Posts tagged science
Mary Anning

Do you believe anyone is capable of an amazing discovery, regardless of class or gender?

Mary Anning did.

Mary Anning was born in 1799, in a coastal village in Dorset, England. Hers was a working-class family and existence was tough. Short of food and creature comforts, the family also suffered through frequent seaside storms. These were sometimes so severe, Mary and her family had to climb out the second-floor windows of their home to escape the flooding. 

But it is said that every storm brings a silver lining. And, indeed, the wind and rain brought good fortune to the Annings in addition to hardship. This luck sent young Mary on a path to both career and accidental fame...

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Laika the Soviet Space DoG

Has anyone ever underestimated what you were capable of?

No one was prepared for Laika.

On November 3, 1957, a tiny capsule rocketed into space. Inside was the diminutive body of a fourteen-pound dog. The occupant was named Laika, and she had become the first creature in history to leave Earth for the stars, initiating the era of human space exploration. It was no small accomplishment for a stray that only a few days earlier had been fighting for scraps of food on the streets of Moscow.

Laika’s unlikely journey was borne out of the desperate need to prove that spaceflight was possible.

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Ada Lovelace

At the age of 14, Ada Lovelace (née Byron) wrote a book on flying machines, called Flyology, and constructed a pair of mechanical wings to help her take off. This may not sound spectacular today but it happened nearly a century before the Wright Brothers managed to get Kitty Hawk into the air. And that wasn’t even her most important intellectual legacy!

The privileged daughter of a famous British poet and a countess, she also invented the algorithm. If Alan Turing was the father of computing, Ada Lovelace was most certainly its grandmother…

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Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks saved millions of lives. For more than 60 years, she has been credited for helping cure polio as well as developing treatments for cancer. 

The only thing is... she never knew about her contribution to medical science!

Loretta Pleasant (she later changed her name to Henrietta) was an African-American woman born in the US state of Virginia in 1920. When she was four-years-old, her mother died giving birth to her tenth child. Unable to care for his large family, Henrietta's father sent his children to live among various relatives. Henrietta went to live with her grandfather, who raised her in a log cabin that sixty years before had been the slave quarters of a Southern plantation.

Like most members of her family, Henrietta went to work rather than to school. She helped to farm acres of Virginia tobacco fields. Life was hard....

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Jane Goodall

Today is #NationalWildlifeDay. And we've got the perfect  #HistoryHero to celebrate and commemorate this special event.

Even as a child, Jane Goodall loved animals. She liked to watch birds and to sketch them, as well as read zoology texts. As a five-year-old, she hid out in the family henhouse in order to discover where eggs came from. Her mother was frantic with worry. But when Jane emerged, wide-eyed with wonder, holding a newly hatched and still warm egg in her tiny hands, mum didn't have the heart to scold her little girl. Instead, she told Jane that if she worked hard, and took advantage of opportunities, she could be anything she wanted to be. But this was more easily said than done.

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Albert Einstein

Are you insatiably curious about the mysteries of the universe?

So was Albert Einstein.

In 1915, the then unknown German-born theoretical physicist introduced a groundbreaking idea to the world: he suggested that space is not “inert,” but that the momentum of objects, or energy, in combination with gravity fields cause it to bend and shift. He called it the Theory of General Relativity.

The scientific community was naturally skeptical. The reigning theory had been put forward 228 years before, in 1687, by none other than Sir Isaac Newton. But young Einstein felt that the legendary Englishman had missed an important factor in the essential equation: time.

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Sir Ernest Shackleton

How far would you go to explore the unknown?

Ernest Shackleton sailed to the ends of the Earth and gave us one of the greatest survival stories ever told.

Though born in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1874, Ernest Shackleton grew up, along with his nine siblings, in London. His father thought he'd make a great doctor and urged the boy to go to medical school. But Ernest had his eye set on the horizon. 

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The Astronauts of Apollo 13

What if you were thrown into a life-or-death situation hundreds of thousands of miles from home, while hurtling through space, with limiting stores of food, water and oxygen?

Would you freeze or answer the call for courage, like the astronauts of Apollo 13?

The Apollo 13 flight of 1970 is one of NASA's most famous and awe-inspiring missions – even though it failed to achieve its goals. The seventh flight in the Apollo space program, Apollo 13 was intended to land on the moon. Just two days after launch, however, the crew was forced to abort their lunar landing mission when one of the ship's oxygen tanks exploded. The astronauts aboard – Commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert Jr., and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise – may as well have been presumed dead.

But the astronauts’ ingenious problem-solving skills saved the day.

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Beatrix Potter

Do you demand – and passionately pursue – everything life has to offer?

Beatrix Potter did.

Most of you will know Beatrix Potter's name from the beautifully illustrated children's books, such as the tale of the infamous Peter Rabbit. And it's true, Potter was a prolific children's author/illustrator, crafting delicate nursery rhymes accompanied by realistic, yet whimsical, animal sketches.

What you probably don't know was that Potter was a true jack-of-all-trades. In addition to self-publishing her own children's books – at least initially – she also excelled in business, conservationism, farming, and sheep breeding.

But it all started with mycology: the scientific study of fungi.

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