Persi Diaconis shuffled and cut the deck of cards I’d brought for him, while I promised not to reveal his secrets. “I’m not going to give you the chance,” he retorted. | Quanta Magazine
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was born in Russia in 1857. The fifth of eighteen children, Tsiolkovsky first imagined a place without gravity when he was 8. It was a small hydrogen-filled ballon that rose to the ceiling each time he let it go that excited his imagination. Tsiolkovsky’s mother taught him to read and write. Before […]
Russian Rocketman Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, truly a “Citizen of the Universe,” introduced these Sixteen Stages of Space Exploration in 1926. He believed that these incremental steps would bring man into space and allow him to thrive: Design of rocket-propelled airplanes with wings. Progressively increasing the speeds and altitudes reached with these airplanes.
Three men, working independently in three different countries, were at the forefront of liquid-fueled rocket development. Although all three did their work at the start of the 20th century, none of them knew of the others’ work in time to use that work in their investigations, yet all three had one important thing in common.
Daniel Bernoulli’s (1700-1782) work is integral to the field of aerodynamics. It explains the way that air moves over a curved surface. As the air moves up and over the curved surface of an airplane wing, it must flow more quickly than the air moving in a straight path across the underside of the wing. […]
In 1644, Evangelista Toricelli wrote, “We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air.” We don’t fee the force of the pressure of this fluid any more than aquatic creatures feel the force of the water on all sides. Why? Because there is a uniformity of pressure in both cases; gravity exerts pressure on all sides.
It’s easy for us to look back and assume that everything went smoothly for those who were the first with an amazing idea. It’s also easy for us to miss the fact that ideas that are commonly accepted now were once wild ideas in the view of the established schools of thought. The most obvious examples are the ideas that were considered heretical by the Catholic church, but those were not the only ideas that brought ridicule to visionaries in their time. Sometimes the ridicule came from other men of science.
I’m tremendously interested in the ways technology evolved in the 20th century. There are so many things we use today that simply didn’t exist at the end of the 1800’s. And yet here we are, taking ocean voyages on vessels with gyroscopes to stabilize them, watching planes take off from the deck of carriers, lighting […]