Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sir Isaac Newton

(born Jan. 4, 1643, Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, Eng.died March 31, 1727, London) English physicist and mathematician. The son of a yeoman, he was raised by his grandmother. He was educated at Cambridge University (166165), where he discovered the work of Ren Descartes. His experiments passing sunlight through a prism led to the discovery of the heterogeneous, corpuscular nature of white light and laid the foundation of physical optics. He built the first reflecting telescope in 1668 and became a professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1669. He worked out the fundamentals of calculus, though this work went unpublished for more than 30 years. His most famous publication, Principia Mathematica (1687), grew out of correspondence with Edmond Halley. Describing his works on the laws of motion ( Newton's laws of motion), orbital dynamics, tidal theory, and the theory of universal gravitation, it is regarded as the seminal work of modern science. He was elected president of the Royal Society of London in 1703 and became the first scientist ever to be knighted in 1705. During his career he engaged in heated arguments with several of his colleagues, including Robert Hooke (over authorship of the inverse square relation of gravitation) and G.W. Leibniz (over the authorship of calculus). The battle with Leibniz dominated the last 25 years of his life; it is now well established that Newton developed calculus first, but that Leibniz was the first to publish on the subject. Newton is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time.

William P. Lear

(born June 26, 1902, Hannibal, Mo., U.S.—died May 14, 1978, Reno, Nev.), self-taught American electrical engineer and industrialist whose Lear Jet Corporation was the first mass-manufacturer of business jet aircraft in the world. Lear also developed the automobile radio, the eight-track stereo tape player for automobiles, and the miniature automatic pilot for aircraft.
The child of immigrant parents and a broken home, Lear said that at the age of 12 he had worked out a blueprint of his life, based upon profiting by inventing what people wanted. He held some 150 patents at his death.
After completing eighth grade, Lear quit school to become a mechanic and at the age of 16 joined the navy, lying about his age. During World War I, Lear studied radio and after his discharge designed the first practicable auto radio. Failing to secure the financial backing to produce the radio himself, Lear sold the radio to the Motorola Company in 1924.

Wernher von Braun

(born , March 23, 1912, Wirsitz, Ger.died June 16, 1977, Alexandria, Va., U.S.) German-born U.S. rocket engineer. Born into an aristocratic family, he received his doctorate from the University of Berlin. In 1936 he became technical director of the new military development facility at Peenemnde, an essential centre for the rearmament of Nazi Germany, forbidden by the Versailles accords. Liquid-fueled rocket aircraft and jet-assisted takeoffs were successfully demonstrated there, and the V-2 long-range ballistic missile and the Wasserfall supersonic antiaircraft missile were developed. By 1944 the sophistication of the rockets and missiles being tested at Peenemnde was many years ahead of that of any other country. After World War II he and his team surrendered to the U.S.; they were immediately set to work on guided missiles by the U.S. Army, and in 1952 he became technical director (later chief) of the Army's ballistic weapon program. Under his leadership, the Redstone, Jupiter-C, Juno, and Pershing missiles were developed. In 1958 he and his group launched the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1. After NASA was formed, von Braun led the development of some of the large Saturn space launch vehicles; the engineering success of each of the Saturn class of space boosters remains unmatched in rocket history.