. 15
( 21)


Acad©mie des Sciences (1887) and also of the on the Moon™s motion.
Acad©mie Fran§aise (1909). Poincar© earned a repu- In pure mathematics he advanced complex analy-
tation as ˜the last universalist™, producing about sis, being the first person to integrate complex
500 papers and 30 books, which contributed to a functions along paths or contours in the complex
wide variety of branches of mathematics and allied plane (now called contour integration).
Poncelet, Jean-Victor [pµslay] (1788“1867) French
subjects. In contrast, he was clumsy, absent-
minded and inept with simple arithmetic. mathematician: substantially advanced projective
In pure mathematics Poincar© discovered auto- geometry.
morphic functions, which are a generalization of In November 1812 the bedraggled rearguard of
periodic functions in being invariant under an infi- the French Grande Arm©e under Marshal Ney was
nite group of linear fractional transformations. overwhelmed at Krasnoi on the frozen plains of
This led to work on parameterization of curves, the Russia; Poncelet, a young engineer, was left for
solution of linear differential equations with ratio- dead on the battlefield. A search party who found
nal algebraic coefficients and topology. He also did him took him for questioning, as he was an officer,
significant work on the theory of numbers, on prob- and so he survived to be marched through a
ability theory and ergodicity. Russian winter for 5 months before entering a
In mathematical physics Poincar© published a prison at Saratov in March 1813.
paper on the dynamics of the electron (1906) which He passed what turned out to be 2 years of captiv-
independently obtained within electromagnetic ity recalling all the mathematics he could from his
theory several of the results of Einstein™s theory of 3 years at the École Polytechnique (1807“10); and
special relativity (1905). In celestial mechanics he he went on to contribute new mathematics to pro-
made important contributions to the theory of jective geometry. After he was released his sense of
orbits, the shape of rotating fluids, the gravitational duty led him to put his creative urge on one side
three- and n-body problems and the origination of and to do routine military engineering tasks, and
topological dynamics. In the course of this work later to work on water-power. However, in the notes
Poincar© developed powerful new techniques such that he produced under such difficult conditions
as asymptotic expansions and integral invariants. are the principle of duality (the equivalence of
Poisson, Sim©on-Denis [pwasµ] (1781“1840) French various geometric theorems) and the first use of
mathematician: contributed to electrostatics, mag- imaginary points in projective geometry.
Popov, Aleksandr Stepanovich [popof] (1859“
netostatics, probability theory and complex analysis.
Poisson™s talent in creative mathematics was rec- 1906) Russian physicist: radio pioneer.
ognized by Lagrange while he was at the École Planning to enter the clergy, Popov studied at a
Polytechnique. He had begun training as a surgeon, seminary, but after graduation his interests in
but found he had neither taste nor talent for the physics and engineering led him to study at the uni-
work. In 1800 he was appointed to a post at the versity at St Petersburg and concurrently to work at
École. Poisson™s mathematical contributions were the Elektrotekhnik artel which generated electric
to mathematical physics, and he added to this by power. In 1883 he joined the naval Torpedo School at
conducting experiments in sound and heat. He Kronstadt, as an instructor in electrical engineering.
developed the theory of heat and elasticity Following the discovery of electromagnetic radia-
(Poisson™s ratio is the ratio between the lateral and tion in the radio band by Hertz in 1888, and the
longitudinal strain in a wire). development of a crude detector for this by E Branly
In 1812 Poisson adopted an early ˜two-fluid™ (1844“1940), Popov became interested in radio and
theory of electricity which was later superseded. He like Lodge he worked to improve Branly™s ˜coherer™
used Lagrange™s potential function, originally of 1894. By 1895 Popov was able to demonstrate a
applied in gravitation, and showed that it could be detector that was effective up to 80 m from a spark
used for electrostatic problems. Using a suggestion generator, and in the same year he used it in modi-
by Laplace he used the technique to prove the for- fied form to record atmospheric discharges (his
mula for the force at the surface of a charged con- ˜storm indicator™). Marconi in 1896 staked his
ductor, and to solve for the first time the charge claims for wireless telegraphy, using equipment
distribution on two spherical conductors a given patented in 1897 which accorded with Popov™s
distance apart. Coulomb™s experimental results description of 1896. During 1897“1900 Popov™s
were in close accord with Poisson™s formula. apparatus was used by the Russian army and navy,
His paper of 1824 constructed a ˜two-fluid™ theory and he became professor at the St Petersburg
of magnetism, and expressed the magnetic poten- Institute of Electrical Engineering and director
tial at any point as a sum of volume and surface inte- there in 1905. In that role he refused to follow
grals of magnetic contributions (magnetostatics). instructions to repress firmly the students™ politi-
Poisson built upon Laplace™s work in probability cal activism, and died soon after this conflict with
theory. Poisson™s formula gives the probability of a authority.
Poynting, John Henry

The Russian Physico-chemical Society early con-
antigen molecule
cluded that Popov should ˜be recognized as the
recognised by
inventor of wireless telegraphy™ and this has variable region
light chain
remained the view of his countrymen. However, this of light and heavy
recognition has not been generally conceded else- heavy
where in Europe, where priority has been accorded chain
to Marconi; Popov, like Lodge, is seen as active in the ˜hypervariable™
field but not the foremost innovator. It is widely
accepted that Popov was the first to use antenna
aerials for radio transmission and reception.
Porter, George, Baron Porter (1920“2002) British variable
physical chemist: developed flash photolysis for region
detection of short-lived photochemical entities.
Porter took his first degree in Leeds, and in his
final year took a course in radiophysics; in the
disulphide constant regions
Second World War, as a naval officer, he worked bonds holding which interact
with radar. In Cambridge from 1945, he worked heavy and with complement
light chains to break down
with R G W Norrish (1897“1978) on the detection
together viruses and cells
and study of the short-lived radical intermediates
involved in photochemical gas reactions. Porter
The structure of an antibody molecule
developed the idea of using a flash technique to
produce the radicals, by discharging a large bank of
capacitors to produce a short, high-energy flash which had begun with Ehrlich and had developed
(the principle of the photographic flash gun) and with Landsteiner and Pauling, at last took on a
using this flash (lasting 10 “3 s or less) to break up firm outline that fruitfully linked their biochem-
the gas to form radicals and excited molecules. A istry with their immunology. Porter became pro-
second flash, after a brief delay, served to give a fessor of biochemistry at Oxford in 1967 and shared
spectrum of the contents of the reaction tube, so a Nobel Prize with Edelman in 1972.
Powell, Cecil Frank (1903“69) British physicist: used
that the radicals could be detected and their life-
times calculated. Porter developed these ideas in photographic emulsion to detect new elementary
ingenious ways; by 1975 he could detect molecules particles.
with a life of only a picosecond (10 “12 s); he The son of a gunsmith, Powell studied at
extended the method to liquids; he showed that Cambridge and obtained his PhD there in 1927 for
radicals can be trapped in a supercooled liquid (a work with C T R Wilson on condensation in cloud
glass); and he applied laser beams to photochemi- chambers. In that year he went to Bristol, and spent
cal studies. His work did much to develop photo- his career there. Marietta Blau (1894“1970) in
chemistry, including its application to biochemical Vienna had shown that photographic emulsion is
problems. In 1966, after 10 years in Sheffield, he affected not only by light but also by fast particles,
became director of the Royal Institution; he shared which leave a track. In the late 1930s Powell began
a Nobel Prize in 1967 with Norrish and M Eigen to use photographic plates (later, films) to record
(1927“ ). the tracks of fast nuclear particles. These tracks
Porter, Rodney (Robert) (1917“85) British bio- (due to ionization, which leaves blackened silver
chemist and immunologist: deduced general grains) can be studied under a microscope and
structure of antibodies. Powell showed that the mass, charge and energy of
Born and educated in Liverpool, Porter had just a particle can be estimated from the tracks it pro-
graduated there when his career was diverted by duces. In this way he discovered a new particle in
military service from 1940“6; afterwards he 1947; this was the pi-meson or pion, with mass 273
worked on proteins with Sanger in Cambridge. times that of an electron, which had been predicted
Then, in London from 1949, he developed his inter- by Yukawa in 1935. Since 1947 other unstable par-
est in antibodies. He showed in 1950 that some ticles have been discovered by the same method,
could be partly broken down without total loss of and Powell™s work marks the start of modern high-
their antigen-binding ability; and by the early energy particle physics. He used the photographic
1960s he was able to show that antibodies contain method with ˜stacks™ of plates, both at mountain
both ˜heavy™ and ˜light™ protein chains; and that height with cosmic rays as the source of particles
they have three distinct regions, of which two are (as in his pion work) and carried by free balloons
alike and serve to bind antigens, leading to ˜clump- above the atmosphere. These balloons were of poly-
ing™ (agglutination). Aware also of Edelman™s thene sheet, filled with hydrogen: they remained
results, and of data from electron microscopy, stable at about 30 km altitude for some hours.
Porter made a brilliant guess at the overall molecu- Powell was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950.
Poynting, John Henry (1852“1914) British physi-
lar architecture of antibodies (see diagram). His
scheme could incorporate the facts then known, cist: demonstrated existence of radiation pressure.
and it inspired further work by Milstein and others Poynting gained his qualifications from Man-
that has refined it further. Ideas on antibodies, chester and Trinity College, Cambridge, becoming
Pratt, John Henry

professor of physics at Birmingham in 1880. He
held this post until his death. He researched on
electromagnetic waves, and Poynting™s vector
(1884, based on Maxwell™s theory) gives the direc-
tion and magnitude of energy flow from the elec-
tric and magnetic fields at a point. He showed that
radiation has momentum and exerts a pressure
(1904), which can be large under astronomical con-
ditions. He also (from 1878) used a balance to mea-
sure Newton™s gravitational constant, essentially
by Cavendish™s method, and by 1891 had a result
close to the modern value.
Pratt, John Henry (1809“71) British cleric and geo-
physicist: proposed isostatic principle to account
for gravity anomalies.
Pratt went to India in 1833 as a chaplain with the
East India Company, and in 1850 became archdea-
con of Calcutta. As an amateur scientist, he recog-
nized that the cause of some surveying errors
found by George Everest (1790“1866) near the
Himalayas was that the mountains were failing to
exert as great a gravitational attraction as Everest
had allowed for. In 1854 he suggested his isostatic
principle, in which the higher a mountain range
the lower its density, so that the effective pressure
Joseph Priestley
in the lithosphere beneath the crust remains con-
stant. Airy suggested a similar idea soon after-
wards, and their principle of isostasy has since been a Suffolk village. Later, he taught in schools and was
found to account for gravity anomalies in a wide librarian-companion to Lord Shelburne, afterwards
range of situations. Prime Minister. His stutter and his radical views on
Pregl, Fritz (1869“1930) Austrian chemist: devel- theology, and in particular on politics, made him
oped microanalysis of organic compounds. unpopular as a preacher. As a vociferous supporter
Pregl is unusual among Nobel Prize winners in of the French Revolutionary idea he became very
that the award, made to him in 1923, was not for a unpopular and, after his house had been burned in
discovery but ˜for modifying and improving exist- 1791 by a Birmingham mob, he felt forced to seek
ing methods™. He graduated in medicine at Graz refuge in the more liberal USA in 1794.
and spent his career there, initially as a biochemist He had a simple character, much personal charm
working on bile acids. His early work showed him and exceptional intelligence, and wrote on theology,
that elemental analysis of organic compounds was education, history, philosophy, politics, physics,
unreliable and also then required a sample of about chemistry and physiology and knew at least nine
0.5 g, a limitation at a time when biochemists languages. He was an amateur in science, with little
began to study compounds such as vitamins, which use for theory, but he was the greatest English-
were difficult to obtain in such quantity. Pregl pro- speaking experimental chemist of the 18th-c, even
ceeded to refine every stage in the classical com- though his interpretation of his results was usually
bustion method of analysis, in which a sample is unsound.
burned in a stream of oxygen and the resulting He met Franklin in London in 1766 and sug-
carbon dioxide and water are collected and mea- gested that he would write a History of Electricity if
sured. Among his refinements was the improve- Franklin would lend him some books; he had ear-
ment of the chemical balance, to weigh within lier done some reading in science and had shown
0.001 mg. By the 1930s he made it possible for ana- his school pupils in Nantwich, in Cheshire, some
lysts to use samples below 5 mg, and for the next experiments in electricity and optics. It was a good
half-century his methods were routinely used. He book, published in 1767 and included new experi-
similarly improved analytical methods for nitro- ments; Priestley became a Fellow of the Royal
gen, sulphur and halogens. Generations of 20th-c Society in 1766. After this his interest in science
organic chemists depended on such methods as a turned to chemistry; but theology was always more
basic step in working out the structure for novel important to him than science.
compounds, natural or synthetic. His work as a minister in Leeds in 1767 was near a
Priestley, Joseph (1733“1804) British chemist: dis- brewery, and he became interested in the ˜fixed air™
coverer of gases, including oxygen. (CO2) generated by fermentation, and then in other
After a difficult Yorkshire childhood during which gases, although only three were then known: air,
he was orphaned and often ill, Priestley began CO2 (studied by Black) and H2 (studied by Cavendish).
training as a non-conformist minister and 3 years All these formulae and modern names came much
later (in 1755) was appointed Unitarian minister in later, of course. Priestley used the pneumatic
Priestley, Joseph

A STRANGE BIOCHEMICAL: falls. The effect has been used (without understand-
NITRIC OXIDE ing its origin) since the discovery in the 1860s that
nitroglycerin has a dramatic effect in providing relief
The prestigious US journal Science chose nitric oxide to victims of coronary artery narrowing. However, too
(NO) as its Molecule of the Year in 1992, citing it as ˜a much NO, in response to a bacterial infection, causes
molecule of versatility and importance that has burst septic shock, a major cause of death in intensive care
on to the scene in many guises. In the atmosphere it wards; from 1992 NO inhibitors have saved such
is a noxious chemical, but in the body in small con- cases. In the body™s defence system NO acts as an
trolled doses it is extraordinarily beneficial™. antitumour agent. It also combats bacteria, a
The first point about NO is not to confuse it with reminder that nitrates and nitrites that release NO
nitrous oxide (N2O, ˜laughing gas™), one of the other have been used for centuries in curing meat. In the
six nitrogen oxides and a long-used and popular brain, NO acts as a neurotransmitter, usually desir-
anaesthetic for brief surgical procedures. ably, but in stroke cases its release in excess is toxic
Nitric oxide, NO, was discovered by PRIESTLEY in and can be fatal. Also in the brain, there is some evi-
1774. Pure NO is a colourless gas, acrid and very dence that it has a key place in learning and memory.
toxic, used in the bulk production of nitric acid for In the digestive system, the relaxation component in
industry and nitrate fertilizers for agriculture. It is the peristalsis (the wave-like movement of the gut that
simplest stable molecule known to have an odd propels the food) depends upon NO. Lack of it is the
number of electrons, which contributes to its intense cause of infantile pyloric stenosis, which can be
chemical reactivity. It reacts readily with air or fatal.
oxygen to form the brown gas nitrogen dioxide NO2, The intensive studies on NO by neuroscientists in
and it also reacts with metals, one of its aspects the 1990s have shown conclusively that in male
which have been much studied by inorganic mammals this is the molecule that converts sexual
chemists. Until recently it had no interest for bio- excitement into potency. The brain causes NO to be
chemists or physiologists, except perhaps as a com- released in penile blood vessels, and erection is the
ponent of the nitrogen oxide mixture (˜NOx™) forming result; with some 10% of human males suffering
part of the atmospheric pollution from petrol engines from impotence, the possible clinical use of this
and adding to the troubles of asthmatics. knowledge makes the discovery of this sexual neuro-
Until the later 1980s it was never expected that a transmitter the subject of intensive research. The ˜dis-
molecule that is small, light, gaseous and reactive covery phase™ for NO in physiology clearly will run for
would have a previously undiscovered and subtle role some years to come.
in physiology: but since then it has been found to be In 1998, three American pharmacologists,
essential in digestion, blood-pressure regulation and R F Furchgott (1916“ ), L Ignarro (1941“ ) and
antimicrobial defence. F Murad (1936“ ) shared a Nobel Prize for their
In the body, it is made from an amino acid (argi- discovery that NO can transmit signals in the cardio-
nine) by an enzyme, NO synthase. When released by vascular system.
cells in the wall of blood vessels, it relaxes nearby
muscle cells, the vessel dilates and blood pressure IM

trough invented by Hales to collect gases, filling it and in which a candle burned with a dazzling light.
with mercury if the gas was water-soluble. He used A few months later he wrote that ˜two mice and
a large lens and the Sun to provide a clean heat. myself have had the privilege of breathing it™ and
Within a few years he had discovered and exam- recommended its use in medicine. In October 1774
ined the gases we now know as HCl, NO, N2O, NO2, in Paris he talked with Lavoisier about this; later
NH3, N2, CO, SO2, SiF4, and O2; as Davy said, ˜no Lavoisier repeated and improved the experiment,
single person ever discovered so many new and and saw (as Priestley had not) the full significance
curious substances™. His results were described in of the discovery. Scheele had in fact made oxygen
papers and books, notably Experiments and Observa- (O2) earlier, in this and other ways, but did not pub-
tions on Different Kinds of Air and other Branches of lish until 1777, after Priestley. However, Priestley
Natural Philosophy (1790). showed that O2 is given off by plants, and that it is
His most famous experiment was carried out on 1 essential for animals. He also studied hydrogen and
August 1774 at Bowood (Shelburne™s house near used it to reduce metal oxides, noticing that water
Calne, Wiltshire). He had been given a large is formed in this reaction; and that water is also
(12 in/30 cm) lens, and used it to try to make gases formed by exploding hydrogen with oxygen.
by heating various chemicals given by his friend J Priestley had exceptional energy and skill but he
Warltire (1739“1810). When he heated mercury remained always a firm believer in the erroneous
oxide (HgO) he was surprised to find that it gave a phlogiston theory in chemistry, although his own
colourless gas that was not very soluble in water results did much to refute that theory.
Prigogine, Ilya

He also studied the densities of gases, their ther- the view that natural selection is unimportant in
mal conductivity and electrical discharges in gases. evolution; he thought (like Naegeli) that variations
After he joined his sons in the USA he continued to are spontaneous, without survival value, and tend
work in chemistry until 1803, although he declined always to greater complexity of form. His studies
the professorship of chemistry at Philadelphia. supported the view that cells result from the divi-
Prigogine, Ilya [prigogeenay] (1917“ ) Russian“ sion of pre-existing cells, and not from a process of
Belgian theoretical chemist: developed irreversible free-cell formation as claimed by Schleiden. With J
thermodynamics. von Sachs he first described the plastids, granules
Living in Belgium from age 12, Prigogine was edu- found only in plant cells and containing either
cated in Brussels and was a professor there from starch or chlorophyll.
Proust, Louis Joseph [proost] (1754“1826) French
1951; he also had posts in the USA.
Classical thermodynamics is concerned with analytical chemist: defender of the law of constant
reversible processes and, in chemistry, with equi- proportions.
librium states. In fact such situations are rare in the Proust followed his father in becoming an
real world; eg the Earth™s atmosphere receives apothecary in Paris, but in his 30s he moved to
energy continuously from the Sun and living cells Spain. From 1789 he taught in Madrid, but his well-
are also not in equilibrium with their surround- equipped laboratory was pillaged by Napoleon™s
ings. Inanimate systems tend in general to a state of troops during the siege of Madrid in 1808 and he
increasing disorder (ie their entropy increases) returned to France.
whereas living systems achieve an organized and Proust was a skilled and prolific analyst. He op-
ordered state, from relatively disorganized materi- posed Berthollet™s view that chemical compounds
als. Prigogine developed mathematical models of could vary in composition over a wide range.
these non-equilibrium systems and was able to Proust™s extensive work led him by 1797 to the law
show in general terms how such dissipative struc- of constant proportions: that different samples of a
tures (as he named them) are created and sus- pure substance contain its elementary constituents
tained. His ideas have application in studies on the (elements) in the same proportions. Thus malachite
origin of life and its evolution, and on ecosystems Cu2CO3(OH)2, whether from nature or synthesized
in general. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1977. in various ways, had the same composition. In a
Pringsheim, Ernst [pringshiym] (1859“1917) German courteous conflict of views, Proust showed that
physicist: measured the wavelength of thermal Berthollet™s samples were in fact mixtures. By 1805
radiation as a function of temperature. Proust™s view prevailed, and soon after, the law was
Pringsheim studied at the universities of seen to relate directly to Dalton™s atomic theory.
Heidelberg, Breslau and Berlin, holding the posi- However, 130 years later it was found that some
tion of professor of physics at Berlin, before even- compounds (eg some intermetallic compounds,
tually returning to Breslau in 1905 as professor of and some sulphides) can have slightly variable com-
experimental physics. positions, and are sometimes called berthollides.
Prout, William [prowt] (1785“1850) British physi-
Pringsheim developed the first accurate infrared
spectrometer in 1881. His subsequent work with cian and chemist: proposed that the hydrogen
Lummer, on black body radiation in the infrared atom is ˜primary matter™.
region, enabled him to confirm experimentally the Like many chemists of his time, Prout was trained
Stefan“Boltzmann law relating radiated energy of in medicine and, like most English physicians of his
a body to its temperature, and Wien™s displacement century, he studied in Scotland, qualifying at
laws, which describe the wavelength at which max- Edinburgh in 1811. He began his medical practice
imum energy is emitted at a given temperature. His in London, and from 1813 he also researched and
observations encouraged Planck to formulate his gave lectures on ˜animal chemistry™. He is best
quantum theory in order to account for his results. known for Prout™s hypothesis, which appeared
Pringsheim, Nathanael (1823“94) German botanist: anonymously in 1815. This suggested that (1) the
made important studies of algae and cell reproduc- relative atomic masses of all elements are exact
tion. multiples of that of hydrogen and (2) that hydrogen
Pringsheim™s father wished him to become an is a primary substance or ˜first matter™.
industrialist like himself, but the boy was attracted The idea stimulated analytical work, which
to science. A course in medicine was a compromise, showed that Prout was wrong; for example chlo-
but on graduation he escaped to research in botany. rine has an atomic mass close to 35.5 times that of
He did little teaching and inherited enough money hydrogen. Nevertheless, over a century later,
to follow his interests in his home laboratory in Aston™s work on isotopes revealed a real basis for
Berlin and his Silesian estate. Prout™s idea; and in modern terms the hydrogen
Pringsheim contributed to the revival of scien- nucleus (the proton) is a kind of primary substance,
tific botany in the later 18th-c, mainly by his work as indicated by its name, which also recalls Prout™s.
Prusiner, Stanley Ben (1942“ ) US biochemist:
on lower plants. He was an early observer of sexual
reproduction in algae, and of the alternation of discoverer of prions, a new biological principle of
generations between the two sexual forms of infection.
zoospores and the asexual spore resulting from Prusiner attended the medical school of the
their fusion. His work on marine algae led him to University of Pennsylvania, spent a year at the
Purcell, Edward Mills

Ptolemy (of Alexandria), Clausius Ptolemaeus
Wenner-Gren Institute in Stockholm and there-
after moved to the University of California at San (Lat) [toluhmee] c.90“170) Egyptian“Greek astron-
Francisco. While Prusiner was working in the omer: wrote classic summary of Greek astronomy,
Department of Neurology a patient of his died from geography and optics.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The disease, a Little is known of Ptolemy™s life or original work.
dementia, produces no response from the body™s He was probably born in Egypt, and became
own defences, and very little was known other than Hellenized; he should not be confused with the
that CJD, kuru (see Gajdusek) and scrapie (a similar kings of Egypt of the same name. His fame lies in his
disease affecting sheep) could be transmitted four books, which summarize 500 years of Greek
through extracts of diseased brains. In 1972 astronomical ideas and which dominated Western
Prusiner began to search for the causative infec- thought on astronomy until the time of Copernicus,
tious agent. Ten years later he and his colleagues 14 centuries later. His Almagest (Arabic for ˜the
obtained a preparation that contained a single Greatest™; he called it ˜the mathematical collec-
infectious agent from the brains of diseased ham- tion™) described the motions of the heavens on a
sters. Experimental evidence showed this to be a geocentric basis, making use of various devices
single protein. Prusiner named this protein a prion, such as epicycles (80 in all) to obtain a plausible
an acronym derived from ˜proteinaceous infectious match with observations (the Ptolemaic system; it
particle™. At this stage his work was regarded with owed much to work by Hipparchus, now lost). He
some scepticism by the scientific community. gave distances and sizes for the Sun and the Moon,
Even more strange, in 1984 Prusiner and his col- a catalogue of 1028 stars, descriptions of astronom-
ical instruments, and computed π to be 377/120
leagues isolated a gene probe and showed that the
prion gene was found naturally in all animals (3.1417). In the Geography he described a system of
tested, including man. This raised the question determining latitude and longitude, and a map of
whether the prion could be the causal agent of the world (based largely on the travels of merchants
dementia-type disease, when the gene was a and Roman officials). Ptolemy™s world did not
normal component of the body. It was discovered include the Americas, or extend below the Equator
that the prion protein (designated PrP) could fold (which he placed too far north); but his view that
into two distinct conformations, one of which the Earth was spherical, and his exaggeration of
resulted in the disease (PrPSc). It was then shown Asia eastward, encouraged Columbus in his
that the disease-causing prion protein (PrPSc) had famous attempt to reach Asia by sailing to the west.
infective properties and could initiate a chain reac- Ptolemy™s Optics dealt with the basics of reflection
tion in which normal (PrP) protein is converted into and refraction, and the Tetrabiblios is the origin of
the PrPSc form. This PrPSc form was found to much modern astrology. Many of his accounts are
be stable and resistant to destruction by organic due to Hipparchus, including the trigonometry,
solvents and high temperatures (over 100° C). whose basis remains today.
Purcell, Edward Mills [persel] (1912“97) US physi-
Incubation periods for the disease vary from
months to years, during which time the disease- cist: developed nuclear magnetic resonance; and
causing PrPSc can accumulate to levels resulting in first detected the interstellar 21 cm microwave
brain damage. Since prions are present as natural emission.
proteins they do not induce an immune response. Purcell graduated from Purdue in electrical engi-
The long incubation time for the prion-based dis- neering and then studied physics at Karlsruhe and
ease adds to the difficulty of isolating the prion at Harvard, where he taught from 1938. During
protein. Prion diseases may be inherited, laterally 1941“5 he worked on the development of microwave
transmitted, or occur apparently spontaneously. radar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
All known prion diseases are fatal. returning to Harvard as professor of physics.
Prusiner found that the hereditary forms of the Purcell was instrumental in the late 1940s in
prion diseases such as CJD are due to mutations in developing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
the prion gene. Structural prion variants accumu- methods for measuring the magnetic moments of
late in different regions of the brain producing dif- atomic nuclei, in solids and liquids. Any atomic
ferent symptoms. Transmission of prion disease nucleus with spin (such as hydrogen or fluorine)
from one species to another varies and depends on will, if held in a powerful magnetic field, absorb
structural closeness of prions from different species. radiation in the radiofrequency range by a reso-
The CJD epidemic was first detected in 1985, but due nance effect, and measurement of this has given
to the long incubation period did not peak until valuable information on features of the absorbing
1992. A new variant of CJD (nvCJD) may have arisen nuclei and their molecular environment. This NMR
from BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) method has since become a dominant method in
transmitted by ingesting beef or beef products. chemistry for a variety of analytical purposes. For
Prusiner™s work opened new methods of under- his work on NMR, Purcell shared the 1952 Nobel
standing dementia-type illnesses such as Alzheimer™s Prize for physics with Bloch.
and established a theoretical basis for the treat- In radio astronomy Purcell was in 1951 the first to
ment of prion diseases. His work added prions to report observation of the 21 cm wavelength micro-
the list of well-known infective agents: bacteria, wave radiation emitted by interstellar neutral
viruses, fungi and parasites. hydrogen. This was predicted theoretically by van
Purkinje, Johannes

de Hulst and has been used in the mapping of mystic: founder of a cult united by the belief that
much of our Galaxy, and in deducing the tempera- ˜the essence of all things is number™.
ture and motion of the interstellar gas. Although his name is so familiar, rather little is
Purkinje, Johannes (Evangelista) [poorkinyay] known of Pythagoras™s personal life. Born on the
(1787“1869) Czech histologist and physiologist: Greek island of Samos in the eastern Mediterranean,
advanced cell theory and observed cellular division. he travelled widely before settling about 530 bc at
Educated by monks, Purkinje first trained for the Croton, then a Greek colony, in south-east Italy.
priesthood; then he studied philosophy, and lastly There he founded the sect that survived for a cen-
medicine. He graduated in 1818, with a famous tury after his death. With Pythagoras as their cult
thesis on vision which gained him the friendship of leader, the sect was devoted to a life of political and
Goethe, the poet-philosopher. Helped by this, he religious mysticism, in which astronomy, and espe-
became professor at Breslau and later in Prague. In cially geometry and the theory of numbers, was
1825 he first observed the nucleus in bird™s eggs; in central. Number was seen as pure, magical and the
1832 he began to use a compound microscope, and key to religion and philosophy. This secret society
soon made many new observations. In 1835 he became powerful and aroused hostility, which
described ciliary motion; in 1837 he outlined the eventually destroyed it.
key features of the cell theory, which was to be fully Pythagoras himself is said to have discovered the
propounded by Schwann in 1839. Also in 1837 he theorem on right-angled triangles named after
described nerve cells with their nuclei and den- him; and to have begun the science of acoustics
drites and the flask-like cells (Purkinje cells) in the with his work on the tones produced from a
cerebellar cortex. In 1838 he observed cell division, stretched string, which are perceived as harmo-
and the following year he was the first to use the nious to the ear provided that the lengths of string
word ˜protoplasm™ in the modern sense. His improve- for the two tones have a simple number relation
ments in histology included early use of a mechan- (for example a length ratio of 2:1 corresponds to a
ical microtome in place of a razor, to obtain thin musical octave). This was probably the first math-
tissue slices. ematical expression of a physical law, and the
Pythagoras (of Samos) [piythagoruhs] (c.560“ beginning of mathematical physics. A variety of
480 bc) Greek mathematician, astronomer and arithmetical and geometrical relations were dis-
covered by members of the sect, which inspired
their belief in number as a basis for astronomy and
even for morality. In their view the Earth was a
sphere, and it and the stars moved in circles in a
spherical universe, because these were ˜perfect™
forms in a mystical sense. They were dismayed by
the discovery that the square root of two is irra-
tional (ie is not expressible as a perfect fraction) and
are reputed to have put to death a member of the
sect who revealed this secret to others. The political
ambitions of the sect led to its persecution and
Pythagoras was exiled to Metapontum about 500 bc.
At an unknown date later in the century the
Pythagoreans were involved in a democratic rising
in which many were killed, and the rest dispersed.
Although Pythagoras™s ideas on the significance
of numbers were erroneous, his contributions were
important in mathematics: few ideas are more
fundamental than that of irrational numbers.

Rabi, Isidor Isaac (1898“1988) Austrian“US physi- Catherine Raisin went to the North London
cist: developed molecular beam experiments. Collegiate School, one of the earliest schools to
Rabi grew up in the Yiddish community of New provide serious education for girls. In 1878 the
York, studying at Cornell and Columbia Univer- University of London opened its degree course to
sities. He obtained a professorship at Columbia in women and she took her BSc with honours in geol-
1937 and remained there until retirement. ogy and zoology in 1884. She remained there as
During a brief period (1927“9) working with honorary research assistant to Professor Bonney,
Stern, Rabi was greatly impressed by the recent working in microscopic petrology and mineralogy.
Stern“Gerlach experiment. Starting a research pro- Her 24 published papers appeared in the Quarterly
gramme at Columbia, Rabi invented the atomic- Journal of the Geological Society. Her best known work
and molecular-beam magnetic resonance methods was a detailed investigation of the serpentines. The
of observing spectra. In this a constant magnetic Geological Society of London awarded her the Lyell
field excites the molecules into a set of states and a Fund in 1893, the first woman to receive the honour,
radio wave signal of the right frequency can reso- but as women were not then allowed to attend meet-
nantly flip the molecule from one magnetic state to ings the award had to be accepted by Bonney on her
another. The magnetic properties of the molecule behalf. She was awarded a DSc in 1898, was a demon-
or atomic nucleus may then be found accurately. strator in botany at Bedford College for Women
The magnetic moment of the electron was mea- (1889“90) and became head of the geology depart-
sured in this way to nine significant figures, ment in 1890, the first woman to do so in a British
thereby testing the theory of quantum electrody- university, holding the post until her retirement in
namics (QED). The technique was also a precursor 1920. She became a Fellow of University College in
of the NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) method 1902 and a Fellow of the Geological Society of
developed by Purcell and by Bloch, and has also London in 1919, when women were admitted.
Raman, Sir Chandrasekhara (Venkata) [rahman]
been applied to an atomic clock, nuclear magnetic
resonance, the maser and the laser. Rabi won the (1888“1970) Indian physicist: showed that light
1944 Nobel Prize for physics for this work. scattered by molecules will show lower and higher
During the Second World War Rabi worked on frequency components (the Raman effect).
microwave radar and afterwards was concerned with Raman gained a distinguished first class honours
administration and scientific policy-making, serving degree from Madras, but the lack of scientific
as chairman of the General Advisory Committee of opportunities in India prevented him then starting
the Atomic Energy Commission and as a member of a career as a physicist. Instead he worked as an audi-
the delegation to UNESCO which founded CERN tor in the Indian Civil Service for 10 years, continu-
(laboratory in Geneva for high-energy physics). ing his research in his leisure time. The work he
Rainwater, Leo James (1917“86) US physicist: uni- produced in sound and on diffraction secured him
fied two theoretical models of the atomic nucleus. the professorship of physics at Calcutta. During his
After studying at the California Institute of Tech- time there (1917“33) he discovered the Raman
nology, Rainwater went to Columbia University, effect (1928), established the Indian Journal of Physics
and remained there to become professor of physics (1926), became president of the Indian Science
in 1952. During the war he contributed to the Congress, was knighted (1929) and received the
Manhattan (atomic bomb) Project. 1930 Nobel Prize for physics (the first awarded to an
In 1950, two theories were available to describe the Asian). He had an important influence in building
atomic nucleus and each was in accord with some up the study of physics in India.
experimental results. In one model the nuclear par- Viewing the blue colour of the Mediterranean Sea
ticles were arranged in concentric shells; the other in 1921 he thought that Rayleigh™s and Tyndall™s
model described the nucleus as analogous to a liquid explanations of sky colour in terms of light being
drop. Neither model accounted for experiments that scattered by suspended particles or molecules were
appeared to show that some nuclei are not electri- inadequate. Raman showed that light is scattered by
cally spherically symmetrical. In explaining this, molecules in dust-free air and liquids and that the
Rainwater in 1950 produced a collective model, in scattered light contains wavelengths not present in
which the two ideas were combined. In association the primary monochromatic beam. Light is gener-
with Aage Bohr (1922“ ; son of Niels Bohr) and B R ally scattered by molecules in solids, liquids or gases,
Mottelson (1926“ ), Rainwater developed this lower and higher frequency components being
theory and they secured experimental evidence in added as the molecular bonds absorb or impart
its support. The three shared a Nobel Prize in 1975. energy to the deflected photons (the Raman effect).
Raisin, Catherine Alice (1855“1945) British geolo- Raman™s discovery led to one of the earliest con-
gist; one of the first professional women geologists. firmations of quantum theory, and also gave a
Ramón y Cajal, Santiago

powerful method of analysing molecular structure Ramsay proposed that the five new gases formed a
(Raman spectroscopy). new group of ˜zero-valent™ elements in the periodic
Interest in the method has heightened in recent table. In 1910 he found the sixth of these gases,
years: tuneable lasers and refined photomultipliers radon, which is formed with helium by the radioac-
give better spectra, and allow even transient mole- tive decay of the metal radium. The group are now
cular structures to be examined. known as the noble gases.
Ramón y Cajal, Santiago [ramon ee kakhal] All are very rare (except argon, Ar) and chemically
(1852“1934) Spanish neurohistologist: a founder of unreactive, although in 1962 Bartlett found some
modern neurology. reactivity for Xe and Kr. This inertness was impor-
After doing well at school, Ramón y Cajal was tant in early theories of chemical bonding. They all
apprenticed to a barber, then to a shoemaker, and show striking spectra: except for the rare radon (Rn),
lastly followed his father (at the latter™s insistence) they are used in discharge and fluorescent tubes
in studying medicine. He began to practise in 1873, and for work requiring an inert atmosphere. Liquid
and then served in the army in Cuba. From 1884 he He is used as a cryogen (an extreme refrigerant);
was a professor in Spain, at Madrid from 1892“ it has the lowest boiling point known (“269°C).
1922. He was often unwell, having contracted Although uncommon on Earth, helium is the second
malaria in Cuba and then tuberculosis in Spain. most common element (23%) in the universe as a
About 1885 he was shown a microscope section of whole. Ramsay was awarded the Nobel Prize for
brain tissue, stained with silver by Golgi™s method. chemistry in 1904. He is the only man to have dis-
He was fascinated by it, and proceeded to improve covered an entire periodic group of elements. He
the method. Within a few years he had added was much liked, and all his best work was done
greatly to knowledge of the nervous system, and his with a co-worker.
Ramsey, Norman (Foster) (1915“ ) US physicist:
work on it filled the rest of his life. Ramón y Cajal
worked on the connections of the cells in the brain developed the caesium clock, and the hydrogen
and spinal cord and showed the great complexity of maser.
the system. The human brain contains about 1011 Educated at Columbia New York and Harvard,
nerve cells (neurons), each connected with many Ramsey became an associate professor of physics at
others, giving a very large number of junction Harvard in 1947. He received a share of the Nobel
points (synapses). In opposition to Golgi, he argued Prize for physics in 1989 for inventing a technique
that the nervous system consisted only of discrete which greatly improved the accuracy of caesium
nerve cells and their processes, with the axons atomic clocks, our current time standard. He also
ending in the grey matter of the brain, and not join- developed its application in the hydrogen maser.
ing other axons or the cell bodies of other nerve Quantum theory indicates isolated atoms will emit
cells (the neuron theory). He worked also on the dif- light when electrons drop from an excited to the
ficult problem of the degeneration and regenera- ground state. Rabi had developed the use of charac-
tion of nerve cells, on the neuroglia, and on the teristic radiation to induce such emission, by
retina. He shared a Nobel Prize with Golgi in 1906. passing a beam of particles through a magnetic
Ramsay, Sir William (1852“1916) British chemist: field with a superimposed electromagnetic field.
discovered the noble gases, a new group of elements. Ramsey knew that accuracy was limited by the time
Ramsay was proud of the fact that his ancestors the atoms spent in the fields. He introduced two
included several scientists, and he moved easily separate oscillatory electromagnetic fields, which
into science at Glasgow and then into chemistry produce an interference pattern, which is no
with Fittig at Tübingen. In 1880, at Bristol, he began longer so sensitive to the uniformity of the mag-
to make exact measurements of gas densities, and netic fields. He showed that more than two fields
became an expert glassblower. In 1887 he moved to can be used if separated in time as well as space. In
London and in 1894 began the work that made him the caesium clock a transition between two closely
famous. Rayleigh had shown that nitrogen from spaced levels is used, and Ramsey could now do this
the air is 0.5% denser than nitrogen made chemi- far more accurately. Later he and D Kleppner devel-
cally. Ramsay thought that this might be due to a oped the hydrogen maser, which is similar to a
previously unknown heavier gas in the air, and he laser but emits microwaves.
Raoult, Fran§ois Marie [rah-oo] (1830“1901) French
set to work to find it. He sparked dry air to remove
oxygen and then passed the nitrogen repeatedly physical chemist: pioneer of solution chemistry.
over hot magnesium, when most of the gas was Little is known of Raoult™s early life, but his family
slowly absorbed: 3Mg + N2 ’ Mg3N2. He was left was poor and although he began to study in Paris he
with a denser, monatomic gas: an inert new ele- could not afford to complete his course. He worked
ment, which was named argon and which makes as a teacher, and began his research in physical
up less than 1% of the air. Looking for it elsewhere, chemistry in difficult circumstances, but this
Ramsay found another new gas in the mineral allowed him to gain a degree from Paris, in 1863.
cleveite, whose spectrum showed Crookes that it From 1867 he taught in the university at Grenoble.
was helium, previously observed only in the Sun. In the 1870s he tried to devise a new method for
Ramsay went on to examine air for traces of other finding the alcohol content of wine, and this led
new inert gases, and by distilling liquid air he dis- him to study the freezing points of solutions of
covered three more: krypton, xenon and neon. organic substances. He found that the depression of
Reber, Grote

freezing point of a solution (compared with that of
a pure solvent) was simply related to the quantity of
dissolved solute and to its relative molecular mass
(Raoult™s Law, 1882). A few years later he showed a
similar relation for the effect of a dissolved solute
on the vapour pressure of a solution, and therefore
on the elevation of its boiling point. In 1889
Beckmann showed that this elevation of boiling
point, for a measured amount of substance in a suit-
able solvent, is a very convenient method for mea-
suring the relative molecular mass of the substance;
the method has been in routine use ever since.
Ray, John (1627“1705) English naturalist: pioneer of
plant taxonomy.
Ray™s father was the village blacksmith and his
mother a herbalist at Black Notley in Essex; the boy
went to Cambridge at 16 and taught classics there
after his graduation. His university career was
ended after the Civil War when he refused to con-
form to new laws on religious observance. He was
already a keen naturalist, and from 1662 he was
Lord Rayleigh aged 28: photographed by himself using a
supported by his wealthy ex-pupil and fellow-natu- wet plate.
ralist, F Willughby (1635“72). They toured Europe
as well as England to study both flora and fauna.
Ray used a taxonomic system which emphasizes represented the best that classical theory could
the division of plants into cryptogams (flowerless achieve in this area. However, although the formula
plants), monocotyledons and dicotyledons, the agrees well with experiment for long wavelength
basic scheme used today. His major work on botany radiation, it fails entirely for shorter wavelengths.
covers some 18 600 species, with much information The problem was solved by Planck™s novel idea that
on each. He saw the species as the fundamental energy is emitted in small packets or quanta; this
unit of taxonomy, although he eventually realized concept was to revolutionize physics, but it was never
that species are not immutable. His taxonomy was fully accepted by Rayleigh. He won the Nobel Prize
not surpassed until the work of Linnaeus. Ray was for physics in 1904, for his work on gas densities and
ahead of his time in his view that fossils are petri- on argon. He was married to the sister of Britain™s
fied remains of plants and animals, an idea not most intellectual prime minister, A J Balfour.
R©aumur, Ren©-Antoine Ferchault de [ray-
accepted until a century later. Willughby died in
1672, and Ray lived on in his house, but eventually ohmür] (1683“1757) French technologist and natu-
quarrelled with his widow and returned to Black ralist: pioneer entomologist.
Notley to write on a variety of matters, including A member of the lesser nobility, R©aumur was
travel, proverbs and natural history. probably educated by the Jesuits before studying
Rayleigh, John William Strutt, Baron [raylee] law; but soon he was attracted to mathematics and
(1842“1919) British physicist: did classic work on then to metallurgy and biology. From 1713, he had
sound, light and electricity. the huge task of compiling an encyclopedia of tech-
Rayleigh had high ability as a mathematician, nology, commissioned by Colbert (Louis XIV™s
which he found useful in the unusually wide range finance minister) and intended to aid French indus-
of problems in physics which attracted him, and he try. Soon he was engaged in studying iron and steel
was a skilful experimenter. When his father died in making, porcelain and thermometry. His researches
1873 Rayleigh inherited the title, and continued to in these areas were of value to his successors, rather
work in his laboratory in the family mansion, than to his contemporaries.
Terling Place, in Essex. He agreed to succeed His lasting fame rests on his work as a naturalist,
Maxwell in Cambridge, but only for 5 years; in that where he worked on molluscs and especially on
time his physics students increased in number insects. His work on bees was particularly detailed.
from six to 70. His first researches were on waves, He also wrote on regeneration in hydra and in
both in optics and in acoustics; his book The Theory marine animals, and he showed that digestion is a
of Sound, written in part in a houseboat on the Nile, chemical process. In all these matters, his work did
is a masterpiece of classical physics. His enthusi- much to spur research by others. He inherited a
asm for precise measurement led him, in Cam- castle in 1755, but 2 years later had a fatal fall from
bridge, to work on the standardization of the ohm his horse.
Reber, Grote [rayber] (1911“2003) US radio astro-
and ampere. Interest in Prout™s hypothesis caused
his work on gas densities and led Ramsay to the dis- nomer: discovered first discrete radio sources in
covery of argon. His interest in radiation and spec- Milky Way.
tra led him to study black body (isothermal) Reber was a radio ham before he studied the sub-
radiation, and the Rayleigh“Jeans formula for this ject at the Illinois Institute of Technology and so
Reed, Walter

Regnault, Henri Victor [renyoh] (1810“78) French
became a formally qualified radio engineer.
Stimulated by the discovery by Jansky of radio physical chemist: made experimental contribu-
emission from the Milky Way, Reber built a steer- tions to study of thermal properties of gases.
able 30 ft (9.3 m) parabolic radio antenna in 1937 in Regnault™s father was an officer in Napoleon™s
his back yard and began to investigate in more army and died in 1812 in the Russian campaign; the
detail. He and Hey were for many years the world™s boy was soon orphaned, but a friend of his father
only radio astronomers, since others had not fol- found him a job in a Paris shop. He worked hard for
lowed up Jansky™s reports. His discovery of strong, entrance to the École Polytechnique, graduated
discrete sources in Cygnus, Taurus and Cassiopeia and became first Gay-Lussac™s assistant and then
persuaded them of the value of observations at his successor there in 1810. From 1854 he was direc-
radiofrequencies and led to the development of tor of the famous Sèvres porcelain factory, until his
radio astronomy after the Second World War. In laboratory was destroyed by the Prussians in the
1944 he published the first radio map of our war of 1870. Regnault had no clear plan of research,
Galaxy, at an operating wavelength of 1.87 metres. but he did valuable work in several areas. He dis-
For almost a decade he appears to have been the covered a series of organo-chlorine compounds,
world™s only active radio astronomer. including the chlorinated ethenes and CCl4. He
In 1954 he moved to Tasmania, set up a large worked on specific heat capacities and measured
radio telescope and worked to find evidence in deviations from Dulong and Petit™s Law; he mea-
support of his view that the ˜Big Bang™ theory is a sured the thermal expansion coefficient of gases
fallacy: he was still doing so in the 1990s. accurately and found it varied slightly with the
Reed, Walter (1851“1902) US epidemiologist; estab- nature of the gas; and he studied the deviations
lished the cause of yellow fever. from Boyle™s Law. He was cautious and no theorist,
Reed trained in medicine in the University of but his careful measurements made over 30 years
Virginia and in New York, joined the US Army were used by physical chemists and engineers for a
Medical Corps in 1875 and served in a series of fron- generation.
Reid, Harry Fielding (1859“1944) US geophysicist:
tier posts before specializing in bacteriology in the
1890s. In 1900 he was appointed to lead a small proposed elastic rebound theory of earthquakes.
commission to study yellow fever, based in Cuba. Reid has been claimed to be the first American
Yellow fever has a dramatic history; it has fre- geophysicist. His mother was the great-niece of
quently proved a devastating epidemic disease, espe- George Washington, and his prosperous parents
cially when non-immune groups (usually Europeans took Reid as a child to Switzerland. There began his
or North Americans) entered new areas (as in central love for mountains and glaciers. He graduated
Africa or the Caribbean) and became exposed. It is from Johns Hopkins University in 1876 in physics
now known to occur in two forms; the long-known and mathematics, and returned there in 1894 to
type is urban yellow fever; largely by Reed™s work, teach until his retirement. His major work was his
this is known to be due to a virus carried only by the ˜elastic rebound™ theory of the source of the earth-
female A«des aegypti mosquito. Reed™s group tested quake waves. The theory proposed that strain devel-
theories on the transmission of yellow fever using oped in the Earth™s crust due to forces acting from
army volunteers, and fairly soon were able to prove below, of unknown origin. The strain leads eventu-
a theory (due to Carlos Finlay (1833“1915)) that the ally to breaks (faults) in the crust. The sudden
mosquito was the transmitting vector. release of strain energy by faulting, when the frac-
By 1901 Reed had shown that the pathogen was a ture strength is exceeded, can lead to an offset
non-filterable microorganism, again using army across the fault of up to 15 m. The rupture travels
as a wave at about 3.5 km s “1, for a distance up to
volunteers; for the first time a virus was deduced as
the cause of a specific human disease (Loeffler had 1000 km. The theory was soon accepted (about
already shown that foot-and-mouth disease in 1911) in the USA, but more slowly (up to 50 years
cattle is a viral disease). Reed™s work was quickly fol- later) elsewhere.
Remak, Robert (1815“65) Polish“German physi-
lowed by vigorous attacks, by drainage or addition
of kerosene, on the mosquito™s breeding places; one cian: advanced understanding of the structure of
notable success, that of W C Gorgas (1854“1920) in nerves.
Panama, proved to be a major factor in the comple- A student of J P Müller at Berlin, Remak
tion of the Canal there. Since 1937 a vaccine has remained there to work in general practice and in
been available, due to Theiler, and a large measure the university, although he was denied a senior
of control has been achieved; but in Africa espe- teaching post because he was Jewish. In his early
cially, jungle yellow fever (which is transmitted by 20s he did notable work on the microscopy of
a variety of mosquito vectors) remains a major nerve; he discovered the myelin sheath of the main
problem, with mass vaccination as the preferred nerves in 1838 and also showed that the axis-cylin-
public health strategy. Although urban yellow der (axon) of a peripheral nerve arises from a nerve
fever and jungle yellow fever are often referred to cell in the spinal cord and runs continuously to the
as two forms, the virus is the same in both; but the terminal branch of the nerve. In this and his fur-
cycle of transmission is different and the jungle ther work he saw that nerves have a flattened solid
form is sporadic in man, while the urban form structure and are not merely structureless hollow
occurs as an epidemic. tubes as they had been viewed for centuries. He was
Richter, Burton

also a pioneer embryologist and one of the first to to absolute zero. Osheroff noticed jumps in the
fully describe cell division and to argue that all sample™s pressure when a few thousandths of a
animal cells came from pre-existing cells. degree Kelvin were reached. Together they decided
Reynolds, Osborne [renuhldz] (1842“1912) British that this surprising result must be due to the
engineer and physicist: gave definitive analysis of helium-3 undergoing a phase transition at 0.0027 K
turbulent flow. to the superfluid state. Superfluidity had first been
Reynolds studied mathematics at Cambridge, observed by Kapitsa in 1938, using helium-4; it
before being appointed as the first professor of becomes superfluid at 2.17 K. However, it was a
engineering at Owens College (now Manchester matter of debate whether the rare isotope helium-3
University), where one of his students was J J would behave similarly. Superfluidity is a macro-
scopic quantum state, where atoms behave in a
Reynolds was one of the outstanding theoretical coordinated rather than random manner, flowing
engineers of the 19th-c. Most of his work concerned non-viscously without friction. Instead of being
fluid dynamics, problems such as the flow around independent atoms their quantum states combine
ships™ propellers, vortex production by moving to form a single quantum liquid state rather than a
bodies and the scaling up of test results from classical liquid of many separate atoms. The signif-
models in which he used dyes to reveal flow pat- icance of their discovery was that a quantum liquid
terns and vortices. He is remembered particularly allows quantum theory to be studied on a large
for his work on the turbulent and laminar flow of scale rather than on the more difficult atomic
liquids, and for defining (in 1883) a dimensionless scale. Richardson, Lee and Osheroff shared the
quantity, the Reynolds number, to determine the Nobel Prize for physics in 1996.
Richet, Charles (1850“1935) French physiologist:
type of flow regime. The Reynolds number depends
upon the viscosity, velocity, density and linear first investigator of anaphylaxis.
dimensions of the flow. He also carried out defini- Richet qualified in medicine in Paris, and became
tive work on lubrication, explained why radiome- professor of physiology there from 1887. About
ters rotate and performed a classic determination 1900 Prince Albert of Monaco suggested that he
of the mechanical equivalent of heat. study the poison injected into its victims by the
Richards, Theodore William (1868“1928) US ana- Portuguese man-o-war. By chance Richet found that
lytical chemist: famed for his accurate determina- dogs injected with the toxin were most strongly
tion of relative atomic mass by quantitative affected if they had been injected previously: akin
chemical analysis. to a reversal of the situation in immunization against
From age 14 Richards was keenly interested in tetanus or diphtheria. These hypersensitive dogs on
astronomy, but poor eyesight caused him to change re-injection suffered bronchospasm and a dramatic
his college studies to chemistry. After doing well at fall in blood pressure, sometimes fatal. He named
Harvard he visited Europe to learn the latest chemi- this effect anaphylaxis: it is now known to result
cal methods; despite an offer at Göttingen he from the injected antigen combining with the
returned to a professorship at Harvard and stayed already activated immunoglobulin (IgE) of mast
there. His particular interest became the exact deter- cells or basophils, which causes them to release
mination of ˜atomic weights™ (ie relative atomic histamine: this produces the observed effects. In
masses) and he carried classical gravimetric analysis humans susceptibility is variable, and anaphylactic
to a level of high refinement in this work. He shock is most often seen with wasp or bee stings; it
obtained accurate values for 25 elements, and his co- can be combated by early injection of adrenalin.
workers secured atomic weights for another 40, so Richet won the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his wide-
giving a firm basis for quantitative analytical chem- ranging study of anaphylaxis.
Richter, Burton (1931“ ) US particle physicist:
istry. He showed in 1913 that the atomic weight of
ordinary lead differs from that of lead derived from experimentally demonstrated existence of charm
uranium by radioactive decay; this work confirmed quarks.
ideas on radioactive decay series and Soddy™s predic- Richter studied at the Massachusetts Institute of
tion of the existence of isotopes. Richards™s values Technology, then joined the high-energy physics
for relative atomic mass were the best available until laboratory at Stanford University, becoming a pro-
the widespread use of physical methods based on fessor in 1967.
mass spectrometry gave even greater accuracy and Richter was largely responsible for the Stanford
precision, after the Second World War. He won the Positron“Electron Accelerating Ring (SPEAR), a
Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1914. machine designed to collide positrons and elec-
Richardson, Richard C (1937“ ) US physicist: co- trons at high energies and to study the resulting
discoverer of superfluidity of helium-3. elementary particles. In 1974 a team led by him dis-
In 1972 Richardson, David Lee (1931“ ) and covered the J/psi hadron, a new heavy elementary
Douglas Osheroff (1945“ ) were researchers at the particle whose unusual properties supported
Low Temperature Laboratory at Cornell. Lee had Glashow™s hypothesis of charm quarks. Many
come from Harvard and Yale; Richardson had been related particles were subsequently discovered,
at Duke University, NC. With Osheroff, a graduate and stimulated a new look at the theoretical basis
student at Cornell, they built a cooling apparatus of particle physics. Richter shared the 1976 Nobel
and observed helium-3 (the rare isotope) as it cooled Prize for physics with Ting, who had discovered the
Richter, Charles Francis

J/psi almost simultaneously. Richter was a strong fruitful that it altered mathematics and physics for
proponent of the trend in particle physics towards a century afterwards. Riemann considered how
building larger and larger particle accelerator rings. concepts like distance and curvature could be
Richter, Charles Francis (1900“85) US seismologist: defined generally in n-dimensional space, extend-
devised Richter scale of earthquake strength. ing Gauss™s work (1827) on non-Euclidian geome-
Richter worked at the Carnegie Institute before tries. He foresaw how important this was for
moving to the California Institute of Technology in physics and provided some of the mathematical
1936, becoming professor of seismology there in tools for Einstein to construct his general theory of
1952. In 1935 he devised the scale of earthquake relativity (1915).
Robin, Gordon de Quetteville (1921“ ) British
strength which bears his name. Unlike earlier, qual-
itative, scales, the Richter scale is an absolute scale glaciologist: made investigations into the thickness
based on the logarithm of the maximum amplitude and flow of polar ice sheets.
of the earthquake waves observed on a seismo- Educated in Melbourne, where he graduated in
graph, adjusted for the distance from the epicentre physics, Robin then had 4 years of naval service, first
of the earthquake. Generally, earthquakes of mag- on convoy escort and then in the submarine service.
nitude 5.5 or greater cause significant damage. The On demobilization in Britain he joined Oliphant™s
largest earthquakes observed since 1900 registered nuclear physics department in Birmingham Uni-
magnitude 8.9 on the Richter scale, and the earth- versity, where the vice-chancellor was Raymond
quake that destroyed San Francisco in 1906 would Priestley of Shackleton™s and Scott™s Antarctic expe-
have registered magnitude 8.25. ditions. Both helped to start Robin™s polar career. In
Riemann, Georg Friedrich Bernhard [reeman] 1958 he was appointed director of the Scott Polar
(1826“66) German mathematician: originated Research Institute, which he built into one of the
Riemannian geometry. world™s leading glaciological research centres.
Riemann, the son of a Lutheran pastor, studied Robin advanced our understanding of polar ice
theology to please his father, and then studied sheets in a number of significant ways. In 1949“52 he
mathematics under Gauss at Göttingen to please led the first long seismic traverse to the Antarctic
himself. In 1859 he became professor of mathemat- plateau, which crossed a mountainous terrain buried
ics there. At the age of 39 he died of tuberculosis. by ice up to 2.4 km thick. This was one of the last epic
His friend Dedekind said of Riemann ˜The gentle journeys across the continent. Later he and his group
mind which had been implanted in him in his in Cambridge pioneered the use of airborne radio-
father™s house remained with him all his life, and echo-sounding to survey large areas of the Antarctic
he served his God faithfully, as his father had, but ice sheet. This revealed unexpected features such as
in a different way.™ subglacial lakes under ice depths exceeding 4 km in
Riemann™s papers were few but perfect, even in situations where his early theory of temperature
Gauss™s eyes, producing profound consequences distribution in polar ice sheets had predicted basal
and new areas of mathematics and physics. melting. Further theoretical contributions based on
Riemann™s earliest publication was a new approach interpretation of field data included modifications to
to the theory of complex functions using potential flow theory, and the dating and interpretation of
theory (from theoretical physics) and geometry to palaeoclimatic evidence such as layering caused by
develop Riemann surfaces, which represent the volcanic dust within the ice that produced radio
branching behaviour of a complex algebraic func- echoes. The layers extend over hundreds of kilome-
tion. These ideas were extended by introducing tres within otherwise pristine Antarctic snows.
Robinson, Sir Robert (1886“1975) British organic
topological concepts into the theory of functions;
this work was developed by Poincar© to advance chemist: master of organic synthesis and pioneer of
algebraic geometry. In another paper Riemann the electronic theory of organic chemistry.
defined a function f(s), the Riemann zeta function, His family had a prosperous business making sur-
where gical goods, but young Robinson hoped to become
a mathematician. However, his father wished to
f(s) = 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + ¦
2s 3s 4s construct a bleach works (on the information sup-
where s = u + iv is complex, plied by Chambers Cyclopaedia) and so pressed him
and conjectured that f(s) = 0 only if u = for 0 < u < 1. to study chemistry. He was sent to Manchester, did
No-one has proved Riemann™s hypothesis and it well and was afterwards successively professor at
remains one of the important unsolved problems Sydney, Liverpool, St Andrews, Manchester, London
in number theory and analysis. In 2000 the Clay and Oxford. He also had links with ICI and Shell. He
Mathematics Institute of Cambridge, MA, announced was highly productive; his name is on more than
a 1 million dollar prize for a proof of it. Another of 700 papers (20 after his 80th birthday) and 32
Riemann™s contributions to analysis was the intro- patents. One area of his talent was the chemistry of
duction of the Riemann integral, defined in terms natural products; he worked on natural dyes such
of the limit of a summation of an infinity of ever as brazilin, on the anthocyanins (plant petal pig-
smaller elements. ments) and on alkaloids (he established the struc-
In 1854 Riemann gave his inaugural lecture, ture of the complex plant alkaloids strychnine and
˜Concerning the hypotheses which underlie geom- morphine) and steroids and antibiotics. His work
etry™: a mathematical classic. The content was so carried organic chemistry to its highest points of
Röntgen, Wilhelm Konrad

achievement in the period before complex equip- cation of the technique to the study of semi-
ment came in, from 1960. Typically he would both conductor surfaces, microelectronics, chemical
show the structure of a natural product and devise reactions on surfaces and biochemistry has occurred
elegant methods for its laboratory synthesis. In rapidly. As a result Rohrer and Binnig shared the
some cases he devised a method which neatly imi- 1986 Nobel Prize for physics with Ruska (a key
tates a natural biosynthetic route. figure in the invention of the electron microscope).
Römer, Ole Christensen [roemer] (1644“1710)
In Manchester, Robinson took up the ideas of his
teacher Arthur Lapworth (1872“1941) on the elec- Danish astronomer: discovered finite velocity of
tronic mechanism of organic reactions and, at first light.
with him and later alone, he offered an electronic In 1675, while working with Cassini on tables of
theory that helps to explain and predict the course the eclipses of Jupiter™s moons, Römer noticed that
of reactions of organic molecules. However, his the moons reached their predicted eclipse posi-
interests moved on and he left others (such as tions later than expected when Earth was distant
Ingold) to expand the subject. Similarly, his semi- from Jupiter, and earlier when it was closer to it. He
nal work on the biogenesis of organic compounds realized that this discrepancy (about 10 minutes)
in plants was largely developed by others. must be due to the finite time that light took to
Robinson had a keen intuition in chemistry, as reach Earth. Using Cassini™s recent determination
well as a highly analytical mind displayed both in of Jupiter™s distance he was thus able to calculate
his synthetic schemes and in chess (he was a pow- the speed of light to be 140 000 miles per second
(2.25 — 108 m s “1), about 75% of the correct value.
erful player). He was also a mountaineer, a keen
traveller and an alarming motorist. In personality Although this was the first proof of the finite speed
he was forceful and abrasive, and an irascible of light, it was not until Bradley confirmed
defender of his priorities. Römer™s result in 1729 by the measurement of
He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1947 and stellar aberration that it became widely accepted.
received most of the other honours open to him, Römer became Astronomer Royal in Copenhagen,
including the Order of Merit (a UK decoration and its mayor in 1705.
Röntgen, Wilhelm Konrad [roentgen] (1845“
awarded for particular service to the country and
limited to 24 persons). 1923) German experimental physicist: discoverer of
Roche, Edouard Albert [rosh] (1820“83) French X-rays.
mathematician: proposed limits on the stability of Originally a student of engineering at Zürich
planetary satellites. Polytechnic, Röntgen was attracted to physics,
Roche studied at Montpelier and Paris, subse- which he studied and later taught in several
quently being appointed professor of pure mathe- German universities. He was professor of physics in
matics at Montpelier, a post he held for his entire Würzburg when he made his famous discovery, in
working life. 1895. While using a discharge tube (in which an
In 1850 Roche calculated that a satellite orbiting electric discharge is passed through a gas at low
a planet of equal density would break up under the pressure) in a darkened room, he noticed that a
influence of gravity if it were to approach closer
than 2.44 times the radius of the planet. This limit
is now known as the Roche limit and is thought to
be the reason why the particles in the rings of
Saturn, which extend out to 2.3 times Saturn™s
radius, do not aggregate into a moon.
Rohrer, Heinrich (1933“ ) Swiss physicist: invented
the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM).
Rohrer joined IBM at Zürich in 1963 and later
began to collaborate with Gerd Binnig (1947“ ),
who joined in 1978. Together they took up work
that Russell Young at the National Bureau of
Standards in Washington had initiated: to build a
scanning tunnelling microscope. A tungsten elec-
tron field emitter tip was moved across a surface by
precision piezoelectric transducers and the tip was
raised or lowered to keep it the same distance above
the surface. The result could be plotted as a contour
map of the surface. Binnig and Rohrer achieved a
working microscope by reducing the tip to a single
atom and bringing it within a couple of atomic
diameters of the surface; as a result by 1981 they
could even produce images of single atoms. By
reducing vibration, a horizontal resolution of ≈ 2 …
and a vertical resolution of ≈ 0.1 … (about one-30th
the size of an average atom) was possible. Appli- W K Röntgen in 1896, soon after his discovery of X-rays.
Roscoe, Sir Henry Enfield

passed through a human hand on to a photo-
graphic plate, the bones were seen as shadowed
areas against the lighter flesh, and metal objects
(for example a ring) gave opaque shadows. Röntgen
suggested that the new rays were an electromag-
netic radiation akin to light but of shorter wave-
length, and this was proved by von Laue in 1912.
Röntgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in
physics, in 1901, ˜for the discovery of the remark-
able rays subsequently named after him™; in fact
they are still known as X-rays. Their study added
much to physics, gave a new technique for use in
medicine and, after the work of the Braggs in 1915,
led to X-ray crystallography as a new and immensely
valuable method for the study of crystal and mole-
cular structure. A modern X-ray tube uses a hot
wire to generate electrons, which are accelerated
by a high voltage and then strike a metal target,
emitting X-rays (see diagram). Röntgen did excel-
lent work on other areas of experimental physics.
He took out no patents on his work, and died in
some poverty in the period of high inflation in
Roscoe, Sir Henry Enfield (1833“1915) British
chemist: pioneer in photochemistry, vanadium
chemistry and chemical education.
Son of a Liverpool lawyer, Roscoe™s enthusiasm for
chemistry began at school. As a Dissenter, he went to
Professor Kölliker's hand, photographed by Röntgen University College, London and studied under
when he lectured on ˜A New Kind of Ray™ in 1896. Graham and Williamson and then in Heidelberg
with Bunsen. Back in London in 1855, he juggled sev-
card coated with BaPt(CN)4 glowed when the tube eral modest chemical jobs in teaching and consul-
was switched on. Röntgen soon found that the radi- tancy to make a living, but in 1857 he became
ation causing this was emitted from the discharge professor in Owens College in Manchester, which
tube at the region where the cathode rays (now gave him great scope. The college was unpopular in
known to be a stream of electrons) struck the glass 1857, but Roscoe soon attracted students and con-
end of the discharge tube. The new rays were found vinced manufacturers of their value. His Manchester
to have a much greater range in air than cathode school of chemistry, then the best in Britain, did
rays; they travelled in straight lines and were not much to convert Owens College into the Victoria
deflected by electric or magnetic fields; they passed University. In 1885 he became an MP for Manchester
through card, and even through thin metal sheet, for 10 years, and then vice-chancellor of London
and could be detected by a fluorescent screen or University.
photographic plate. He named them X-rays. If His research with Bunsen was on the chemical
action of light, using particularly the reaction:
H2 + Cl2 ’ 2HCl. This was the first research in quan-
X-rays titative photochemistry. In 1865 he heard that
vanadium ores had been found in a Cheshire
metal anode copper mine and this led him to explore vanadium
chemistry. He was the first to make the metal, by
reduction of VCl2. He always had an interest in
industrial chemistry, and in technical education.
Ross, Sir James Clark (1800“62) British polar
explorer: located the north magnetic pole and
filament “ +
explored the Antarctic Ocean.
Entering the Royal Navy when he was 12, James
Ross served under his uncle John Ross in surveys of
Diagram of an X-ray tube. A current heats the tungsten the White Sea and the Arctic, and later with W E
filament to a temperature high enough for it to emit a
Parry (1790“1855) in four attempts in the 1820s to
stream of electrons. The potential difference VAC is large
reach the North Pole over the ice. From 1829“33 he
(> 20 000 volts) so the electrons are strongly attracted to it
was with his uncle on a private expedition
and strike the metal anode target at high speed, emitting
(financed by the distiller F Booth) to explore the
X-rays. Ancillary equipment to evacuate the tube, water-
Arctic, and in 1831 he located the north magnetic
cool the anode and protect the operator from X-rays is not
pole. Back in the Navy as a captain from 1834, his
Panel: Antartica: the continent for science


South Georgia (UK)



Queen Maud


South Pole

Marie nsa
Land ic

Ross Ice


Ross Sea

An Cape Adare
ta South Magnetic
r ct i Pole





The Antarctic is a continent of extremes, one of which is in the early 20th-c, the so-called ˜heroic era™ characterized
that its inhabitants are almost exclusively scientists. The by the outstanding physical efforts of individuals.
unique properties of this remote and ice-bound continent Routine scientific studies largely began in 1957 when
have made it a natural laboratory for, in particular, the International Geophysical Year provided the impetus
the earth sciences, life sciences, space science and for many nations to establish permanent bases and year-
environmental studies. round scientific programmes, as well as convenient
The place names of Antarctica are a record of its dis- means of adding credibility to territorial claims. The logis-
coverers “ men like Bellingshausen, Weddell, Dumont tics of simply maintaining bases has meant that most
d™Urville and Amundsen. Most were adventurers and Antarctic science since has been a team effort. Most such
explorers; others such as COOK and Ross could be con- work has concentrated on mapping the geology and geo-
sidered scientists through their additional scientific obser- physics of the Antarctic, and studies of the unique and
vations. The exploration of Antarctica continued through abundant marine life. While richly rewarding, such studies
the efforts of men such as Shackleton, Byrd and Mawson have been of limited wider relevance.

Ross, Sir Ronald

Ironically it has been the most obviously unique Antarctic. Constant studies since have shown that ozone
feature of the Antarctic that has been the most informa- levels around both the South and North Pole have contin-
tive about the rest of the world “ the ice sheet which ued to drop alarmingly. Since the ozone layer protects life
covers 98% of the continent. Ice cores drilled into the from the more harmful effects of the Sun™s ultraviolet radi-
4 km thick ice sheet preserve a wealth of climatic informa- ation, its disappearance may well have dramatic and
tion covering the past 150 000 years, revealing informa- severe effects for all life forms over the coming years. The
tion about air temperature, precipitation levels, cause has been identified as the manufacture and use of
atmospheric composition and CO2 levels, meteorite falls, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) during the past 20“30 years,
volcanic activity through the deposited acids and dust, and Farman™s discovery directly resulted in worldwide
and past solar flares through the resulting deposits of government action to limit the use of CFCs.
beryllium-10. (This is formed when high-energy particles In 1995 a dramatically large iceberg (2888 km2/
associated with solar flares act on nitrogen in our upper 1115 sq mi) broke away from N W Antarctica into the
atmosphere to give beryllium, later deposited on Earth.) Weddell Sea: a major event that may link with a rise of
The continuity and purity of Antarctic ice cores has thus 2.5°C in average temperatures during the last 50 years.
provided one of the most comprehensive records of past As concern grows about climatic change and global
climate available. Analysis of more recent snowfalls, over environmental issues, the Antarctic is likely to become an
a scale of a few years, has provided unique baseline data increasingly important laboratory for studying past
on man-made pollutants such as pesticides, lead from car climate through deep drilling into the ice sheet, where
exhausts, fallout from bomb tests, etc, stretching back to unique information on past atmospheric composition,
before the industrial revolution. temperature and climate is to be found. A major interna-
One of the most recent discoveries made in the tional drilling programme was started in 1996. Studies of
Antarctic has been the most dramatic, possibly so impor- whales and ice sheet melting and iceberg formation also
tant that the whole future of human existence may give clues about present-day environmental change.
depend upon it. In 1984 FARMAN observed a 40% deple-
tion in ozone levels in the stratosphere above the

expertise in magnetic measurement led to him tozoon (a single-celled animal parasite), which
being employed by the Admiralty in 1838 to make a invaded the red blood cells. The life-cycle of the
magnetic survey (declination and dip) of the UK, protozoon (the genus Plasmodium) is complex, with
and the next year to command an expedition to the several stages in human blood and liver and other
Antarctic. This voyage lasted four years; he discov- stages in the stomach and salivary gland of a species
ered Victoria Land, the 4000 m/13 000 ft volcano he of mosquito. Ross, back in London in 1895, dissected
named Mount Erebus, and ˜the marvellous range of over 100 infected mosquitoes before he saw, in 1897,
ice cliffs barring the approach to the Pole™. When he the same stages that Laveran had seen in human
returned he had made the greatest survey of its blood; Ross found them in the Anopheles mosquito.
kind, covering magnetic, geological and meteoro- By 1900 he and others had shown that human
logical observations and studies of marine life at malaria is passed by the bite of females of some of
great depths; and only one man had been lost the 400 species of the genus Anopheles. Although still
through illness, largely because Ross ensured good a major problem, control of malaria in many areas
supplies of a mixed diet. In 1848 he commanded his followed this knowledge of its transmission.
last expedition, searching for the Arctic explorer Ross worked in England after retiring from the
Sir John Franklin (1786“1847), who had disap- Indian Medical Service in 1899, first in Liverpool
peared looking for the North-west Passage; he and then in London; he was awarded a Nobel Prize
found no trace of Franklin, but new observations in 1902.
Rossby, Carl-Gustaf (Arvid) (1898“1957) Swedish“
were made. He left the Navy with the rank of rear
admiral. US meteorologist: discovered large-scale waves in
Ross, Sir Ronald (1857“1932) British physician: dis- the upper atmosphere, and the jet stream.
covered major steps in life-cycle of malarial parasite. Rossby was educated at the University of Stock-
Ross was born in India, where his father was a holm and at the Bergen Geophysical Institute. In
British army officer; he returned to the UK to school 1926 he emigrated to America, where he subse-
when he was 8, studied medicine in London, and quently held professorships at the Massachusetts
joined the Indian Medical Service in 1881. His inter- Institute of Technology and the University of
est in medicine increased from that time, but his Chicago. In 1940 Rossby demonstrated that large-
interest in poetry, fiction and mathematics was scale undulatory disturbances exist in the uniform
life-long and he published in all these fields. From flow of the westerly winds in the upper atmos-
1890 he studied malaria, and when on study-leave phere, developing in the zone of contact between
in London in 1894 he was shown the malarial para- cold polar air and warm tropical air; such waves are
site by Manson, who suggested that it was trans- inherent features of a rotating fluid with a thermal
mitted by mosquitoes. Malaria was a long-known gradient. There are usually three to five such Rossby
disease, and in the 1880s had been shown by C L A waves in each hemisphere, with wavelengths of up
Laveran (1845“1922) and others to be due to a pro- to 2000 km. Rossby also showed that the strength of
Rubbia, Carlo

host. She advocated the introduction of wild flora
into horticulture to ensure its protection. She
effect of the
became an FRS in 1985, and received seven honorary
Coriolis force
increases doctorates. In 1940 she invented and designed a car
seat belt although a patent was refused on the
anti- cyclonic
cyclonic curvature
effect=0 grounds that it was ˜too easy to copy™.
Rous, Francis Peyton [rows] (1879“1970) US pathol-
ogist and oncologist: showed that some cancers are
caused by a virus.
During his second year as a medical student at
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, Rous
scraped his finger on a tuberculous bone while
doing an autopsy and became infected. After
Rossby waves “ the mechanisms of development of high-
surgery he spent a year working as a cowboy before
altitude westerly winds
returning to medicine and graduating in 1905. He
the westerly winds has an important influence on had a long career of over 60 years at the Rockefeller
global weather, either allowing the normal Institute in New York, working mainly on cancer.
sequence of cyclones and anticyclones to develop In 1911 he showed that a spontaneous cancerous
when the westerlies are strong or allowing cold tumour in a fowl could be transplanted by cell
polar air to sweep south when they are weak. He is grafts and (remarkably) that even cell-free extracts
further credited with the discovery of the jet from it would convey the tumour. This pointed to
stream, the broad ribbon of upper westerly winds the cause being a virus, and by the 1930s several
travelling at about 45 m s“1 in the mid-latitudes. types of animal cancer were shown to be due to a
He set up a weather service for airways in 1927 in virus. The Rous chicken sarcoma remains the best-
California; and his work has been important in known example. Initially the idea of a virus causing
numerical weather prediction, especially since cancer was hard to believe, as the pattern of the dis-
computers became available. ease is so different from that of typical viral infec-
Rossi, Bruno Benedetti (1905“94) Italian“US tions. Rous developed methods for culturing
physicist: discovered cosmic rays to be positively viruses and cells; and he proposed that cancer for-
charged particles and found first astronomical X- mation (carcinogenesis) typically involves one or
ray source. both of two processes, initiation and promotion,
In 1934 Rossi demonstrated that many cosmic which can require two different agents that may be
rays are positively charged particles by an experi- chemical, viral, radiological or even mechanical.
ment in the Eritrean mountains, using two sets of He shared a Nobel Prize in 1966. He was an active
Geiger counters pointing east and west. A 26% researcher until he was 90.
Roux, Pierre Paul Emile [roo] (1853“1933) French
excess of particles travelling in an eastward direc-
tion was found, indicating that these cosmic rays bacteriologist: co-discoverer of first bacterial toxin.
were positively charged particles and were deflected Even before he graduated in medicine in Paris,
eastwards by the Earth™s magnetic field. In fact, Roux assisted Pasteur, working with him on
later work has shown that cosmic rays consist anthrax and rabies, and in 1904 he succeeded him
mainly of protons and a small proportion of heavy as director of the Pasteur Institute. With A Yersin
positive nuclei, together with electrons, all of high (1863“1943) he cultured the diphtheria bacillus in
energy and coming from the Sun, probably with a broth, and in 1888 showed that, if this was filtered
contribution from supernovae. through unglazed porcelain, the cell-free extract
Rossi also contributed to the birth of X-ray astro- still produced the symptoms of the disease when
nomy in 1962: he led a team which discovered the injected into test animals. For the first time it was
isotropic flux of X-rays incident on the Earth, and shown that, at least in this case, the effects of a bac-
the first astronomical discrete X-ray source, Scorpio terial infection are largely due to a potent toxin
X-1, by use of a rocket-borne probe. produced by the bacteria; he wrote ˜snake venoms
Rothschild, Miriam, Dame (1908“ ) British biol- themselves are not as deadly™. Behring and
ogist and conservationist. Kitasato went on to show that blood serum from
Miriam Rothschild, a member of a family distin- infected guinea pigs contained a counter-poison,
guished for its involvement in banking and life sci- an antitoxin; Roux used horses in place of guinea
ences, was educated at home and described herself pigs, which gave enough serum to use on human
as ˜an addict of the natural world™. With Tadeus patients, from 1894.
Rubbia, Carlo (1934“ ) Italian physicist: co-discov-
Reichstein she discovered the sequestration and
storage of heart poisons (cardiac glycosides) in erer of the W and Z particles.
Monarch butterflies and other aposematic insects: A graduate of Pisa, Rubbia held a chair of physics at
and later worked on mammals, birds, fish, mol- Harvard by 1972 and became director of the
luscs, insects, Trematode worms and viruses. She European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) at
found that the rabbit flea is chief vector of myxo- Geneva in 1989, where he had also worked from 1960.
matosis in the UK and showed its dependence for By the mid-1970s it was known that the forces
reproduction on the mammalian hormones of its within nuclei operate by interchange of particles:
Rubin, Vera Cooper

eg the electromagnetic force arises by exchange of energy applies to animate as well as inanimate
virtual photons. The weak nuclear interaction was objects. Rubner compared the energy available
deduced to require particles named as W and Z from various foods and showed that carbohydrates,
bosons, and the search was on to secure evidence fats and proteins were broken down equally read-
for them. Their production would need a powerful ily, and that a mammal™s energy usage for growth
particle accelerator and with Simon van der Meer purposes is a constant fraction of its total energy
(1925“ ), Rubbia redesigned CERN™s proton syn- output.
Rumford, Benjamin Thompson, Count (1753“
chrotron (which has a 7 km circumference ring) to
form a proton-antiproton collider at high energy 1814) Anglo-American adventurer, social reformer,
(2000 GeV). In 1983 large numbers of collisions inventor and physicist: measured relation between
(>106) were recorded, and a handful were firmly work and heat; founded Royal Institution.
identified as W“ and W+ events: these decay in It would be hard to name a scientist who had a
10“20 s to electrons and neutrinos. Later that year more extraordinary life than Rumford. He was a
the Z° was also identified. Rubbia™s paper of 1983 store apprentice, then a part-time teacher, gymnast
describing the work lists 130 co-authors: massive and medical student with an interest in electrical
and costly equipment and large teams are needed machines. At 18 he married a rich young widow of
in modern particle physics. Rubbia and van der 30 and decided to become a gentleman-soldier and
Meer shared the Nobel Prize for 1984. farmer; he so impressed his seniors that at 19 he
Rubin, Vera Cooper (1928“ ) US astronomer. had become a major in the militia and squire of
Educated at Cornell and Georgetown, DC, Rubin Concord.
joined the Carnegie Institution in 1965 and worked However, excitement was on the way: New Eng-
there and at Mount Wilson Observatory thereafter. land was the centre of the American Revolution.
Her work focused on spiral galaxies and particu- His family had been there since 1630 and he had
larly on their velocity of rotation. She showed in the good prospects if he cast in his lot with the revolu-
1980s that this velocity, which she found tends to tionaries, but Thompson supported the ˜loyalist™
increase for stars the further they are from the view and did so by acting as a secret agent for the
centre of their galaxy, implied that galaxies had British army. There is no good evidence that he was
masses greater than could be deduced from their a double agent, but by 1776 he was prudent enough
visible content of stars. The inevitable conclusion to leave America for England, where he took up his
was that some ˜dark matter™, not emitting any scientific interests again (on projectiles, appropri-
detectable radiation, was present. By 1983 she ately), was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in
believed that 90% of the universe™s mass might 1779, and next year became undersecretary of state
exist in the form of dark matter. Ever since, wide- in the Colonial Office at 27. In 1782, seeking active
spread efforts have been made to learn more about service, he went back to America, did well as a sol-
it, with only limited success. Neutrinos, of low dier and was shocked when peace was declared the
weight but if present in large numbers, are a possi- following year.
ble answer. From 1993 some dark matter was This left him with no clear future, and he had no
deduced to be stray planets and brown dwarfs wish to ˜vegetate in England™, but soon, through
(MACHOS, massive astrophysical compact halo carefully nurtured contacts, he was appointed
objects) which by 1996 were held to make up about adviser to the elector of Bavaria, being knighted,
half of the dark matter in the halo of our own rather surprisingly, by George III as a preface to his
galaxy (the Milky Way). new career. He was highly effective in Bavaria,
Rubner, Max [rubner] (1854“1932) German physiol-
ogist: made important investigations of animal
metabolism and energy balance.
Rubner was professor of physiology at Marburg
and later at Berlin. Before 1800 Lavoisier had
shown by experiments using a guinea-pig in a
calorimeter that its heat production was the same
as that given by burning a quantity of carbon equal
to that in the CO2 it expired, and so he concluded
that metabolism is equivalent to burning at body
temperature. Rubner developed such experiments
on mammalian heat production, and proposed his
surface law: that the rate of metabolism is propor-
tional to the superficial area of the mammal and
not to its weight. He also found that recently fed
animals lost heat more quickly than fasting ani-
mals, pointing to a cellular regulatory system. He
confirmed the results obtained by Lavoisier and
others that metabolic energy production is equal to
ordinary combustion despite the temperature dif-
ference; this implies that the law of conservation of Count Rumford
Russell, Henry Norris

reforming the conditions of the army, setting up He studied high voltage and vacuum methods in
welfare schemes for the poor which were well Munich and Berlin, the appropriate background for
ahead of their time and creating a large park in his pioneer work on electron optics. By the mid-
Munich still treasured as the English Garden. He 1920s it was known that electrons could behave not
became a wealthy and respected public figure, with only as particles but, in appropriate experiments,
the title of Count, and minister for war. He was as waves; and H Busch found that a magnetic coil
there for 14 years before moving to London in 1798, could focus a beam of electrons, rather as a convex
where he was welcomed as a great philanthropist lens could focus a light beam. In 1928 M Kroll and
and an expert on new methods for heating and Ruska (then a research student in Berlin) made a
microscope giving 17 — magnification using these
feeding the poor.
Scientific work was always a part of Rumford™s methods of electron optics, and by 1933 Ruska
made an instrument giving 12 000 —, and commer-
life and in Munich he made his greatest contribu-
tion to physics. He visited the arsenal and ˜was cial models were in use by 1938. However, G R
struck by the very considerable degree of heat Rüdenberg secured the first patent, which was
which a brass cannon acquires in a short time in upheld in a law suit in the USA (but not in Ger-
being bored™. At the time, heat was thought to con- many). Ruska™s work, supported by the Siemens
sist of a subtle fluid, ˜caloric™, which was squeezed and Halske company, was continued in a converted
out of the metal on boring, but Rumford showed, bakery in Berlin during the Second World War,
by using a blunt borer, that an apparently limitless until Soviet troops looted the laboratory. His trans-
amount of heat could be got from one piece of mission electron microscope eventually achieved
up to 106 —, compared with 2000 — for an optical
metal and that the supposed ˜caloric™ seemed to be
weightless. He concluded that caloric was non-exis- microscope. Ruska shared his Nobel Prize with G
tent and that heat was ˜the motion of the particles Binnig (1947“ ) and Rohrer of IBM, who from
of a body™. He went on to measure the relation 1978 worked in Zürich on a complementary device,
between work and heat, getting a result within 30% the scanning tunnelling microscope, using an
of the modern value. This concept was fundamen- ultrasharp tip at high voltage to explore conduct-
tal to modern physics, and the quantitative rela- ing surfaces and valuable for the study of metal
tion between heat and work was soon studied with surfaces, giving resolution down to atomic size.
Russell, Henry Norris (1877“1957) US astronomer:
great care by Joule.
Rumford was always an enthusiast for the appli- inferred stellar evolution from spectral type/lumi-
cation of science, himself designing improved stoves, nosity relationship.
lamps and carriages; and in London in 1800 he Russell™s interest in astronomy probably began
planned and largely created the Royal Institution, when, as a 5-year-old, his parents showed him a
which has been so valuable in British science ever transit of Venus. After graduating from Princeton
since. Rumford™s appointment in 1801 of Davy, and a period in Cambridge, Russell spent his work-
aged 22, to work at the Royal Institution was a ing life in Princeton. In 1913 he discovered that the
happy and fruitful choice. Soon Rumford was trav- absolute magnitude (the magnitude a star would
elling again, partly in exasperation as a result of have at 10 parsec distance from the Sun) of stars
disputes with the Royal Institution™s managers. He
settled in Paris, and in 1805 married Marie Lavoi- _10 10 6
sier, widow of the great chemist and reformer. The
marriage quickly proved unfortunate: their quar-
rels were dramatic, and Rumford spent much time supergiants
_5 10 4
in his laboratory, studying the heat generated in
combustion and using for this an improved
Lavoisier calorimeter. He separated from Marie, but
absolute magnitude

luminosity (Ls)

he had friends, money, a resident mistress, visits 10 2
from his American daughter Sally and a substantial giants
reputation. F D Roosevelt rated him with Franklin
and Thomas Jefferson, as ˜the greatest mind +5 1
main sequence
America has produced™. He may well be the most
colourful character in 18th-c science.
Ruska, Ernst August Friedrich (1906“88) German 10 “ 2
physicist: pioneer in development of the transmis-
sion electron microscope. white dwarfs

The electron microscope has had such a revolu-


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