. 7
( 21)


directions. The works of ABEL and GALOIS, two remark- exploration of structural depth, as in the work of
able talents who died young, proved influential on EMMY NOETHER. HILBERT set the agenda for much
later generations, as did the non-Euclidean geometry 20th-c research through his prescient outline, at the
of Janos Bolyai (1802“60) and LOBACHEVSKY. The International Mathematical Congress in 1900, of the
growing importance of the numerical data in society major problems for mathematics. In the 20th-c, too,
led to the development of statistical thinking, notably mathematics became applied more diversely than
in the work of Adolphe Qu©telet (1796“1874), with ever before, from the traditional applications in phys-
applications in both the physical sciences (eg ical science to new applications in economics,
MAXWELL) and biological and human sciences (eg biology and the organization of systems. The devel-
PEARSON). The work of BABBAGE on computing engines opment of electronic computers, particularly associ-
also attests to the recognized need for accurate ated with TURING and VON NEUMANN, grew out of
mathematical tables and efficient handling of mathematical, logical and number-handling activity
numbers. and has affected mathematics in a variety of ways.
The foundations of mathematics received growing Recent explorations of mathematics which use the
attention through the 19th-c, from the need to teach computer as a research tool can be seen as restoring
and explain the theorems of analysis. Georg Cantor mathematics to its roots as an experimental science.
(1845“1918) explored the infinite and founded the
Dr John Fauvel,Open University
theories of sets, while DEDEKIND, with his definition of

in causing transmutations of nuclei (they remain opposed the development of the fusion bomb (H-
close to the target nucleus longer and are thus bomb). He defended Oppenheimer, the director of
more likely to be absorbed). For all this work he Los Alamos Laboratory, where the work was done,
received the 1938 Nobel Prize for physics. against charges of disloyalty and of being a security
Fermi had misinterpreted the transmutation of risk.
uranium with neutrons, but the ideas of Frisch Fermi took a professorship at Chicago after the
and Meitner in 1938 corrected this, and proposed war, but died young of cancer. He was much liked
that nuclear fission with production of additional as an inspiring teacher and warm and vivacious
neutrons was occurring. Hahn and F Strassmann character, enjoying sports and displaying clarity as
(1902“80) in Berlin also obtained these results, and a lecturer and research leader. Element number
both parties realized that vast amounts of energy 100 was named fermium after him.
Fernel, Jean Fran§ois (c.1497“1558) French physi-
could be released in such a chain reaction. Fermi,
Szilard and Einstein moved quickly to warn cian: made systematic survey of physiology and
Roosevelt and urge him to develop a nuclear pathology.
weapon before Germany did so. The Manhattan Fernel did not begin to study medicine until he
project was set up (at a final cost of $2 billion) and was 27, after he had studied philosophy and the
Fermi™s group at Chicago obtained the first con- classics. He was an innkeeper™s son and his life was
trolled self-sustaining nuclear reaction (in a spent in Paris. He was very successful in medicine
graphite-moderated reactor or ˜pile™ at Stagg Field and became personal physician to Henry II of
stadium) on 2 December 1942. A historic telephone France. His main contribution to medical science
call was made by Compton to the managing com- was his textbook (1554), which was a standard work
mittee at Harvard stating that ˜the Italian naviga- for over a century, with about 30 editions, reprint-
tor has just landed in the New World™. ings and translations. Its first part deals systemati-
Fermi continued to work on the project and cally with physiology; the second part with
attended the first test explosion of the fission bomb pathology, giving an account of human organs in a
(A-bomb) in the New Mexico desert. While approv- diseased state “ a method which, like the word
ing of its use against Japan, he, like Oppenheimer, ˜pathology™, was new. The final part dealt with
Fischer, Emil

treatment. Fernel was an excellent observer who received the 1965 Nobel Prize for physics for funda-
rejected the use of astrology and his influence, mental work on QED, together with Schwinger
through his book, was extensive and useful. and Tomonaga.
Fessenden, Reginald Aubrey (1866“1932) Feynman was a colourful character in modern
Canadian“US physicist: devised amplitude modula- physics whose originality and showmanship made
tion for radio transmission. him a highly regarded lecturer (Feynman™s Lectures in
Born and educated in Canada, Fessenden™s first Physics are a delight to students). He enthused over
job was in Bermuda but in 1886 he joined Edison™s any kind of puzzle and enjoyed the company of a
laboratory in New Jersey. Then he moved in 1890 to wide variety of people; he was renowned as a story-
Edison™s great rival, Westinghouse, for 2 years and teller and practical joker. His recreations he listed as
then to academic life at Purdue and later at ˜Mayan hieroglyphics, opening safes, playing bongo
Pittsburgh; in 1900 he moved to the US Weather drums, drawing, biology experiments and computer
Bureau and then back to industry. science™. One of his few antagonisms was pomposity.
Before 1900 he began to work on radio, which When authority tried to close a topless restaurant in
Marconi and others were using to transmit mes- Pasadena, he went to court to defend it, and claimed
sages by sending signals mimicking Morse code. to use it frequently to work on physics.
Fibonacci, Leonardo [fibonahchee] (c.1170“c.1250)
Fessenden sent out a continuous signal or ˜carrier
wave™ at a steady high frequency and varied the Italian mathematician: introduced the Arabian
amplitude of the waves to correspond to the sound numeral system to Europe.
waves of voices or music. At the receiver, these Fibonacci™s father was an Italian consul in
amplitude modulations could be reconverted to Algeria, where Fibonacci himself was educated
reproduce the sound. By Christmas Eve 1906 he was from the age of 12 by an Arabian mathematician.
able to broadcast what was probably the first sound No doubt because of this he learned of the Arabian
programme in the USA. He also devised the ˜hetero- (originally Hindu) system of numerals, and
dyne effect™ to improve amplification, and estab- through his Book of the Abacus (1202) he demon-
lished two-way radio communication between the strated how they could be used to simplify calcula-
USA and Scotland. He was second only to Edison in tions. This resulted in the widespread adoption of
the number and variety of his patents (over 500) and the system in Europe.
like him he was involved in many lawsuits. Modern Fibonacci was primarily interested in the deter-
radio is largely based on the work of Marconi, mination of roots of equations, his main work, in
Fessenden, De Forest (who devised the triode) and 1225, dealt with second order Diophantine equa-
E H Armstrong, who devised frequency-modulated tions (indeterminate equations with rational coeffi-
(FM) transmission. cients for which a rational solution is required) and
Feynman, Richard Phillips [fiynman] (1918“88) US was unsurpassed for 400 years. He also discovered
theoretical physicist: developer of mathematical the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 ...), a series in
theory of particle physics. which each successive number is the sum of the pre-
Feynman™s father, a New York maker of uniforms, ceding two. This series has many curious properties,
developed the boy™s interest in scientific ideas and its appearance in leaf growth patterns being one
logical observation. The young man graduated biological example.
Finsen, Niels Ryberg (1861“1904) Icelandic“
from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
Princeton, worked on the atomic bomb (the Danish physician: the founder of phototherapy.
Manhattan project) and later joined the staff of the Born in the Faroe Islands (his father was the gover-
California Institute of Technology. nor), Finsen qualified in medicine at Copenhagen in
During the late 1940s Feynman developed new 1890, and then studied the therapeutic action of sun-
techniques for considering electromagnetic inter- light. He found ultraviolet rays valuable in treating
actions within quantum theory, contributing lupus (a form of skin tuberculosis), and he showed
methods on field theory which have been used that uv is bactericidal: this led to the widespread view
widely. He showed that the interaction between that a suntan was generally healthful, especially
electrons (or between positrons, the positively after 1926 when Coco Chanel (1883“1971; French
charged antiparticle to an electron, see Dirac) couturier) made it fashionable. By the 1990s it was
could be considered by regarding them as exchang- also seen to be an active cause of potentially fatal
ing virtual photons (electromagnetic radiation). melanoma (cancer of the skin). Finsen won the Nobel
This electron“electron scattering can be described Prize in 1903: a victim of congenital Pick™s disease (a
quantitatively as a sum of terms, with each term presenile dementia) he died in the next year. He had
coming from a matrix element describing a topo- noticed early in life that he felt less tired in sunlight,
logically distinct way in which a photon can be and this caused him to study it after graduation. He
exchanged. Each term can be written as a Feynman may also have suffered from SAD (seasonal affective
diagram consisting of lines, called Feynman propa- disorder), a condition recognized after his lifetime.
Fischer, Emil (Hermann) (1852“1919) German
gators, which describe the exchange of particles.
This work contributed greatly to a new theory of organic chemist: the unsurpassed master of nat-
quantum electrodynamics (QED), which deals with ural product chemistry.
nuclear particle interactions and which is in Fischer was born near Cologne, to a grocer who
excellent agreement with experiment. Feynman acquired a wool-spinning mill and a brewery,
Fischer, Hans

hoping his son would follow him in business or, In it the four pyrrole rings are linked together to
failing that, become a chemist. The father, a form a larger (macrocyclic) ring, with an iron atom
Rhinelander, passed to his son his cheery tempera- at the centre. Fischer found the detailed structure,
ment and an appreciation of wine. Fischer did so and synthesized it in 1929. He went on to study the
well at school that he passed the leaving examina- chlorophylls, the green pigments of plants which
tion too young to enter the university, and so he are key compounds in photosynthesis. He showed
joined his uncle™s timber trade. To the sorrow of his that they are porphyrins related in structure to
relatives, he then set up a private laboratory to haemin, with magnesium in place of iron. For this
work in during the day and spent the evenings play- porphyrin work he was awarded the Nobel Prize for
ing the piano and drinking. In the family judgment 1930. He went on to find the structure of bilirubin
˜he was too stupid for a business-man and therefore (the pigment of bile, related to haemin) and syn-
he must become a student™. This he did and read thesized it in 1944.
Fisher, Sir Ronald Aylmer (1890“1962) British sta-
physics and botany, and a little chemistry under
Kekul©, in 1871 in Bonn. In the following year he tistician and geneticist: pioneer of modern statisti-
moved to Strasbourg to study under Baeyer, and in cal methods.
1875 he went to Munich following Baeyer. He had Fisher™s father was a successful auctioneer and
already discovered phenylhydrazine, which was to the boy was one of eight children; he also had eight
become so useful to him 10 years later. It also gave children, ˜a personal expression of his genetic and
him chronic eczema. evolutionary convictions™, although he and his wife
He had become a single-minded and successful later separated. He was small, forceful, eloquent
organic researcher. However, since he ˜could not and eccentric.
give up smoking and did more wine-drinking than Fisher graduated in Cambridge in 1912 in math-
was good for him™ he had to recuperate every year. ematics and physics, and spent from 1913“19 in a
Nevertheless, his researches went well “ on variety of jobs (his poor eyesight excluded him from
purines, sugars, dyes and indoles. But the dreadful service in the First World War). Then he was
odour of skatole so adhered to him and his students appointed as the only statistician at the Rothamsted
that they encountered difficulties in hotels when Experimental Station, with 66 years of data on agri-
travelling. In 1885 he moved to Würzburg as pro- cultural field trials to examine. He was there for 14
fessor, and in 1892 succeeded Hofmann as profes- years before moving to London, and to a Cambridge
sor in Berlin. The chair carried much work in chair of genetics in 1943. When he was 69 he joined
administration and he complained bitterly about the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
the loss of time and energy during his 12 years in Research Organisation (CSIRO) staff in Australia.
Berlin. Before he went to Rothamsted he worked on the
His work on natural products was superb. As well statistics of human inheritance, showing that
as bringing order to carbohydrate chemistry, partly Mendel™s laws must lead to the correlations
by use of phenylhydrazine, and synthesizing a observed. He went on to show that Mendel™s work
range of sugars, including glucose, his studies on on genetics and Darwin™s on natural selection are
glycosides, tannins and depsides are outstanding: in good accord, rather than in conflict as some had
especially those on the peptides and proteins, believed. His work on the Rothamsted field data led
begun in 1899. These compounds are fundamental him to major advances on the design of experi-
to biochemistry. It was he who clearly grasped their ments and on the best use of small samples of data.
essential nature as linear polypeptides derived He unravelled the genetics of the Rhesus blood
from amino acids; he laid down general principles factor. A smoker himself, he argued to the end that
for their synthesis and made an octadecapeptide smoking should not be causally related to disease.
(having 15 glycine and 3(-)-leucine residues, relative In nearly all other matters his views and methods
molecular mass 1213) in 1907. He had much per- have been adopted and extended, and used in all
sonal charm and wrote with great clarity and the many areas where statistical analysis is possible.
FitzGerald, George Francis (1851“1901) Irish
brevity. For his contributions to natural product
chemistry, he received the second Nobel Prize physicist: suggested the Lorentz“FitzGerald con-
awarded in chemistry, in 1902. traction to explain the failure of the Michelson“
Fischer, Hans (1881“1945) German organic chemist: Morley experiment to detect the ˜ether™.
synthesized porphyrins. FitzGerald was educated at Trinity College,
Fischer graduated in Marburg in chemistry and Dublin, remaining there as a professor for the rest
in Munich in medicine, where he was professor of of his life. Although he did not publish much origi-
organic chemistry from 1921. In the last stage of nal work himself, he was influential in 19th-c
the Second World War his laboratory was destroyed physics through his informal suggestions and dis-
by bombing and Fischer killed himself. His work cussions with others, tending to pass on ideas to
from 1921 was almost entirely on the porphyrin experimenters rather than publish them himself.
group of compounds, which contain four pyrrole He is chiefly remembered for his hypothesis that, in
rings linked together. His first major success with order to explain the failure of the Michelson“
these difficult but important compounds was with Morley experiment to detect the ˜ether™, bodies
haemin, the red non-protein part of haemoglobin, moving through an electromagnetic field contracted
which carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. slightly in their direction of motion, in proportion
Fleming, Sir John Ambrose

to their velocity. This accounted for light appearing rest of his life. His desire not to publish anything
to move at the same speed in all directions. The until his work was complete led to bitter disputes
same idea was also developed by Lorentz, be- with other scientists; he irritated Newton in par-
coming known as the Lorentz“FitzGerald contrac- ticular (then president of the Royal Society) and
tion, and was an important stepping stone towards this led in 1712 to the virtual seizure of his papers
Einstein™s theory of relativity. FitzGerald also pro- by the Royal Society. Flamsteed did eventually
posed that the tails of comets are made up of small finish the work, which contained the positions of
rock particles, and that solar radiation pressure is nearly 3000 stars to an accuracy of 10” of arc, but it
responsible for the fact that their tails always point was not published until 6 years after his death.
Fleming, Sir Alexander (1881“1955) British bacte-
away from the Sun.
Fizeau, Armand Hippolyte Louis [feezoh] (1819“ riologist: discoverer of penicillin.
96) French physicist: determined the velocity of An Ayrshire farmer™s son, Fleming spent 4 years
light experimentally. as a clerk in a London shipping office before a small
Born into a wealthy family, Fizeau turned from legacy allowed him to study medicine at St Mary™s.
studying medicine to research in optics. With His later career was spent there, except for service
Foucault he improved the early photographic in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the First World
process introduced by Daguerre and obtained the War. In that war he saw many fatal cases of wound
first detailed pictures of the Sun (1845). infection and the experience motivated his later
Fizeau made the first accurate determination of interest in a non-toxic antibacterial; his first result
the speed of light (1849). In an experiment using an in the search was lysozyme, an enzyme present in
8 km light path between the hilltops of Suresnes nasal mucus, tears and saliva. It pointed to the pos-
and Montmartre, he sent a light-beam through a sibility of success, but could not be got in concen-
rotating toothed wheel and reflected it from the far trated form and was inactive against some
hilltop so that it returned through the wheel. At a common pathogens.
certain speed of the wheel the return signal was Then in 1928 he made the observations which
blocked by a tooth of the wheel, enabling the speed were eventually to make him famous and which
of light to be calculated. are often claimed as the major discovery in medical
The following year, Fizeau, working with L F C science in the 20th-c. Fleming had left a culture
Brequet (1804“83), showed that light travels more dish of staphylococci uncovered, and by accident it
slowly in water than in air: Foucault simultane- became contaminated with an airborne mould. He
ously made the same discovery. This was strong evi- noticed that the bacteria were killed in areas sur-
dence against Newton™s particle theory of light and rounding the mould, which he identified as
for Huygens™s and Fresnel™s wave theory. In 1851 Penicillium notatum. He cultured the mould in broth
Fizeau measured the effect on light when it is and confirmed that a chemical from it (which he
passed through a moving medium (water); the named penicillin) was bactericidal and did not
result was in excellent agreement with Fresnel™s injure white blood cells (a pointer to its lack of tox-
prediction. Fizeau was the first to apply Doppler™s icity). He saw it as a possibly useful local antiseptic.
results on moving wave sources and observers to However, the chemical methods of the time were
light as well as sound. Other experiments by Fizeau inadequate to allow concentrated penicillin to be
included using the wavelength of light for mea- obtained; it is easily destroyed and present only in
surement of length by interferometry and using traces in a culture broth. That success came
interference to find the apparent diameter of stars. through work in the Second World War by a team
Many honours were given to Fizeau for his work, led by Florey, and Fleming had no real part in the
including membership of the French Acad©mie des later work and was cool in his attitude to it.
Sciences (1860) and foreign membership of the The widespread use of penicillin from the 1940s
Royal Society of London (1875). onwards made a vast change in the treatment of
Flamsteed, John (1646“1719) English astronomer: many infections; it also led to a successful search
constructed first comprehensive telescopic star cat- for other antibiotics, and it made Fleming a near-
alogue. legendary figure, partly because of a wartime need
Flamsteed™s poor health, which was to hinder his for national heroes. The legend portrayed him as
work, led to frequent absence from school and he lucky and diffident; both were exaggerations, since
was largely self-educated until he entered his discovery was a part of his systematic work and
Cambridge in 1670. Some youthful publications good observation and he fully enjoyed his retro-
impressed Lord Brouncker (1620“84; first president spective fame.
Fleming, Sir John Ambrose (1849“1945) British
of the Royal Society) with his knowledge of naviga-
tional astronomy. physicist and electrical engineer: inventor of the
Charles II appointed Flamsteed as the first thermionic diode.
Astronomer Royal in 1675, charging him with the Fleming had a mixed education, studying at
construction of accurate lunar and stellar tables, times at University College and at the Royal College
needed to enable seafarers to determine longitude of Chemistry, London, and at Cambridge under
at sea, a major problem in the 17th-c. The Royal Maxwell. After intermittent periods of teaching
Greenwich Observatory was created for the pur- and study he was appointed professor of electrical
pose and the task was to occupy Flamsteed for the technology at University College, London.
Flemming, Walther

Although he worked on a number of electrical the museum. He impressed on her the need to base
engineering problems, including radio telegraphy anthropology on empirical data and interested her
and telephony, Fleming™s outstanding contribu- in the early inhabitants of the American continents.
tion was the invention of the thermionic valve, in In 1879 she met the Omaha Indian Susette La
1900. This was based on an effect noticed by Edison Flesche who, with her husband, was touring the
(to whose company Fleming had been a consultant) country speaking for Indian rights. Alice Fletcher™s
and consisted of a vacuum tube containing a cath- reforming interests were now channelled into the
ode heated to incandescence by an electric current, granting of lands to Indians. Francis La Flesche,
and an anode. When the anode was maintained at Susette™s half-brother, became her interpreter and
a positive potential with respect to the cathode, an assistant when she went to live among the Omaha
electric current could flow from cathode to anode Indians, primarily to study the life of Indian
but not in the opposite direction. This electric women. Perhaps at his suggestion, and with his
˜valve™, or diode, was to form an essential compo- help, she began a study of Indian ceremonies and
nent in electronic devices such as radios, television became a pioneer in the study of American Indian
sets and computers for half a century, until even- music. In the process she made a complete record of
tually superseded by the cheaper and more robust the ritual and music of a Plains Indian religious cer-
transistor. Fleming™s rules illustrate the fact that emony, the Hako ceremony of the Pawnee Indians,
the force on a wire carrying a current is perpendic- and was the first white observer permitted to do so.
Florey, Howard Walter, Baron Florey of
ular both to the magnetic field and to the current.
Adelaide (1898“1968) Australian pathologist: cen-
(Also for the trio of force, field and current, they
give the direction of any one if the other two are tral figure in introduction of penicillin as useful
known.) antibiotic.
Flemming, Walther (1843“1905) German cytolo- Born and educated in Adelaide, Florey studied
gist: pioneer of cytology and discoverer of mitosis. physiology in Oxford and pathology in Cambridge;
Flemming studied medicine in five German uni- in 1931 he became professor of pathology in
versities and later became professor of anatomy at Sheffield and in 1934 at Oxford. In the early 1930s
Kiel. Using the new aniline dyes as microscopic he began to study lysozyme, an antibacterial
stains, and the improved microscopes of the 1860s, enzyme present in mucus discovered by Fleming in
he found that scattered fragments in an animal cell 1922. In 1935 Chain joined the department and in
nucleus became strongly coloured; he named this 1936 Heatley; both were chemists and so the group
substance chromatin. In cell division, the chro- had the skills to begin a study of the antibacterials
matin granules coalesce to form larger threads formed in small amounts by certain moulds.
(named chromosomes in 1888 by Waldeyer-Hartz). Fleming in 1928 had discovered a good candidate,
He went on to show that simple nuclear division as penicillin, which he had been unable to isolate
described by Remak is not the rule, and the more because of its instability, and this came early on the
common type of cell division he named ˜mitosis™. In group™s programme. By 1941 they had isolated
this, the chromosomes split lengthwise and the enough penicillin to try on nine human patients
identical halves move to opposite sides of the cell, and the results were good. The war was at a critical
entangled in the fine threads of the starlike aster stage and large-scale production was begun in the
(in animal cells only). The cell then divides, giving USA out of range of enemy bombers, as a result of
two daughter cells with as much chromatin as the Florey™s discussions with US drug companies. By
original. Flemming gave a fine account of the 1944 enough was available to treat casualties in the
process in 1882 and it has been intensively studied Normandy battles, as well as severe civilian infec-
ever since. He did not know of Mendel™s work and tions, with impressive results. Fleming, Florey and
so he could not relate his work to genetic studies; Chain shared a Nobel Prize in 1945 for their work
that realization did not come for 20 years. on penicillin.
Fletcher, Alice (Cunningham) (1838“1923) US Florey went to work on other antibiotics, but he
ethnologist and pioneer in the field of American was always involved in other areas of experimental
Indian music. pathology, especially on the lymphatic and vascu-
Alice Fletcher was born in Cuba where her father, lar systems. Although he lived in the UK from 1922
Thomas, a lawyer from New York City, was staying and in Oxford from 1935 he retained his Australian
in an attempt to recover from tuberculosis; he died outlook and accent, and he did much to found the
the following year. She was educated at private Australian National University at Canberra.
Flourens, (Marie Jean) Pierre [floorãs] (1794“
girls™ schools in New York City and toured Europe
before beginning work as a governess. She was 1867) French anatomist and physiologist: early
attracted to various reform movements and in 1873 experimental physiologist.
helped to found the Association for the Flourens qualified in medicine in 1813 at Mont-
Advancement of Women. In the course of this work pellier and then went to Paris, where Cuvier
she became a successful and skilful popular lec- befriended him, secured teaching and research
turer. When researching for a lecture on ˜Ancient posts for him and ensured that after his own death
America™ at the Peabody Museum she was encour- his appointments would pass to Flourens.
aged by the curator F W Putnam to work in anthro- From 1820 Flourens began to work on the central
pology and ethnology. She studied with Putnam at nervous system, using pigeons and later dogs,
Foucault, L©on

whose sacrifice yielded fundamental information. Born in Berlin, Forssman attended school and
He found that vision depends on the integrity of the studied medicine there before going in 1929 to a
celebral cortex, and that removal of part of it pro- hospital at nearby Eberswalde to continue clinical
duces blindness on the opposite side. Removal of studies in surgery. He became interested in the
the cerebellum causes loss of coordination of move- problem of delivering a drug rapidly and safely to
ment; he also found that loss of the semi-circular the heart in an emergency; at that time, the best
canals of the ear causes loss of balance while respi- but unsafe technique was to inject directly through
ration is controlled by a centre in the medulla the chest wall. Forssman tried passing a catheter
oblongata. He did not attempt to remove or to stim- (a narrow flexible tube) into a vein near the elbow,
ulate small centres of the cerebellum and it was using corpses in the hospital mortuary for his first
Hitzig in 1870 who established cerebral localiza- trials. Then he tried the method on himself, passing
tion. Flourens attacked the pseudoscience of the tube into his own antecubital vein for about
phrenology and largely demolished it. In 1847 he 65 cm before walking to the X-ray department,
showed that trichloromethane (CHCl3) is an effec- where a radiographer held a mirror to the X-ray
tive anaesthetic for small animals, and later in the screen while Forssman fed the catheter into the
year the British obstetrician J Y Simpson (1811“70) right atrium of his heart. The method had clear
first used it for human patients in childbirth. In his potential, but it was severely criticized in Germany
old age Flourens mounted a forceful attack on as dangerous and Forssman had little support. It
Darwin™s theory of evolution, describing his ideas was used to a limited extent in Lisbon and in
as ˜childish and out of date™. Prague, but was undervalued and full use began
Fock, Vladimir Alexandrovich (1898“1974) only in New York™s Bellevue Hospital after 1940,
Russian theoretical physicist: advanced the quan- when the method was used to extend knowledge
tum mechanics of many-electron systems. of the heart and was shown to be suitable for rou-
Fock received his training at St Petersburg (1922) tine use by A F Cournand (1895“1988) and D W
and then moved to the Institute of Physics. He was Richards (1895“1973). Catheters with pressure
appointed professor there in 1961. gauges, or a device to collect samples of blood
Simultaneously with D R Hartree (1897“1958), gases, enabled further study of heart action in
Fock first developed a means of solving quantum health and disease. Passing a radio-opaque dye into
mechanical problems for atoms in which more the catheter while taking X-ray pictures on cine
than a single electron is present (ie atoms other film allows the blood vessels and chambers of the
than hydrogen). The possible energy levels of an heart to be studied (angiography). This method of
electron in a hydrogen atom had been solved by contrast radiography is a routine procedure for
Schrödinger in 1926, and the Hartree“Fock examination of the heart valves before and after
approximation for other atoms appeared in 1932. surgical repair, and of the coronary arteries as a
Other important research by Fock includes work preface to bypass surgery in cases of obstruction of
on general relativity. these arteries.
Forbes, Edward (1815“54) British naturalist: Forssman served as an army surgeon in the
showed that marine life existed at great depths. Second World War, became a prisoner of war and
Forbes studied medicine at Edinburgh but soon afterwards specialized in urology. He shared the
became more interested in natural history. He Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1956 with
became curator and later palaeontologist to the Cournand and Richards.
Foucault, (Jean Bernard) L©on [fookoh] (1819“68)
Geological Society and subsequently professor of
natural history at Edinburgh and at the Royal French physicist: measured the speed of light; and
School of Mines. demonstrated rotation of the Earth.
Travelling widely in Europe and in the region bor- Foucault was the son of an impoverished book-
dering the Eastern Mediterranean (he joined a seller; he began to study medicine but was revolted
naval expedition as naturalist in 1841), Forbes col- by the sight of blood. He was attracted to physics by
lected much fauna and flora, particularly molluscs Daguerre™s discovery of photography, and then
(which he classified systematically), studying their became editor of the Journal de D©bats (1845) and a
migration habits and the inter-relationships physicist at the Paris Observatory (1855). A gifted
between animals. He divided British plants into five experimentalist with great originality and instinct,
groups and proposed that Britain had once been he died of paralysis aged 48, having been elected to
joined by land to the continent, whence the plants the Acad©mie des Sciences (1865) and the Royal
had migrated in three distinct periods. He also dis- Society of London (1864).
counted the contemporary belief that marine life Foucault collaborated with Fizeau on the
existed only near the sea surface by dredging a toothed-wheel experiment which first measured
starfish from a depth of 400 m in the Medi- the speed of light terrestrially. In 1850 he took over
terranean. His Natural History of European Seas (1859) Arago™s experimental equipment and first mea-
was the first general study of oceanography. sured the speed of light in water, showing that it
Forest, Lee De see De Forest was slower than in air. This was important evidence
Forssman, Werner (Theodor Otto) (1904“79) in favour of the wave theory of light and contrary
German physician: introduced cardiac catheteri- to the prediction of Newton™s particle theory of
zation. light. Foucault then constructed a rotating mirror
Fourier, Joseph, Baron

Fracastoro, Girolamo [frakastawroh] (c.1478“
experiment for measuring the speed of light and
used it to obtain a more accurate value (1862). 1553) Italian logician and physician: proposed early
The simplicity and imaginativeness of Foucault™s theory of germ origin of disease.
measurement in 1850 of the rotation of the Earth by Having studied a variety of subjects at Padua,
a swinging pendulum (Foucault™s pendulum) make Fracastoro became lecturer in logic there in 1501.
it an outstanding achievement. The effect occurs After moves due to war and plague, he settled in
because the Earth rotates, leaving the plane of the Verona from 1516, practising as a physician until
swinging pendulum fixed with respect to the stars. 1534. Thereafter he spent his retirement in
In 1852 Foucault demonstrated this with a 67 m research. His major medical book, On Contagion and
pendulum with a 28 kg ball hung from the dome of Contagious Diseases (1546), gave the first logical
the Panth©on in Paris. The experiment was carried explanation of the long-known facts that some dis-
out there with the help of Napoleon III, before an eases can be passed from person to person or passed
admiring crowd who watched a needle attached to by infected articles. Fracastoro had in 1530 descri-
the ball inscribe a mark in sand; the mark moved as bed and named syphilis (previously ˜the French dis-
the Earth rotated about the plane of the pendulum™s ease™), which was epidemic in Europe from about
swing. This was the first direct (ie non-deductive) 1500. He proposed that infection is due to minute
demonstration of the Earth™s rotation. self-multiplying bodies which can infect by direct
Other valuable work by Foucault included inven- contact or indirectly through infected articles, or
tion of the gyroscope in 1852, and improvements to which can be passed at a distance. His ideas were
reflecting telescopes. He discovered the yellow not widely adopted, many preferring the notion of
(sodium D) lines in emission spectra corresponding miasmata, exhalations from earth or air which
to the dark lines seen in absorption spectra by caused disease. Only much later did Pasteur
Fraunhofer; the value of this, however, was only and others show the essential correctness of
realized later by Kirchhoff. Fracastoro™s proposals.
Fourier, (Jean Baptiste) Joseph, Baron [fooryay] Franck, James (1882“1964) German“US physicist:
(1768“1830) French mathematician: discovered gave first experimental demonstration of the quan-
Fourier series and the Fourier Integral Theorem. tized nature of molecular electronic transitions.
Fourier, the son of a tailor, was orphaned at age 8. Franck studied law at Heidelberg but left after a
He had a mixed education, at military school, an year in order to study physics at Berlin instead.
abbey and later (after a narrow escape from the After service in the First World War (he was
guillotine during the French Revolution in 1794) at awarded the Iron Cross), he became professor of
the École Normale. He joined the staff of the École experimental physics at Göttingen. In 1933, being a
Normale, newly-formed to train senior teachers, Jew, he felt obliged to leave Germany, settling even-
and the École Polytechnique in Paris. When tually in the USA, where he became professor of
Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 Fourier accompa- physical chemistry at the University of Chicago.
nied him, but it is unlikely that he became gover- During the Second World War he worked on the
nor of Lower Egypt as is often stated. He became the American atomic bomb project, proposing in the
prefect of the d©partement of Grenoble for 14 years Franck Report that the bomb be demonstrated to
but resigned during Napoleon™s Hundred Days the Japanese on uninhabited territory before being
campaign. Fourier died in 1830 of a disease con- used on a city.
tracted while in Egypt. Franck™s major work concerned the quantized
Fourier established linear partial differential nature of energy absorption by molecules. In 1914,
equations as a powerful tool in mathematical together with Gustav Hertz (1887“1975), he demon-
physics, particularly in boundary value problems. strated that gaseous mercury atoms, when bom-
For example, to find the conduction of heat barded with electrons, absorb energy in discrete
through a body of a given shape when its bound- units (or quanta). For mercury atoms this unit of
aries are at particular temperatures, the heat diffu- energy is 4.9 eV. Following the absorption, which
sion equation can be solved as a sum of simpler leaves the mercury atom in an energetically excited
trigonometric components (Fourier series). This state, the atom returns to its original (or ground)
way of solving the linear differential equations that state by emitting a photon of light. This experiment
often occur in physics has led to much use of the constituted the first experimental proof of Bohr™s
method on many new problems to the present day. ideas on energy levels in atoms, and Franck and
Importantly, any arbitrary repeating function may Hertz were awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize for
be represented by a Fourier series; for instance, a physics for their work.
complex musical waveform can always be represen- Later, in conjunction with E Condon (1902“74),
ted as the sum of many individual frequencies. At a Franck also studied the energy requirements for
different level, the understanding of Fourier series vibration and rotation of diatomic molecules,
and integrals has contributed greatly to the devel- showing that these were also quantized and that
opment of pure analysis, particularly of functional dissociation energies (the energy required to break
analysis. On the problem of heat conduction the chemical bond between the two atoms), could
through a uniform solid, Fourier™s Law states that be extrapolated from them. The Franck“Condon
the heat flux is given by the product of the thermal principle states that the most probable electronic
conductivity and the temperature gradient. transitions are those in which the vibrational quan-
Franklin, Benjamin

tum number is preserved, since electronic transi- time, showed that what we would now call pure
tions take place on a much shorter time-scale than research could have important practical uses.
vibrational ones. Franklin proposed that electrical effects resulted
Frankland, Sir Edward (1825“99) British organic from the transfer or movement of an electrical
chemist: originator of the theory of valence. ˜fluid™ made of particles of electricity (we would
Frankland was apprenticed to a druggist in now call them electrons) that can permeate mate-
Lancaster for 6 years in an ill-advised attempt to rials (even metals) and which repel each other but
enter the medical profession. Guidance from a are attracted by the particles of ordinary matter. A
local doctor led him to study chemistry under Lyon charged body on this theory is one that has either
Playfair (1819“98) at the Royal School of Mines in lost or gained electrical fluid, and is in a state he
London (1845). He later studied with Bunsen at called positive or negative (or plus or minus).
Marburg and Liebig at Giessen. At 28 Frankland Linked with this ˜one fluid™ idea was the principle
became the founding professor of chemistry at or law of conservation of charge: the charge lost by
the new Owens College (1851“57) that became one body must be gained by others so that plus and
the University of Manchester. He moved to St minus charges appear, or neutralize one another,
Bartholomew™s Hospital, London (1857); the Royal in equal amounts and simultaneously. Franklin™s
Institution (1863) and the Royal School of Mines logic had its defects, but it was a major advance;
(1865). and he continued to experiment, and worked on
He prepared and examined the first recognized insulation and grounding. He examined the glow
organometallics, the zinc dialkyls. In his view, their that surrounds electrified bodies in the dark, and it
reaction with water gave the free alkyl radicals (in may have been this which caused a friend to show
fact, the corresponding dimeric alkanes). Vastly that a grounded metallic point could quietly ˜draw
more significant was his later recognition, after off™ the charge from a nearby charged object. This
thinking about a range of compounds, of numeri- led Franklin to his idea that it should be possible to
cal, integral limitations in atomic combining prove whether clouds are electrified (as others had
power: the theory of valence “ this being the suggested) and also to propose that ˜would not
number of chemical bonds that a given atom or these pointed rods probably draw the electrical fire
group can make with other atoms or groups in silently out of a cloud before it came nigh enough
forming a compound. He used the word ˜bond™ and to strike, and thereby secure us from that most
modern graphic formulae (Frankland™s notation) sudden and terrible mischief?™ He planned in 1750
and through these ideas did much to prepare foun- an experiment using a metal rod passing into a
dations for modern structural chemistry. He also sentry box mounted on the steeple of a new church;
made major contributions to applied chemistry, but delay in building it led him to try using a kite
notably in the areas of water and sewage purifica- instead, and he found that the wet string did
tion “ paramount requirements for good public indeed conduct electricity from the thundercloud
health. and charge a large capacitor. The electrical nature
Franklin, Benjamin (1706“90) US statesman: classic of such storms was proved, lightning conductors
experimenter and theorist on static electricity.
Franklin had an unusually wide range of careers:
he was successful as a printer, publisher, journalist,
politician, diplomat and physicist. Trained as a
printer and working in New England and for nearly
2 years in London (UK), Franklin found he also had
talents as a journalist; when he was 27 he published
Poor Richard™s Almanac. In this, he ˜filled all the little
spaces that occurred between the remarkable days
in the calendar with proverbial sentences™ which he
concocted. Most are trite platitudes of the ˜honesty is
the best policy™ kind, but some show the sly irony of
his journalism (of which the best-known sample is
probably his advice to young men to take older mis-
tresses, ˜because they are so grateful™). The almanac
made him both famous and prosperous and, by fran-
chises in printing shops and other businesses in
which he provided a third of the capital and took a
third of the profit, he made himself wealthy.
When he was nearly 40 he became interested in
electricity, which at that time provided only amus-
ing tricks, but at least the dry air of Philadelphia
made these more reproducible than in damper cli- Benjamin Franklin aged about 70, portrayed shortly
mates. Franklin™s experiments and ideas turned before the War of Independence. He is wearing the bifo-
electrical tricks into a science, made him the best- cal spectacles he invented, and a cap enhances his home-
known scientist of his day and, perhaps for the first spun image. Engraving by A de Saint-Aubin.
Franklin, Rosalind

became widely used, Franklin became famous and
others trying such experiments were killed.
He was in London for most of the years 1757“75 rep-
resenting the American colonies and trying to pre-
vent the rising conflict. When, despite his efforts, war
began, he was active in support of the revolution and
was one of the five men who drafted the Declaration
of Independence in 1776. In the same year he went as
ambassador to France and, largely through his fame
as a scientist and his popularity, secured an alliance
in 1778. Afterwards he continued to be active in
American politics; despite being an Anglophile, a
womanizer and a tippler, he was increasingly seen as
the virtuous, homespun, true American sage. His
work in physics amused him but was always directed
to practical use; he devised the Franklin stove with an
efficient underfloor air-supply for heating, invented
and used bifocal spectacles, used a flume for testing
ships by using models, and his work on the Gulf
Stream was a pioneering study in oceanography. By X-ray diffraction pattern showing characteristic features
having ship™s captains record its temperature at vari- derived from a thread of the B-form of DNA. The bold
ous depths and its velocity, he mapped the Gulf cross-like pattern is characteristic of a helical structure.
Stream and studied its effects on weather. The spacing between the layer-lines making up the cross,
In the 1780s he was present at the first ascents by and the angle between the cross arms, relate to the pitch
hydrogen balloons made by Charles at Versailles and the climb-angle of the helix respectively. It was a pat-
tern similar to this, obtained by Rosalind Franklin in
and enthused over the possibility of studying the
Wilkins™ lab, which led Watson and Crick to make a
atmosphere and of aerial travel; he foresaw aerial
double-helical model for DNA in 1953.
warfare. His book, Experiments and Observations on
Electricity made at Philadelphia in America (1751) not
only founded a new science, but had the incidental forms of DNA and obtained X-ray diffraction pho-
result of interesting Priestley in science, with tographs that showed the DNA to have an ordered,
momentous results for chemistry. crystalline structure. They were the best X-ray dia-
Franklin, Rosalind (Elsie) (1920“58) British physi- grams then obtained for DNA, and she deduced
cal chemist and X-ray crystallographer. from them that the long, chain-like DNA molecules
The daughter of prosperous Jewish parents, might be arranged in a helical form, with the phos-
Franklin studied chemistry and physics at Cam- phate groups on the outside.
bridge and afterwards, as war work, took a job in Knowledge of her results passed by several routes
coal research, studying its pore size and properties (some of which have been considered of question-
as a solid colloid and being awarded a PhD for this able propriety) to Watson and Crick in Cambridge,
in 1945. Then, during a happy period of 4 years in who were working on the structure of DNA also,
Paris at the Sorbonne, she moved from physical mainly by use of model-building methods rather
chemistry to X-ray diffraction, using this method to than the experimentation and formalized calcula-
study colloidal carbon. tion technique used by Franklin. Her interpreta-
Armed with this new skill, she moved in 1951 to tion of her excellent pictures was at times for and
join the biophysics group at King™s College, London, at other times against a helical DNA; but after
to extend the X-ray diffraction work there. Soon she Watson and Crick had formed their inspired view
began to use this method on DNA, which was of DNA, her results could be seen to give valuable
known to have a central place in the mechanism of support to their deductions. Their idea of a double
heredity. In the department M H F Wilkins (1916“ ) helix structure for DNA also gave pointers to its
was already working with DNA, using X-ray and mode of action in the transfer of genetic informa-
other methods; unhappily, relations between the tion. The famous issue of Nature in April 1953 which
two were never good. In part, this was because their proposed their double helix was accompanied by
differing responsibilities in the DNA work at King™s her paper, with R Gosling, supporting their views.
were unclear, a problem for which Sir John Randall, Unhappy at King™s, she moved in 1953 to Birkbeck
director of the unit, must bear the blame. DNA is a College, London, again to work with X-rays on bio-
difficult substance to work on; a sticky, colloidal logical macromolecules, this time viruses; initially
nucleic acid, its precise properties depend upon its TMV (tobacco mosaic virus, a much-studied subject)
origin and history. However, Franklin used her past and, from 1954, working with Aaron Klug (1926“ ),
experience with awkward materials to design an X- who was to win the Nobel Prize for chemistry in
ray camera suitable for low-angle reflections, and 1982. Again she secured X-ray photographs superior
she used specimens of DNA which were drawn into to any obtained previously and used them to show
thin fibres under carefully controlled conditions, that the TMV virus is not solid, as had been thought,
notably of hydration. In this way she defined two but a hollow tubular structure. Despite being a
Friedel, Charles

Fredholm, Erik Ivar (1866“1927) Swedish mathe-
cancer victim from 1956, she began work on the
polio virus. matician: founded the theory of integral equations.
Her death aged 37 excluded her from considera- Fredholm studied at Uppsala and subsequently
tion for the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine worked as an actuary until gaining his doctorate 10
in 1962, which was shared by Crick, Watson and years later. He then became a lecturer in mathe-
Wilkins. matical physics at Stockholm (1898) and moved
Frasch, Herman [frash] (1851“1914) German“US from studying partial differential equations to
industrial chemist: devised process for extraction their inverse, integral equations. In the next 5 years
of sulphur from underground deposits. he rapidly established the field that was later
Frasch was the son of a prosperous pharmacist in extended by Hilbert in his work on eigenfunctions
Württemberg and began his training in pharmacy and infinite-dimensional spaces. In 1906 Fredholm
when he emigrated to the USA in 1868 at age 17. became a professor at Stockholm.
Industry was expanding after the Civil War and he Fredholm built upon earlier research by G Hill
soon interested himself in the new petroleum (1838“1914) and V Volterra (1860“1940). He studied
industry. One of its problems was that some wells two integral equations (denoted of the first and
yielded a ˜sour™ oil (nicknamed skunk oil) contain- second kind) named after him: and later found a
ing sulphur and organic sulphides. Frasch found a complete algebraic analogue to his theory of inte-
method for removing these by reaction with metal gral equations in linear matrix equations.
Fresnel, Augustin Jean [fraynel] (1788“1827)
oxides. His interest in sulphur changed direction in
1891, when he began work on the problem of French physicist: established and developed the
obtaining sulphur from deposits overlain by a lime- wave theory of light.
stone caprock and by quicksand. His method (the When the French Revolution arrived Fresnel™s
Frasch process) was to sink a trio of concentric pipes father took his family to a small estate near Caen.
into the deposit; superheated water was pumped After showing his practical skills Fresnel entered
down one to melt the sulphur (m.p. 119°C) and air the École Polytechnique and, despite ill-health,
down another, to bring up a froth of molten sul- gained distinction. He qualified as an engineer at
phur through the remaining pipe. The process gave the École des Ponts et Chauss©es, but was removed
an abundant supply of 99.5% pure sulphur and from his post during 1815 for supporting the
broke the Sicilian supply monopoly after about Royalists. He spent the Hundred Days of Napoleon™s
1900. return at leisure in Normandy, and began his main
Fraunhofer, Josef von [frownhohfer] (1787“1826) work on the wave theory of light.
German physicist and optician: described atomic He performed some new experiments on interfer-
absorption bands in the solar spectrum. ence and polarization effects. Huygens and Young
Fraunhofer was apprenticed as a mirror-maker had suggested that light consisted of longitudinal
and lens-polisher in Munich, rising to become a waves; in order to explain polarization effects
director of his company in 1811. His miserable time Fresnel replaced this with a theory of light as trans-
as an apprentice was relieved when he was buried verse waves. He steadily established his theory as
under the collapsed workshop and the Elector cele- able to account for light™s observed behaviour.
brated his survival with a gift of money which gave Fresnel also applied his skills to the development
him independence. His interest in the theory of of more effective lighthouses. The old optical system
optics, and his scientific discoveries, led him even- for them consisted of metal reflectors and he intro-
tually to become director of the Physics Museum of duced stepped lenses (Fresnel lenses). This work still
the Bavarian Academy of Sciences in 1823, but he forms the basis of modern lighthouse design. Fresnel
died of tuberculosis 3 years later. was made a member of the Acad©mie des Sciences
Fraunhofer™s main interest, and the motivation (1823) and of the Royal Society of London (1827).
Friedel, Charles [freedel] (1832“99) French mineral-
behind his experiments, was in producing a good
quality achromatic lens. During the course of his ogist and organic chemist: co-discoverer of Friedel“
investigations into the refractive properties of differ- Crafts reaction.
ent glasses he used a prism and slit to provide a mono- Friedel was born in Strasbourg and as a student
chromatic source of light. In doing so, he noticed that there was taught by Pasteur. Later he studied
the Sun™s spectrum was crossed by many dark lines, under Wurtz in Paris, before becoming curator at
and he proceeded carefully to measure the wave- the École des Mines and professor of mineralogy
lengths of almost 600 of them. Later, he used a dif- there in 1876. His early work was on the synthesis
fraction grating to prove that the lines were not due of minerals, but then he moved to organic chem-
to the glass of the prism but were inherent in the istry and succeeded Wurtz at the Sorbonne in 1884.
Sun™s light. These Fraunhofer lines were subse- His famous work was done in 1877 with an
quently shown by Kirchhoff to be due to atomic American, J M Crafts (1839“1917). The Friedel“
absorption in the Sun™s outer atmosphere, and tell us Crafts reaction is of great value in organic synthe-
a great deal about its chemistry. Similar lines are sis. An aromatic hydrocarbon is heated with an
observed for other stars and have been equally infor- alkyl halide and a Lewis acid (typically AlCl3), and
mative. Fraunhofer™s work was also important in alkylation of the hydrocarbon is the result, eg
C6H6 + C2H5Cl ’ C2H5C6H5 + HCl
establishing the spectroscope as a serious instru-
ment, rather than merely a scientific curiosity. (ethylbenzene)
Friedman, Herbert

In modified forms, such reactions are used in the made a close study of the behaviour of the honey
petrochemical industry. Also useful is the acylation bee. His results showed that bees can use polarized
reaction, in which the hydrocarbon reacts with an light to navigate back to the hive; that they cannot
acyl chloride and AlCl3, eg distinguish between certain shapes; and that they
C6H6 + CH3COCl ’ CH3COC6H5 + HCl can see some colours, including ultraviolet (invisi-
(methylphenyl ketone) ble to man) but not red. He also concluded that a
Friedman, Herbert [freedman] (1916“ ) US forager bee can inform other workers of the direc-
astronomer: pioneered X-ray astronomy. tion and distance of a food source by means of a
From the 1940s onwards Friedman and his col- coded dance, a circular or figure-of-eight move-
leagues used rockets to launch X-ray devices above ment performed at the hive. He believed that infor-
the Earth™s absorbing atmosphere to observe the Sun, mation on food was also communicated by scent.
studying solar X-ray and ultraviolet activity through In the 1960s, A M Wenner claimed that sound as
a complete 11-year solar cycle, and producing the well as scent is used; bees emit a range of sounds audi-
first X-ray and ultraviolet photographs of the Sun in ble to other bees. Later still, the problem was further
1960. In 1962 the first non-solar X-ray source was dis- examined by J L Gould, who used ingenious ways to
covered by a team led by Rossi, and 2 years later test if false information could be transmitted by bees.
Friedman made the first attempt to identify accu- By the 1980s it seemed that dance, scent and sound
rately such a source with an optical object, making are all used in bee communication, at least by for-
use of the occultation of Tau X-1 by the Moon. He was agers reporting on a food source. Frisch is regarded as
able to show that this X-ray source coincided with the a key figure in developing ethology, by combining
Crab nebula, a supernova remnant. field observation with experiment. He shared a Nobel
Friedman, Jerome Isaac (1930“ ) US physicist: Prize in 1973 with Lorenz and Tinbergen.
Frisch, Otto Robert (1904“79) Austrian“British
confirmed experimentally the concept of quarks.
Friedman studied in his native Chicago and at physicist: early investigator of nuclear fission of
Stanford before working at MIT, where he became uranium.
professor of physics in 1967. With Henry Kendall Frisch studied physics in his home city, Vienna,
(1926“99) and Richard Taylor (1929“ ) he shared and then took a job at the national physical labora-
the 1990 Nobel Prize for physics. All three had used tory in Berlin. In 1930 he went to Hamburg to work
highly accelerated electrons scattered by protons with Stern, but he was sacked in 1933 as a result of
and neutrons to successfully test the quark model the Nazi anti-Jewish laws and worked for a year in
in particle physics, working together on the ˜SLAC- London and then in Copenhagen (with Bohr) until
MIT™ experiment. This used inelastic collisions the Second World War. At Christmas 1938 he visited
involving electrons to observe inner structure his aunt, Lise Meitner, then a refugee in Stockholm
within the protons and neutrons in the nucleus. and a former co-worker with Hahn in Berlin. She
This confirmed experimentally the theoretical pos- had a letter from Hahn reporting that uranium
tulate of these being made up of quarks, put for- nuclei bombarded with neutrons gave barium.
ward in 1964 by Gell-Mann and G Zweig (1937“ ) Frisch and Meitner walked in the snow and talked
The three carried out the experiments at the about it ˜and gradually the idea took shape that this
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SCLAC) was no chipping or cracking of the nucleus but
between 1967 and 1973, using a high-energy elec- rather a process to be explained by Bohr™s idea that
tron beam striking a hydrogen or deuterium target. the nucleus was like a liquid drop; such a drop
This work also confirmed that quarks have spin , might elongate and divide itself™. This division
and fractional charge of either + or “ e. would give lighter elements such as barium, and
Friedmann, Aleksandr Alexandrovich [freed- more neutrons, so a chain reaction should occur.
man] (1888“1925) Russian cosmologist: developed a Frisch worked out that this should be easiest for
mathematical model of the expanding universe. heavy nuclei such as uranium; and Meitner calcu-
Friedmann applied Einstein™s field equations to lated that it would release much energy (about
cosmology and showed that general relativity did 200 MeV). Back in Copenhagen, Frisch confirmed
permit solutions in which the universe is expand- the energy of the fragments in experiments in an
ing. He did this work in 1917, during the Siege of ionization chamber. He named the effect ˜nuclear
Petrograd. At the time Einstein preferred static fission™. Working in Birmingham from 1939, he and
solutions; he and de Sitter had to introduce arbi- Peierls confirmed Bohr™s view that a chain reaction
trary terms into their solutions. The Friedmann should occur more readily with the rare isotope ura-
solution gave model universes that are more physi- nium-235, rather than the common uranium-238.
cally reasonable, and laid the foundations after his They also calculated that the chain reaction would
death for the ˜Big Bang™ theory of modern cosmol- proceed with huge explosive force even with a few
ogy. Friedmann also made significant contribu- kilograms of uranium. If an atomic bomb based on
tions to fluid mechanics. this was made in Germany it would clearly decide
Frisch, Karl von (1886“1982) Austrian ethologist: the war, and they wrote to the British scientific
observer of the dancing bees. adviser on this; their letter probably spurred gov-
Frisch studied zoology at Munich and Trieste and ernment to action, and soon Frisch was working at
later taught zoology at four universities, spending Los Alamos on the A-bomb project, which reached
the longest period in Munich. For over 40 years he success in 1945.
Gabor, Dennis (1900“79) Hungarian“British physi- humans). Recent evidence shows that some of these
cist: invented holography. are conveyed by peculiar proteins (prions), which
The son of a businessman, Gabor studied electri- seem to be the smallest of all infective agents. Kuru
cal engineering in Budapest and Berlin. He worked was the first of the group to be observed and iden-
as a research engineer with the firm of Siemens and tified in humans and was suggested by Gajdusek to
Halske but in 1933 he had to flee from the Nazis and be transmitted among the Fore by their cannibal
spent the rest of his life in Britain. He was initially rituals in which the brains of the dead were eaten
with the British Thomson“Houston Co at Rugby by their relatives. Gajdusek shared a Nobel Prize in
and from 1948 at Imperial College, London. 1976.
Galen [gaylen] (129“199) Roman physician, anato-
In 1947“8 Gabor conceived the idea of using the
phase (or position in the wave™s cycle) as well as the mist and physiologist: his ideas on human anatomy
intensity of received waves to build up a fuller and physiology were taught for 15 centuries.
image of the object in an electron microscope. In Born in Pergamon (now in Western Turkey) Galen
this way he hoped to extract better electron images began studying medicine early; at 21 he went to
so that atoms in a solid might be resolved, but soon Smyrna to study anatomy and later to Asia Minor to
he developed the method for use in an optical study drugs; later still he visited Alexandria where
microscope also. The phase of the electron or light he examined a human skeleton. In his time human
waves was obtained by mixing them with coherent dissection was no longer carried out (although
waves directly from the wave source, and the waves Galen may have done some) and his practical
then form a standing wave that is larger or smaller anatomy and physiology was based in part on his
according to whether the two are in phase or out of work on animals, including the Rhesus monkey.
phase. This interference pattern is recorded on a His lifetime coincided with a high point in the suc-
photographic plate. The waves from different parts cess of the Roman Empire and the army had its
of the object travel a varying number of wave- medical service; but science did not flourish in
lengths to the plate, and so the interference pattern Rome and Galen™s interest in medical science was
and phase of the waves give information on the unusual. He had a large practice in Rome and was
three-dimensional shape of the object. physician to four successive emperors. His exten-
When the plate (hologram, from the Greek holos, sive writing was partly based on the ideas of
whole) is placed in a beam of coherent waves, a Hippocrates and Aristotle, and he added his own
three-dimensional image of the object is seen and results and theories. His descriptions of the
as the observer moves a different perspective anatomy of the muscular system are excellent and
appears. (A coherent wave is one in which the wave his studies on the physiology of the spinal cord and
train consists of waves exactly in phase, not several the effects of injury at various levels were a major
waves with different phases and intensities.) For advance. In his mind, every organ and all its parts
light Gabor achieved this crudely, using a pinhole have been formed for a purpose, and he theorizes at
in a screen in front of a mercury lamp. In 1960 lasers length on this. However, most of his physiological
were invented and these powerful coherent sources theories were erroneous and, like others of his
allowed high quality holograms to be made by E time, he had no knowledge of the circulation of the
Leith and J Upatnieks (1961). Gabor was awarded a blood. He was fully aware of the existing medical
Nobel Prize in 1971. experience and theory, he was highly industrious
Gajdusek, Daniel Carleton (1923“ ) US virolo- and his authority was very long-lived.
Galileo (Galilei) (1564“1642) Italian astronomer
gist: pioneer in study of slow virus infections.
Educated in physics at Rochester and in medicine and physicist: discovered Jupiter™s moons and laws
at Harvard, Gajdusek later worked with Pauling at governing falling bodies.
the California Institute of Technology, and in Iran Usually known by his first name, Galileo was the
and Papua New Guinea before returning to the son of a musician, and was born in Pisa. He studied
USA. It was in New Guinea in the 1950s that he medicine to please his father, but his interest had
studied the Fore people, who frequently died from always been mathematics and physics. He became
a disease they called kuru. He found that it could be the ill-paid professor of mathematics at Pisa when
passed to other primates (eg chimpanzees) but that he was 25, moved to Padua in 1591 and later to
it took 12 months or more to develop after infec- Florence. While in Padua, Galileo met Marina
tion. Since then other diseases have been shown, or Gamba from Venice; she bore him three children
suspected, to be due to slow and persistent virus and their relationship lasted 12 years, although
infections (one example is the herpes ˜cold sore™, they never married and appeared to have separate
others include scrapie in sheep, ˜mad cow disease™ living quarters. When he moved to Florence in 1610
(BSE) in cattle and Creutzfeldt“Jakob dementia in Marina remained in Padua, and shortly after
Galois, Évariste

books and this could have prevented him from pub-
lishing further work. The immediate effect, how-
ever, was that the value of existing copies of
Dialogue rose as scholars bought up the banned
Among his notable non-astronomical findings
were the isochronism (constant time of swing, if
swings are small) of a pendulum, which he timed
with his pulse when he was a medical student. (He
designed a clock with its escapement controlled by
a pendulum and his son constructed it after his
death.) He also found that the speed at which
bodies fall is independent of their weight. The
latter was the result of experiments rolling balls
down inclined planes, and not by dropping weights
from the leaning tower of Pisa as was once widely
believed. His work on mechanics, which he com-
pleted while under house arrest, is in his Discourses
Concerning Two New Sciences (1638). Galileo™s support-
ers smuggled this work out of Italy and had it
printed at Leiden, in Protestant Holland. This work
completes the claim to regard him as ˜the father of
mathematical physics™. (The two ˜new sciences™
which he described are now known as ˜theory of
structures™ in engineering and ˜dynamics™.) He died
in the year in which Newton was born. His work
sets the modern style; observation, experiment and
Galileo aged about 60: engraving by Ottavio Leoni.
the full use of mathematics as the preferred way to
handle results.
married. Galileo took his daughters with him and The gal, named after him, is a unit of accelera-
tion, 10 “2 m s “2. The milligal is used in geophysics
his son joined him when he was older. He was a
loving and supportive father. as a measure of change in the regional acceleration
Galileo™s fame rests partly on the discoveries he due to gravity (g).
made with the telescope, an instrument which he Galileo was an able musician, artist and writer “
did not invent but was certainly the first to exploit a true man of the Renaissance. His massive con-
successfully. His design used a convex object glass tribution to physics makes him one of the small
and a concave eyepiece and gave an erect image. In group of the greatest scientists of all time and his
1610 he observed for the first time mountains on startling discoveries, his forceful personality and
the Moon, four satellites around Jupiter and his conflict with the Church help to make him the
numerous stars too faint to be seen with the naked most romantic figure in science.
Galois, Évariste [galwah] (1811“32) French mathe-
eye. These observations he described in his book
Sidereal Messenger (1610), which made him famous. matician: founded modern group theory.
He also discovered the phases of Venus, the com- Galois was born with a revolutionary spirit, polit-
posite structure of Saturn (although he was unable ically and mathematically, and at an early age dis-
to resolve the rings as such: it looked to him like a covered he had a talent for original work in
triple planet) and sunspots. mathematics. He was taught by his mother until
His discovery of heavenly bodies that were so the age of 12, and at school found interest only in
demonstrably not circling Earth, together with his exploring books by creative mathematicians such
open public support for the Copernican heliocen- as A-M Legendre (1752“1833), Lagrange and later
tric cosmology, was to bring him into conflict with Abel. Twice (in 1827 and 1829) Galois took the
the Church. He wrote his Dialogue on the Two Chief entrance examinations for the École Polytechnique
World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican in 1632, in (which was already one of the foremost colleges for
which he tried to make his support for the science and mathematics) but failed on each occa-
Copernican view diplomatic. He seems to have sion. At 17 he submitted a paper to the French Aca-
believed that the Church authorities would be sym- d©mie des Sciences via Cauchy, but this was lost.
pathetic, but he misjudged their resistance to such Following his father™s suicide Galois entered the
novel ideas. The following year Galileo was brought École Normale Sup©rieure to train as a teacher.
before the Holy Office of the Inquisition to stand During 1830 he wrote three papers breaking new
trial for heresy (for believing the Sun to be the ground in the theory of algebraic equations and
centre of the ˜known world™). He was found guilty, submitted them to the Academy; they too were lost.
forced to recant his views, and sentenced to house In the political turmoil following the 1830 revo-
arrest for life at the age of 69. The Dialogue was pro- lution and Charles X™s abdication Galois chided
hibited along with the reprinting of his earlier the staff and students of the École for their lack of
Panel: The Darwin/Wedgwood/Galton relationships

m 1764 m 1751 m 1781
JOSIAH WEDGWOOD I, FRS Sarah Erasmus Darwin, FRS Mary Howard Elizabeth Pole
1730“95 Wedgwood 1731“1802 1740“70 1747“1832
Master potter Physician and author

Charles 1758“78
Erasmus 1759“99
Elizabeth 1763“4
m 1796
Susannah Robert 1766“1848
John 1766“1844
Richard 1767“8
Thomas Wedgwood
Photographic pioneer
Catherine 1774“1823
Sarah 1778“1856
m 1792
Josiah Wedgwood II
Elizabeth Allen
Violetta m Samuel
Master potter
Elizabeth 1793“1880
1783“1874 Galton
Josiah Wedgwood III
1795“1880 m1
Master potter
Mary Anne 1796“8
Charlotte 1797“1863 m 1832 Charle Marianne 1798“1858
m 1863 Caroline 1800“88
Henry 1799“1885 n
Catherine 1810“65
Francis 1800“88
Susan 1803“66
Hensleigh 1803“91
Erasmus (Ras) 1804“81
Frances 1806“32 m 1839
Charles Darwin, FRS
Francis Galton, FRS
Geographer and
William 1839“1914
Annie 1841“51
Mary Eleanor b & d 1842
Henrietta 1843“1930
Edited Emma Darwin: A Century of Family Letters
George, FRS 1845“1912
Plumian Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University
Elizabeth 1847“1926
Francis, FRS 1848“1925
Reader in Botany, Cambridge University
Leonard 1850“1943
Major, Royal Engineers; served on scientific expeditions
Horace, FRS 1851“1928
Founded Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company
Charles Waring 1856“8

By studying mental ability within families, FRANCIS contrasting environments, has led to a different
GALTON concluded that intelligence is predomi- view: most psychologists now see heredity and
nantly due to inheritance rather than environment, environment as comparable contributors in the
a view he presented in his book Hereditary Genius shaping of individual abilities.
(1869). His own very inter-related family provided Three of Galton™s family have entries in this
the basis for his observations. More recent work, book (shown in heavy type) and others have
such as studies of identical twins brought up in arguable claims for inclusion.

Galton, Sir Francis

backbone and he was expelled. A paper on the gen- newspaper weather map. He invented a useful
eral solution of equations (now called Galois whistle which is ultrasonic (to human ears) but
theory) was sent via Poisson to the Academy, but audible to dogs.
was described as ˜incomprehensible™. In 1831 he Throughout his life, Galton energetically pur-
was arrested twice, for a speech against the king sued a variety of investigations. However, in 1859, a
and for wearing an illegal uniform and carrying book appeared which stimulated him to concen-
arms, and received 6 months™ imprisonment. trate more and more on the measurement of
Released on parole, Galois was soon challenged to a human individual differences. This book was The
duel by political opponents. He spent the night Origin of Species by Darwin, who was another of
feverishly sketching out in a letter as many of his Galton™s cousins (see panel on p. 135).
mathematical discoveries as he could, occasionally People obviously differ greatly in their physical
breaking off to scribble in the margin ˜I have not and mental characteristics, and the question that
time™. At dawn he received a pistol shot through the intrigued Galton was: to what extent do these char-
stomach, and having been left where he fell was acteristics depend on heredity or on environmental
found by a passing peasant. Following his death conditions? He pursued this question by various
from peritonitis 8 days later he was buried in the investigations, eg selectively breeding plants and
common ditch of South Cemetery, aged 20. animals and collecting the medical histories of
The letter and some unpublished papers were dis- human twins, who are genetically identical. In his
covered by Liouville 14 years later, and are human investigations, he faced the challenge that
regarded as having founded (together with Abel™s there was, at that time, no reliable body of mea-
work) modern group theory. It outlines his work on surements across generations. For example, how do
elliptic integrals and sets out a theory of the solu- the heights of parents relate to the adult heights of
tions (roots) of equations by considering the prop- their children? He assembled large amounts of
erties of permutations of the roots. If the roots obey intergenerational data about height and other
the same relations after permutation they form characteristics. Then he faced the further problem
what is now called a Galois group, and this gives that there was, at that time, no mathematical way
information on the solvability of the equations. of expressing compactly the extent to which, say,
Galton, Sir Francis (1822“1911) British geographer the heights of offspring vary as a function of the
and anthropologist: invented the statistical mea- heights of parents. By working over his accumu-
sure of correlation. lated measurements Galton solved this problem
Galton was born near Birmingham. His family and, in 1888, he presented to the Royal Society his
included prosperous manufacturers and bankers technique for calculating the correlation coefficient.
as well as scientists and, from an early age, he devel- Galton™s technique of 1888 was basically sound,
oped a life-long passion for scientific investigation. but crude by modern standards. It was much
In 1844 he graduated from Cambridge and, in that improved by later workers. It provided a powerful
same year, his father™s death left him with the inde- new tool which nowadays is widely used, for exam-
pendence of a financial fortune. Galton wanted to ple in medical science. Galton was a pioneer in sev-
undertake scientific geographical exploration and eral areas: he invented the term ˜eugenics™ to
a cousin (Douglas Galton) introduced him to the describe the science of production of superior off-
Royal Geographical Society in London. With the spring and was largely responsible for the intro-
Society™s advice, Galton financed and led a 2-year duction of fingerprinting as a means of identifying
expedition to an uncharted region of Africa. On his individuals in criminal investigations (illlustration
return to England in 1852, his geographical work on p. 152). But his most enduring contribution is
brought him recognition in scientific circles. He perhaps his invention of the correlation coefficient.
Galvani, Luigi [galvahnee] (1737“98) Italian
was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1856 and
took up the life of a London-based scientist-at-large. anatomist: discoverer of ˜animal electricity™.
He never held, or sought, paid employment but was Galvani taught anatomy at Bologna, where he
an active officer in the Royal Geographical Society, had graduated. His best-known work concerns his
the Royal Society, the Anthropological Institute study of the effects of electricity on frogs. Among
and the British Association for the Advancement of his systematic studies, a chance observation was
Science. These societies gave him contact with lead- important; this was that dead frogs being dried by
ing scientists and also the opportunity to report his fixing by brass skewers to an iron fence showed con-
own investigations. vulsions. He then showed that convulsions fol-
Galton™s investigations were many and varied but lowed if a frog was part of a circuit involving
he consistently stressed the value of quantitative metals. He believed that electricity of a new kind
evidence. His motto was: ˜whenever you can, mea- (animal electricity, or galvanism) was produced in
sure and count™. For example, in order to construct the animal, but in 1800 Volta devised the voltaic
large-scale weather maps, he sent a questionnaire pile and resolved the problem: the current origi-
to several weather stations around Europe asking nated in the metals, not the frog. Galvani™s name
for specified measurements on specified dates. lives on in the word galvanized (meaning stimu-
When he received and mapped these data, in 1863, lated as if by electricity; also used for the zinc-coat-
he discovered and named the now familiar ˜anticy- ing of steel) and in the galvanometer used from
clone™. In 1875 he published, in The Times, the first 1820 to detect electric current.
Gauss, Karl Friedrich

Gamow, George [gamov] (1904“68) Russian“US Garrod™s daughter Dorothy, an archaeologist,
physicist: explained helium abundance in uni- was the first woman to hold a Cambridge profes-
verse; suggested DNA code of protein synthesis. sorship.
Gasser, Herbert Spencer (1888“1963) US physiolo-
Born in Odessa and a student in Petrograd (now St
Petersburg), Gamow worked in Copenhagen with gist.
Bohr and in Cambridge with Rutherford, felt Gasser studied physiology in Wisconsin and in
oppressed on his return to Russia and worked in Europe; from 1935 to 1953 he directed the
the USA from 1934. He made important advances in Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New
both cosmology and molecular biology. In 1948, York City, but in 1921“31 he was professor of phar-
together with Alpher, he suggested a means by macology at Washington University (St Louis) and
which the abundances of chemical elements worked on nerve conduction with his former
observed in the universe (helium in particular) teacher Joseph Erlanger (1874“1965). Du Bois-
might be explained (see Alpher). Gamow also Reymond had shown by 1850 that a nerve impulse
showed, in 1956, that the heavier elements could was an electrical wave of negativity passing along
only have been formed in the hot interiors of stars. the nerve, whose average speed was first measured
He had showed in the 1930s that our Sun is not cool- by Helmholtz, and Adrian later found that nerve
ing down but is slowly heating up and in the 1940s cells discharge rapid series of such impulses. Gasser
he was a major expounder of the ˜Big Bang™ theory and Erlanger, using the then newly perfected low-
of the origin of the universe. A large and enthusias- voltage cathode ray oscillograph, found in the
tic person, and a keen joker, it was his idea to 1920s that nerve fibres differed in their conduction
include Bethe (facetiously but legitimately) in their velocities, which fell in three main groups. The
classic paper on what Hoyle ironically called the thickest mammalian fibres (such as those activat-
ing the muscles) conduct at 5“100 m s“1, while pain
˜Big Bang™, published on 1 April 1948. The name
stuck. is felt through thin slowly conducting fibres (below
2 m s“1). Many other properties of nerves vary with
In molecular biology Gamow made a major con-
tribution to the problem of how the order of the conduction speed, and Gasser and Erlanger™s meth-
four different kinds of nucleic acid bases in DNA ods did much to generate new work in electrophys-
chains could govern the synthesis of proteins from iology; they shared the Nobel Prize for physiology
amino acids. He realized (after some false starts) or medicine in 1944.
Gauss, Karl Friedrich [gows] (1777“1855) German
that short sequences of the bases could form a
˜code™ capable of carrying information for the syn- mathematician: one of the greatest of all mathe-
thesis of proteins; and that, since there are 20 maticians.
amino acids making up proteins, the code must Gauss was of the stature of Archimedes and
consist of blocks of three nucleic acid bases in order Newton and in range of interests he exceeded both.
to have a sufficient vocabulary of instructions. By He contributed to all areas of mathematics and to
1960 this central idea was shown to be correct: as number theory (higher arithmetic) in particular.
were his ideas on element formation at the Big His father was a gardener and merchant™s assistant;
Bang, Gamow™s contribution, while only partly cor- the boy showed early talent, teaching himself to
rect, was seminal, and was fully developed by other count and read, correcting an error in his father™s
workers. arithmetic at age 3, and deducing the sum of an
Garrod, Sir Archibald Edward (1857“1936)
British physician: discovered nature of congenital
metabolic disorders.
While studying four human disorders (alcap-
tonuria, albinism, cystinuria and pentosuria)
Garrod discovered that in each case a chemical sub-
stance derived from the diet was not being com-
pletely metabolized by the body, with the result
that a product that is normally only an intermedi-
ate was excreted in the urine. He deduced that this
metabolic failure was due to the absence of an
enzyme (in 1958 this was proved to be correct). The
family histories of patients also showed that the
disorders were not due to infection or some
random malfunction but were inherited on a
Mendelian recessive pattern. Garrod™s results thus
showed that Mendelian genetics applied to man
and were the first to suggest a connection between
an altered gene (mutation) and a block in a meta-
bolic pathway. This major concept, the biochemical
basis of genetics, was surprisingly ignored (as
Mendel™s original work on genetics had been) for
30 years. K F Gauss
Gay-Lussac, Joseph Louis

analogue of this problem is xn = A. The final section
arithmetic series (a,a + b,a + 2b¦) at the age of 10.
of the book discusses xn = 1 and weaves together
Throughout his life he had an extraordinary ability
to do mental calculations. His mother encouraged arithmetic, algebra and geometry into a perfect
him to choose a profession rather than a trade, and pattern; the result is a work of art.
fortunately friends of his schoolteacher presented Gauss kept a notebook of his discoveries, which
him to the Duke of Brunswick when he was 14; the includes such entries as
•ΥΡ—Κ‘! num = ∆ + ∆ + ∆
Duke thereafter paid for his education and later for
a research grant. Gauss was grateful, and was which means that any number can be written as a
sum of three triangular numbers (ie ∆ = n(n + 1) for
deeply upset when the Duke was mortally
wounded fighting Napoleon at Jena in 1806. Gauss n integral). Other entries such as ˜Vicimus GEGAN™
attended the Collegium Carolinum in Brunswick or ˜REV. GALEN™ inscribed in a rectangle have never
and the University of Göttingen (1795“98). He been understood but may well describe important
devised much mathematical theory between the mathematical results, possibly still unknown.
ages of 14 and 17; at 22 he was making substantial The notebook and Gauss™s papers show that he
and frequent mathematical discoveries, usually anticipated non-Euclidean geometry as a boy, 30
without publishing them. After the Duke™s death years before J Bolyai (1802“60, son of Wolfgang) and
he became director of the Observatory at Lobachevsky; that he found Cauchy™s fundamental
Göttingen, and was able to do research with little theorem of complex analysis 14 years earlier; that
teaching, as he preferred. he discovered quaternions before Hamilton and
Up to the age of 20 Gauss had a keen interest in anticipated A-M Legendre (1752“1833), Abel and
languages and nearly became a philologist; there- Jacobi in much of their important work. If he had
after foreign literature and reading about politics published, Gauss would have set mathematics half
were his hobbies (in both he had conservative a century further along its line of progress.
tastes). When at 28 he was financially comfortable From 1801“20 Gauss advanced mathematical
he married Johanne Osthof; unbelievably happy, astronomy by determining the orbits of small plan-
Gauss wrote to his friend W Bolyai (1775“1856), ets such as Ceres (1801) from their observed posi-
˜Life stands before me like an eternal spring with tions; after it was first found and then lost by
new and brilliant colours.™ Johanne died after the Piazzi, it was rediscovered a year later in the posi-
birth of their third child in 1809, leaving her young tion predicted by Gauss.
husband desolate and, although he married again During 1820“30 the problems of geodesy, terres-
and had three more children, his life was never the trial mapping, the theories of surfaces and confor-
same and he turned towards reclusive mathemati- mal mapping of one domain to another aroused his
cal research. This was done for his own curiosity interest. Later, up to about 1840, he made discover-
and not published unless complete and perfect ies in mathematical physics, electromagnetism,
(his motto was ˜Few, but ripe™) and he often gravitation between ellipsoids and optics. He
remained silent when others announced results believed that physical units should be assembled
that he had found decades before. The degree to from a few absolute units (mainly length, mass and
which he anticipated a century of mathematics time); an idea basic to the SI system. Gauss was
has become clear only since his death, although a skilled experimentalist and invented the
he won fame for his work in mathematical astron- heliotrope, for trigonometric determination of the
omy in his lifetime. Of the many items named after Earth™s shape, and, with W E Weber (1804“91), the
him, the Gaussian error curve is perhaps best electromagnetic telegraph (1833). From 1841 until
known. his death Gauss worked on topology and the geom-
During his years at the Collegium Carolinum, etry associated with functions of a complex vari-
Gauss discovered the method of least squares for able. He transformed virtually all areas of
obtaining the equation for the best curve through a mathematics.
Gay-Lussac, Joseph Louis [gay lüsak] (1778“1850)
group of points and the law of quadratic reciproc-
ity. While studying at Göttingen he prepared his French chemist: established law of combining vol-
book Disquisitiones arithmeticae (Researches in umes of gases; discovered a variety of new chemical
Arithmetic), published in 1801, which developed compounds, including cyanogen, and developed
number theory in a rigorous and unified manner; it volumetric analysis.
is a book which, as Gauss put it, ˜has passed into his- An adventurous child and a brilliant student,
tory™ and virtually founded modern number theory Gay-Lussac grew up during and after the French
as an independent discipline. Gauss gave the first Revolution. Lavoisier had done much to create
genuine proof of the fundamental theorem of alge- modern chemistry in the 1780s, but he had been
bra: that every algebraic equation with complex guillotined in 1794. From then on the time was ripe
coefficients has at least one root that is a complex for the subject to develop.
number. He also proved that every natural number Gay-Lussac studied engineering before becoming
can be represented as the product of prime num- interested in physics and chemistry. He became
bers in just one way (the fundamental theorem of well known through his hot-air balloon ascents in
arithmetic). The Disquisitiones discusses the bino- 1804. These were intended to find if magnetism
mial congruences xn ≡ A (mod p) for integer n, A and persisted at height, and if the composition of air
p prime; x is an unknown integer. The algebraic changed. The first ascent was with Biot; in the
Geiger, Hans

second (alone) he rose to 7 km (23 000 feet) the he was familiar with a range of chemical substances
highest then achieved. (The composition of air, and and methods, including distillation, sublimation
magnetism, appeared to be unchanged.) The next and crystallization.
Geiger, Hans (Wilhelm) [giyger] (1882“1945) Ger-
year he made a tour of Europe, visiting scientists
and scientific centres, and had the luck of observ- man physicist: invented a counter for charged
ing a major eruption of Vesuvius. nuclear particles.
In 1808 he published the law of combining vol- Having studied electrical discharges through gases
umes; this states that the volumes of gases that for his doctorate, Geiger moved from Erlangen in
react with one another, or are produced in a chem- Germany to Manchester, where soon he began work
ical reaction, are in the ratios of small integers. This under Rutherford. Together they devised a counter
law clearly gave support to Dalton™s atomic theory, for alpha-particles (1908), which consisted of a wire
which had so recently appeared, although Dalton at high electric potential passing down the centre of
failed to grasp this, or even to accept Gay-Lussac™s a gas-filled tube. The charged alpha-particles cause
experimental results that led to the law. Earlier, the gas to ionize, and the gas briefly conducts a pulse
Gay-Lussac had found that all gases expand equally of current which can be measured. They showed that
with rise of temperature, a result discovered by alpha-particles have two units of charge, and
Charles but not published by him. These two laws Rutherford later established that they are helium
regarding gases formed the basis for Avogadro™s nuclei. In 1909 Geiger and E Marsden (1889“1970)
Law of 1811. demonstrated that gold atoms in a gold leaf occa-
By 1808 Gay-Lussac had an established reputation sionally deflect alpha-particles through very large
as a scientist and Paris was then the world™s centre angles, and even directly back from the leaf. This
for science. It proved an eventful year for him; he observation led directly to Rutherford™s nuclear
married Jos©phine Rogeot, then a 17-year-old shop theory of the atom as like a small solar system rather
assistant, whom he had seen reading a chemistry than a solid sphere (1913). In 1910 Geiger and
book between serving customers. He also began to Rutherford found that two alpha-particles are emit-
work with his friend L J Thenard (1777“1857), a col- ted when uranium disintegrates. Work by Geiger
laboration which was very fruitful. With Thenard, and J M Nuttall (1890“1958) showed that there is a
in 1808, Gay-Lussac made sodium and potassium in linear relation between the logarithm of the range of
quantity (by reduction of the hydroxides with hot alpha-radiation and the radioactive time constant of
iron), discovered the amides and oxides of these the emitting atoms (the Geiger“Nuttall rule). Geiger
metals and isolated the element boron (9 days took part in the identification of actinium-A (1910)
ahead of Davy). In 1809 they made the dangerously and thorium-A (1911). Both are isotopes of element
reactive fluorides HF and BF3. Gay-Lussac was tem- number 84, polonium.
porarily blinded by a potassium explosion which Geiger served in the German artillery during the
demolished his laboratory, but he never lost his First World War. Following this he was head of the
enthusiasm for experimentation. In 1814 he pub- National Physicotechnical Institution in Berlin and
lished his research on the new element iodine, dis- in 1925 used his counter to confirm the Compton
covered by B Courtois (1777“1838), which was a effect by observing the scattered radiation and the
model study. In 1815 he first made cyanogen (C2N2), recoil electron. Geiger became a professor at Kiel
and showed it to resemble the halogens and to be later that year and in 1928, together with W Müller,
the parent of a series of compounds, the cyanides. produced the modern form of the Geiger“Müller
He developed volumetric analysis as an accurate counter. In this, a metal tube acts as the negative
method and devised new industrial methods in cathode and contains argon at low pressure and a
chemistry. central wire anode. A window of thin mica or metal
He usually worked with his own hands, which at admits charged particles or ionizing radiation,
that time some thought inappropriate for such an which ionize the gas. The current pulse is amplified
eminent scientist. Davy described him in 1813 as to operate a counter and produce an audible click.
˜lively, ingenious, and profound, with ... great facil- From 1936 he worked on cosmic rays, artificial
ity of manipulation ¦ the head of the living radioactivity and nuclear fission. Geiger was ill
chemists of France™. He remains one of chemistry™s during the Second World War, and died soon after
immortals, like Lavoisier, Berzelius, Davy and his losing his home and possessions in the Allied
own pupil Liebig. advance into Germany.
Geber (Lat), Jabir ibn Hayyan (Arabic) [jayber] (c.721“
c.815) Arabic alchemist. insulator
gas-filled glass envelope
Son of a druggist, and orphaned young, Geber pulse output
(to counter)
became the best-known of Arab alchemists. One radiation
result of his fame is that later writers used his name
(perhaps to provide authority, or as a mark of battery
respect). He was the resident physician and alchemist
in the court of the Caliph Haroun al-Rashid (of cylindrical cathode
fine wire anode
Arabian Nights fame). His writings give detailed (but
mystical) accounts of the principles whereby base
metals could possibly be transmuted into gold; and Geiger counter tube
Gell-Mann, Murray

Gell-Mann, Murray (1929“ ) US theoretical physi- evidence for the missing homogeneity of galaxies
cist: applied group theory to understanding of ele- predicted by the Big Bang theory. However, in plot-
mentary particles. ting the distribution of galaxies, neither a uniform
Gell-Mann was educated at Yale University and spread, nor a random scattering of galaxies was
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gaining his found, but large-scale clusters grouped into enor-
PhD at 22. Work with Fermi followed and he then mous structures. The largest (named the ˜Great
moved to California Institute of Technology, where Wall™) stretches more than 500 million light years,
he became professor of theoretical physics in 1967. disturbing current cosmological theory.
Gerhardt, Charles Fr©d©ric [gairah(r)t] (1816“56)
At 24, Gell-Mann made a major contribution to
the theory of elementary particles by introducing French chemist: classified organic compounds
the concept of ˜strangeness™, a new quantum according to type.
number which must be conserved in any so-called Gerhardt studied chemistry in Germany, but
˜strong™ nuclear interaction event. Using strange- after quarrelling with his father he became a sol-
ness Gell-Mann and Ne™eman (independently) dier. He was ˜bought out™ by an unknown friend
neatly classified elementary particles into multi- and returned to chemistry with Liebig, and later
plets of 1, 8, 10 or 27 members. The members of the with Dumas in Paris, where he met Laurent.
multiplets are then related by symmetry opera- Together they did much to advance organic chemi-
tions, specifically unitary symmetry of dimensions cal ideas. The ˜theory of types™ reached a high point
3, or SU(3). The omega-minus particle was predicted in their hands. This was a formal system of classify-
by this theory and was observed in 1964, to consid- ing organic compounds by referring them all to one
erable acclaim. Their book on this work was enti- (or more) of four types (hydrogen, hydrogen chlo-
tled The Eightfold Way, a pun on the Buddhist ride, water and ammonia) by formal replacement
eightfold route to nirvana (loosely, heaven). of hydrogen by organic radicals. Examples based on
Gell-Mann and G Zweig (1937“ ) introduced in the water type would be
1964 the concept of quarks, which have one-third H C2H5 C2H5
or two-thirds integral charge and baryon number. O, water O, ethanol O, diethyl ether
From these the other nuclear particles (hadrons) H H C2H5
can be made. The name is an invented word, associ- Combined with the idea of homologous series
ated with a line in Joyce™s Finnegan™s Wake: ˜Three (compounds differing by CH2 units), this gave a gen-
quarks for Muster Mark!™ Six types of quark are now eral system of classification with some predictive
recognized. Five were detected indirectly after power. Type formulae (such as those above) were
1964, but the sixth (˜top™) quark eluded detection not thought to represent structures but were
until 1995. formal representations of relationships and reac-
Another major contribution was Gell-Mann™s tions. The theory rejected Berzelius™s idea of ˜dual-
introduction (with Feynman) of currents for under- ism™ (opposed charges within two parts of a
standing the weak interaction. For all this work he molecule); and this, combined with Gerhardt™s
was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1969. antiauthoritarian and quarrelsome personality,
In his 70s he worked at the Santa Fe Institute in ensured controversy (which was fruitful in leading
New Mexico, studying how complexity can arise to new results).
Germain, Sophie [zhairm˜ (1776“1831) France™s
from simplicity in nature. i]
Geller, Margaret Joan (1947“ ) American greatest female mathematician.
astronomer: carried out pioneering work on the Born into a liberal, educated, merchant family,
structure of the universe. Sophie Germain did not share their interest in
After gaining a PhD at Princeton and a period of money and politics. She retreated to her father™s
work at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge, library and taught herself mathematics, to the
England, Geller moved to Harvard in 1980 and was dismay of her parents, who did their best to thwart
appointed professor of astronomy there in 1988, her. There followed a battle of wills, which she won.
and a member of the Smithsonian Astrophysical She spent the years of the Terror (1793“4) teaching
Observatory. herself differential calculus. Unable to attend the
Her research focused on the overall distribution newly opened École Polytechnique (1795) because
and motions of galaxies in a search for the shape of of her sex, she obtained notes for many of the
the universe. Before the 1930s astronomers were courses, including analysis given by Lagrange.
restricted to a two-dimensional view of the uni- Using a pseudonym she submitted work to
verse. In 1929 Hubble™s discovery of the expansion Lagrange and started a correspondence with
of the universe opened up the possibility of three- Gauss, discussing Fermat™s ˜last theorem™ (his con-
jecture that xn +yn =zn has no positive integral solu-
dimensional measurement “ by measuring the red-
shifts of galaxies thereby estimating their distance tions if n is an integer greater than 2).
from Earth. From the early 1980s Geller was In 1808 she wrote to Gauss describing what was to
involved in a redshift survey (in three-dimensional be her most important work in number theory. She
space) of some 15 000 galaxies, with a view to map- proved that Fermat™s conjecture is true if x, y and z
ping all galaxies above a certain brightness, out to are prime to one another and to n, if n is any prime
650 million light years, in a sector of the heavens. less than 100. However, Gauss had become profes-
It was thought a large-scale survey might provide sor of astronomy at the University of Göttingen and
Gibbs, Josiah Willard

did not respond. Germain™s theorem remained Giauque was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry
largely unknown, although A-M Legendre (1752“ in 1949 for his discovery. He was also the first to dis-
1833) mentions it in a paper of 1823. Germain™s the- cover, in 1929, that atmospheric oxygen contains
orem was the most important result related to the isotopes oxygen-17 and oxygen-18.
Gibbs, Josiah Willard (1839“1903) US physical
Fermat™s last theorem from 1738 to the work of E E
Kummer (1810“93) in 1840. chemist: founder of chemical thermodynamics.
Sophie Germain was a talented mathematician Before 1850, the Americas had produced few
without sufficient training to fulfil her potential. physical scientists of renown, with only Franklin
She was regarded as a phenomenon rather than a and Rumford in the pre-revolutionary USA; but the
serious mathematician in her time. In 1809 next 30 years saw the work of J Henry, H A Rowland
Napoleon urged the First Class of the Institut de (1848“1901) and Gibbs, who was perhaps the most
France to establish a prix extraordinaire for anyone original of all of them and the only theorist. From
who could devise a theory that explained E F F youth he maintained the family tradition of skill in
Chladni™s (1756“1827) experiments (the vibration classical languages but also won prizes in mathe-
patterns of elastic plates). There were no outright matics, and in 1863 he gained the first Yale PhD in
winners, though Germain was awarded the prize in engineering, the second PhD awarded in the USA.
recognition of her competence. After 1820 Germain The next 3 years he spent at Yale as a tutor (2 years
began to be accepted by Parisian scientific society. in Latin, and one in physics) before spending 2 years
She worked with Legendre and, through friendship in France and Germany, with the two survivors of
with Fourier, attended the sessions of the his four sisters, attending lectures by leading
Acad©mie des Sciences, the first woman to do so chemists, mathematicians and physicists. In 1871
in her own right. She never received a degree; in he was appointed professor of mathematical
1830 Gauss failed to persuade the University of physics at Yale. He held the job until his death,
Göttingen to award her an honorary doctorate. despite being unsalaried for the first 9 years on the
Germer, Lester Halbert [germer] (1896“1971) US curious grounds that he was not in need of money.
physicist: demonstrated experimentally the wave- He was not a good teacher and few understood his
like nature of electrons. work. He never married, and lived with his sisters
After starting his career at Western Electric Co. in New Haven, close to the college. His ideas, which
and Bell Telephone Laboratories, Germer moved to founded chemical thermodynamics and statistical
Cornell University. His career was spent studying mechanics, were expressed in elegantly austere
thermionics, erosion of metals and contact physics. mathematical form in lesser-known journals, so
Germer, with Davisson, carried out one of the cru- few chemists understood them; some of his results
cial experiments in physics in 1927. This demon- were later rediscovered by Planck and Einstein
strated that particles, in their case electrons, also (among others), to their disappointment, and even
display wave-like properties. Poincar© found reading his papers ˜difficult™.
Giauque, William Francis [jeeohk] (1895“1982) US
physical chemist: pioneer of low temperature tech-
Giauque hoped to become an electrical engineer
when he left school at Niagara Falls, but he failed to
find a job in a power plant and for 2 years worked
in a laboratory at a chemical plant, which moved
his interest to chemistry. This became his main
study at the University of California at Berkeley,
where he subsequently remained for all his profes-
sional life.
In 1925 he proposed a method known as adiabatic
demagnetization for achieving temperatures
below 1 K, which had hitherto been unattainable.
The method consists of placing a sample of a para-
magnetic substance, at as low temperature as pos-
sible, in a very strong magnetic field; this causes
the elementary magnetic ions in the substance to
become aligned. When the magnetic field is
switched off the elementary magnetic ions tend to
increase their entropy by becoming randomly
aligned, but since this requires energy the temper-
ature of the sample will drop. Despite considerable
practical difficulties, Giauque himself achieved a
temperature of 0.1 K by this technique in 1933, and
soon afterwards temperatures of a few thousands
of a kelvin had been reached. The method remains
the basis for reaching very low temperatures today. J W Gibbs
Gilbert, Walter

Glaser, Donald Arthur [glayzer] (1926“ ) US
His ideas were of permanent use and were also
still giving new insights a century after their physicist: invented the bubble chamber for observ-
appearance. In the 1870s he derived the Gibbs ing elementary particles.
phase rule, which deals elegantly with heteroge- Graduating in 1946 from the Case Institute of
neous equilibria, and devised the concept now Technology in his home town of Cleveland, OH,
known as the Gibbs function, which enables pre- Glaser then did cosmic ray research at California
diction of the feasibility and direction of a hypo- Institute of Technology for his doctorate (1950). For
thetical chemical change in advance of direct trial. 10 years he worked at the University of Michigan
His later work covered chemical potential (an idea and from 1959 at the University of California at
invented by him), surface adsorption and the Berkeley. In 1964 he turned to molecular biology.
deduction of thermodynamic laws from statistical By the early 1950s the Wilson cloud chamber was
mechanics. It could be said that his fellow failing to detect the fastest high-energy particles
American Rumford began to solve the problem of available. Glaser realized that particles passing
heat and Gibbs completed the solution. In the through a superheated liquid will leave tracks of
1890s his work was translated into French and small gas bubbles nucleated along the trajectory. In
German, and recognition and public honours fol- 1952 he produced a prototype bubble chamber a
lowed. He remains probably the greatest theoreti- few centimetres across, filled with diethyl ether.
cal scientist born in the USA. The tracks were observed and recorded with a high-
Gilbert, Walter (1932“ ) US molecular biologist: speed camera. Bubble chambers up to several
isolated the first gene repressor. meters across and filled with liquid hydrogen were
Gilbert made a remarkable transition: from a developed by Alvarez and used in many of the
basis of physics and mathematics at Harvard and major discoveries of the 1960s and 1970s in particle
Cambridge and a post at Harvard as a theoretical physics. Glaser received the 1960 Nobel Prize for
physicist, he changed in 1960 to biochemistry and physics. He had calculated which liquids would be
molecular biology and became professor of bio- suitable for use in a bubble chamber, but as he
physics at Harvard in 1964 and of molecular biol- ˜wanted to be sure not to omit simple experimental
ogy in 1968. possibilities™ he also tried beer, ginger beer and
Monod and F Jacob (1920“ ) had proposed in soda water. None worked; water is unsuitable
1961 that gene action is controlled by a ˜repressor because it has a high surface tension and a high
substance™ whose function is to ˜turn off™ the gene critical pressure.
Glashow, Sheldon Lee [glashow] (1932“ ) US
when it is not needed. In 1966 Gilbert and B Muller-
Hill devised and successfully used an ingenious physicist: produced a unified theory (QCD) of elec-
method for isolating one of these hypothetical sub- tromagnetism and the weak nuclear interaction.
stances, which are present only in traces in cells. After Cornell and Harvard Glashow spent a few
They purified their sample of the lac-repressor (ie years in postdoctoral work at the Bohr Institute, at


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