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2008

2008

in Tags

Hair analysis of the Bonaparte family found high levels of arsenic in the hair of Napoleon’s wife, Giuseppina, and other family members: arsenic was found everywhere at the time … This partially refutes the hypothesis of poisoning emperor on the island of Sant’Elena, but two

2008

2008

in Tags

A group of students from Appalachian State University scientifically understand why Coca Light turns into a geyser when in contact with Mentos candies: the porous surface of the candies acts as a catalyst, like a net captures the bubbles dissolved in the Coke, which are

November 24, 2006

November 24, 2006

in Tags

The KGB uses polonium to assassinate the former spy Litvinenko, even if at first it was thought of thallium, which instead was used, again by the KGB, to poison another Russian dissident, Nikolai Khokhlov, in 1957.

February 2006

February 2006

in Tags

Using data from the NASA Aqua satellite, Duane Walizer (JPL), Baijun Tian (CalTech) discover the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a perturbation that covers half the Earth’s equator mainly on the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, with a period of 40-50 days

2002

2002

in Tags

A few months after the entry into circulation of the Euro, Freek Sujver and Andres Mejerink of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands irradiated some banknotes with ultraviolet light and recorded the bands of color they emit. The red light they see is due to

1996

1996

in Tags

Congo (formerly Zaire) also owns 60% of Coltan, a mineral based on Tantalum and Niobium, which is in great demand for the manufacture of cell phones. The rapidly rising demand of the Coltan, and the enormous availability of sudden liquidity, thus mixes with the dirty conflict

1994

1994

in Tags

Korean freighter loses 34,000 hockey gloves in Pacific storm; the path of the gloves, which will be found almost everywhere in the following years, from Vancouver to VietNam, will greatly help oceanographers from all over the world to trace the path of sea currents

1983

1983

in Tags

Nobel Prize in Physics to William A. Fowler for his studies on the formation of chemical elements in the universe

1983

1983

in Tags

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar completes a modern exposition of Newton’s Principia Mathematica, in his “Newton’s Principia for the common reader” (although what he means by common reader is certainly not what the common reader means …) . Euler had made a first complete work in 1735 in “Mechanics”.

1982

1982

in Tags

A sample of the wallpaper from Napoleon’s rooms in Sant’Elena, gold and green by Scheele, was found and analyzed, obtained at the time from copper arsenide or copper vinegar-arsenate. The article is published in Nature and confirms the presence of arsenic in the wallpaper, which would

1977

1977

in Tags

The Russian chemist Ilya Priggine takes the Nobel Prize for having shown that in non-isolated systems that operate far from thermodynamic equilibrium (such as living beings), irreversible processes can increase their organization moving further and further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. The properties of dissipative structures (ie

1975

1975

in Tags

In the USA, bromide salts are withdrawn from the market, previously used as generic sedatives (so much so that Bromide still often comes back in jokes about fiascos in sexual performance). They are withdrawn due to known dangerous side effects with the diagnosis of bromism.

11 October 1969

11 October 1969

in Tags

An article by chemist FJ Donahoe on Polywater (poliwater, or water II, or anomalous water) appears in the journal Nature, considering it “the most dangerous polymer on Earth”. The story begins in the quiet Soviet town of Kostroma, where in 1962 Nikolai Fedyakin discovers, or thinks

1964

1964

in Tags

Chemical Abstract magazine publishes an article on the tobacco mosaic virus. It is probably the molecule with the longest name ever pronounced (and some even say it is the longest word): 1185 letters. It is C785H1220N212O248S2, better known as “glutaminylphenylalanylvalylphenylalanylleucylserylseryl valyltryptophylalanylaspartylprolylisoleucylglutamylleucylleucylasparaginylvalylcysteinylthreonylserylseryl leucylglycylasparaginylglutaminylphenylalanylglutaminylthreonylglutaminylglutaminylalanylarginylthreo nylthreonylglutaminylvalylglutaminylglutaminylphenylalanylserylglutaminylvalyltryptophyllysylprolylphenyla lanylprolylglutaminylserylthreonylvalylarginylphenylalanylprolylglycylaspartylvalyltyrosyllysylvalyltyrosylargin yltyrosylasparaginylalanylvalylleucylaspartylprolylleucylisoleucylthreonylalanylleucylleucylglycylthreonylphenyla lanylaspartylthreonylarginylasparaginylarginylisoleucylisoleucylglutamylvalylglutamylasparaginylglutaminylglu taminylserylprolylthreonylthreonylalanylglutamylthreonylleucylaspartylalanylthreonylarginylarginylvalylaspar

1963

1963

in Tags

Arnol’d (student of Kolmogorov) shows that the approximate series that solves the 3-body problem converges or not depending on the initial conditions

March 28, 1963

March 28, 1963

in Tags

Norfolk in Suffolk, England. A military aircraft with 70Kg with a special pigment of cadmium sulphide and zinc, releases it at a height of 150m downwind of the city. On the ground, some chemical defense officers from Porton Down in Whiltshire, position themselves in 40 spots and

1962

1962

in Tags

Canada. Chemist Neil Bartlett creates the first compound of a noble gas in the laboratory. It is an orange crystalline solid, based on Xenon. The reaction takes place at room temperature.

1961

1961

in Tags

Sweden. An analysis carried out by Sten Forshufvud on Napoleon’s hair samples reveals elevated levels of arsenic. This supports the hypothesis of a poisoning of the emperor. A sample of the wallpaper of Napoleon’s rooms, gold and green by Scheele, was then found and analyzed in 1982, obtained

1961

1961

in Tags

Japan. Doctor Noboru Hagino publishes his findings on the causes of the widespread disease among the families of the Kamioke mine miners. In 1972 the mining company will compensate the 178 survivors. Cadmium will remain in the collective imagination of the Japanese for generations, so much so that

1957

1957

in Tags

The KGB uses thallium to assassinate Russian dissident Nikolai Khokhlov. On other occasions he will also use polonium, as in 2006 with Litvinenko in London.

1955

1955

in Tags

Mendelevium is the first element that is synthesized one atom at a time. To date it has never been generated enough to make it visible to the human eye. The discoverer is the usual Glenn Seaborg, with many other elements to his credit.

November 29, 1954

November 29, 1954

in Tags

Enrico Fermi’s death when he was only 54 years old, is caused by pneumonia (he spends the last days attached to a respirator), in turn probably caused by the Beryllium, ingested by the scientist several years earlier, during the experiments in via Panisperna, he must

1950

1950

in Tags

Glenn Seaborg synthesizes Californium. It is probably the greatest discoverer of elements (or inventor since those he “discovered” are not found in nature): Plutonium, Curio, Americio, Berkelio, Californium in a span of only 10 years.

1946

1946

in Tags

Japan. Doctor Noboru Hagino seriously studies the disease of the Kamioke Mine families, scientifically, and by superimposing the epidemiological and water map of the area he discovers the cause in the mine. It is the Cadmium, which flows downstream in the hydrogeological system, is absorbed by the

December 1945

December 1945

in Tags

Grand Rapids, Michigan, becomes the first city in the world to be supplied with fluoridated water in its aqueducts. Today more than half of Americans drink fluoridated water, making the United States one of the most fluoridated populations in the world. The initial test in Grand Rapids

June 7, 1944

June 7, 1944

in Tags

Portugal. The country’s only exportable commodity is Tungsten. The reason is that this element is used by the Nazis for weapons steel (to replace the Molybdenum of the Great Bertha of the previous conflict, Molybdenum which is a monopoly of the United States). Repeated pressure on the dictator

1944

1944

in Tags

Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger publishes “What is Life?” (in English) in which he examines the behavior of entropy in living beings. He claims that they borrow order from the environment and pay it back making the environment even more messy than it was before.

early 1944

early 1944

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Auschwitz, present-day Poland. Primo Levi, a prisoner of the camp, manages to steal some bars of Cerium, which as a chemist he knows well, with which he makes lighters that he then sells, exploiting the well-known property of Cerium to produce sparks if rubbed. This will allow

January 1943

January 1943

in Tags

The one-day-old T2 SS Schenectady tanker, just returned to port after a sea trial, suddenly splits in two from top to bottom due to a crack in the steel not stopped by any “crack lock”

January 7, 1943

January 7, 1943

in Tags

Alone and poor, Nikola Tesla (in Cyrillic Никола Тесла) dies in New York (Smiljan, 10 July 1856 – New York, 7 January 1943). Serbian physicist, inventor and naturalized American engineer in 1891. Tesla is best known for his groundbreaking work and his numerous contributions in the

August 1942

August 1942

in Tags

Glenn Seaborg isolates Plutonium for the first time. It is also the first time how any artificial element, that is not existing in nature, in its pure form is synthesized. The first time that the human eye can observe an artificial element. Following the name of the previous

1942

1942

in Tags

Keynes at a conference at the Royal Society Club for the first time paints a different and controversial image of Isaac Newton, as a lover of alchemy and in search of the philosopher’s stone

April, 1940

April, 1940

in Tags

The German army invades Denmark where Niel Bohr is located. He has already donated his gold medal for the Nobel to charity, but he holds the two Nobel medals of his German Jewish colleagues Max von Laue (X-ray diffraction) and James Franck (energy quantization). Any gold item

1939

1939

in Tags

Marguerite Perey wins the Nobel Prize for the discovery of Francio. She is the third woman to win it after Marie and Irene Curie.

1936

1936

in Tags

Fischer and Tropsch of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut for Chemistry market synthetic gasoline produced from carbon monoxide and hydrogen on behalf of the German Brabag. During the Nazi war effort, 9% of military gasoline and 25% of German cars will give this type. Fischer and Tropsch have previously filed

1935

1935

in Tags

Irene Curie, daughter of Marie Curie and her first pupil, wins the Nobel Prize. She is the second woman to win him, after her mother, also in this case together with her husband. In 1939 Marguerite Perey will also win it for the discovery of francium.

1935

1935

in Tags

The American scientist Irving Langmuir in collaboration with the scientist Katherine Blodgett and based on the studies of another scientist, Agnes Pockels, creates the Langmuir tank in which, releasing a known quantity of oily material into the water, it expands into a stain up to

January 1935

January 1935

in Tags

Charles Richter (of the Californian Institute of Technology – CalTech), publishes in the Bullettin of the Sesmological Society of America, the famous article “An instrumental Earthquake Magnitude Scale” in which he establishes the Richter Scale for measuring the energy of an earthquake.

1928

1928

in Tags

A new lift is built in the White Star Majestic ocean liner: the stresses are concentrated on the acute angle of the new lift opening, opening a crack that continues until it accidentally meets a porthole which, thanks to its rounded profile, acts as a

1922

1922

in Tags

Starting with Switzerland, many countries are starting to add iodine to table salt to prevent birth defects and mental retardation caused by iodine deficiency.

1918

1918

in Tags

Fritz Haber takes the Nobel Prize. During the First World War, Germany was subject to an embargo and was unable to obtain saltpetre, which is essential for making gunpowder. Saltpetre can be replaced by ammonia, which Haber, with his invention, is able to extract from the air. Haber

late 1915

late 1915

in Tags

Germany. A 150mm bullet filled with Xille Bromide, a very caustic tear gas, is ready. Weisskreuz (white cross) is baptized. Also in this test (as for the first on the British) the French are spared: 18,000 Weisskeruze are thrown on the Russians, but the temperatures are so low

1915

1915

in Tags

Colorado, United States. Molybdenum is highly sought after by the war industry, especially in Germany, as cannons like the Big Bertha suffer from deformation due to high temperatures, a defect that disappears if the steel is made of Molybdenum (which melts at 2600C compared to 1500C

2 May 1915

2 May 1915

in Tags

Russo-German Eastern Front. Fritz Haber, the German chemist who synthesized and used chlorine in Ypres in Belgium, leaves for the eastern front to prepare the same deadly weapon of mass destruction. Chlorine guts the blood vessels in the lungs and the victim drowns in the fluid produced

1915 – 1918

1915 – 1918

in Tags

Chlorine, in addition to being used as a chemical weapon (initially only by the Germans), is also used as an addition to drinking water to make it safe for the troops. Some say he saved more lives this way than lives taken as a chemical weapon. Our

April 22, 1915

April 22, 1915

in Tags

Ypres, Belgium. The chlorine synthesized at military level by the German chemist Fritz Haber is used against allied troops, especially French and Algerians. It is about 5000 cylinders placed on a 7km stretch in front and opened as soon as the wind is favorable from the north-east. The

early 1915

early 1915

in Tags

With a perverse choice, the first test of German chemical weapons is carried out on British troops, which have never used gas before. The wind, however, does not cooperate (or collaborates with the British), and disperses the gas in the wrong direction, and the British soldiers,

1914

1914

in Tags

Albert Einstein becomes professor at the University of Berlin; the same year he started the divorce proceedings from his wife Mileva

1912

1912

in Tags

The Danish Niels Bohr elaborates the model of the atom with nucleus and electrons (planetary model)

1912

1912

in Tags

Joachimsthal (now Jachymov in the Czech Republic). The Radium Palace Hotel opens its doors, which, exploiting the beneficial effect of radium in the treatment of certain tumors in controlled doses and the wave of popular enthusiasm, offers visitors radioactive spa treatments. The waters contain radium, the radioactive

1912

1912

in Tags

Japan. The doctors who treat the families of the miners of the Kamioke Mine (which will be used a century later for the Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector), diagnose the itai-itai disease (ahi-ahi), where 98% of cases are women, with pain in the bones, and fragility of the

September 5, 1906

September 5, 1906

in Tags

Trieste. Ludwig Boltzmann hangs himself, while his wife and daughter swim in the Adriatic during a vacation. Boltzmann is the first to understand that the arrow of time appears only when there is heat. And therefore the concept of time is linked to entropy (which counts how many

1902

1902

in Tags

The French inventor Georges Claude begins to conduct experiments on tubes filled with Neon and subject to electric discharges.

1902

1902

in Tags

The French Leon-Philippe Teisserenc de Bort, traveling on a balloon, discovers the tropopause, or the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere, and also discovers the presence of the ozone layer

1902

1902

in Tags

United States. Welsh immigrant Ellis Hughes finds a huge iron meteorite, by combination in the lands of the Oregon Company of Iron and Steel. It is a 15ton meteorite which is now exhibited in the Natural History Museum as the Willamette Meteor.

1901

1901

in Tags

Paris. Eugene Anatole Demarcay isolates Europe, a rare land. Europium is the most reactive of the rare earths, so much so that it must be preserved in oil to prevent it from catching fire. It will be used in Euro banknotes (perhaps because of its name?) Bound in

1900

1900

in Tags

Universal Exhibition of Paris. More than 50 million people go to see the items exhibited by 40 countries including some rare earth samples.

1899

1899

in Tags

Pierre and Marie Curie receive 10 tons of radioactive residue of plechbenda, a uranium mineral. These are bags of brown powder mixed with pine needles, a residue already more radioactive than the base mineral. It is treated 20Kg at a time in a large hangar which eventually

13 July 1898

13 July 1898

in Tags

Pierre Curie writes in the laboratory register the letters Po of Polonio, a name given in honor of Marie’s beloved homeland, Poland. However the element is still linked to bismuth and barium, in plechbenda, a uranium mineral, in which they will eventually find radium in 1902,

late nineteenth century.

late nineteenth century.

in Tags

Aluminum is worth about one cent of silver. In 1855, an industrial process was developed for the first time to extract it from bauxite, it cost 12 times the price of silver. The use and diffusion of aluminum, from specific has become common and finally banal, a

May 1898

May 1898

in Tags

William Ramsay Professor of Chemistry at University College London discovers Xenon, or the foreigner. Among the doubters about this plethora of new elements that create a whole new column in the table of Elements, there is Mendeleev himself. They will be convinced only in 1900.

May 1898

May 1898

in Tags

William Ramsay Professor of Chemistry at University College London discovers Neon. The name is suggested by the thirteen year old son Willie. (in reality he suggests Novum, but the tradition is to give a name with Greek and not Latin roots for which he chooses Neon).

1897

1897

in Tags

J (oseph) J (ohn) Thomson discovers that charged particles with mass 1/1800 the mass of the hydrogen atom are emitted from a cathode ray tube

May 29, 1896

May 29, 1896

in Tags

Australia. In 1893 the Irishman Patrick Hannan and two other traveling companions camped in a makeshift place because one of the horses lost the iron. They discover such a rich gold deposit that they collect nuggets from the ground. They ask for an official concession, and in this

1896

1896

in Tags

Bequerel and Curie discover the rays emitted by natural elements (uranium, thorium, radium)

1894

1894

in Tags

William Ramsey discovers the first inert gas: Argon and shouts Argo fuck you! (no, that’s not true … it’s just a quote). This is the umpteenth challenge (won shortly) for Mendeleev’s table, as it is placed immediately to the right of the last element of the table. Ramsay

1894

1894

in Tags

The French physician and physiologist Etienne-Jules Marey with a series of snapshots of a cat falling backwards, straightening up on the fly, discovers the exact mechanism. The cat does not behave like a rigid body, but alternately rotates the front and back of the body by

1894

1894

in Tags

Aspeth Hall proposes to modify Newton’s formula of Universal Gravitation by replacing the exponent 2 of GmM / r ^ 2 with 2.00000016 to accommodate certain deviations such as the orbit of Mercury; these deviations will later be explained by Einstein