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Abbe, Cleveland (03 December 1838–28 October 1916), meteorologist and astronomer, was born in New York City, the eldest of seven children of George Waldo Abbe, a merchant, and Charlotte Colgate. He was educated at the New York Free Academy, now City College of New York (part of CUNY), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1857 and a master’s degree in 1860....

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Abbey, Edward (29 January 1927–14 March 1989), essayist, novelist, and radical ecologist, was born in Home, Pennsylvania, the son of Paul Revere Abbey, a farmer, and Mildred Postlewaite, a public schoolteacher. He was raised, with four siblings, on a hardscrabble farm. A turning point in late adolescence came out of some months of hitchhiking around the western United States, with which he ever after fervently identified himself....

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Abbot, Charles Greeley (31 May 1872–17 December 1973), astronomer, was born in Wilton, New Hampshire, the son of Harris Abbot and Caroline Ann Greeley, farmers. Abbott began the study of chemistry and physics at Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1894 with a thesis in chemical physics under the direction of ...

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Charles G. Abbot [left to right] Charles G. Abbot and Floyd Karker Richtmyer at the National Academy of Sciences meeting in Cleveland, OH, 1934. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114340).

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Abbot, John (31 May 1751–1840), artist-naturalist, was born in London, England, the son of John Abbot, an attorney in the court of King’s Bench, Plea side, and Ann Clousinger. (Although baptismal records list his birth date as 31 May, Abbot, in his “Notes on My Life” [1834], claimed he was born on 1 June.) Little is known about Abbot’s early education. The family rented a country home near London where young John read books and studied insects in the field. His father had a collection of good paintings and encouraged his son’s interests with books and arranged for home art lessons under the engraver and drawing master Jacob Bonneau. Nevertheless, Abbot’s career was assumed to be in law, and in February 1769 he began to clerk in his father’s law office. In his free time he continued to study insects, purchase books that illustrated insects and birds, and paint pictures. In 1770 Abbot exhibited two lepidoptera watercolors at the Society of Artists of Great Britain in London. By early 1773 he had determined to go to North America to collect and paint insects. The Royal Society of London and two English naturalists, Thomas Martyn and Dru Drury, commissioned Abbot to collect natural history specimens....

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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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Abell, George Ogden (01 March 1927–07 October 1983), astronomer and educator, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Theodore Curtis Abell, a Unitarian minister, and Annamarie Ogden. His marriage to Lois Everson in 1951, which produced two sons, ended in divorce in 1970; in 1972 he married Phyllis Fox....

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Acheson, Edward Goodrich (09 March 1856–06 July 1931), inventor and industrialist, was born in Washington, Pennsylvania, the son of William Acheson, a merchant and ironworks manager, and Sarah Diana Ruple. Acheson attended the Bellefonte Academy in Centre County, Pennsylvania, for three years, concentrating his studies on surveying. In 1872, at the age of sixteen, his formal education was brought to an abrupt end by a combination of that year’s financial panic and his father’s declining health. Acheson went to work as a timekeeper at Monticello Furnace, an ironworks operated by his father, where he developed his first invention, a drilling machine for coal mining. This yielded him his first patent, at age seventeen, but the device was awkward to use and by no means a commercial success....

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Adams, Charles Baker (11 January 1814–18 January 1853), naturalist and educator, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of Charles J. Adams, a Boston merchant, and Hannah Baker. At an early age Adams showed great interest and ability in natural history and chemistry. His parents encouraged him by setting aside a room for his rocks and fossils and the apparatus he used for chemistry experiments. He began his formal education at Boston schools and then attended Phillips Academy in Andover before entering Yale College in 1830. After a year at Yale he transferred to Amherst College, where he flourished, graduating in 1834 with highest honors. He entered the Theological Seminary at Andover with the intention of preparing for the ministry, but he left in 1836 to assist professor ...

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Adams, Comfort Avery (01 November 1868–21 February 1958), engineering professor and consulting engineer, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Comfort Avery Adams and Katherine Emily Peticolas. Although the family experienced stringent financial circumstances during Adams’s youth, he entered Case Institute of Applied Science (now part of Case Western Reserve University) after attending public schools in Cleveland. At Case he was laboratory assistant to a young physicist, ...