conducted some of the first research into
electromagnetic radiation; developed equipment
for generating, transmitting, and receiving radio
waves; demonstrated the properties of what we now
know as microwaves; and demonstrated that plants
respond to various stimuli as if they have a
central nervous system.
first gained fame for his research on
the organs of hearing and genitourinary tract of
birds, but is today best known for his study of
"animal electricity." In the latter, he
found that muscular contractions are caused by
electricity generated within the body and carried
gained great acclaim as a scientist after
spending five years trekking through South
America. The volumes of observations he made
during the expedition covered a wide range of
subjects, including botany, volcanoes,
meteorology, astronomy, and geography.
used a telescope he made himself to discover
Saturn's rings, to become the first to observe
surface markings on Mars, and to discover the
giant nebula in the constellation of Orion. While
studying how forces act on a body moving in a
circle, he designed and built the world's first
accurate mechanical chronometer.
discovered the process of using heat to kill
germs now known as pasteurization. He
subsequently developed the theory of vaccination,
and then developed vaccines for chicken cholera,
anthrax, and rabies.
spent much of his early adulthood exploring and
studying the natural history of Wisconsin,
Illinois, and the surrounding region. After
losing an arm in the Civil War, he led
expeditions to Colorado and down the Colorado
River. He also studied Native American customs
and myths, and served as director of the U.S.
Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford
developed a theory of heat that helped found the
branch of physics known as thermodynamics. He
also investigated the insulating
properties of various materials and correctly
determined that the insulating properties of
these natural materials arise from the fact that
they inhibit the convection of air.
proved that vacuums must be created because there
are no natural ones. The experiments he carried
out on vacuums led him to discover that the
atmosphere has weight, and that that weight can
be accurately measured using a tube of mercury
(what we now call a barometer).