Great Scientific Discoveries – Part 7

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”

Albert Einstein

 

Courtesy of Prince Ea:

The posts of scientific discoveries are dedicated to some of the people whose brilliant minds and perseverance have helped shape the modern world. They are by no means the only geniuses in history, nor are they only inventors, but those whose biographies feature here are icons in the history of technology. Discoveries in physics, chemistry, and biology underpinned most of the other important advances of the nineteenth century, including the electric motor and generator, photography and antiseptic surgery, and later on, the telephone, the motor car, electrification, television, radio, sound recording, cinema, the aeroplane, the helicopter and artificial fertilisers. But innovations have not faltered then: the second half of the twentieth century saw rockets reach the Moon, the rise of electronic computers, tremendous advances in medicine and the invention of the World Wide Web. And so without delay, let’s continue our stroll through the ‘Second Industrial Revolution.’

“Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer (courtesy of Alex G):

 

VLADIMIR ZWORYKIN
30 July 1889  – 29 July 1982

Television changed the way of life of hundreds of millions of people in the twentieth century, but the history of this far-reaching invention is far from simple: dozens of inventive people contributed to its development, one of the most significant pioneers was Russian-born inventor Vladimir Zworykin, who also made important contributions to the development of the electron microscope.

Below is Murom, Russia

Vladimir Zworykin was born in the town of Murom, in what was then the Russian Empire. As a child, he spent time installing and repairing electric doorbells in family-owned passenger steamships. In 1912, he obtained a degree in engineering from the Saint Petersburg Institute of Technology. At the Institute, one of Zworykin’s Professors, Boris Rosing (1869-1933) showed him a project he had been working on in secret. Rosing called it ‘electric telescopy’ – one of the early names for television; several other people in other countries were working on the same idea.

Below is the Saint Petersburg Institute of Technology

Below are Boris Rosing and a drawing of his design for a television system

 

Indeed, as early as 1908, the Scottish engineer A A Campbell Swinton (1863 – 1930) had published a letter in which he outlined his concept for ‘distant electric vision’ using the cathode-ray tube, invented in 1897 by German physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun (1850-1918). A cathode-ray tube is a glass tube, from which the air has been removed, in which a beam of electrons strikes a flat screen. The inside of the screen is coated with chemical compounds called phosphors, which glow wherever electrons collide with them. Electromagnets positioned around the tube control the direction of the beam, and the television signal fed to the magnets causes the beam to scan in horizontal lines across the screen. 

By scanning the whole screen in this way several times every second, while also varying the intensity of the electron beam, it is possible to display a moving image. Swinton never attempted to build the system he has conceived, and while Rosing was a pioneer, his system was crude and unwieldy and never worked. 

In 1919, after the Bolshevik Revolution during the Russian Civil War, Zworykin emigrated to the USA. Within a year he began working at the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh. In 1923, after spending a considerable amount of his spare time working on television, he applied for a patent. 

Pittsburgh, USA

Courtesy of Dustin McGrew:

Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company

As an aside, the founder of the above company was a remarkable individual too (courtesy of Great Documentaries):

 

Zworykin’s system used one cathode-ray tube to display pictures and another one in the camera. Inside his television camera, the light fell on the screen of the cathode-ray tube. Instead of phosphors, this screen was coated with light-sensitive dots made of potassium hydride. An electron beam scanned the screen, as in the picture tube, and each light-sensitive dot produced a signal that depended on the brightness of the image at that point. After submitting an improved patent application in 1925, Zworykin demonstrated his television system to his employers at Westinghouse. The images were dim and stationary, and his employers were not impressed. 

Below is Radio Corporation of America and its symbol Nipper in His Master’s Voice

He had a more favourable response when he showed it to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1929. Zworykin’s camera, later dubbed the Iconoscope, would become the standard way of producing television pictures. Zworykin developed the technology further at the RCA. In 1939, the company demonstrated it at the New York World Fair, and, in 1941, the RCA began regular commercial television broadcasts in the USA. 

Courtesy of The History of TV:

Zworykin’s work on the electron microscope stemmed from his wealth of experience working with images and electrons. In 1938, he employed a Canadian electronics engineer James Hillier (1915-2007), and worked with him to improve upon the electron microscope, which had been invented in the early 1930s in Germany. In particular, the team developed the scanning electron microscope, in which a beam of electrons scans a sample  – not unlike what happens inside a cathode-ray tube. In 1940, Zworykin’s team achieved the first magnification greater than 100,000x – a huge improvement in the technology.

Below Vladimir Zworykin demonstrates the first electron microscope in the US in 1940

In addition to his work in television and electron microscopy, Zworykin developed infrared ‘night vision’, missile guidance system, and security systems that used ‘electric eyes’. He received a total of 120 US patents. The night-time vision device, the Snooperscope, was sensitive to infrared radiation – or ‘heat rays’ – which warm-blooded animals  (including humans) emit with greater intensity than non-living things, by virtue of their warm bodies. Zworykin’s device helped soldiers in night-time conflicts during World War II.

The Snooperscope

I would like to end with my only slightly exaggerated view of the television, as I do watch the news, nature, and science documentaries, and I am grateful to Mr. Zworykin, with the famous Groucho Marx quote:
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

               

“Rocket Man” by Elton John (courtesy of Lone Wolf):

 

WERNHER VON BRAUN

23 March 1912 – 16 June 1977

The German-American rocket engineer Wernher von Braun designed the first rocket-powered long-range ballistic missiles – but his real achievement was in spaceflight. His determination in following his boyhood dream of sending people to the moon, together with his excellent technical and leadership skills, made him the ultimate spaceflight pioneer of the twentieth century.

Courtesy of Sigma Rockets:

Wernher von Braun was born a baron, to an aristocratic family in the town of Wirsitz, in the then German Empire (now Wyrzysk in Poland). After the First World War, his family moved to Berlin, Germany. Young Wernher became interested in space when his mother, a serious amateur astronomer, gave him a telescope – and he was mesmerised by stories of journeys into outer space. Von Braun studied mechanical engineering at the Charlottenburg Institute of Technology, in Berlin. While there, he joined the Verein fur Raumschiffahrt (VfR) – the Society for Spaceship Travel – and became involved in building and firing early liquid-fuel rockets.

Charlottenburg Institute of Technology in Berlin

Von Braun joined the German army’s Ordnance Division in October 1932, developing and testing rockets at an artillery range in Kummersdorf, near Berlin. He became technical head of the ‘Aggregate’ programme, whose main aim was to design rockets for use as long-range ballistic missiles. In 1935, the von Braun team moved to Peenemunde, on the Baltic coast, where the programme continued until the end of the Second World War, in 1945. Each rocket in the proposed Aggregate series was bigger and more ambitious than the last.

The A9/10, had it ever been launched, would have been a 100-tonne, two-staged rocket aimed at New York, United States. The A12 would have been a true orbital launch vehicle, able to place satellites into orbit. The only Aggregate rocket to see service was the A-4, better known as the V-2. Designed by the von Braun team, this was the world’s first reliable liquid-fuel rocket. By the end of the war, more than 3,000 had been launched; these terrible weapons, built by prisoners-of-war, rained destruction upon England, Belgium, and France from 1944 onwards. Von Braun’s involvement in the weapon’s developments and his membership of the Nazi party remains controversial, but he was always preoccupied with his real goal of sending rockets into space.

Launch of V2 rocket at Pennemunde

When the war ended, the US Army took von Braun and his team of workers to the United States. In 1950, von Braun settled in Huntsville, Alabama, where he headed the US Army rocket team.

Courtesy of American Genius:

The von Braun family

At that time, the Cold War was intensifying, and the United States was worried that the Soviet Union might dominate the new territory of space. Throughout the 1950s, von Braun became something of a celebrity, promoting the idea of space travel in books, magazines, on television, and in films – inspiring the American people with his dreams of space stations and the journeys to the Moon and Mars.

Wernher von Braun and John F Kennedy below

The Space Age officially began on 4 October 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit.

The news prompted the United States Government to form NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

In 1958, a Redstone rocket, designed by von Braun, put America’s first satellite into orbit. Two years later NASA opened its Marshall Spaceflight Center, in Huntsville, and von Braun became its director.

The Soviet Union got the upper hand again in 1961 when it launched a human into space for the first time. The United States retaliated by launching Alan Shepherd into space less than a month later, again with a von Braun Redstone rocket.

A Redstone rocket

In May 1961, to von Braun’s delight, the United States president John F Kennedy (1917-1963) announced the country’s intention of ‘landing a man on the Moon and returning him back safely to the Earth’. The United States succeeded – and the astronauts of the ‘Apollo’ programme travelled to the Moon in modules launched into space atop huge Saturn V rockets, designed by von Braun’s team at the Marshall Space Center.

Saturn V launch (courtesy of Starship Trooper):

Wernher von Braun died in June 1977 at age 65, after two years of suffering from cancer.

“Fly Me To The Moon” performed by Diana Panton (courtesy of Leading Pictures):

Von Braun had finally achieved his goal of interplanetary travel and NASA called him ‘without doubt, the greatest rocket engineer in history.’

“Clair de Lune” by Debussy (courtesy of Paul Barton):

“I Have A Dream” by ABBA, performed by Andre Rieu (courtesy of Sergei Egorov):

 

 

 

 

47 thoughts on “Great Scientific Discoveries – Part 7

  1. Such a treasure of information, music, and pictures. I love the quote of “You were a good salesman and I was a good dreamer” regarding the introduction of Television. The video of Clair De Lune and the elephant I always find incredibly moving!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely, Joanna. The contrast of that rocket blasting off, sheer terror! and then the beautiful piece of the elephant listening to Clair de Lune…so touching.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Zworykin is a new name to me, I have to admit. A brilliant person. Have you known about him for a long time?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another outstanding post Joanna. You outdid yourself once again with so much history and capturing these fine men and their contributions. Love the music and quotes! 💖

    Like

  5. Your posts are always so interesting , Joanna. Wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing .💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Cindy, for your generous comments. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, I knew about him for quite some time! I am glad that you have found the series interesting as I like finding something new to write about.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, Carolyn, for your lovely comments! Greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Like

  9. Thank you, Peter, for your kind comments. Greatly appreciated. I loved your mole’s pictures!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Diving with you leading in this Ocean of knowledge about everything Science and space is a treasure . It is the beauty with which you present people, places and here Rockets and Satellites to launching dreams. And even it surprised me- this realisation that people even then were selling dreams of space and that it isn’t new or recent. Had humans been well groomed I suppose they would have been researching on how to transcend over than how far and how lethal can missiles be made.

    It is again an honor to walk along and learn from you dearest Joanna.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you, Dearest Narayan, for your wonderful comments! Science always fascinated me and that is why I am bringing here interesting information. Judging by the much-appreciated comments, I am on the right track.

    Thank you again!

    Joanna

    Like

  12. It’s such a pleasure Joanna! 💖

    Like

  13. It’s a joy!! 💖💖💖

    Like

  14. Thank you for such a fascinating post. I am always amazed at what you present and how you present it. I am going to share your post with my husband because I am sure he is going to find it very interesting. Enjoy your weekend 💐🙋‍♀️💕

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you, Morag, for your wonderful comments! After reading the comments like yours, my weekend is assured!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Fascinating, Joanna. Although I had certainly heard of von Braun, I never realized that our early rockets were designed by him. Another marvelous chapter in your series.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you, Pat, for your kind comments! More to come. I greatly appreciate your words!

    Joanna

    Like

  18. Two more great inventors and one more great post. To my shame I had never heard of either of these men, but they really were ahead of their time. Mind you, I can’t help wondering what would have happened if Wernher von Braun’s talents had been commandeered by the Russians instead of the Americans after WWII was over.
    It’s yet another ten from me Joanna 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Another great post with so much information, history, music and images. Thank you for sharing the fruit of your valuable research ❣️❣️❣️

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you, Malc, for your great comments! It shows who was most clever to gather the best brains! Thank you for your appreciation!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Thank you, Luisa, for your kind comments! All greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  22. It was such a pleasure to read it 💞

    Like

  23. Television and rocket are the two in inventions that changed the course of human life in their own ways. Though the quote of Groucho Marx seems funny, it’s so realistic looking to the present state of televisions. But the credit must go to Zworykin and his team for this unique invention.

    Einstein’s quote in the beginning is so apt that if we have a vision, it will show the path and the goal. Von Braun had also a childhood dream to send people to moon. But I appreciate his mother who gifted him a telescope that helped him pursue his dream that culminated in Apollo mission. It will also be interesting to know the life of Sergei Korolev, who was instrumental in launching the first satellite and other astronautical missions of Russia.

    It’s the hard work of these scientists that have made our lives easier and more advanced. Thank you, Joanna for one more inspiring and thought provoking post. Your efforts in bringing out such facts and details in a very lucid way is once again appreciated. Thanks again.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Thank you, Kaushal, for your wonderfully detailed comments! Your understanding of the reseason and the way I am presenting those series is greatly appreciated!
    Thank you again, Kaushal!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Another amazing post! Wonderful! Now, I hope you’re relaxing and enjoying the Jubilee celebrations! 💝💖💐🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Thank you, Ashley, for your wonderful as always, comments!

    Yes, I do follow the celebrations!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  27. You’re most welcome, Joanna!

    Like

  28. Thank you Joanna for sharing another interesting and fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Thank you, Henrietta, for your kind comment. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  30. More brilliant minds, amazing photos, videos, and information, Joanna. I love the piano video of Clair de Lune and that beautiful elephant. That sight went straight to my heart. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Thank you, Lauren, for your wonderful comments! I love the elephant listening to music too! Your words are greatly appreciated!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Very very nice blog on material history and discovery which led mankind to the position of what we are today . The world has become a global village by now due to these inventions . This is true history of mankind . Croce has once said that every history is a contemporary history . Yours is the best example of the contemporary history . Otherwise , the corridor of history is full of blood and bloodshed . But yours is a real history of peace and prosperity . Thanks !

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Thank you, Arbind, for your analytical comments. I write when possible with an optimistic angle as we have enough of misery on the daily news. Perhaps, I could interest you in my posts about India, my favourite country, “India – The Empire Of The Spirit”, “Ma Ganga, The River Ganges”, and “The Father Of 5000 Orphans.” among others.

    Thank you again, Arbind. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Thank you for sharing another piece of information and interesting post.! Really Amazing Photos and Videos You people are sharing the best in the blog. Keep doing stunning Joanna.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Thank you, Mark, for your kind comments. I am glad and appreciate your praise.

    Joanna

    Like

  36. Very interesting Joanna ..I love this.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Thank you for your kind comment. Greatly appreciated.

    Joanna

    Like

  38. It always makes me wonder that how some people takes the idea from everything around them and then makes the best of those of ideas to create incredible things.
    It’s just so interesting to know about them, to closely understand their incredible journey and discoveries.
    Thanks to you, joanna for making us wonder through your Scientific discoveries series.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Thank you, Ritish, for your kind comments. Your appreciation, Ritish, is greatly valued.

    Joanna

    Like

  40. Wow he had one intresting journey 👀 ✨

    Like

  41. Thank you for your kind comment.

    Joanna

    Like

  42. I love your blog. Through history, we can better understand the present.

    Hugs, Joanna.

    Like

  43. Thank you, Lincoln, for your lovely comments. I love your poetry blog too. I will try again today ti read it as it would not allow me yesterday,

    Joanna

    Like

  44. You are always welcome. I don’t know what’s wrong with my blog, I don’t do anything in particular and not only you let me know but others also the same thing happens to you.
    Have a nice evening, Joanna. 🤗

    Like

  45. Thank you. I will try again!

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Let me know if you can do it.

    Like

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