Posts Tagged ‘scientists’

Happy Birthday, Sir John William Dawson!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sir John William Dawson!

Portrait_of_John_William_Dawson

Canada’s first world-famous scientist was also its first trained exploration geologist, a plant fossil expert, and colleague of the eminent British geologist (and fellow Sir) Charles Lyell, with whom he discovered Canada’s then-oldest fossil.

Dawson was a professor, education superintendent, lecturer, and teetotaler. He authored hundreds of books and articles, including Air-Breathers of the Coal Period: a Descriptive Account of the Remains of Land Animals Found in the Coal Formation of Nova Scotia, with Remarks on their Bearing on Theories of the Formation of Coal and of the Origin of Species.

Like Charles Darwin, Dawson considered becoming a man of the cloth and could not go along with Darwinian theories, being unable to reconcile the science with his religious convictions.

Happy Birthday, Sir John William Dawson – Geologist, Paleobotanist, and Air-Breather!

Museums of Some Scientists: Glaring Omissions

Friday, September 21st, 2012

We recently posted a series of entries about museums dedicated to individual scientists.  But we haven’t been able to find a museum dedicated to Isaac Newton!  What’s up with that?  Where’s the museum to Archimedes or Euclid?  There’s a small museum as part of the Leibniz institute, but where’s the Enrico Fermi museum?  Darwin just gets a small museum at one of his homes?  That’s it?

Archimedes, Newton, Darwin, and Fermi. Four scientists in need of museums.

All of you science-lovers and museum-creators out there, please get on this.

 

Museums of Some Scientists: Freud

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Like Benjamin Franklin and Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud has two museums dedicated to him: his house and office in London, where he fled from the Nazis, and his home and office in Vienna, which the Nazis forced him to flee.  Thanks to that fleeing, London gets the better deal, including most of his collectibles and his analysis couch.

In Vienna you can visit the famous Berggasse location, gaze out the window Freud used to gaze out of, and soak up a touch of the fin du ciecle Viennese atmosphere.  But there’s very little belonging to Freud there, and you’re left with a reminder that the man who was later featured on the 50 Austrian Schilling note was ungraciously and humiliatingly kicked out of his home country and forced to live his final years in exile, away from his language, home, and culture.  Of course given what the Nazis did to the the members of Freud’s family who stayed in Austria, Freud got off exceptionally easy.

Freud’s house in Vienna. No couch here…

Freud lived the last year of his life in a house in a quiet London suburb.  Freud was really happy in this house with its large windows and garden.  It was much more pleasant than his relatively cramped apartment in Vienna.  Freud’s daughter Anna continued to live there until her death in 1982.  In 1986, it opened as the Freud Museum London, and contains, among Freud’s library and many Freud artifacts, his study, set up exactly the way it was during his lifetime.

Here it is — in London! 

Museums of Some Scientists: Franklin

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Benjamin Franklin was many things — a diplomat, a statesman, a newspaper man, a writer, and also a scientist.  The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is named after him, but like the Museo Galileo in its relationship to Galileo, this museum isn’t devoted to Franklin’s life and work, but is rather a general science museum named in his honor.  Unlike the Museo Galileo, however, the Franklin Institue doesn’t exhibit body parts of its namesake, but it does feature an oversized memorial statue.

Franklin does have two homes that have been turned into museums however.  Franklin Court in Philadelphia, the former site of one of his homes, is shared with the U.S. Postal Museum, and displays many of Franklin’s inventions.

Benjamin Franklin spent many years in Europe, and his house in London is his only still-existing home. This house is now a museum of the life and times of Franklin.  Part of the building is dedicated specifically to Franklin’s scientific work.

Franklin still has women waiting around for him at his house in London. Note the 18th century track lighting.

 

Museums of Some Scientists: Galileo

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

The Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy is a rare exception to museums dedicated to a scientist, because it’s not really a Galileo museum, but a science museum named after him.

But it rates a mention here, because rather than exhibiting items and artifacts from Galileo’s life, or showcasing is work and discoveries, it has taken on the odd mission of assembling as many of the great scientist’s body parts as possible.

Requilaries of Galileo include fingers and a molar.

Rather than documenting his life and work, this gives the Galileo Museum a rare position of serving as a kind of shrine to a scientist.  A bit more religious in tone than scientific.  But, this is Italy after all.

Museums of Some Scientists: Curie

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Marie Curie rates museums in two countries.

There’s one in Paris, where, in true Napoleonic-code fashion, she has to share it with her husband.

And there’s one in Warsaw, located in the house where she was born.  Curie is probably Poland’s most famous scientist and although she lived most of her life in Paris, she never lost her cultural ties to her homeland.  She named one of the elements she discovered — polonium — after her home country.

Marie Curie remains a popular subject of exhibitions around the world on a regular basis. (Your humble PhLog writer once saw a very large Marie Curie exhibit in a Polish Museum housed in all places, Rapperswil, Switzerland.)  A a groundbreaking woman in science during a time when it was almost entirely a male-dominated field, she is often held up as an inspirational figure to women and science-lovers everywhere.  So she’s great museum material.

Museums of Some Scientists: Einstein

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Albert Einstein’s home in Bern, Switzerland is a museum (although at this writing it is closed due to water damage).  Among many items, you can see the desk – or at least the type of desk – that Einstein used to write on during his time at the Swiss patent office.

Einsteinhaus, Bern

Bern is very proud of its famous inhabitant.  In addition to the museum at Einstein’s house, the Bern Historical Museum has a permanent exhibition dedicated to him.

You can see Einstein’s brain at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.  But there’s surprisingly not a major Einstein museum in the US.  Einstein requested that his home in Princeton not be turned into a museum.  It was granted National Landmark status, but to this date Einstein’s and his family’s wishes have been honored, and his house is not any kind of museum.

Einstein house, Princeton

Since the house is not an option, you’d think someone in Princeton would want to lure some tourists in with a museum, yet in fact the only Einstein Museum in Princeton (and the only one in the US for that matter) is tucked into the back of a coat store.  Not quite as impressive a location as the house in Bern, but the rules of science dictate how the universe works everywhere, even in clothing stores.

 

Museums of Some Scientists: Tesla and Edison

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Recently, we learned there is an indiegogo campaign to raise money for a Nikola Tesla museum in Shoreham, New York; not only did they raise more than $1.000,000 (go, The Oatmeal, go!) and this got us thinking about some of the other scientists who rate their own museum.

First, let’s look at the Edison’s laboratory at Menlo Park, NJ, workplace of the man who did Mr. Tesla out of LOTS AND LOTS of money – enough money so that Tesla would not have gone to his grave destitute and forlorn.

The National Park service operates the Edison museum and if you have not seen where he worked on the light bulb and the phonograph and all the other life-changing and world-changing inventions, you need to hop a train to Menlo Park, which is located in *ahem* Edison, New Jersey.

There’s also an Edison memorial tower at Menlo Park.  Not to be confused with Tesla’s tower which would have provide wireless electricity to the world, this one just memorializes Edison.