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Archive for March, 2009


Well, I finished the poll.  The results, I kid you not, were a dead tie for every single choice.  So, I had to cast the deciding vote myself.

The teams came out of the tunnel to thunderous applause.  Both groups were ready to go.  The teams chosen to represent their eras were finely selected, but Beckenbauer was a bit of a surprise.  The referees talked to the captains and completed the coin toss.  The new school won the toss and the old school kicked off the match.  The game proceeded slowly at first, but in the twentieth minute, Archimedes made a discovery: Feynman was distracted.  Apparently, Linus Pauling and James Watson began a bit of a squabble on the pitch.  Crying, “Eureka!” Archimedes quickly took a long shot from outside the 18 yard box and bent the ball into the back of the net.  Immediately, there were cries from the New School team.   Heisenberg said that the ball’s position cannot be determined with certainty, so the goal should be called off.  Einstein decided that this was too far and gave Werner a yellow card. 

Just before half time, the scores were levelled up.  As Robert Goddard moved towards goal, Descartes smashed into him with a terribly mistimed sliding tackle.  Einstein immediately issued a yellow card stating that the foul was relatively agregeous.  However, Descartes became upset at this, and declared that Einstein’s very existence was questionable, because he must not have been thinking.  Upon hearing this, Einstein gave Descartes his second yellow, resulting in a red card (thrown out of the game).  On the resulting free kick, Goddard calculated the trajectory the projectile would follow pefectly and shot a rocket into the top right corner of the net.

At the half, the scores were even at 1-1.

In the second half, the fast and furious play continued.  Play was interrupted, however, in the 52nd minute, as a spectator Thomas Edison rushed onto the field and tried to attack Nikola Tesla, claiming that DC was clearly superior.  Edison was rushed by security and taken off the pitch.  Nobody was injured. 

In the sixtieth minute, Old School captain Ben Franklin tried to inject some life into his team by substituting Alfred Nobel.  He took off Charles Darwin, as apparently, he was not amongst the fittest. Nobel seemed dead out there, however and made no  contribution to the match. 

As the end of regular time approached, the New School made one last ditch effort to win the game.  E.O. Wilson directed Rachel Carson forward and made a long cross to her in the corner.  She in turn crossed the ball into the middle, but Euclid headed the sphere out of the zone. 

Regular time ended 1-1. 

As the game moved into extra-time, the New School began showing signs of fatigue.  Schrodinger looked like a dead cat, so on the next stoppage in play, Schrodinger came out and Stephen Hawking entered the match. 

The first period of extra time ended without any changes in the score. 

Near the end of the second period of extra time, the game looked like it would head into a penalty shootout.  However, in the last two minutes, Jonas Salk, quiet during the whole game, made a great advance in the field.  He and the rest of the midfield pushed forward.  Made a brilliant move around Pasteur who slipped, leaving a gaping wound in the Old School defense, already hurting due to the red card to Descartes.  The New School attacked the wound like a plague.  Salk passed it to Goodall, who moved all around the field looking for an open attacker in the center of the pitch.  She tried to conserve time as the rest of her team moved forward.  She passed it back to George Washington Carver who switched fields.  Upon receiving the ball, Watson tried to do an around the world to Copernicus, who was not fooled.  Coperincus cleared it, but directly to Hawking who moved brilliantly around Brahmagupta, who did zero the whole game.  Hawking passed to Crick who shot a last minute blast towards the net.  The shot curved like a helix toward the bottom right-hand side netting.  Leonardo da Vinci tried to punch it out, but came out of the game without a Mona Lisa smile, as his efforts were in vain.  Crick won the game!  The battle was over!  The new school team had taken the lead with only seconds to spare!  In such an important match, Einstein decided to check with his assistant referees before making the goal official.  Lavosier decided to conserve the goal and Newton agreed, saying that the rate of change of Crick’s position could not have put him offsides.  The goal counted!

Action however continued well after what stoppage time should have been, but eventually the final whistle was blown.  Upon being asked about this, Einstein stated that the game was moving so quickly, time’s rate of change decreased.

Regardless, the New School had won in a 2-1 overtime thriller.

I hope you enjoyed the series and the game.

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One more Day of Voting


I will let polling continue for another day as I spread the word. Get ready, because tomorrow is game time.

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Just in case you forgot, here are the lineups:

New School:

Captain/Coach: Linus Pauling

Goalkeeper: Richard Feynman

Strikers: James Watson, Francis Crick

Midfielders: Rachel Carson, Robert Coddard, Jane Goodall, Jonas Salk

Defenders: E.O. Wilson, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, George Washington Carver

Substitutes: Mary Leaky, Louis Leaky, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Edwin Hubble, Jagadish Bhandra Bose

Old School

Captains/Coaches: Ben Franklin

Strikers: Archimedes, Aristototle

Midfielders: Nikolaus Copernicus, Brahmagupta, Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla

Defenders: Rene Descartes, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Euclid

Substitutes: Ibn Sina, Al-Khwarizimi, Amedeo Avogadro, Franz Beckenbauer, Alfred Nobel, Johannes Kepler, Alexander Graham Bell

Referees: Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Antoine Lavosier

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New School

Mary Leaky

Mary Leaky

Mary Leaky

Mary Leaky was an anthropologist who discovered the first fossilized skull of an ape.  She worked with her husband Louis Leaky (see below) in Olduvai Gorge in Africa to uncover tools of prehistoric hominids species.  She also discovered the Laetoli footprints, amongst the oldest hominid footprints ever found.   

Louis Leaky

Louis Leaky

Louis Leaky

Louis Leaky was a Kenyan archaeologist, anthropologist, and naturalist who was husband to Mar Leaky.  His work was integral to establishing the fact that humans initially evolved in Africa.  His work mainly pertained to the hominid fossils he and his wife discovered in Olduvai Gorge, in Tanzania. 

Stephen Hawking

Hawking

Hawking

Hawking is a famous, British theoretical physicist.  He is best known for his research regarding black holes (specifically the theory that they should emit radiation) and quantum gravity.  Hawking also help popularize theoretical physics by writing such books as A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell.  Hawking is also an amazing example of overcoming obstacles, because he is stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Carl Sagan

Sagan

Sagan

Sagan was an American astrobiologist, who led the field of exobiology

… the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe .

He also helped organize SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence program.  He is best known, however for his PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. This program popularized science amongst many people and is cited by many scientists as their inspiration.    

Edwin Hubble

Hubble

Hubble

Hubble was an American astronomer whose name now graces the great Hubble telescope.  His greatest scientific achievements include proving the existence of galaxies beside the Milk Way and proving that the universe was in fact expanding.  The latter fact is called Hubble’s Law.

Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose

Bose

Bose

Bose was an Indian “Renaissance man,” whose research delved into the fields of physics, biology, and archeology.  Bose was amongst the first to fully research radio and microwave optics.   He also pioneered the field of remote wireless radio signalling.  Bose also researched many plants of the Indian subcontinent and noted the physical similarities and differences of the reactions of plant and animal tissue growth rate to certain stimuli.

Old School:

Abu Ali Ibn Sina Balkhi

Ibn Sina

Ibn Sina

Abu Ali Ibn Sina Balkhi or Ibn Sina was a Persian scientist who worked in many fields including medicine, philosophy, mathematics, and geology.  He is credited as being the father of modern medicine, especially for his very well done analysis of the human body and his discovery of the contagious nature of certain diseases.  To counter this, Ibn Sina developed the ida of quarantining the sick to avoid spreading the disease.  He was also probably the first pioneer in the field of pharmacology.

Muhammad ibn Musa Khwarizmi

Al-Khwārizmī

Al-Khwārizmī

Muhammad ibn Musa Khwarizmi, or Al-Khwārizmī, was a Persian mathematician who was the first to work extensively with linear and quadratic equations.  His book, Algebra details Arabic numerals, the decimal positional number, and zero.  As a result of his work, many consider him to be the father of algebra.  Al-Khwārizmī also was the first to write about using an algorithm for mathematical calculations.   

Amedeo Avogadro

Avogadro

Avogadro

Avogadro was an Italian scientist, best known for his work regarding molecular chemistry and the composition of gases.   We all remember from high school chemistry that in 1 mol of a pure substance, there are 6.022 EE 23 particles.  This discovery, known as Avogadro’s number, is critical to the study of stoichiometry in chemistry. 

Alfred Nobel

Nobel

Nobel

Nobel chemist, engineer, and inventor from Sweden.  He is best known for two major accomplishments.  He invented dynamite by combining nitroglicerin with gun cotton, making it safer and easier to use.  Nitroglicerin by itself was a volatile substance that was dangerous to work with.  Also, in his last will, he set up the fund for the Nobel Prize.  

Johannes Kepler

Kepler

Kepler

Kepler was a German mathematician and astronomer.  He did a great amount of research regarding the motion of the planets.  He also worked in the field of optics by improving the design and power of refractory telescopes.

Alexander Graham Bell

Bell

Bell

Bell was an American scientist, inventor and innovator.  Naturally, he is best known for inventing the first practical telephone.   He also did research in the fields of hydrofoils on boats and aeronautics, by inventing a movable section of airplane wing that controls roll as well as landing gear for planes.

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New School:

Werner Heisenberg 

Heisenberg

Heisenberg

Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics.  He is most famous for his uncertainty principle, which in its simplest form states that that certain quantum quantities, like the position and momentum of electrons, cannot both have precise values at the same time.  The more precise one value is, the less precise the other is.   Heisnberg also made important contributions to nuclear physics, quantum field theory, and particle physics.  He also developed matrix formulation of quantum mechanics, for which he won a Nobel Prize.   

Erwin Schrodinger

Schrodinger

Schrodinger

Schrodinger was an Austrian theoretical physicist who achieved fame for his contributions to quantum mechanics.  He is best known for two things: the Schrodinger equation and the cat thought experiment.   The Schrodinger equation is absolutely integral to quantum mechanics, as it allows the observer to calculate the momentum and position of subatomic particles.  He won a Nobel Prize for this work.  The Schrodinger cat thought experiment was coined as follows:

A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

So essentially, the cat is both in living and dead states at the same time. 

George Washington Carver

Carver

Carver

Carver was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor whose research turned agriculture on its head.   Since Southern American agriculture was largely a cotton monoculture before and after the war, the soil was greatly depleted of many nutrients.  He was first impressed with the task of finding and promoting crops that would grow well in soil depleted by cotton.  Carver also did much research with peanuts.  He developed food recipes, cosmetics, dyes, paints, fuels, and even nitroglicerine from peanuts.  Carver is also hailed for his accomplishments in mentoring children and improving race relations. 

E.O. Wilson

Wilson

Wilson

Wilson is an American biologist.  He is best known for his research regarding evolution, particularly in insects.  He pioneered the fields of sociobiology and consilience.   Most of his work deals with ants, and was one of the first to realize that ants use different pheromones to direct others.  He also coined the term biophilia, the love and connectedness of  all living things.  He is currently a leader in the environmental movement. 

Old School

Rene Descartes

Descartes

Descartes

Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist.  His work is still applicable and is used extensively to this day.   Most of  Western philosophy is a response to his writings.  His best known philosophic work is his argument of being, “Cognito ergo sum” ( I think, therefore I am).  He also developed the Cartesian coordinate system which allowed geometric shapes to be expressed using algebraic functions.  He was also integral (no pun intended) in developing modern geometry.

Louis Pasteur

Pasteur

Pasteur

Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist.  He made great leaps in the field of disease and its prevention.  His experiments essentially proved the germ theory of disease beyond a doubt.  He also created the vaccine for rabies.  He is best known for developing pasteurization, a way to largely prevent milk and wine from carrying harmful diseases.  He is often credited as the father of microbiology.

Marie Curie

Curie

Curie

Curie was a physicist and chemist of Polish birth and, later in life, French citizenship.  She was at the forefront of studying the field of radioactivity.   In fact, she created the theory of radioactivity as well as basic techniques of how to isolate radioactive isotopes for use in the treatment of cancers.  She also discovered two new elements, named polonium and radium.  For her work, she was the first person to ever be graced with two Nobel Prizes. 

Euclid

Euclid

Euclid

Euclid was a Greek mathematician who was one of the founders of Geometry, as he pioneered the field of Euclidean geometry,  where statements are proved using intuitive and deduced facts known as axioms and theorems.  His book entitled Elements is the most published in all of mathematics.  His other works include writings on perspective, conic sections, number theory and spherical geometry.

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Here come the big playmakers:

New School:

Rachel Carson

Carson

Carson

Carson began her scientific career as a marine biologist at the United State Bureau of Fisheries.  She later became a full-time natural history and science writer.  Her books including The Sea Around Us, The Edge of the Sea, and Under the Sea Wind established her status as both a scientist and writer.  She is best known for her book, Silent Spring, which brought attention to the environmental problems caused by chemical pesticides, particularly DDT.  The book led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides.  The book also was a key factor behind the growth of local and national environmental groups. 

Robert Goddard

Goddard

Goddard

Robert Goddard was a physicist and is considered today as the father of liquid-filled rocketry. In March of 1926, he built and lanched the first liquid-fueled rocket.  After this first successful launch, he continued to work on his design until he managed to attain a rocket that attained speeds up to 885 kilometers per hour.  Despite his advances, Goddard was often mocked for his belief that rockets could propel mankind into space, an idea that seemed delusional to many at the time.  Goddard also experimented with radio signals and built the first vacuum tube amplifier.

Jane Goodall

Goodall

Goodall

Jane Goodall is best known for her extensive studies of chimpanzees  Tanzania.  Goodall’s research delved into the fields of social learning, primate cognition, thinking and culture in wild chimpanzees, their differentiation from the bonobo, and the inclusion of both chimpanzee species, and the gorilla, as Hominids.  Perhaps Goodall’s major break-throughs in the field of primatology was her discovery of chimps using self-fashioned tools.  Although, tools are used by many animals, chimps were the first to be observed actually making them.   Tool making was a skill previously considered by many as the foundation of being human.  In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute, which supports chimpanzee research.  She is currently heavily involved in environmental and animal rights movements.   

Jonas Salk

Salk

Salk

Jonas Salk was a medical researcher who is best known for his discovery and development of a vaccine against polio, then a virulent, debilitating disease.  He made the discovery in April of 1995.   At that time, he was hailed as a true American hero.  He was so popular, in fact, that the datealmost became Jonas Salk Day.  Astonishingly, he refused to patent the vaccine (unheard of by today’s standards (I wish more people would follow his example)).  Salk said he had no desire to profit from his discovery and only wished to see it distributed to everyone who needed it. 

Old School:

Nikolaus Copernicus

Copernicus

Copernicus

Coperinicus was a Polish “Renaissance man” who was instrumental in many discoveries in mathematics, physics, astronomy, medicine, economics, religion, and art.  Most notably, however, he was the first astronomer to formulate a comprehensive theory of heliocentric cosmology, which placed the sun, instead of the earth, at the center of the solar system.   His discovery is marked by many as the first spark of the Scientific Revolution. 

Charles Darwin

Darwin

Darwin

Charles Darwin, as everyone should well know, was an English naturalist who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, through the process he called natural selection.   On his voyage on HMS Beagle, Darin became interested by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage.  He began to study the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838.   His 1859 book: On the Origin of Species established evolutionary descent with modification as the basic scientific explanation of diversity in the natural world.  Darwin’s discovery is perhaps the greatest idea of the life sciences, as it provides a logical explanation for the diversity of life. 

Brahmagupta

Brahmagupta

Brahmagupta

Brahmagupta was an Indian mathematician  and astronomer who “discovered” the concept of the number zero.  His works also were among the first, if not the first, to show how to solve linear and quadratic algebraic functions.

Nikola Tesla

Tesla

Tesla

Tesla was an inventor and a mechanical and electrical engineer.  He is best known for many revolutionary contributions in the field of electricity and magnetism early 20th century.   His research formed the basis for modern alternating current electric power and AC power distribution systems.  He also is credited (finally) as the official inventor of the radio.  Tesla also was the victor over Thomas Edison in the “War of Currents”, during which a fierce rivalry was hatched.  His other inventions include the Tesla Coil and AC Motor.  Tesla was ultimately viewed as a mad scientist because of some of his more fantastic claims and rather peculiar habits.  Tesla also contributed to the establishment of robotics, remote control, radar computer science, ballistics studies, and theoretical physics.

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Well folks:

As you may have noticed, I took a bit of a break from the ol’ website so that I could devote my full attention to my midterms.  I just took my last one yesterday, so I have officially finished running the gauntlet.  Tomorrow, I plan to continue with our All Star Scientist Series.

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