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A Forerunner of Einstein

Albert Abraham Michelson, the first American to be awarded a Nobel Prize in any of the categories of science (1907, in Physics), was born in Strelno in Prussia (now Strzelno, a part of Poland) on this date in 1852. Using an apparatus he had designed, now known as the “Michelson interferometer,” Michelson successfully computed the speed of […]

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George Wald, Scientist and Activist

Nobelist George Wald, who discovered that Vitamin A was a component of the retina and crucial to good eyesight, was born in New York to Jewish immigrant parents on this date in 1906. The first member of his family to attend college, Wald was doing a postgrad fellowship in Switzerland and Germany when Hitler came […]

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Joseph Rotblat

Sir Joseph Rotblat, a physicist who received the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on nuclear disarmament, was born in Poland on this date in 1908. Prior to World War II, the mostly self-taught Rotblat conducted experiments in nuclear fission. When World War II broke out, he was working at Liverpool University under James […]

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Micro-Organisms and the Nobel Prize

Salvador Lurie, a Nobel Prize-winning Italian microbiologist who was shunned by Mussolini and forced to flee to the U.S. by Hitler, was born in Turin on this date in 1912. Lurie and his co-winners of the 1969 Nobel, Max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey, studied the genetic structures of viruses and bacteria. The 1943 Luria-Delbrück experiment showed that genetic mutations occur […]

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The Quantum Field Theoretician

Theoretical physicist Julian Schwinger, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics with Richard Feynman and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for their work reconciling quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity, was born to Polish Jewish émigrés in New York on this date in 1918. Schwinger received his Ph.D. (at age 21) at Columbia University, under the tutelage of Isidor […]

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Herbert Simon and Artificial Intelligence

Political scientist and artificial intelligence innovator Herbert Alexander Simon, winner of the Turing Award in 1975 and the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978, was born in Milwaukee on this date in 1915 to a Jewish father and a mother of mixed Jewish and Christian background. Simon spent most of his academic and research career […]

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A Refugee Nobelist

Jack Steinberger, whose investigations of subatomic particles led to a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988 (shared with co-researchers Leon M. Lederman and Melvin Schwartz), was born in Bad Kissingen, Germany on this date in 1921. His father was a cattle-dealer and cantor, his mother a hop-dealer and language teacher. Steinberger was sent out of Nazi […]

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The Kiss of Life

Peter Safar, whose pioneering “Kiss of Life” procedure of mouth-to-mouth cardio-pulmonary resuscitation has saved countless lives, was born into a medical family in Vienna on this date in 1924. Safar managed to conceal his Jewish identity during the Nazi years, which resulted in his conscription into the Hitler Youth. He evaded service by smearing himself […]

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Nu, Did He Deserve the Nobel Prize?

by Sparrow DOES THE WORLD need another essay about Dylan winning the Nobel Prize? Certainly not. In fact, most people have already forgotten about it. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of Dylan fans will read this piece -– if they find it –- because they’ll read anything about Dylan. I know because I’m […]

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January 29: The Scientist of Poison Gas

Fritz Haber, a German chemist who won the Nobel Prize in his field in 1918 for inventing a method for synthesizing ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen gas, enabling the large-scale creation of fertilizers and explosives, died at 65 in Basel, an exile from Nazism, on this date in 1934. Like many German Jews, Haber converted […]

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