Interesting Facts About Scientists
Albert Einstein once declared that his second greatest idea after the theory of relativity was to add an egg while cooking soup in order to produce a soft-boiled egg without having an extra pot to wash.
In 1952, Wernher von Braun wrote a book called "Project Mars" which imagined that human colonists on Mars would be led by a person called "Elon."
Leo Szilard conceived the nuclear chain reaction, the nuclear reactor, and wrote the letter suggesting the Manhattan Project, which Einstein signed. After being diagnosed with bladder cancer, he designed his own radiation therapy which led to a full recovery.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, but never tried to make an antibiotic out of it. It was not until a decade later that a man named Howard Florey found Fleming's little-known paper and realized the mold's potential. Florey's work is estimated to have saved up to 200 million lives.
Marie Curie's lab papers from the 1890's are still radioactive. They are stored in lead-lined boxes and one must don protective gear to see them.
Nikola Tesla used to feed pigeons, bringing injured ones into his hotel room to nurse them back to health. One-time he spent over $2,000 to fix a pigeon’s broken wing and leg, including building a device to comfortably support her, so that her bones could heal.
The French philosopher and mathematician Descartes was hired as a tutor by the Queen of Sweden, who insisted on philosophy lessons at 5 in the morning. Within a year of walking through the Swedish cold every morning, Descartes caught pneumonia and died.
An agricultural scientist named Norman Borlaug developed new strains of crops which yielded 4 times as much food. He is said to have saved the lives of over a billion people, making him one of the most influential men in human history.
A British scientist named Dr. Ian Walker rode a bike fitted with an ultrasonic distance sensor to see how closely cars would pass him. He found that cars gave him about 6 inches more space when he was wearing a wig so that drivers passing from behind would think he was a woman.
Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was able to view his obituary before he died due to a news-outlet mishap. Due to all the horrible things he read about himself, including being called "the merchant of death", he decided to dedicate his fortune to the creation of the Nobel Prize.
In 2014, scientist and mountaineer John All fell into a 70-foot deep crevasse in Nepal. He broke 15 bones and was bleeding internally but miraculously survived and was able to document his climb out.
In 1974, primatologist Jane Goodall observed a social rift in a community of chimpanzees, which turned into a violent 4-year civil war for territory. The war involved kidnapping, rape, and murder. This changed her perception of the chimpanzees and the phenomenon is now known as the “Gombe Chimpanzee War.”
Later in his life, Stephen Hawking had the option to use a normal more “modernized” voice; however, he chose to keep the robotic voice as it was the voice he was identified with it.
In 1906 when Dr. Alois Alzheimer presented his groundbreaking research on the disease which would later be known as Alzheimer's Disease, the audience asked zero questions and made zero comments because they simply wanted to hear the next lecture (which was about compulsive masturbation).
Isaac Newton set out the colors of the rainbow we memorize today. However, he originally didn't include orange or indigo. He only added them later because of his occult belief that there must be 7 separate colors, just like there are 7 notes in a musical scale and 7 days of the week.
Ancient Greek mathematician Eratosthenes was nicknamed "Beta" because he was skilled in many things, but never the best.
18th-century zoologist Carl Linnaeus used to attend mass with his dog Pompe. Linnaeus always left after an hour, regardless of whether the sermon was finished, and when he was sick Pompe would arrive at the service alone, stay for the customary hour, and depart.
Nikola Tesla once paid an overdue hotel bill with a model of his "death beam", warning hotel staff to never open it. After his death in 1943, the box was pried open and found to contain nothing but harmless old electrical components.
The famous physicist Pierre Curie slipped in the rain and got his head ran over by a horse-drawn cart, killing him instantly.
350 years ago, Robert Boyle wrote down a 'to-do list' of fantastical things he hoped science would one-day accomplish. We are over halfway there.
Albert Einstein wrote a 1935 New York Times obituary upon Emmy Noether's demise to highlight her mathematical genius, which was oft-overlooked because of her gender.
Famous mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal converted to Catholicism after having a 2-hour mystical experience. He spent the rest of his life mostly writing about theology and apologetics.
Albert Einstein was stopped so much in public, he would frequently reply, “Pardon me, sorry! Always I am mistaken for Professor Einstein.”
In 6th century BC., a Greek philosopher named Anaximander suggested that all land animals trace their origins to the sea, predating modern evolutionary theory by 2,400 years.
Michael Faraday, one of the foremost experimenters of his time, declined a knighthood, believing that it was against the word of the Bible to pursue worldly reward. He stated that he preferred to remain "plain Mr. Faraday to the end."
Albert Einstein once received a letter from a girl lamenting that she couldn't be a scientist because of her gender. He responded, "I do not mind that you are a girl, but the main thing is that you yourself do not mind. There is no reason for it."
B. F. Skinner invented a temperature controlled baby crib that he called the "heir conditioner."
Schrödinger did not believe in the possibility of a cat being simultaneously both dead and alive. His thought experiment was meant to criticize the absurdity of the existing view of quantum mechanics.
Niels Bohr was gifted a house with free beer for life on winning the Nobel. A beer pipeline was connected from the Carlsberg brewery next door to this house. Bohr stayed there from 1932 until his death in 1962.
Linus Pauling, a Nobel prize winner in chemistry, was a eugenicist. He urged that human carriers of defective genes have a compulsory visible mark such as forehead tattoos to discourage potential mates with the same defect, having kids together.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has declined every interview since 1993 that has had his racial identity as the premise: "That then becomes the point of people’s understanding of me, rather than the astrophysics. So it’s a failed educational step for that to be the case."
French mathematician Évariste Galois died in a duel. A day before his duel, he published all his work because he didn't think he would survive. The next day he died at the age of 20 from a bullet to his gut.
Scientist John von Neumann (1903-1957) could by the age of 6, divide two 8 digit numbers in his head and converse in ancient Greek. He published over 150 papers during his lifetime and is considered by many to be among the most intelligent humans to have ever lived.
In 1850, Dmitri Mendeleev walked almost 1000 miles to Moscow so that he could apply for the University of Moscow. Although he was not accepted, he walked to St. Petersburg where he was accepted, and with that education, he developed the periodic table of the elements.
J.J. Thomson won the Nobel in Physics (1906) when he showed electrons were particles. His son George Paget Thomson won it in 1937 for showing that electrons are waves.
In 1900, a German mathematician named David Hilbert outlined a list of 23 unsolved problems in mathematics that he hoped would be solved in the 20th century. As of 2018, only 12 have been answered.
Nikola Tesla openly expressed disgust for overweight people. Once, he fired his secretary solely because of her weight.
When Thomas Edison was confined to a wheelchair in the last years of his life, his friend Henry Ford bought one too, so that they could have wheelchair races.
As someone who actively avoided any kind of attention, Paul Dirac wanted to refuse the Nobel Prize in 1933 in order to avoid the publicity. He accepted it only when advised that, as the first person to refuse a Nobel Prize, the publicity would be even greater.
A Romanian-born Israeli and American scientist, engineer, professor, teacher, and a Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu, held the door of his classroom during the Virginia Tech shootings sacrificing his life while the gunman continuously shot through the door saving 22 of his 23 students.
After Wernher von Braun's first V2 rocket was used in combat, he was quoted as saying "the rocket worked perfectly, except for landing on the wrong planet."
James Parkinson, the man after whom Parkinson's disease is named, was accused of a plot to assassinate King George III using a poisoned dart fired from a pop-gun.
Henry Moseley, the scientist that pioneered the concept of the atomic number, volunteered for combat duty in World War 1 and was killed by a Turkish sniper. As a result of his death, scientists were later prevented from enlisting in the military.
Enrico Fermi’s paper discussing neutrinos was rejected by journal Nature because “it contained speculations too remote from reality to be of interest to the reader.”
A Russian scientist named Alexander Bogdanov hoped to achieve everlasting life, by transfusing blood with others who were younger than him. Later, he died after transfusing a student with malaria, who made a full recovery after the transfusion.
Oliver Wolf Sacks, the author, and neurologist, known as a "poet laureate of contemporary medicine”, burned his first book due to self-doubt, but he went on to write many bestsellers, including ‘Awakenings’ about his breakthrough work with survivors of the 1920s sleeping sickness a.k.a. encephalitis lethargica.
The refrain “when one door closes, another opens" is actually an Alexander Graham Bell quote which he followed by saying "but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach created one of the earliest racial classification systems. He believed that none of the races were inherently inferior to the others, nor that colored peoples were uncivilized. His classification system became very influential but his opposition to racism was mostly ignored.
When scientist Robert Goddard created the first liquid-fueled rocket and published his work in 1919, he was ridiculed for his belief that man could reach the moon. The New York Times even mocked his understanding of basic physics. They later published a correction the day after the launch of Apollo 11.