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March 8, 2016 AT 6:00 am

Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world

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1618 – Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of planetary motion.

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In astronomy, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion are three scientific laws describing the motion of planets around the Sun.

  1. The orbit of a planet is an ellipse with the Sun at one of the two foci.
  2. A line segment joining a planet and the Sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time.
  3. The square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit.

Most planetary orbits are close to being circles, and careful observation and calculation is required in order to establish that they are actually not perfectly circular ellipses. Using calculations of the orbit of Mars, whose published values are somewhat suspect, which indicated elliptical orbits, Johannes Kepler inferred that other heavenly bodies, including those farther away from the Sun, also have elliptical orbits.

Kepler’s work (published between 1609 and 1619) improved the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus, explaining how the planets’ speeds varied, and using elliptical orbits rather than circular orbits with epicycles.

Isaac Newton showed in 1687 that relationships like Kepler’s would apply in the solar system to a good approximation, as consequences of his own laws of motion and law of universal gravitation.

Kepler’s laws are part of the foundation of modern astronomy and physics.

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1839 – Josephine Cochrane, American inventor is born.

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Josephine Cochran was the inventor of the first commercially successful hand-powered dishwasher which was constructed together with mechanic George Butters.

…Josephine designed the first model of her dishwasher in the shed behind her house located in Shelbyville, Illinois. George Butters was a mechanic who assisted her in the construction of the first dishwasher; he was also an employee at the first dishwasher factory. To build the machine, she first measured the dishes and built wire compartments, each specially designed to fit either plates, cups, or saucers. The compartments were placed inside a wheel that lay flat inside a copper boiler. A motor turned the wheel while hot soapy water squirted up from the bottom of the boiler and rained down on the dishes. Her dishwasher was the first to use water pressure instead of scrubbers to clean the dishes inside the machine. She showed her invention at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and won the highest prize for “best mechanical construction, durability and adaptation to its line of work”. The word spread, and soon after, Cochrane was getting orders for her dish washing machine from restaurants and hotels in Illinois. She patented her design and went into production. The factory business, Garis-Cochran, began in 1897.

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1879 – Otto Hahn, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate is born.

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Otto Hahn was a German chemist and pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for the discovery and the radiochemical proof of nuclear fission. He is referred to as the father of nuclear chemistry.

Hahn was an opponent of Jewish persecution by the Nazi Party and, after World War II, he became a passionate campaigner against the use of nuclear energy as a weapon. He served as the last President of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (KWG) in 1946 and as the founding President of the Max Planck Society (MPG) from 1948 to 1960. Considered by many to be a model for scholarly excellence and personal integrity, he became one of the most influential and respected citizens of the new Federal Republic of Germany.

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1900 – Howard H. Aiken, American physicist and computer scientist, created the Harvard Mark I, is born.

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Howard Hathaway Aiken was an American physicist and a pioneer in computing, being the original conceptual designer behind IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer.

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1914 – International Women’s Day is established.

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International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political, and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended the culture of many countries, primarily in Europe, especially those in the Soviet Bloc. In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for people to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner. Some people celebrate the day by wearing purple ribbons.

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1922 – Ralph H. Baer, German-American video game designer, created the Magnavox Odyssey, is born.

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Ralph Henry Baer was a German-born American video game developer, inventor, and engineer, and was known as “The Father of Video Games” due to his many contributions to games and the video game industry in the latter half of the 20th century.

Born in Germany, he and his family fled to the United States before the outbreak of World War II, where he changed his name and later served the American war effort. Afterwards, he pursued work in electronics. In 1951, while working at Loral, he was asked to build “the best television set in the world”. He proposed the idea of playing games on television screens, but his boss rejected it. Later in 1966, while working at Sander Associates, his 1951 idea came back to his mind, and he would go on to develop eight hardware prototypes. The last two (the Brown Box and its de/dt extension) would become the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey. He would contribute to the development of other consoles and consumer game units. In 2004, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology for “his groundbreaking and pioneering creation, development and commercialization of interactive video games, which spawned related uses, applications, and mega-industries in both the entertainment and education realms”.

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1947 – Michael S. Hart, American author, founded Project Gutenberg is born.

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Michael Stern Hart was an American author, best known as the inventor of the electronic book (or ebook) and the founder of Project Gutenberg (PG), the first project to make ebooks freely available via the Internet. He published ebooks years before the Internet existed via the ARPANET, and later on BBS networks and Gopher servers.

Hart devoted his life after founding PG in 1971 to digitizing and distributing literature from works in the public domain with free and expired copyrights. The first ebooks (etexts) were typed in plain text format and published as text files; other formats were made available later. Hart typed most of the early ebooks himself; later, volunteers helped expand the project.

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1966 – Jaime Levy, American computer scientist and academic is born.

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Jaime Levy is an American author, lecturer, interface designer, and user experience strategist. She first became known for her groundbreaking new media projects in the 1990s. Most notable projects include her creation of the floppy disk distributed with Billy Idol’s album Cyberpunk, WORD an online magazine, and an online cartoon series, CyberSlacker.

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1978 – The first radio episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, is transmitted on BBC Radio 4.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy radio series written by Douglas Adams (with some material in the first series provided by John Lloyd). It was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4 in 1978, and afterwards the BBC World Service, National Public Radio in the U.S. and CBC Radio in Canada. The series was the first radio comedy programme to be produced in stereo, and was innovative in its use of music and sound effects, winning a number of awards.

The series follows the adventures of hapless Englishman Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect, an alien who writes for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a pan-galactic encyclopedia and travel guide. After Earth is destroyed in the first episode, Arthur and Ford find themselves aboard a stolen spaceship piloted by a motley crew including Zaphod Beeblebrox (Ford’s semi-cousin and Galactic President), the depressed robot Marvin and Trillian, the only other human survivor of Earth’s destruction.

A pilot programme was commissioned in March 1977, and was recorded by the end of the following June. A second series was commissioned in 1979, transmitted in 1980. Episodes of the first series were specially re-recorded for release on LP records and audio cassettes and Adams adapted the first series into a best-selling novel in 1979. After the 1980 transmissions of the second radio series, a second novel was published and the first series was adapted for television. This was followed in turn by three further novels, a computer game, and various other media formats.

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1979 – Philips demonstrates the compact disc publicly for the first time.

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..on 8 March, Philips publicly demonstrated a prototype of an optical digital audio disc at a press conference called “Philips Introduce Compact Disc” in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

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