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Saturday, 31 May 2014

This CARPENTER'S SON, with his passion became a Pharmacologist & received a nobel prize!!!

Louis J. Ignarro (born May 31, 1941) is an American pharmacologistFor demonstrating the signaling properties of nitric oxide, he was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Robert F. Furchgott and Ferid Murad. Born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, his parents were Italian immigrants and his father was a carpenter in Torre del Greco, near Naples. Ignarro grew up inLong Beach, NY, which is a suburb of New York City, NY on the south shore of Long Island, NY. Ignarro received his first chemistry set as a gift at the age of 8.

He is an avid cyclist and marathoner, having completed 13 marathons. Ignarro has published multiple books for lay audiences about health and wellness focusing on the benefits of increasing nitric oxide production. He is a frequent public speaker on these and related topics. He is the founder of the Nitric Oxide Society, and founder and editor-in-chief of Nitric Oxide Biology and Chemistry. Ignarro holds a B.S. in pharmacy, Columbia University, 1962, and a Ph.D. in pharmacology, University of Minnesota, School of Medicine, 1966. He also received a postdoctoral fellowship in chemical pharmacology from National Institutes of Health in 1968. 

Currently, he is professor of pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine's department of molecular and medical pharmacology in Los Angeles, which he joined in 1985. Before relocating to California, he was a professor of pharmacology at Tulane UniversitySchool of Medicine, New Orleans, for 12 years. Ignarro has also previously worked as a staff scientist, research department, for the pharmaceutical division of CIBA-GEIGY Corporation in New York. Ignarro has published numerous research articles. 

He received the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association in 1998. This was in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular science. That same year, he was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences and the following year, into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Because nitric oxide is indirectly involved in the action of this drug, he is sometimes referred to as the "Father of Viagra".

Ignarro attended Central Grade School and Long Beach High School. A strong interest in science led Ignarro to Columbia University where he studied chemistry and pharmacology and in 1962 received a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. Ignarro then attended the University of Minnesota where he received a Ph.D. in pharmacology. His university studies also concentrated in chemistry, enzymology and cardiovascular physiology, which resulted in several published papers. While at the University of Minnesota, Ignarro studied under eventual Nobel Prize winning chemist Paul Boyer.

Ignarro's work continued at the NIH in the fields he'd studied, collaborating with many other scientists to discover regulatory mechanisms of the cardiovascular system that would lead to his most famous work. This was his first time to apply his education outside of an academic setting. In 1968, Ignarro left the NIH to work for Geigy Pharmaceuticals. With this company, Ignarro helped develop new drugs and was able to continue research into new areas of pharmacology including cyclic GMP. After Geigy merged with Ciba Pharmaceuticals, Ignarro decided to move back to the world of academia, this time as a professor.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Ran away from home twice, sent to be a monk; but ended up becoming one of the first to climb Mt. Everest!!!

It has been a long road ... From a mountain coolie, a bearer of loads, to a wearer of a coat with rows of medals who is carried about in planes and worries about income tax.” - Tenzing Norgay

Tenzing Norgay OSN GM (late May 1914 – 9 May 1986), born Namgyal Wangdi and often referred to as Sherpa Tenzing, was a Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer. Among the most famous mountain climbers in history, he was one of the first two individuals known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953. He was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

His exact date of birth is not known, but he knew it was in late May by the weather and the crops. After his ascent of Everest on 29 May, he decided to celebrate his birthday on that day thereafter. His year of birth according to the Tibetan Calendar was the Year of the Rabbit, making it likely that he was born in 1914.

He was originally called "Namgyal Wangdi", but as a child his name was changed on the advice of the head lama and founder of the famous Rongbuk Monastery, Ngawang Tenzin Norbu. Tenzing Norgay translates as "wealthy-fortunate-follower-of-religion". His father, a yak herder, was Ghang La Mingma and his mother was Dokmo Kinzom; he was the 11th of 13 children, most of whom died young.

He ran away from home twice in his teens, first to Kathmandu and later Darjeeling. He was once sent to Tengboche Monastery to be a monk, but he decided that it was not for him, and departed. At the age of 19, he eventually settled in the Sherpa community in Too Song Bhusti in Darjeeling.

Tenzing got his first opportunity to join an Everest expedition when he was employed by Eric Shipton, leader of the reconnaissance expedition in 1935. As a 20-year-old his chance came when two of the others failed their medical test. Tenzing took part as a high-altitude porter in three official British attempts to climb Everest from the northern Tibetan side in the 1930s. He also took part in other climbs in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. 

In 1947, he took part in an unsuccessful summit attempt of Everest. Canadian-born Earl Denman, Ange Dawa Sherpa, and Tenzing entered Tibet illegally to attempt the mountain; the attempt ended when a strong storm at 22,000 ft (6,700 m) pounded them. Denman admitted defeat and all three turned around and safely returned. In 1947 he became a sirdar of a Swiss expedition for the first time following a magnificent performance in the rescue of Sirdar Wangdi Norbu who had fallen and been seriously injured. The same year he climbed Kedarnath peak in the western Garhwal Himalaya – the first ascent of the peak.

In 1952, he took part in the two Swiss expeditions led by Edouard Wyss-Dunant (spring) and Gabriel Chevalley (autumn), the first serious attempts to climb Everest from the southern (Nepalese) side, after two previous US and British reconnaissance expeditions in 1950 and 1951. Raymond Lambert and Tenzing Norgay were able to reach a height of about 8,595 metres (28,199 ft) on the southeast ridge, setting a new climbing altitude record. The expedition opened up a new route on Everest that was successfully climbed the next year. 

Tenzing Norgay and Raymond Lambert reached on 28 May the then-record height of 8,600 metres (28,200 ft), and this expedition, during which Tenzing was for the first time considered a full expedition member ("the greatest honour that had ever been paid me") forged a lasting friendship between Tenzing Norgay and his Swiss friends, in particular Raymond Lambert. During the autumn expedition, the team was stopped by bad weather after reaching an altitude of 8,100 metres (26,575 ft).

In 1953, he took part in John Hunt's expedition, his own seventh expedition to Everest. A member of the team was Edmund Hillary, who had a near-miss following a fall into a crevasse, but was saved from hitting the bottom by Tenzing's prompt action in securing the rope using his ice axe, which led Hillary to consider him the climbing partner of choice for any future summit attempt.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

This Basket weaver's son was not disheartened because of permanent eye damage & rejection in medical school and received nobel!!

Julius Axelrod (May 30, 1912 – December 29, 2004) was an American biochemistHe won a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1970 along with Bernard Katz and Ulf von Euler. The Nobel Committee honored him for his work on the release and reuptake of catecholamine neurotransmitters, a class of chemicals in the brain that include epinephrinenorepinephrine, and, as was later discovered, dopamine. Axelrod also made major contributions to the understanding of the pineal gland and how it is regulated during the sleep-wake cycle.

Axelrod was born in New York City, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Molly (née Leichtling) and Isadore Axelrod, a basket weaver. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from the College of the City of New York in 1933. Axelrod wanted to become a physician, but was rejected from every medical school to which he applied. He worked briefly as a laboratory technician at New York University, then in 1935 he got a job with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene testing vitamin supplements added to food. He injured his left eye when an ammonia bottle in the lab exploded; he would wear an eyepatch for the rest of his life. While working at the Department of Health, he attended night school and received his master's in sciences degree from New York University in 1941. 

The research experience and mentorship Axelrod received from Brodie at Goldwater Memorial Hospital launched him on his research career. Brodie and Axelrod's research focused on how analgesics (pain-killers) work. During the 1940s, users of non-aspirin analgesics were developing a blood condition known as methemoglobinemia. Axelrod and Brodie discovered that acetanilide, the main ingredient of these pain-killers, was to blame. They found that one of the metabolites also was an analgesic. They recommended that this metabolite, acetaminophen (paracetamol), better known as Tylenol, be used instead.

He examined the mechanisms and effects of caffeine, which led him to an interest in the sympathetic nervous system and its main neurotransmitters, epinephrine and norepinephrine. During this time, Axelrod also conducted research on codeinemorphinemethamphetamine, and ephedrine and performed some of the first experiments on LSDRealizing that he could not advance his career without a PhD, he took a leave of absence from the NIH in 1954 to attend George Washington University Medical School. Allowed to submit some of his previous research toward his degree, he graduated one year later, in 1955. Axelrod then returned to the NIH and began some of the key research of his career. 

Axelrod received his Nobel Prize for his work on the release, reuptake, and storage of the neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline.  Some of Axelrod's later research focused on the pineal gland. He and his colleagues showed that the hormone melatonin is generated from tryptophan, as is the neurotransmitter serotonin.  He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1971. He continued to work at the National Institute of Mental Health at the NIH until his death in 2004. Much of his papers and awards are held at the National Library of Medicine.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

This first female radio astronomer had to give up her position at office for marriage!!!

Ruby Violet Payne-Scott, BSc(Phys) MSc DipEd(Syd) (28 May 1912 – 25 May 1981) was an Australian pioneer in radio physics and radio astronomy, and was the first female radio astronomer. Payne-Scott was born on 28 May 1912 in Grafton, New South Wales, the daughter of Cyril Payne-Scott and his wife Amy (née Neale). She later moved to Sydney to live with her aunt. She attended the Penrith Public Primary School from 1921 to 1924.She attended the Cleveland-Street Girls' High School in Sydney from 1925 to 1926. She completed secondary schooling at Sydney Girls High School. Her school Leaving Certificate included honours in mathematics and botany.

She won two scholarships to undertake tertiary education at the University of Sydney, where she studied physics, chemistry, mathematics and botany. She completed a B.Sc. in Physics in 1933, an M.Sc. in Physics in 1936, and a Diploma of Education in 1938. One of the more outstanding physicists that Australia has ever produced and one of the first people in the world to consider the possibility of radio astronomy, and thereby responsible for what is now a fundamental part of the modern lexicon of science, she was often the only woman in her classes at the University of Sydney.

In 1936 she conducted research with William H. Love at the Cancer Research Laboratory at the University of Sydney. They determined that the magnetism of the earth had little or no effect on the vital processes of beings living on the earth by cultivating chick embryos with no observable differences despite being in magnetic fields up to 5000 times as powerful as that of the earth. Some decades earlier it was a widely held belief that the earth's magnetic field produced extensive effects on human beings, and many people would sleep only with the head to the north and the body parallel to the magnetic meridian.

Her career arguably reached its zenith while working for the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (then called CSIR, now known as CSIRO) at Dover HeightsHornsby and especially Potts Hill in Sydney. Some of her fundamental contributions to solar radio astronomy came at the end of this period. She is the discoverer of Type I and Type III bursts and participated in the recognition of Type II and IV bursts. 

Payne-Scott played a major role in the first-ever radio astronomical interferometer observation from 26 January 1946, when the sea-cliff interferometer was used to determine the position and angular size of a solar burst. This observation occurred at either Dover Heights (ex Army shore defence radar) or at Beacon Hill, near Collaroy on Sydney's north shore (ex Royal Australian Air Force surveillance radar establishment - however this radar did not become active until early 1950).

During World War II, she was engaged in top secret work investigating radar. She was the expert on the detection of aircraft using PPI (Plan Position Indicator) displays.The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was interested in Payne-Scott and had a substantial file on her activities, with some distortions. Ruby Payne-Scott and William ("Bill") Holman Hall secretly married in 1944; at this time, the Commonwealth government had legislated that a married woman could not hold a permanent position within the public service.

Ruby Payne-Scott died in Mortdale, New South Wales, 25 May 1981, three days short of her 69th birthday. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease in the last years of her life.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Father of the modern day hot air balloon!!!

Paul Edward Yost (June 30, 1919 – May 27, 2007) was the American inventor of the modern hot air balloon and is referred to as the "Father of the Modern Day Hot-Air Balloon." He worked for a high altitude research division of General Mills when he helped establish Raven Industries in 1956.

Born on a farm 7 miles south of Bristow, Iowa, Yost first became involved in lighter-than-air ballooning when he leased his single-engine plane to General Mills to track their gas balloons. He became a senior engineer in the development of high-altitude research balloons. In the 1950s, Yost's own interests turned toward reviving the lost practice of manned hot-air ballooning. 

This technology had first been invented in France by in the late 18th century by pioneers led by the Montgolfier brothers, but under the Montgolfier system the balloon's air was heated by a ground fire prior to the balloon being released. The inherent danger of this type of balloon flight led to the system being abandoned when hydrogen and later helium became available.

One of Yost's key engineering insights was that a hot-air balloon could be made to carry its own fuel. The invention of relatively light burners fueled by bottled propane made it possible for the balloonist to re-heat the air inside the balloon for a longer flight. Yost’s invention improved modern hot-air balloons into semi-maneuverable aircraft. 

Yost's other hot-air balloon patents included nonporous synthetic fabrics, maneuvering vents, and deflation systems for landing. Yost also designed the distinctive “teardrop” shape of the hot air balloon envelope itself. This hot-air balloon image has become an icon, used for example on the standard license plate of motor vehicles registered in New Mexico.

In October 1955, Yost developed and flew the first prototype of the modern hot air balloon in a tethered flight. The envelope was plastic film, and heat was provided by burning kerosene. This prototype flight uncovered conceptual flaws that Yost worked to overcome.

On October 22, 1960, Yost made the first-ever free flight of a modern hot air balloon from Bruning, Nebraska. His balloon flew untethered for 1 hour and 35 minutes (1:35) with the aid of heat generated by a propane burner. The balloon's 40-foot (12 m) envelope was sewn from heat-resistant fabric especially selected by Yost for this purpose. After further refining and improving on this designs and materials, in 1963 Yost piloted the first modern balloon flight across the English Channel with crew member Don Piccard in a balloon later named the “Channel Champ.”

In 1976, Yost set 13 aviation world’s records for distance traveled and amount of time aloft in his attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean —solo— by balloon. He designed and built his balloon, the “Silver Fox," himself, partly in his home garage. It featured a gondola that was shaped like a boat in the event that he would be forced down at sea — which is precisely what occurred. Although he had traveled far in excess of the distance needed to reach Europe from his launch point off the coast of Maine — his flight path began to point South rather than the hoped-for East direction due to inaccurate weather forecasting. The dream was achieved two years later with Yost’s assistance in a Yost-built balloon,Double Eagle II.

Yost also contributed to the advancement of the sport of ballooning and lighter-than-air flight. He helped to found the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) and assisted in the organization of the first U.S. National Ballooning Championship at Indianola, Iowa. Yost founded the Balloon Historical Society (BHS) in 2002, which dedicated four monuments on the rim of the Stratobowl on July 28, 2004 to memorialize the Stratobowl projects in the 1930s as well as the second flight of a modern hot air balloon. On May 27, 2007, Yost died of a heart attack at the age of 87 at his home in Vadito, near Taos, New Mexico. He was buried in the Allison cemetery in AllisonIowa.

Monday, 26 May 2014

ISAAC NEWTON referred him to answer questions; played chess for a living despite remarkable work on probability & annuity!!!

Abraham de Moivre (26 May 1667 - 27 November 1754) was a French mathematician known for de Moivre's formula, one of those that link complex numbers and trigonometry, and for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory. He was a friend of Isaac Newton,Edmund Halley, and James Stirling. Among his fellow Huguenot exiles inEngland, he was a colleague of the editor and translator Pierre des Maizeaux.

De Moivre wrote a book on probability theoryThe Doctrine of Chances, said to have been prized by gamblers. De Moivre first discovered Binet's formula, the closed-form expression for Fibonacci numbers linking the nth power of the golden ratio φ to the nth Fibonacci number.

Abraham de Moivre was born in Vitry in Champagne on May 26, 1667. His father, Daniel de Moivre, was a surgeon who, though middle class, believed in the value of education. He first attended Christian Brothers' Catholic school in Vitry. When he was eleven, his parents sent him to the Protestant Academy at Sedan, where he spent four years studying Greek under Jacques du Rondel.

In 1682 the Protestant Academy at Sedan was suppressed, and de Moivre enrolled to study logic at Saumur for two years. Although mathematics was not part of his course work, de Moivre read several works on mathematics on his own including Elements de Mathematiques by Father Prestet and a short treatise on games of chance, De Ratiociniis in Ludo Aleae, by Christiaan Huygens. In 1684, de Moivre moved to Paris to study physics, and for the first time had formal mathematics training with private lessons from Jacques Ozanam.

By the time he arrived in London, de Moivre was a competent mathematician with a good knowledge of many of the standard texts. To make a living, de Moivre became a private tutor of mathematics, visiting his pupils or teaching in the coffee houses of London. De Moivre continued his studies of mathematics after visiting the Earl of Devonshire and seeing Newton's recent book, Principia Mathematica. Looking through the book, he realized that it was far deeper than the books that he had studied previously, and he became determined to read and understand it. 

However, as he was required to take extended walks around London to travel between his students, de Moivre had little time for study, so he tore pages from the book and carried them around in his pocket to read between lessons. Eventually, de Moivre become so knowledgeable about the material that Newton referred questions to him, saying, "Go to Mr. de Moivre. He knows these things better than I do."

By 1692, de Moivre became friends with Edmond Halley and soon after with Isaac Newton himself. In 1695, Halley communicated de Moivre's first mathematics paper, which arose from his study of fluxions in the Principia Mathematica, to the Royal Society. This paper was published in the Philosophical Transactions that same year. Shortly after publishing this paper, de Moivre also generalized Newton's noteworthy binomial theorem into the multinomial theorem

The Royal Society became apprised of this method in 1697, and it made de Moivre a member two months later. After de Moivre had been accepted, Halley encouraged him to turn his attention to astronomy. In 1705, de Moivre discovered, intuitively, that "the centripetal force of any planet is directly related to its distance from the centre of the forces and reciprocally related to the product of the diameter of the evolute and the cube of the perpendicular on the tangent." 

In other words, if a planet, M, follows an elliptical orbit around a focus F and has a point P where PM is tangent to the curve and FPM is a right angle so that FP is the perpendicular to the tangent, then the centripetal force at point P is proportional to FM/(R*(FP)3) where R is the radius of the curvature at M. The mathematician Johann Bernoulli proved this formula in 1710.

Throughout his life de Moivre remained poor. It is reported that he was a regular customer of Slaughter's Coffee House, St. Martin's Lane at Cranbourn Street, where he earned a little money from playing chess. De Moivre continued studying the fields of probability and mathematics until his death in 1754 and several additional papers were published after his death. As he grew older, he became increasingly lethargic and needed longer sleeping hours. He noted that he was sleeping an extra 15 minutes each night and correctly calculated the date of his death on the day when the additional sleep time accumulated to 24 hours, November 27, 1754.

De Moivre pioneered the development of analytic geometry and the theory of probability by expanding upon the work of his predecessors, particularly Christiaan Huygens and several members of the Bernoulli family. He also produced the second textbook on probability theory, The Doctrine of Chances: a method of calculating the probabilities of events in play. (The first book about games of chance, Liber de ludo aleae (On Casting the Die), was written by Girolamo Cardano in the 1560s, but it was not published until 1663.) 

This book came out in four editions, 1711 in Latin, and in English in 1718, 1738, and 1756. In the later editions of his book, de Moivre included his unpublished result of 1733, which is the first statement of an approximation to the binomial distribution in terms of what we now call the normal or Gaussian function. 

However de Moivre is not usually credited with the invention of the normal distribution because he did not identify the curve as a probability density—it was just a function to be integrated. This was the first method of finding the probability of the occurrence of an error of a given size when that error is expressed in terms of the variability of the distribution as a unit, and the first identification of the calculation of probable error. In addition, he applied these theories to gambling problems and actuarial tables.

De Moivre also published an article called "Annuities upon Lives" in which he revealed the normal distribution of the mortality rate over a person’s age. From this he produced a simple formula for approximating the revenue produced by annual payments based on a person’s age. This is similar to the types of formulas used by insurance companies today.