1870 – Clara Immerwahr, Polish-German chemist and academic is born.
Clara Immerwahr was a German chemist. She was the first woman to be awarded a doctorate in chemistry in Germany. She was also both a pacifist and a women’s rights activist. From 1901 until her suicide in 1915, she was married to the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Fritz Haber.
…Immerwahr studied at the University of Breslau, in 1900 attaining her degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry under Richard Abegg. Her dissertation was entitled Beiträge zur Löslichkeitsbestimmung schwerlöslicher Salze des Quecksilbers, Kupfers, Bleis, Cadmiums und Zinks (Contributions to the Solubility of Slightly Soluble Salts of Mercury, Copper, Lead, Cadmium, and Zinc). She was the first woman Ph.D. at the University of Breslau and received the designation magna cum laude.
Immerwahr married Fritz Haber in 1901, four years after she had converted to Christianity in 1897.
Due to societal expectations that a married woman’s place was in the home, her ability to conduct research was limited. She instead contributed to her husband’s work without recognition, translating his works into English. On June 1, 1902 she gave birth to Hermann Haber (1902–1946) the only child of that marriage.
Confiding in a friend, Immerwahr expressed her deep dissatisfaction with this subservient role:
It has always been my attitude that a life has only been worth living if one has made full use of all one’s abilities and tried to live out every kind of experience human life has to offer. It was under that impulse, among other things, that I decided to get married at that time… The life I got from it was very brief…and the main reasons for that was Fritz’s oppressive way of putting himself first in our home and marriage, so that a less ruthlessly self-assertive personality was simply destroyed.
1918 – Josephine Webb, American engineer is born.
Josephine Webb (born June 21, 1918) is an American electrical engineer who obtained two patents for oil circuit breaker contact design, known colloquially as “switchgear”. She designed an eighteen-inch, full newspaper size fax machine with superior resolution. She co-founded Webb Consulting Company with her husband, also an electrical engineer. She is one of the first female electrical engineers, and considered a pioneer by the Society of Women Engineers. At Purdue University, she was one out of a total of five women engineers…
…In 1942, she joined Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a Design Engineer. where among other duties, she worked on the electrical grids for the Coulee, Hoover, and Boulder Dams. It was during her tenure with the company that she obtained two patents for oil circuit breaker contact design.
In 1946, Webb became Director of Development for the Facsimile Development Laboratory at the Alden Products Company where she designed an eighteen-inch, full newspaper size fax machine with exceptional resolution for that time. Later, Webb co-founded the Webb Consulting Company with her husband, Herbert Webb. They specialized in electrical-electronic measurement instrumentation, communications applications, and photographic test devices. They worked for clients as diverse as Boeing and the U.S. Bureau of Mines.
In addition to the consulting business, Webb also took a position in 1977 with North Idaho College where she began development of a Computer Center and worked on several government grants for enhancing the campus and its educational programs.
Webb holds four patents for her innovative work and has been active in many professional organizations including IEEE, NSPE, and SWE where she holds Fellows status.
1947 – Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer, judge, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate is born.
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women’s, children’s, and refugee rights. She was the first ever Iranian to receive the prize.
In 2009, Ebadi’s award was allegedly confiscated by Iranian authorities, though this was later denied by the Iranian government. If true, she would be the first person in the history of the Nobel Prize whose award has been forcibly seized by state authorities.
Ebadi lived in Tehran, but she has been in exile in the UK since June 2009 due to the increase in persecution of Iranian citizens who are critical of the current regime. In 2004, she was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the “100 most powerful women in the world”. She is also included in a published list of the “100 most influential women of all time.”
2004 – SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.
SpaceShipOne is an experimental air-launched rocket-powered aircraft with suborbital flight capability that uses a hybrid rocket motor. The design features a unique “feathering” atmospheric reentry system where the rear half of the wing and the twin tail booms folded upward along a hinge running the length of the wing; this increased drag while remaining stable. SpaceShipOne completed the first manned private spaceflight in 2004. That same year, it won the US$10 million Ansari X Prize and was immediately retired from active service. Its mother ship was named “White Knight”. Both craft were developed and flown by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, which was a joint venture between Paul Allen and Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan’s aviation company. Allen provided the funding of approximately US$25 million.
Rutan has indicated that ideas about the project began as early as 1994 and the full-time development cycle time to the 2004 accomplishments was about three years. The vehicle first achieved supersonic flight on December 17, 2003, which was also the one-hundredth anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ historic first powered flight. SpaceShipOne’s first official spaceflight, known as flight 15P, was piloted by Mike Melvill. A few days before that flight, the Mojave Air and Space Port was the first commercial spaceport licensed in the United States. A few hours after that flight, Melvill became the first licensed U.S. commercial astronaut. The overall project name was “Tier One” which has evolved into Tier 1b with a goal of taking a successor ship’s first passengers into space within the next few years.
The achievements of SpaceShipOne are more comparable to the X-15 than orbiting spacecraft like the Space Shuttle. Accelerating a spacecraft to orbital speed requires more than 60 times as much energy as accelerating it to Mach 3. It would also require an elaborate heat shield to safely dissipate that energy during re-entry.
SpaceShipOne’s official model designation is Scaled Composites Model 316.
2006 – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is founded.
Happy Birthday to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories!
Phil’s article on wearable electronics!
For decades I’ve wanted interesting, beautiful, and (sometimes) functional electronics on the most personal geographies of all, myself. When I think of “living in the future,” it’s what springs to mind: subtle LEDs, lots of polished metal. In this week’s column I’m going to share some milestones, mistakes, and projects in the world of wearable electronics. From geeky watches to wearable music players — I’ve always wanted to utilize my wrist real estate to my shoes for electronics of some kind. Many of the “wearables” I’m going to share are from my project archives, some are now “real,” and others are products that are out now. I think we’re finally entering an era where wearable electronics can look good and work well.
As my friend Bryce recently said:
As the price for enabling components drops, always-on connectivity in our pockets and purses increases, and access to low-cost manufacturing resources and know-how rises we’ll see innovation continue to push into these most personal forms of computing. From pedometers to cufflinks and from connected ski goggles to connected watches the rise of the wearables is upon us…
Strap on your LCD goggles — let’s get started!
Back in 2013 we received our 300,000th order – we are now at over 1 million orders and climbing! Read more.
2015 – @adafruit in @WalterIsaacson “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution”
Ladyada in mentioned “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” by Walter Isaacson on page 303 here! (thanks Danny!).
Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.
What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?
In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.
This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative.
For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen.