However Not all countries recognise Inventors’ Day. Those countries which do recognise an Inventors’ Day do so with varying degrees of emphasis and on different days of the year.For instance The Inventors’ Day (Spanish: Día del Inventor) in Argentina has been celebrated since 1986 and is held yearly on September 29, the birthday of the inventor of the ballpoint pen, László József Bíró. Meanwhile The Inventors’ Day (German: Tag der Erfinder) in the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland is celebrated on November 9, the birthday of the Austrian-born inventor and Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr whose main invention was the frequency-hopped spread spectrum 1942. The day was proclaimed by Berlin inventor and entrepreneur Gerhard Muthenthaler. According to the website of the organisation.

The aims of National Inventors day are to Encourage people towards their own ideas and for a change to the better and Remind people of forgotten inventors. Hungarian Inventors’ Day (Magyar Feltalálók Napja) is celebrated on June 13 in memoriam of Albert Szent-Györgyi who registered his national patent about the synthesized Vitamin C in 1941 and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937. It is celebrated by the Association of Hungarian Inventors (MAFE) since 2009. While in the Republic of Moldova an Inventors’ and Rationalizers’ Day is celebrated annually at the end of June. Thailand on the other hand recognises February 2 as Inventors’ Day each year. The Thai Cabinet set this date to commemorate the anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s allocation of a patent for a slow speed surface aerator on February 2, 1993.

Thomas Edison

American inventor and businessman Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio, and grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. In school, the young Edison’s mind often wandered, and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him “addled”. This ended Edison’s three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” His mother taught him at home. much of his education came from reading R.G. Parker’s School of Natural Philosophy. Edison developed hearing problems at an early age. The cause of his deafness has been attributed to a bout of scarlet fever during childhood and recurring untreated middle-ear infections. Around the middle of his career, Edison attributed the hearing impairment to being struck on the ears by a train conductor after a chemical laboratory he was transporting in a boxcar caught fire and he was thrown off the train in Smiths Creek, Michigan, along with his apparatus and chemicals.

In 1854 Edison’s family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, He sold candy and newspapers on trains running from Port Huron to Detroit, and he sold vegetables to supplement his income. He also studied qualitative analysis, and conducted chemical experiments on the train until an accident prohibited further work of the kind. He obtained the exclusive right to sell newspapers on the road, and, with the aid of four assistants, he set in type and printed the Grand Trunk Herald, which he sold with his other papers.This began Edison’s long streak of entrepreneurial ventures, as he discovered his talents as a businessman. These talents eventually led him to found 14 companies, including General Electric, which is still one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world.

Thomas Edison began his career as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, with the automatic repeater and his other improved telegraphic devices, but the invention that first gained him notice was the phonograph in 1877. This accomplishment was so unexpected by the public at large as to appear almost magical. Edison became known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” New Jersey.His first phonograph recorded on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder, but had poor sound quality and the recordings could be played only a few times. In the 1880s, a redesigned model using wax-coated cardboard cylinders was produced by Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, and Charles Tainter. This was one reason that Thomas Edison continued work on his own “Perfected Phonograph.” In 1877–78, Edison invented and developed the carbon microphone used in all telephones along with the Bell receiver until the 1980s. After protracted patent litigation, in 1892 a federal court ruled that Edison and not Emile Berliner was the inventor of the carbon microphone which was also used in radio broadcasting and public address work through the 1920s.

He also developed many other devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb Edison also patented a system for electricity distribution in 1880, which was essential to capitalize on the invention of the electric lamp. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.Edison is the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

He is credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, telecommunication. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. He also developed the first power station on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York and is credited with designing and producing the first commercially available fluoroscope, a machine that uses X-rays to take radiographs. Until Edison discovered that calcium tungstate fluoroscopy screens produced brighter images than the barium platinocyanide screens originally used by Wilhelm Röntgen, the technology was capable of producing only very faint images, The fundamental design is still in use today.

Edison was active in business until Just months before his death, the Electrical transmission for the Lackawanna Railroad inaugurated suburban electric train service from Hoboken to Montclair, Dover, and Gladstone in New Jersey. was by means of an overhead catenary system using direct current, which Edison had championed. Despite his frail condition, Edison was at the throttle of the first electric MU (Multiple-Unit) train to depart Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken in September 1930, driving the train the first mile through Hoboken yard on its way to South Orange.This fleet of cars would serve commuters in northern New Jersey for the next 54 years until their retirement in 1984. A plaque commemorating Edison’s inaugural ride can be seen today in the waiting room of Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, which is presently operated by New Jersey Transit. Edison was said to have been influenced by a popular fad diet in his last few years; “the only liquid he consumed was a pint of milk every three hours”. He is reported to have believed this diet would restore his health. Edison became the owner of his Milan, Ohio, birthplace in 1906. On his last visit, in 1923, he was reportedly shocked to find his old home still lit by lamps and candles.

Thomas Edison tragically died from complications of diabetes on October 18, 1931, in his home, “Glenmont” in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey, which he had purchased in 1886 as a wedding gift for Mina. He is buried behind the home. Edison’s last breath is reportedly contained in a test tube at the Henry Ford Museum. Ford reportedly convinced Charles Edison to seal a test tube of air in the inventor’s room shortly after his death, as a memento.

Friedlieb Runge

German analytical chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was born 8 February 1794 near Hamburg. From a young age, Runge conducted chemical experiments, serendipitously identifying the mydriatic (pupil dilating) effects of belladonna (deadly nightshade) extract. In 1819, Runge was invited to show Goethe how belladonna caused dilation of the pupil, which Runge did, using a cat as an experimental subject. Following the lecture Goethe gave Runge a bag of Coffee as a thank you and A few months later, Runge identified caffeine and noted its rejuvinating effect on the mind.

Runge studied chemistry in Jena and Berlin, where he obtained his doctorate. After touring Europe for three years, he taught chemistry at the University of Breslau until 1831. From then until 1852 he worked for a chemical company, His chemical work included purine chemistry, the identification of caffeine, the discovery of the first coal tar dye (aniline blue), coal tar products (and a large number of substances that derive from coal tar), paper chromatography, pyrrole, chinoline, phenol, thymol and atropine. He was the first to notice in 1855 the phenomenon of “Liesegang rings which he observed while experimenting on the precipitation of reagents in blotting paper. Unfortunately Runge was dismissed from the company by a resentful manager and died fifteen years later on 25 March 1867, in Oranienburg.

Edward Davy

English physician, scientist, and inventor Edward Davy sadly passed away January 26 1885. He was born 16 june 1806 in Ottery St Mary, Devonshire, England, son of Thomas Davy (medical practioner and house surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, London). Edward Davy was educated at a school run by his maternal uncle in Tower Street, London. He was then apprenticed to Dr Wheeler, house surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Davy won the prize for botany in 1825, was licensed by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in 1828 and the Royal College of Surgeons in 1829. Soon after graduating, Davy began trading as an operative chemist under the name of Davy & Co. In 1836 he published a small book Experimental Guide to Chemistry, at the end of which was a catalogue of goods supplied by his firm.

Davy also played a prominent role in the development of telegraphy, and invented an electric relay. He published Outline of a New Plan of Telegraphic Communication in 1836 and carried out telegraphic experiments the following year. He demonstrated the operation of the telegraph over a mile of wire in Regent’s Park. In 1837 he demonstrated a working model of the telegraph in Exeter Hall. He was granted a patent for his telegraph in 1838. However, he was soon obliged to drop his investigations of telegraphy for personal reasons. His patent was purchased by the Electric Telegraph Company in 1847 for £600. Davy also invented an electric relay. He used a magnetic needle which dipped into a mercury contact when an electric current passed through the surrounding coil. In recognition of this he was elected in 1885 as an honorary member of the Society of Telegraph Engineers and was informed of this by telegraph shortly before his death.

In 1838 Davy migrated to South Australia without his first wife and son. He was editor of the Adelaide Examiner from June to July 1842 and was elected president of the Port Adelaide Mechanics’ Institute at its inaugural meeting in 1851. Davy was a director and manager of the Adelaide Smelting Company and became chief assayer of the Government Assay Office in Adelaide in February 1852. Davy was appointed assay master in Melbourne in July 1853 until the office was abolished in October 1854. For a short while, he took up farming near Malmsbury, Victoria then moved into Malmsbury where he practised as a physician for the rest of his life. He was three times mayor of Malmbury Davy sady passed away n 1885

James Watt FRS FRSE

Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist James Watt FRS FRSE was born 30 January 1736 (19 January 1736 OS in Greenock, Renfrewshire. His father was a shipwright, ship owner and contractor, and served as the town’s chief baillie,while his mother, Agnes Muirhead, came from a well educated distinguished family. Watt’s grandfather, Thomas Watt, was a mathematics teacher and baillie to the Baron of Cartsburn. Watt did not attend school regularly; initially he was mostly schooled at home by his mother but later he attended Greenock Grammar School. He exhibited great manual dexterity, engineering skills and an aptitude for mathematics, but is said to have suffered prolonged bouts of ill-health as a child.

When he was eighteen, his mother died and his father’s health began to fail. Watt travelled to London to study instrument-making for a year, then returned to Scotland, settling in Glasgow intent on setting up his own instrument-making business. He made and repaired brass reflecting quadrants, parallel rulers, scales, parts for telescopes, and barometers, among other things. However Because he had not served at least seven years as an apprentice, the Glasgow Guild of Hammermen (which had jurisdiction over any artisans using hammers) blocked his application, despite there being no other mathematical instrument makers in Scotland. However the arrival of astronomical instruments, bequeathed by Alexander Macfarlane to the University of Glasgow which required expert handling, Allowed Watt to bypass this stalemate. These instruments were eventually installed in the Macfarlane Observatory. He was offered the opportunity to set up a small workshop within the university by two of the professors, the physicist and chemist Joseph Black and Adam Smith. At first he worked on maintaining and repairing scientific instruments used in the university, helping with demonstrations, and expanding the production of quadrants. In 1759 he formed a partnership with John Craig, an architect and businessman, to manufacture and sell a line of products including musical instruments and toys. This partnership lasted for the next six years, and employed up to sixteen workers.

While working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow, Watt became interested in the technology of steam engines After noticing the steam from a boiling kettle forced the lid to move. His friend, John Robison, then suggested steam could be used as a source of motive power. He realized that contemporary steam engine designs wasted a great deal of energy by repeatedly cooling and reheating the cylinder. Watt introduced a design enhancement, the separate condenser, which avoided this waste of energy and radically improved the power, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of steam engines. Eventually he adapted his engine to produce rotary motion, greatly broadening its use beyond pumping water. Watt dramatically improved on the efficiency of Thomas Newcomen’s 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1781, which was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.

The design of the Newcomen engine, in use for almost 50 years for pumping water from mines, had hardly changed from its first implementation. Watt began to experiment with steam, though he had never seen an operating steam engine. He tried constructing a model. He realised the importance of latent heat—the thermal energy released or absorbed during a constant-temperature process—in understanding the engine, which, unknown to Watt, his friend Joseph Black had previously discovered some years before. In 1763, Watt was asked to repair a model Newcomen engine belonging to the university. Even after repair, the engine barely worked. After much experimentation, Watt demonstrated that about three-quarters of the thermal energy of the steam was being wasted heating the engine cylinder on every cycle. Watt decided to condense the steam in a separate chamber apart from the piston, and to maintain the temperature of the cylinder at the same temperature as the injected steam by surrounding it with a “steam jacket.Thus very little energy was absorbed by the cylinder on each cycle, making more available to perform useful work. Sadly Watt had financial difficulties constructing a full scale engine to demonstrate his findings. Luckily backing came from John Roebuck, the founder of the celebrated Carron Iron Works near Falkirk, with whom he now formed a partnership. Roebuck lived at Kinneil House in Bo’ness, during which time Watt worked at perfecting his steam engine, however the Piston and cylinder could not be manufactured with sufficient precision. Watt also worked first as a surveyor, then as a civil engineer for eight years to finance his work. Sadly

Sadly Roebuck went bankrupt, however salvation came in the form of Matthew Boulton, who owned the Soho Manufactory works near Birmingham, and acquired his patent rights. Through Boulton, Watt finally had access to some of the best iron workers in the world. The difficulty of the manufacture of a large cylinder with a tightly fitting piston was solved by John Wilkinson, who had developed precision boring techniques for cannon making at Bersham, near Wrexham, North Wales. Watt and Boulton formed a hugely successful partnership (Boulton and Watt) which lasted for the next twenty-five years.In 1776, the first engines were installed and working in commercial enterprises. These first engines were used to power pumps and produced only reciprocating motion to move the pump rods at the bottom of the shaft. The design was commercially successful, and for the next five years Watt installed more engines, mostly in Cornwall for pumping water out of mines. These early engines were not manufactured by Boulton and Watt, but were made by others according to drawings made by Watt, who served in the role of consulting engineer. The field of application for the invention was greatly widened when Boulton urged Watt to convert the reciprocating motion of the piston to produce rotational power for grinding, weaving and milling. Although a crank seemed the obvious solution to the conversion Watt and Boulton were stymied by a patent for this, whose holder, James Pickard, and associates proposed to cross-license the external condenser. Watt adamantly opposed this and they circumvented the patent by their sun and planet gear in 1781.

Watt made a number of other improvements and modifications to the steam engine. Such as A double acting engine, in which the steam acted alternately on the two sides of the piston. He also described methods for working the steam “expansively” (i.e., using steam at pressures well above atmospheric). He designed A compound engine, which connected two or more engines, a steam indicator which prevented these primative boilers from exploding and parallel motion which was essential in double-acting engines as it produced the straight line motion required for the cylinder rod and pump, from the connected rocking beam, whose end moves in a circular arc. He also created a throttle valve to control the power of the engine, and a centrifugal governor, all of which made his Steam Engines far more efficient than the Newcomen Engine. In order to minimaze the risk of exploding boilers, Watt restricted his use of high pressure steam and all of his engines used steam at near atmospheric pressure. Watt entered a partnership with Matthew Boulton in 1775. The new firm of Boulton and Watt was eventually highly successful and Watt became a wealthy man.

Watt retired in 1800, the same year that his fundamental patent and partnership with Boulton expired. The famous partnership was transferred to the men’s sons, Matthew Robinson Boulton and James Watt Jr. Watt continued to invent other things before and during his semi-retirement though none was as significant as his steam engine work. He invented and constructed several machines for copying sculptures and medallions. He maintained his interest in civil engineering and was a consultant on several significant projects. He proposed, for example, a method for constructing a flexible pipe to be used for pumping water under the Clyde at Glasgow. He and his second wife travelled to France and Germany, and he purchased an estate in mid-Wales at Doldowlod House, one mile south of Llanwrthwl. In 1816 he took a trip on the paddle-steamer Comet, a product of his inventions, to revisit his home town of Greenock. James Watt’s improvements to the steam engine converted it from a prime mover of marginal efficiency into the mechanical workhorse of the Industrial Revolution. The availability of efficient, reliable motive power made whole new classes of industry economically viable, and altered the economies of continents. This brought about immense social change, attracting millions of rural families to the towns and cities.

English novelist Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) wrote of Watt; “To us, the moment 8:17 A.M. means something – something very important, if it happens to be the starting time of our daily train. To our ancestors, such an odd eccentric instant was without significance – did not even exist. In inventing the locomotive, Watt and Stephenson were part inventors of time.”

Watt Sadly died on 25 August 1819 at his home “Heathfield” in Handsworth, Staffordshire (now part of Birmingham) at the age of 83. He was buried on 2 September in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Handsworth. However he received many honours for his pioneering work during his lifetime. In 1784 he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was elected as a member of the Batavian Society for Experimental Philosophy, of Rotterdam in 1787. In 1789 he was elected to the elite group, the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. In 1806 he was conferred the honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Glasgow. The French Academy elected him a Corresponding Member and he was made a Foreign Associate in 1814. The watt is named after James Watt for his contributions to the development of the steam engine, and was adopted by the Second Congress of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1889 and by the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1960 as the unit of power incorporated in the International System of Units (or “SI”).Boulton and Watt also feature on a Bank of England £50 note. the two industrialists pictured side by side with images of Watt’s steam engine and Boulton’s Soho Manufactory. Quotes attributed to each of the men are inscribed on the note: “I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have—POWER” (Boulton) and “I can think of nothing else but this machine” (Watt). In 2011 he was one of seven inaugural inductees to the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.

National pharmacist Day

National Pharmacist Day is observed annually on January 12. This day has been set aside to recognize and honor all pharmacists across the nation. Pharmacists, also known as chemists (Commonwealth English) or druggists (North American and, archaically, Commonwealth English), are health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use. Pharmacists undergo university-level education to understand the biochemical mechanisms and actions of drugs, drug uses, therapeutic roles, side effects, potential drug interactions, and monitoring parameters. This is mated to anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. Pharmacists interpret and communicate this specialized knowledge to patients, physicians, and other health care providers. Among other licensing requirements, different countries require pharmacists to hold either a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Master of Pharmacy, or Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

The most common pharmacist positions are that of a community pharmacist (also referred to as a retail pharmacist, first-line pharmacist or dispensing chemist), or a hospital pharmacist, where they instruct and counsel on the proper use and adverse effects of medically prescribed drugs and medicines. In most countries, the profession is subject to professional regulation. Depending on the legal scope of practice, pharmacists may contribute to prescribing (also referred to as “pharmacist prescriber”) and administering certain medications (e.g., immunizations) in some jurisdictions. Pharmacists may also practice in a variety of other settings, including industry, wholesaling, research, academia, military, and government.

The role of pharmacists over the years has shifted from the classical “lick, stick and pour” dispensary role to being an integrated member of the health care team directly involved in patient care. After mastering biochemical mechanisms of action of drugs, physiology, and pathophysiology, pharmacists interpret and communicate their specialized knowledge to patients, physicians, and other healthcare providers.

Historically, the primary role of a pharmacist was to check and distribute drugs to doctors for a patient prescribed medication. In modern times, pharmacists advise patients and health care providers on the selection, dosages, interactions and the side effects of prescriptions, along with having the role as a learned intermediary between a prescriber and a patient. Monitoring the health and progress of patients, pharmacists can then ensure the safe and effective use of medication.


National Marzipan Day occurs annually on 12 January. Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal (ground almonds), sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract.

It is often made into sweets; common uses are chocolate-covered marzipan and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It can also be used in biscuits or rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes, primarily birthday, wedding cakes and Christmas cakes. This use is particularly common in the UK, on large fruitcakes. Marzipan paste may also be used as a baking ingredient, as in stollen or banket. In some countries, it is shaped into small figures of animals as a traditional treat for New Year’s Day. Marzipan is also used in Tortell, and in some versions of king cake eaten during the Carnival season. Traditional Swedish princess cake is typically covered with a layer of marzipan that has been tinted pale green or pink.

Marzipan is believed to have been introduced to Eastern Europe through the Turks (badem ezmesi in Turkish, and most notably produced in Edirne), however there is some dispute between Hungary and Italy over its origin. In Sicily it was (1193) known as panis martius or marzapane, i.e., March Bread.[9] Marzipan became a specialty of the Hanseatic League port towns. In particular, the cities of Lübeck and Tallinn have a proud tradition of marzipan manufacture. Examples include Lübecker Marzipan  The city’s manufacturers like Niederegger still guarantee their marzipan to contain two-thirds almonds by weight, which results in a product of highest quality. Historically, the city of Königsberg in East Prussia was also renowned for its distinctive marzipan production. Königsberg marzipan remains a special type of marzipan in Germany that is golden brown on its surface and sometimes embedded with marmalade at its centre.

Another possible geographic origin of Marzipan is in Spain, then known as Al-Andalus. In Toledo (850-900, though more probably 1150 during the reign of Alfonso VII) this specialty was known as Postre Regio (instead of Mazapán) and there are also mentions in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights of an almond paste eaten during Ramadan and as an aphrodisiac. Mazapán is Toledo’s most famous dessert, often created for Christmas. Almonds have to be at least 50% of the total weight, following the directives of Mazapán de Toledo regulator counseil another Spanish almond-based Christmas confectionery, is turrón.

In the U.S., marzipan is not officially defined, but it is generally made with a higher ratio of sugar to almonds than almond paste. One brand, for instance, has 28% almonds in its marzipan, and 45% almonds in its almond paste. However, in Sweden and Finland almond paste refers to a marzipan that contains 50% ground almonds, a much higher quality than regular marzipan. In Germany, Lübecker Marzipan is known for its quality. It contains 66% almonds. The original manually produced Mozartkugeln are made from green pistachio marzipan.

More Events and National days happening on 12 January
Kiss a Ginger Day
Curried Chicken Day
Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day
National Marzipan Day
National Pharmacist Day
Stick To Your New Year’s Resolution Day