Monday 20 December 2010: Robert J. Van de Graaff's 109th birthday today
Robert J. Van de Graaff (1901-1967) was born on this day. He was a pioneering American nuclear/atomic physicist who created a particle accelerator that contributed to scientific understanding of the atom in the early years of the science. Robert was a fascinating man who made a significant contribution to physics, but who is known mostly for his prototype device - the Van de Graaff generator - which is still in use at the Museum of Science in Boston. Schools around the world use a scaled down version to demonstrate static electricity but the later versions were and are still in use as atom smashers, particle accelerators, ion cannons, and in them creation of isotopes. Much of Robert's work went into medical research. Fortunately, I am studying for my MA degree in Science and Technology Studies and have the privilege of researching Robert's papers - thousands of pages of which have never been seen. His son John got me onto blipping.
Yesterday's blip: Gotta love Scotland