Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Introduction to SciHistory

Now that I've written my first post, I want to provide some explanation for this blog and also open up the discussion about what you, my readers, would like to see here.

This blog stems from my curiosity about the people whose names are bandied about in science and math classes around the world attached to other things, like Raoult's Law, Schrodinger's Equation, the Boltzmann Constant, and the Bohr model of the atom.  Teachers and professors rarely stop to explain who (and when) these people were, how they interrelate, and what led to the discoveries that have their names attached to them.  The history of science is not a linear progression of ideas, but something full of arguments, dead ends, discussions, and eureka moments, and these discoveries were made by real people like you and me.

I would like, in this blog, to focus on exploring the lives of the people whose names are familiar in science classes, but to whom most people couldn't even attach a first name.  This means that I will not include, at least for now, people like Newton, Archimedes, and Einstein in favor of lesser known but equally mentioned of scientists, mathematicians, and natural philosophers like Hertz, Fourier, Arrhenius and Doppler.

The biggest problem for me is how to organize SciHistory, and that is where I would like some input from you, my hopefully-to-be-faithful readers. I have had a bunch of ideas about how to start. For now, I am going randomly, but am trying to give variety in field of notoriety, type of discovery, and time period. (For instance, in picking a second person to write on, I thought of Rydberg, who has a constant, but discarded that since he, like Ångström, was Swedish and lived in the 19th century; he will have to wait.) Other ideas include

  • Picking names off the Wikipedia list of craters on the Moon 
  • Starting with units named after people and then moving on to constants and finally equations
  • Writing on whoever a professor mentions first after I finish a blog post
  • Reader suggestions
The first two still need some sort of algorithm unless I go alphabetically, and the third has the disadvantage of only working while I am taking classes.  So the fourth is by far my favorite idea, but it will depend on you, dear readers. Let the suggestions begin!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm...... I would be interested in hearing about Schrodinger, personally. Especially his inspiration for the famous Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment!

    I would also be interested in hearing about scientists who maybe impacted literary figures (like Ritter in Germany has [speculatively] been considered the inspiration for Mary Shelley's Victor Frakenstein). This may be out of the scope of the blog though. Just a thought however! :)