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Abbott, Charles Conrad (04 June 1843–27 July 1919), naturalist and archaeologist, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Timothy Abbott, a banker, and Susan Conrad. As a child he loved nature and began a lifelong fascination with the flora and fauna of the Delaware River Valley. Like many young men drawn to natural history, he saw no prospects for turning his passion into a livelihood and so chose to study medicine....

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Adamski, George (17 April 1891–23 April 1965), lecturer and writer on occult subjects and on UFOs during the 1950s' flying saucer enthusiasm, lecturer and writer on occult subjects and on UFOs during the 1950s’ flying saucer enthusiasm, was born in Poland. His parents (names unknown) brought him to the United States when he was one or two. The family settled in Dunkirk, New York; their life was hard, and Adamski received little formal education. He joined the Thirteenth U.S. Cavalry Regiment in 1913 as an enlisted man, serving on the Mexican border, and was honorably discharged in 1916. On 25 December 1917 he married Mary A. Shimbersky (d. 1954). After leaving the army, Adamski worked as a painter in Yellowstone National Park, in a flour mill in Portland, Oregon, and by 1921 was working in a cement factory in California. He continued to live in California, reportedly supporting himself and his wife through a variety of jobs, including by the 1930s teaching and lecturing on occult subjects....

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Andrews, Eliza Frances (10 August 1840–21 January 1931), author and educator, was born at Haywood Plantation near Washington, Georgia, the daughter of Garnett Andrews, a judge and planter, and Annulet Ball. After attending the Ladies’ Seminary in Washington, Georgia, Andrews, often known as “Fanny,” was, in 1857, one of the first students to receive an A.B. degree at LaGrange Female College in LaGrange, Georgia....

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Andrews, George Leonard (31 August 1828–04 April 1899), soldier, engineer, and educator, was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the son of Manasseh Andrews and Harriet Leonard. After attending the state normal school at Bridgewater, he was accepted as a candidate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He graduated at the head of the class of 1851 and was appointed second lieutenant of engineers. His first duty after graduation was in his home state, participating in the construction of Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. He then returned to the academy as an assistant professor....

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Angell, James Rowland (08 May 1869–04 March 1949), academic psychologist and fourteenth president of Yale University, was born in Burlington, Vermont, the son of James Burrill Angell, president of the University of Vermont and later the president of the University of Michigan, and Sarah Swope Caswell, daughter of ...

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Atwood, Wallace Walter (01 October 1872–24 July 1949), geomorphologist and geographer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Thomas Greene Atwood, a builder and planing mill operator, and Adelaide Adelia Richards. After graduating from West Division High School, Atwood enrolled in the new University of Chicago in 1892. There he studied under the geographer-geologist ...

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Ayres, Leonard Porter (15 September 1879–29 October 1946), educator, statistician, and economist, was born in Niantic, Connecticut, the son of Milan Church Ayres and Georgiana Gall. His father, a clergyman, author, and journalist, was editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser. The family moved to Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, where Leonard received his early education in public schools. An avid bicycle racer, he participated in national matches as a young man. After receiving his Ph.B. degree from Boston University in 1902, he taught school in Puerto Rico, rising rapidly to become general superintendent of the island’s schools and chief of the Education Department’s Statistics Division in 1906. Returning to the states, he moved to New York City and joined the Russell Sage Foundation in 1908 to conduct investigations of the health and education of schoolchildren under the direction of ...

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Barnard, Chester Irving (07 November 1886–07 June 1961), telephone executive, foundation president, and management theorist, was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Charles H. Barnard, a machinist, and Mary E. Putnam. His mother died when Chester was five. Apprenticed as a piano tuner, he worked his way through preparatory school at Mount Hermon Academy in Northfield, Massachusetts, and won a scholarship to Harvard, where he supplemented his income by tuning pianos and running a small dance band. He studied economics and languages but failed to receive a degree because he lacked a laboratory science course, which he felt he could not complete and yet “do all the work I had to do to eat.” In 1909 he was employed by American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (AT&T) in the statistical department, studying the rate-setting practices of European telephone companies. He married Grace Frances Noera in 1911. They had one child....

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Barnard, Frederick Augustus Porter (05 May 1809–27 April 1889), scientist and university president, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Foster Barnard, an attorney, and Augusta Porter. He attended school at the Saratoga Academy across the state border in New York and then at the Stockbridge Academy, where he was a classmate and friendly rival of ...

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George Wells Beadle. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Beadle, George Wells (22 October 1903–09 June 1989), geneticist and university president, was the son of Hattie Albro and Chauncey Elmer Beadle, farmers near Wahoo, Nebraska. He was raised on a small farm that was noteworthy for its sound agricultural practices. After the early death of his mother and the accidental death of an older brother, it was assumed that he would take over the farm. Instead, thanks to the beneficent influence of Bess MacDonald, a high school teacher, he went to college. Further encouraged by the mentoring of Franklin D. Keim, an agronomy professor at the Nebraska College of Agriculture, Beadle entered graduate school at Cornell University in 1927 to pursue a career in biology....

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Alexander Graham Bell Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104276).

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Bell, Alexander Graham (03 March 1847–02 August 1922), inventor and educator, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of Alexander Melville Bell and Eliza Grace Symonds. Family tradition and childhood environment set him on the path to his greatest invention, the telephone. His grandfather had turned from acting to speech teaching, and his father had become eminent in the latter vocation. His mother, despite her seriously impaired hearing, was an accomplished pianist and engaged her son’s interest in that form of sound communication. Edinburgh, second only to London as an intellectual center of the British Empire, excelled in science and technology, which probably stirred the boy’s interest and ambition in such matters. He made a hobby of botany and zoology. Playing about a local grist mill, he took up the miller’s challenge to make himself useful and devised a hand-cranked machine that took the husks off the grain—“my first invention,” he later called it....

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Bergmann, Gustav (04 May 1906–21 April 1987), philosopher and mathematician, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Fritz Bergmann, an import/export merchant, and Therese Pollack. Before Bergmann took a Ph.D. in mathematics with a minor in philosophy in 1928 at the University of Vienna, he had already been invited to join the famous Vienna Circle. This group of philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians had adopted what they called logical positivism (or sometimes logical empiricism): advocating a scientific world view, they rejected traditional metaphysics and religion as meaningless and regarded ethical and aesthetic statements as only expressions of attitudes. As one of the youngest members of the Circle along with his Gymnasium classmate, the mathematical logician ...

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Berry, Edward Wilber (10 February 1875–20 September 1945), paleobotanist, teacher, and university administrator, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Abijah Conger Berry and Anna Wilber. Berry is a classic example of the self-trained scientist. He received elementary courses in biology and botany in high school that roused his interest in nature. Berry completed the three-year course in two years and finished his formal education at thirteen. From 1890 to 1897 he worked for a cotton goods company, rising from stock boy to traveling salesman. Berry then entered the newspaper world as business manager for the ...

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Birge, Edward Asahel (07 September 1851–09 June 1950), limnologist and president of the University of Wisconsin, was born in Troy, New York, the son of Edward White Birge, a carpenter, farmer, and bookkeeper, and Ann Stevens. The family was Presbyterian and deeply religious. After completing high school, Birge was sent to Williams College from 1869 to 1873, with the expectation that he might become a physician. There he excelled in natural history (earning a B.A. in 1873 and an M.A. in 1876), and one of his professors advised him to study under ...

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Bolton, Henry Carrington (28 January 1843–19 November 1903), chemist and historian, was born in New York City, the only child of Jackson Bolton, a physician, and Anna Hinman North. Bolton graduated from Columbia College in 1862 after showing aptitude in mathematics and chemistry. Over the next four years he studied chemistry with some of the best minds in Europe: Jean-Baptiste-André Dumas at the Sorbonne and Charles-Adolphe Wurtz of the École de Médicine in Paris; Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Hermann Franz Moritz Kopp, and Gustav Robert Kirchhoff at the University of Heidelberg; Friedrich Wöhler at Göttingen; and August Wilhelm von Hofmann of the University of Berlin. In 1866, the year his father died, he was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of Göttingen for his work “On the Fluorine Compounds of Uranium.” Throughout his stay in Europe, Bolton traveled the whole of the Continent, particularly in Switzerland, where he became an expert alpine climber....

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Bouchet, Edward Alexander (15 September 1852–28 October 1918), educator and scientist, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of William Francis Bouchet, a janitor, and Susan Cooley. Part of New Haven’s black community that provided much of the city’s unskilled and domestic labor, the Bouchets were members of the Temple Street Congregational Church, which was a stopping point for fugitive slaves along the Underground Railroad, and both Edward and his father were active in church affairs. During the 1850s and 1860s New Haven had only three schools that black children could attend. Edward was enrolled in the Artisan Street Colored School, a small (only thirty seats), ungraded school with one teacher, Sarah Wilson, who played a crucial role in nurturing Bouchet’s academic abilities and his desire to learn....

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Bowen, Norman Levi (21 June 1887–11 September 1956), petrologist and educator, was born in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, the youngest son of William Alfred Bowen, an immigrant from London (Chigwell), England, and Eliza McCormick of Kingston. At the time of Bowen’s birth, his father was a guard at the Kingston Penitentiary, later became sexton of St. George’s Cathedral, and then was proprietor of a bakery. His older and only surviving brother, Charles Lewis Bowen (1879–1951), retained the bakery business....

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Bowman, Isaiah (26 December 1878–06 January 1950), geographer, geologist, and educator, was born at Berlin (now Kitchener), Ontario, Canada, the son of Samuel Cressman Bowman and Emily Shantz, farmers. When he was eight weeks old the family moved to a farm near Brown City, Michigan. After attending country schools, Bowman began teaching. At age twenty-one he enrolled in the Ferris Institute, a college preparatory school in Big Rapids, Michigan, where he was influenced by geographer Harlan H. Barrows. In 1900, after a year of intensive study, he entered the Normal School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he studied under ...