Pierre de fermat

French lawyer and Mathmatician Pierre de Fermat was Born 17 August 1601 in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France. His father, Dominique Fermat, was a wealthy leather merchant, and served three one-year terms as one of the four consuls of Beaumont-de-Lomagne. His mother was Claire de Long. Pierre had one brother and two sisters and was almost certainly brought up in the town of his birth. He first studied at the Collège de Navarre in Montauban, then attended the University of Orléans from 1623 and received a bachelor in civil law in 1626, before moving to Bordeaux. In Bordeaux he began his first serious mathematical researches, and in 1629 he gave a copy of his restoration of Apollonius’s De Locis Planis to one of the mathematicians there. Certainly in Bordeaux he was in contact with Beaugrand and during this time he produced important work on maxima and minima which he gave to Étienne d’Espagnet who clearly shared mathematical interests with Fermat. There he became much influenced by the work of François Viète.

He Became a lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, France, and is credited with early developments that led to infinitesimal calculus, including his adequality. He is also recognized for the discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of the then unknown differential calculus, and his research into number theory. Fermat also made notable contributions to analytic geometry, probability, and optics, andis best known for Fermat’s Last Theorem, which he described in a note at the margin of a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.

Fermat’s pioneering work in analytic geometry was circulated in manuscript form in 1636, predating the publication of Descartes’ famous La géométrie. This manuscript was published posthumously in 1679 in “Varia opera mathematica”, as Ad Locos Planos et Solidos Isagoge, (“Introduction to Plane and Solid Loci”).In his books “Methodus ad disquirendam maximam et minima” and”De tangentibus linearum curvarum”, Fermat developed a method for determining maxima, minima, and tangents to various curves that was equivalent to differentiation. In these works, Fermat obtained a technique for finding the centers of gravity of various plane and solid figures, which led to his further work in quadrature. Fermat was also the first person known to have evaluated the integral of general power functions. Using an ingenious trick, he was able to reduce this evaluation to the sum of geometric series. The resulting formula was helpful to Newton, and then Leibniz, when they independently developed the fundamental theorem of calculus

Fermat also studied Pell’s equation, perfect numbers, amicable numbers and what would later become Fermat numbers. It was while researching perfect numbers that he discovered the little theorem. He invented a factorization method – Fermat’s factorization method – as well as the proof technique of infinite descent, which he used to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem for the case n = 4. Fermat developed the two-square theorem, and the polygonal number theorem, which states that each number is a sum of three triangular numbers, four square numbers, five pentagonal numbers, and so on. Although Fermat claimed to have proved all his arithmetic theorems, few records of his proofs have survived. Many mathematicians, including Gauss, doubted several of his claims, especially given the difficulty of some of the problems and the limited mathematical tools available to Fermat. His famous Last Theorem was first discovered by his son in the margin on his father’s copy of an edition of Diophantus, and included the statement that the margin was too small to include the proof. He had not bothered to inform even Marin Mersenne of it. It was not proved until 1994, using techniques unavailable to Fermat

Although he carefully studied, and drew inspiration from Diophantus, Fermat began a different tradition. Diophantus was content to find a single solution to his equations, even if it were an undesired fractional one. Fermat was interested only in integer solutions to his Diophantine equations, and he looked for all possible general solutions. He often proved that certain equations had no solution, which usually baffled his contemporaries.Through his correspondence with Pascal in 1654, Fermat and Pascal helped lay the fundamental groundwork for the theory of probability. From this brief but productive collaboration on the problem of points, they are now regarded as joint founders of probability theory. Fermat is credited with carrying out the first ever rigorous probability calculation. In it, he was asked by a professional gambler why if he bet on rolling at least one six in four throws of a die he won in the long term, whereas betting on throwing at least one double-six in 24 throws of two dice resulted in him losing. Fermat subsequently proved why this was the case mathematically. Fermat’s principle of least time (which he used to derive Snell’s law in 1657) was the first variational principle enunciated in physics since Hero of Alexandria described a principle of least distance in the first century CE. Now, Fermat is recognized as a key figure in the historical development of the fundamental principle of least action in physics. The term Fermat functional was named in recognition of this role. Fermat’s Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation:

An + Bn = Cn

If any integer value of n is greater than two. This theorem was first conjectured in 1637, famously in the margin of a copy of Arithmetica where he claimed he had a proof that was too large to fit in the margin.No successful proof was published until 1995 despite the efforts of countless mathematicians during the 358 intervening years. The unsolved problem stimulated the development of algebraic number theory in the 19th century and the proof of the modularity theorem in the 20th Century. It is among the most famous theorems in the history of mathematics and prior to its 1995 proof, it was in the Guinness Book of World Records for “most difficult maths problem”. Pierre de Fermat sadly passed away 12 January 1665.

Leon Thermin

Pioneering Russian inventor Léon Theremin was born Lev Sergeyevich Termen in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire in 15 August 1896 into a family of French and German ancestry.He had a sister named Helena. He became interested in electricity at the age of 7, and by 13 he was experimenting with high frequency circuits. In the seventh class of his high school before an audience of students and parents he demonstrated various optical effects using electricity. By the age of 17 he was in his last year of high school and at home he had his own laboratory for experimenting with high frequencircuits, optics and     magnetic fields. cousin, Kirill Fedorovich Nesturkh, then a young physicist, and a singer named Wagz invited him to attend the defense of the dissertation of professor Abram Fedorovich Ioffe. Physics lecturer Vladimir Konstantinovich Lebedinskiy had explained to Theremin the then interesting dispute over Ioffe’s work on the electron.

In 1913 Theremin and his cousin attended Ioffe’s dissertation defense. Ioffe’s subject was on the elementary photoelectric effect, the magnetic field of cathode rays and related investigations. In 1917 Theremin wrote that Ioffe talked of electrons, the photoelectric effect and magnetic fields as parts of an objective reality that surrounds us everyday, unlike others that talked more of somewhat abstract formula and symbols. Theremin wrote that he found this explanation revelatory and that it fit a scientific – not abstract – view of the world, different scales of magnitude, and matter. From then on Theremin endeavoured to study the Microcosm, in the same way he had studied the Macrocosm with his hand-built telescope. Later, Kyrill introduced Theremin to Ioffe as a young experimenter and physicist, and future student of the university. Theremin recalled that while still in his last year of school, he had built a million-volt Tesla coil and noticed a strong glow associated with his attempts to ionise the air. He then wished to further investigate the effects using university resources. A chance meeting with Abram Fedorovich Ioffe led to a recommendation to see Karl Karlovich Baumgart, who was in charge of the physics laboratory equipment. Karl then reserved a room and equipment for Theremin’s experiments. Abram Fedorovich suggested Theremin also look at methods of creating gas fluorescence under different conditions and of examining the resulting light’s spectra.

However, during these investigations Theremin was called up for World War I military service.Despite Theremin being only in his second academic year, the deanery of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy recommended him to go to the Nikolayevska Military Engineering School in Petrograd (renamed from Saint Petersburg), which usually only accepted students in their fourth year. Theremin recalled Ioffe reassured him that the war would not last long and that military experience would be useful for scientific applications.Beginning his military service in 1916, Theremin finished the Military Engineering School in six months, progressed through the Graduate Electronic School for Officers, and attained the military radio-engineer diploma in the same year. In the course of the next three and a half years he oversaw the construction of a radio station in Saratov to connect the Volga area with Moscow, graduated from Petrograd University, became deputy leader of the new Military Radiotechnical Laboratory in Moscow, and finished as the broadcast supervisor of the radio transmitter at Tsarskoye Selo near Petrograd (then renamed Detskoye Selo).

During the Russian civil war, in October 1919 White Army commander Nikolai Nikolayevich Yudenich advanced on Petrograd from the side of Detskoye Selo, apparently intending to capture the radio station to announce a victory over the Bolsheviks. Theremin and others evacuated the station, sending equipment east on rail cars. Theremin then detonated explosives to destroy the 120 meter-high antennae mast before traveling to Petrograd to set up an international listening station. There he also trained radio specialists but reported difficulties obtaining food and working with foreign experts who he described as narrow-minded pessimists. Theremin recalled that on an evening when his hopes of overcoming these obstructing experts reached a low ebb, Abram Fedorovich Ioffe telephoned him. Ioffe asked Theremin to come to his newly founded Physical Technical Institute in Petrograd, and the next day he invited him to start work at developing measuring methods for high frequency electrical oscillations.

Following Ioffe’s invitation, Theremin started at the institute. He worked in diverse fields: applying the Laue effect to the new field of X-ray analysis of crystals; using hypnosis to improve measurement-reading accuracy; working with Ivan Pavlov’s laboratory; and using gas-filled lamps as measuring devices. He built a high frequency oscillator to measure the dielectric constant of gases with high precision; Ioffe then urged him to look for other applications using this method, and shortly made the first motion detector for use as a”radio watchman”.while adapting the dielectric device by adding circuitry to generate an audio tone, Theremin noticed the pitch changed when his hand moved around.

In 1920 he first demonstrated this to Ioffe who called in other professors and students to hear. Theremin recalled trying to find the notes for tunes he remembered from when he played the cello, such as the Swan by Saint-Saëns. By November 1920 Theremin had given his first public concert with the instrument, now modified with a horizontal volume antenna replacing the earlier foot-operated volume control. He named it the “etherphone” to be known as the Терменвокс (Termenvox) in the Soviet Union, as the Thereminvox in Germany,and later as the “theremin” in the United States. Theremin went to Germany in 1925 to sell both the radio watchman and Termenvox patents to the German firm Goldberg and Sons. According to Glinsky this was the Soviet’s “decoy for capitalists” to obtain both Western profits from sales and technical knowledge.During this time Theremin was also working on a wireless television with 16 scan lines in 1925, improving to 32 scan lines and then 64 using interlacing in 1926, and he demonstrated moving, if blurry, images on 7 June 1927.

Theramin embarked on a lengthy tour of Europe starting 1927 – including London, Paris and towns in Germany– to demonstrate his invention to full audiences. Before going to the United States To demonstrate the theremins capabilities with the New York Philharmonic in 1928. He patented his invention in the United States in 1928 and subsequently granted commercial production rights to RCA.Theremin also set up a laboratory in New York in the 1930s, where he developed the theremin and experimented with other electronic musical instruments and other inventions. These included the Rhythmicon, commissioned by the American composer and theorist Henry Cowell. In 1930, ten thereminists performed on stage at Carnegie Hall. Two years later, Theremin conducted the first-ever electronic orchestra, featuring the theremin and other electronic instruments including a “fingerboard” theremin which resembled a cello in use.

Theremin’s mentors during this time were some of society’s foremost scientists, composers, and musical theorists, including composerJoseph Schillinger and physicist (and amateur violinist) Albert Einstein. At this time, Theremin worked closely with fellow Russian émigré and theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore.Theremin was interested in a role for the theremin in dance music. He developed performance locations that could automatically react to dancers’ movements with varied patterns of sound and light. Theremin abruptly returned to the Soviet Union in 1938. At the time, the reasons for his return were unclear; some claimed that he was simply homesick, while others believed that he had been kidnapped by Soviet officials. Beryl Campbell, one of Theremin’s dancers, said his wife Lavinia “called to say that he had been kidnapped from his studio” and that “some Russians had come in” and that she felt that he was going to be spirited out of the country. Many years later, it was revealed that Theremin had returned to his native land due to tax and financial difficulties in the United States. However, Theremin himself once told Bulat Galeyev that he decided to leave himself because he was anxious about the approaching war.

Shortly after he returned he was imprisoned in the Butyrka prison and later sent to work in the Kolyma gold mines. Although rumors of his execution were widely circulated and published, Theremin was, in fact, put to work in a sharashka (a secret laboratory in the Gulag camp system), together with Andrei Tupolev, Sergei Korolev, and other well-known scientists and engineers. The Soviet Union rehabilitated him in 1956. During his work at the sharashka, where he was put in charge of other workers, Theremin created the Buran eavesdropping system. A precursor to the modern laser microphone, it worked by using a low power infrared beam from a distance to detect the sound vibrations in the glass windows. Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police organization NKVD(the predecessor of the KGB), used the Buran device to spy on the British, French and US embassies in Moscow.According to Galeyev, Beria also spied on Stalin; Theremin kept some of the tapes in his flat. In 1947, Theremin was awarded the Stalin prize for inventing this advance in Soviet espionage technology.

Theremin invented another listening device called The Thing. Disguised in a replica of theGreat Seal of the United States carved in wood, in 1945 Soviet school children presented the concealed bug to U.S. Ambassador as a “gesture of friendship” to the USSR’s World War II ally. It hung in the ambassador’s residential office in Moscow, and intercepted confidential conversations there during the first seven years of the Cold War, until it was accidentally discovered in 1952. After his “release” from the sharashka in 1947, Theremin volunteered to remain working with the KGB until 1966.By 1947 Theremin had remarried, to Maria Guschina, his third wife, and they had two children: Lena and Natalia.

After working for the KGB, Theremin worked at the Moscow Conservatory of Music for 10 years where he taught, and built theremins,electronic cellos and some terpsitones (another invention of Theremin) . Unfortunately an unfavorable article was written about Theramin  by Harold Schonberg, the chief music critic of The New York Times. This led tO the Conservatory’s Managing Director declaring that “electricity is not good for music; electricity is to be used for electrocution”.  Theramin’s instruments were removed from the conservatory, further electronic music projects were banned  and Theremin himself was summarily dismissed.

In the 1970s, Léon Theremin was a Professor of Physics at Moscow State University (Department of Acoustics) developing his inventions and supervising graduate students. After 51 years in the Soviet Union Theremin started travelling, first visiting France in June 1989 and then the United States in 1991, each time accompanied by his daughter Natalia. Theremin was brought to New York by filmmaker Steven M. Martin where he was reunited with Clara Rockmore. He also made a demonstration concert at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in early 1993 before dying in Moscow, Russia in 1993.

Personal Computer Day

Personal Computer Day takes place annually on 12 August. It commemorates the introduction of the first Personal Computer, the IBM PC Model 5150, on 12 August 1981. This machime retailed at $1,565 USD, and had 16 kB of memory which seems paltry Compared with Most of today’s tablets which have at least 1 Gigabyte of RAM, and 16 GB of internal memory. (One Megabyte is 1,024 Kilobytes – One Gigabyte is 1024 Megabytes and 1 Terabyte is 1024 Megabytes.)

The personal computer (PC) was first developed as a multi-purpose machine whose size, capabilities, and price made it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large costly minicomputer and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time. in the 1960s Institutional or corporate computer owners had to write their own programs to do any useful work with the machines. So during the 1960’s and 1970’s the personal computer was developed

While personal computer users may develop their own applications, usually these systems run commercial software, free-of-charge software (“freeware”) or free and open-source software, which is provided in ready-to-run form. Software for personal computers is typically developed and distributed independently from the hardware or operating system manufacturers. Many personal computer users no longer need to write their own programs to make any use of a personal computer, although end-user programming is still feasible. This contrasts with mobile systems, where software is often only available through a manufacturer-supported channel, and end-user program development may be discouraged by lack of support by the manufacturer.

The advent of personal computers and the concurrent Digital Revolution have significantly affected the lives of people in all countries and Since the early 1990s, Microsoft operating systems and Intel hardware have dominated much of the personal computer market, first with MS-DOS and then with Microsoft Windows. Alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows operating systems occupy a minority share of the industry. These include Apple’s macOS and free and open-source Unix-like operating systems.

International Biodiesel Day

International Biodiesel Day is celebrated annually on 10 August to commemorate the occasion in 10 August 1893 when Rudolf Diesel’s prime model, a single 10 ft (3.0 m) iron cylinder with a flywheel at its base, ran on its own power for the first time in Augsburg, Germany, fuelled by nothing but pea-nut Oil. Rudolf Diesel and the Otto Company also exhibited a small Diesel Engine at the Paris Exhibition in 1900 (Exposition Universelle) Which ran on arachide (ground-nut or pea-nut) oil and worked so smoothly that only a few people were aware of it. The engine was constructed for using mineral oil, and was then worked on vegetable oil without any alterations being made. The French Government at the time thought of testing the applicability to power production of the Arachide, or earth-nut, which grows in considerable quantities in their African colonies, and can easily be cultivated there.” Diesel himself later conducted related tests and appeared supportive of the idea. In a 1912 speech Diesel said, “the use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal-tar products of the present time.”

Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil – or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl (methyl, ethyl, or propyl) esters. Transesterification of a vegetable oil was conducted as early as 1853 by Patrick Duffy, four decades before the first diesel engine became functional. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids (e.g., vegetable oil, soybean oil, animal fat (tallow) with an alcohol producing fatty acid esters. Biodiesel is meant to be used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines. Biodiesel can be used alone, or blended with petrodiesel in any proportions. Biodiesel blends can also be used as heating oil. The National Biodiesel Board (USA) defines “biodiesel” as a mono-alkyl ester.

Despite the widespread use of petroleum-derived diesel fuels, interest in vegetable oils as fuels for internal combustion engines was reported in several countries during the 1920s and 1930s and later during World War II. Belgium, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and China were reported to have tested and used vegetable oils as diesel fuels during this time. Some operational problems were reported due to the high viscosity of vegetable oils compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which results in poor atomization of the fuel in the fuel spray and often leads to deposits and coking of the injectors, combustion chamber and valves. Attempts to overcome these problems included heating of the vegetable oil, blending it with petroleum-derived diesel fuel or ethanol, pyrolysis and cracking of the oils.

On 31 August 1937, G. Chavanne of the University of Brussels, Belgium was granted a patent for a “Procedure for the transformation of vegetable oils for their uses as fuels” (fr. “Procédé de Transformation d’Huiles Végétales en Vue de Leur Utilisation comme Carburants”) Belgian Patent 422,877. This patent described the alcoholysis (often referred to as transesterification) of vegetable oils using ethanol (and mentions methanol) in order to separate the fatty acids from the glycerol by replacing the glycerol with short linear alcohols. This appears to be the first account of the production of what is known as “biodiesel” today. More recently, in 1977, Brazilian scientist Expedito Parente invented and submitted for patent, the first industrial process for the production of biodiesel. This process is classified as biodiesel by international norms, conferring a “standardized identity and quality. No other proposed biofuel has been validated by the motor industry.” As of 2010, Parente’s company Tecbio is working with Boeing and NASA to certify bioquerosene (bio-kerosene), another product produced and patented by the Brazilian scientist.

Research into the use of transesterified sunflower oil, and refining it to diesel fuel standards, was initiated in South Africa in 1979. By 1983, the process for producing fuel-quality, engine-tested biodiesel was completed and published internationally. An Austrian company, Gaskoks, obtained the technology from the South African Agricultural Engineers; the company erected the first biodiesel pilot plant in November 1987, and the first industrial-scale plant in April 1989 (with a capacity of 30,000 tons of rapeseed per annum). Throughout the 1990s, plants were opened in many European countries, including the Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. France launched local production of biodiesel fuel (referred to as diester) from rapeseed oil, which is mixed into regular diesel fuel at a level of 5%, and into the diesel fuel used by some captive fleets (e.g. public transportation) at a level of 30%. Renault, Peugeot and other manufacturers have certified truck engines for use with up to that level of partial biodiesel; experiments with 50% biodiesel are underway. During the same period, nations in other parts of the world also saw local production of biodiesel starting up: by 1998, the Austrian Biofuels Institute had identified 21 countries with commercial biodiesel projects. 100% biodiesel is now available at many normal service stations across Europe.

Alexander Fleming

Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist Alexander Fleming was born on 6 August 1881 at Lochfield, a farm near Darvel, in Ayrshire, Scotland. He was the third of the four children of farmer Hugh Fleming (1816–1888) from his second marriage to Grace Stirling Morton (1848–1928), the daughter of a neighbouring farmer. Hugh Fleming had four surviving children from his first marriage. He was 59 at the time of his second marriage, and died when Alexander (known as Alec) was seven.Fleming went to Loudoun Moor School and Darvel School, and earned a two-year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London, where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution. After working in a shipping office for four years, the twenty-year-old Fleming inherited some money from an uncle, John Fleming. His elder brother, Tom, was already a physician and suggested to his younger sibling that he follow the same career.

So in 1903, the younger Alexander enrolled at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School inPaddington; he qualified with an MBBS degree from the school with distinction in 1906. Fleming had been a private in the London Scottish Regiment of the Volunteer Force since 1900, and had been a member of the rifle club at the medical school. The captain of the club, wishing to retain Fleming in the team suggested that he join the research department at St Mary’s, where he became assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright, a pioneer in vaccine therapy and immunology. In 1908, he gained a BSc degree with Gold Medal in Bacteriology, and became a lecturer at St Mary’s until 1914. On 23 December 1915, Fleming married a trained nurse, Sarah Marion McElroy of Killala, County Mayo, Ireland. Fleming served throughout World War I as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was Mentioned in Dispatches. He and many of his colleagues worked in battlefield hospitals at the Western Front in France.

Following World War I in 1918 he returned to St Mary’s Hospital, where he actively searched for anti-bacterial agents, having witnessed the death of many soldiers from sepsis resulting from infected wounds. Antiseptics killed the patients’ immunological defences more effectively than they killed the invading bacteria. In an article he submitted for the medical journal The Lancet during World War I, Fleming described an ingenious experiment, which he was able to conduct as a result of his own glass blowing skills, in which he explained why antiseptics were killing more soldiers than infection itself during World War I. Antiseptics worked well on the surface, but deep wounds tended to shelter anaerobic bacteria from the antiseptic agent, and antiseptics seemed to remove beneficial agents produced that protected the patients in these cases at least as well as they removed bacteria, and did nothing to remove the bacteria that were out of reach. Sir Almroth Wrightstrongly supported Fleming’s findings, but despite this, most army physicians over the course of the war continued to use antiseptics even in cases where this worsened the condition of the patients..

By 1927, Fleming was investigating the properties of staphylococci. He was already well-known from his earlier work, and had developed a reputation as a brilliant researcher, but his laboratory was often untidy. On 3 September 1928, Fleming returned to his laboratory having spent August on holiday with his family. Before leaving, he had stacked all his cultures of staphylococci on a bench in a corner of his laboratory. On returning, Fleming noticed that one culture was contaminated with a fungus, and that the colonies of staphylococci that had immediately surrounded it had been destroyed, whereas other colonies farther away were normal. Fleming showed the contaminated culture to his former assistant Merlin Price, who reminded him, “That’s how you discovered lysozyme.”Fleming grew the mould in a pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. He identified the mould as being from the Penicillium genus, and, after some months of calling it “mould juice”, named the substance it released penicillin on 7 March 1929. The laboratory in which Fleming discovered and tested penicillin is preserved as the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.

He investigated its positive anti-bacterial effect on many organisms, and noticed that it affected bacteria such as staphylococci and many other Gram-positive pathogens that cause scarlet fever, pneumonia, meningitis and diphtheria, but not typhoid fever orparatyphoid fever, which are caused by Gram-negative bacteria, for which he was seeking a cure at the time. It also affected Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhoea although this bacterium is Gram-negative. Fleming published his discovery in 1929, in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology, but little attention was paid to his article. Fleming continued his investigations, but found that cultivating penicillium was quite difficult, and that after having grown the mould, it was even more difficult to isolate the antibiotic agent.

Fleming thought that the difficulty in producing Penicillin in quantity, Plus the slow action, Meant it would not be effective in treating infection and it would not last long enough in the human body (in vivo) to kill bacteria effectively. Many clinical tests were inconclusive, probably because it had been used as a surface antiseptic. Diring the 1930s, Fleming’s trials occasionally showed more promise and he continued, until 1940, to try to interest a chemist skilled enough to further refine usable penicillin. Fleming finally abandoned penicillin. However not long after, Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain took up researching and mass-producing it at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, using funds from the U.S. and British governments. They discovered how to isolate and concentrate penicillin. Shortly after the team published its first results in 1940, Fleming telephoned Howard Florey, Chain’s head of department, to say that he would be visiting wit him the next few days.

Scientist Norman Heatley suggested transferring the active ingredient of penicillin back into water by changing its acidity. This produced enough of the drug to begin testing on animals. There were many more people involved in the Oxford team, and at one point the entire Dunn School was involved in its production.After the team had developed a method of purifying penicillin to an effective first stable form in 1940, several clinical trials ensued, and their amazing success inspired the team to develop methods for mass production and mass distribution in 1945. Fleming was modest about his part in the development of penicillin, describing his fame as the “Fleming Myth” and he praised Florey and Chain for transforming the laboratory curiosity into a practical drug. Fleming was the first to discover the properties of the active substance, giving him the privilege of naming it: penicillin. He also kept, grew, and distributed the original mould for twelve years, and continued until 1940 to try to get help from any chemist who had enough skill to make penicillin. But Sir Henry Harris said in 1998:”Without Fleming, no Chain; without Chain, no Florey; without Florey, no Heatley; without Heatley, no penicillin.

Fleming also wrote many articles on bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy. His best-known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 and the antibiotic substance penicillin from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1945 with Howard Floreyand Ernst Boris Chain. On 1999, Time magazine named Fleming one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating:It was a discovery that would change the course of history. The active ingredient in that mould, which Fleming named penicillin, turned out to be an infection-fighting agent of enormous potency. When it was finally recognized for what it was, the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world, penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections. By the middle of the century, Fleming’s discovery had spawned a huge pharmaceutical industry, churning out synthetic penicillins to help against diseases like syphilis, gangrene and tuberculosis.

World Wide Web

Credited with being the ‘Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web On this date 6th August in 1991 and WWW debuted as a publicly available service on the Internet.

British computer scientist, MIT professor and progenator of the World Wide Web Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA Was Born 8th June 1955, “He made a proposal for an information management system in March 1989 and on 25 December 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student at CERN, he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet.

In 2004, Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his pioneering work and is also the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web’s continued development. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, and is a senior researcher and holder of the Founders Chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a director of The Web Science Research Initiative and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. In April 2009, he was elected a foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences.In June 2009 then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (BOO! HISS!) announced Berners-Lee would work with the UK Government to help make data more open and accessible on the Web, building on the work of the Power of Information Task Force. Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt are the two key figures behind data.gov.uk, a UK Government project to open up almost all data acquired for official purposes for free re-use.

Commenting on the opening up of Ordnance Survey data in April 2010 Berners-Lee said that: “The changes signal a wider cultural change in Government based on an assumption that information should be in the public domain unless there is a good reason not to—not the other way around.” He went on to say “Greater openness, accountability and transparency in Government will give people greater choice and make it easier for individuals to get more directly involved in issues that matter to them.”In November 2009, Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web Foundation in order to “Advance the Web to empower humanity by launching transformative programs that build local capacity to leverage the Web as a medium for positive change.”

Berners-Lee is also one of the pioneer voices in favour of Net Neutrality, and has expressed the view that ISPs should supply “connectivity with no strings attached,” and should neither control nor monitor customers’ browsing activities without their expressed consent. He advocates the idea that net neutrality is a kind of human network right: “Threats to the Internet, such as companies or governments that interfere with or snoop on Internet traffic, compromise basic human network rights.”Berners-Lee is also a co-director of the Open Data Institute. He was honoured as the ‘Inventor of the World Wide Web’ in a section of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in which he also participated, working at a NeXT Computer. He tweeted: “This is for everyone”, instantly spelled out in LCD lights attached to the chairs of the 70,500 people in the audience.

Thomas Newcomen

English inventor Thomas Newcomen sadly passed away 5 August 1729. He was Born around 4 February 1664 in Dartmouth, Devon, England, near a part of the country noted for its tin mines, where flooding was a major problem, limiting the depth at which the mineral could be mined. To get round this pumps were installed to pump the water out. Newcomen’s great achievement was his steam engine, developed around 1712, combining the ideas of Thomas Savery and Denis Papin. It is likely that Newcomen was already acquainted with Savery, whose forebears were merchants in south Devon. Savery also had a post with the Commissioners for Sick and Hurt Seamen, which took him to Dartmouth.

Savery had devised a ‘fire engine’, a kind of thermic syphon, in which steam was admitted to an empty container and then condensed. The vacuum thus created was used to suck water from the sump at the bottom of the mine. The ‘fire engine’ was not very effective and could not work beyond a limited depth of around thirty feet. Newcomen replaced the receiving vessel (where the steam was condensed) with a cylinder containing a piston. Instead of the vacuum drawing in water, it drew down the piston. This was used to work a beam engine, in which a large wooden beam rocked upon a central fulcrum. On the other side of the beam was a chain attached to a pump at the base of the mine. As the steam cylinder was refilled with steam, readying it for the next power stroke, water was drawn into the pump cylinder and expelled into a pipe to the surface by the weight of the machinery. Newcomen and his partner John Calley built one of the first engines at the Conygree Coalworks near Dudley in the West Midlands. A working replica of this engine can be seen at the Black Country Living Museum nearby.

The Newcomen engine held its place without material change for about three-quarters of a century, spreading gradually to more and more areas of the UK and to mainland Europe. At first brass cylinders had been used but these were expensive and limited in size. New iron casting techniques pioneered by the Coalbrookdale Company in the 1720s allowed bigger and bigger cylinders to be used, up to about 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter by the 1760s, and experience gradually led to better construction and minor refinements in layout. Its mechanical details were much improved by John Smeaton, who built many large engines of this type in the early 1770s; his improvements were rapidly adopted. By 1775 about 600 Newcomen engines had been built, although many of these had worn out before then, and been abandoned or replaced.The Newcomen Engine was by no means an efficient machine, although it was probably as complicated as engineering and materials techniques of the early eighteenth century could support. Much heat was lost when condensing the steam, as this cooled the cylinder. This did not matter unduly at a colliery, where unsaleable small coal (slack) was available, but significantly increased the mining costs where coal was not readily available, as in Cornwall.

As a result Newcomen’s engine was gradually replaced after 1775 in areas where coal was expensive (especially in Cornwall) by an improved design, invented by James Watt, in which the steam was condensed in a separate condenser. The Watt steam engine, aided by better engineering techniques including Wilkinson’s boring machine, was much more fuel efficient, enabling Watt and his partner Matthew Boulton to collect substantial royalties based on the fuel saved.Watt subsequently made other improvements, including the double-acting engine, where both the up and down strokes were power strokes. These were especially suitable for driving textile mills, and many Watt engines were employed in these industries. At first attempts to drive machinery by Newcomen engines had mixed success, as the single power stroke produced a jerky motion, but use of flywheels and better engineering largely overcame these problems.

By 1800, hundreds of non-Watt rotary engines had been built, especially in collieries and ironworks where irregular motion was not a problem but also in textile mills. Despite Watt’s improvements, Common Engines (as they were then known) remained in use for a considerable time, and many more Newcomen engines than Watt ones were built even during the period of Watt’s patent (up to 1800), as they were cheaper and less complicated: of over 2,200 engines built in the eighteenth century, only about 450 were Watt engines. Elements of Watt’s design, especially the Separate Condenser, were incorporated in many “pirate” engines. Even after 1800 Newcomen type engines continued to be built and condensers were added routinely to these. They were also commonly retro-fitted to existing Newcomen engines (the so-called “pickle-pot” condenser). There are examples of Newcomen engines in the Science Museum (London) and the Ford Museum, Dearborn amongst other places. The last Newcomen-style engine still remaining on its original site is at the Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. The only Newcomen engines that can be shown working are believed to be the Newcomen Memorial Engine at Dartmouth and the replica engine at the Black Country Museum in Dudley, West Midlands which i daresay has got a lot of events going on and is well worth a visit.

Newcomen sadly died at his house in 1729, and his body was buried at Bunhill Fields, in north London. By the time of his death, about 75 of his engines, operating under Savery’s patent (which did not expire until 1733), had been installed by Newcomen and others in most of the important mining districts of Britain: draining coal mines in the Black Country, Warwickshire and near Newcastle upon Tyne; at tin and copper mines in Cornwall; and in lead mines in Flintshire and Derbyshire.