FASCINATING FACTS: 15 Facts About Famous Inventors

Everyday life is constantly changing and improving, thanks to the ingenious ideas of famous inventors of past and present. The world we live in today would have been a different place if it weren’t for the amazing discoveries of these scientists. These Scientists have pushed the world of science forward, allowing the human race to answer impossible questions and mysteries, and opening the door to new fields of research and discovery. There are lots of less known facts about these inventors you might not be aware of and you should know. Following is a list of 15 less known facts inventors.

1. Isaac Newton described the movement of water from roots to leaves in his college notes in 1660 before it was first widely proposed in 1895.

Image courtesy: THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY(taken from)

The process of water moving from the roots to the leaves (transpiration) was first widely proposed in 1895 and similar process was penned by Isaac Newton during his undergraduate years in 1660’s. This has been assessed by Professor David Beerling (University of Sheffield), and published in the journal “Nature Plants”. Beerling thinks that Newton’s use of the word “pores” might actually refer to water-conducting tissues inside stems, rather than the underside of leaves. Beerling writes “We have no idea how long Newton spent thinking about the workings of plants or what prompted these thoughts”. (source)

2. Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant in 1903 to demonstrate the dangers of Alternating Current.

In January 1903, Thomas Edison proved the dangers of alternating current by electrocuting an elephant named Topsy at Luna Park Zoo on Coney Island. To demonstrate that his DC system was better and “safer,” Edison noted that AC had a lethal potential and could be used to electrocute. Topsy was fed carrots laced with cyanide and then electrocuted with 6,000-volts AC. Topsy’s execution was a public spectacle, approximately 1,500 people attended and Edison even filmed the event. Wooden sandals with copper electrodes were attached to Topsy’s feet and a copper wire run to Edison’s electric light plant. (source)

3. Stephen Hawking can only speak one word per minute. He does this by twitching his cheek to control a cursor on a screen. Intel hopes to boost Stephen Hawking’s speech to ten words per minute.

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Stephen Hawking has continued to work throughout his disease, publishing books such as 2010’s “The Grand Design”. He can only speak one word per minute. He does this by twitching his cheek to control a cursor on screen. Despite his influential body of work, Hawking hasn’t yet been awarded the Nobel Prize. Intel has built a new character-driven interface that can bring Hawking’s speech up to five or even ten words per minute. (source)

4. James Watson, who discovered the helical structure of DNA, believes that stupidity is a disease and stupid people should be “cured”, people from Africa are inherently less intelligent, and that he would never hire a fat person.

Image source: imgur

James Watson is one of the scientists who discovered the helical structure of DNA. He has often expressed provoking concepts and disparaging opinions of others within the realm of genetic research. He believes that stupidity is a disease and stupid people should be “cured”, and he says that people from Africa are inherently less intelligent and that he would never hire a fat person due to issue of obesity. The wording on the DNA sculpture was donated by Watson. (source)

5. Marie Curie was a pioneer in the study of radiation and her research papers are still radioactive. To access them you must need protective clothing and must sign a waiver of liability.

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Marie Curie discovered the elements polonium and radium. Her papers, furniture, even cookbooks – are still radioactive. To open the lead-lined boxes containing her manuscripts, you must sign a waiver of liability and wear protective clothes. Marie decided to research on uranium rays discovered by Henri Becquerel as a possible field of research for her thesis. She used an innovative technique to investigate samples. Further radioactivity phenomenon demonstrated the atoms, smallest possible constituent of matter which could originate from even smaller particles. It was their first discovery of the new science of particle physics. She is the only person who has ever won Nobel Prizes in both physics and chemistry. (source)

6. Before 1929, most scientists, including Einstein thought the universe just “was there” from the start and was unchanging in its size. Einstein realized he was wrong when he came to know about Hubble’s findings in 1930.

Image source: discovermagazine.com

Einstein’s equations told him that the universe could not stay static, it had to either expand or contract. But, he ignored what his mathematics was telling him. Astronomical knowledge of the time told Einstein that the universe was unchanging in its size. In 1930, Edwin Hubble, studied the redshift of distant galaxies and concluded that our universe is expanding by using the most powerful telescope on Earth. When Einstein came to know about Hubble’s findings, he traveled to California and met him. At the Mount Wilson Observatory, he saw the massive data set on distant galaxies that had led to “Hubble’s law” describing the expansion of the universe and realized he was wrong all the time. (source)

7. Rudolf Diesel, Inventor of the Diesel engine, committed suicide in 1913 because he thought his invention would not be successful.

Image source: www.corporate.man.eu

In the early 1900s, many observers thought the combustion engine would not stand before steam powered cars or electric cars. Rudolf Diesel, who invented the Diesel engine during the 1890s, committed suicide in 1913 because he didn’t think his invention would be successful. But within four decades after his death his invention dominated the large marine and truck market  and much later (by the 1990s) it took a significant share of the European automotive market. (source)

8. When Einstein died in 1955, a small brown notebook referred as “Zurich notebook” containing his private calculations about his theory of relativity, was found which has been posted online for everyone to see.

Image source: www.abc.net.au

Einstein’s general theory of relativity stands above all as his greatest achievement. His search for general relativity spanned eight years. In 1955 when Einstein died, a small brown notebook “Notes for Lectures on Relativity” containing his private calculations was found among his papers. He wrote equations linking space, time, matter, and gravity every bit as beautiful as Shakespeare’s sonnets, but written in the universal language of mathematics. Every time a new test is devised Einstein’s theory wins. (source)

9. Robert Augustus Chesebrough, who invented Vaseline, was such a believer in Vaseline that he used to eat a spoonful of it every day.

Image source: dailymail.co.uk

Robert Augustus Chesebrough was an American chemist. He discovered petroleum jelly which he marketed as Vaseline and he founded the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company. He claimed to have eaten a spoonful of it every day. Before selling petroleum jelly, he tested it on his own cuts and burns. To demonstrate this, he would burn his skin with acid or an open flame, then spread the clear jelly on his injuries and would show past injuries which got healed. (source)

10. Niels Bohr was gifted a house with direct pipeline of Free Beer by Carlsberg after he won the Nobel Prize in 1922.

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Niels Bohr was one of the greatest scientists, he was also a favorite of his fellow Danes when he lived in Copenhagen. After he won the Nobel Prize in 1922, the Carlsberg brewery gave him a house as a gift located next to the brewery. This house had a direct pipeline to the brewery so that Bohr had free beer on tap whenever he wanted. Bohr founded the Institute for Theoretical Physics in 1921 with the help of the Danish government and Carlsberg’s Foundation. (source)

11. Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec invented stethoscope because he was not comfortable by placing his face on a younger woman’s chest.

Image source: publicacionesmedicina.uc.cl

Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec was a French physician who invented Stethoscope in 1816 because he was unwilling to start immediate auscultation (placing the doctor’s ear on the patient’s chest) because of the age, sex, and plumpness of the patient. Laennec recalled his acoustic phenomenon in which he observed children’s wood borne signaling. It was this observation that inspired him with invention of the stethoscope. Laennec spent three years testing various types of materials to make tubes, perfecting his design and listening to the chest findings of patients with pneumonia. Laennec’s wooden tube was the first true stethoscope. Laennec perfected the art of physical examination of the chest and introduced many clinical terms still used today. (source)

12. John Shepherd-Barron invented ATM machine. ATM PINs were originally intended to have six digits, but were reduced to four because John’s wife could only remember 4 digits.

Image source: telegraph.co.uk

John Shepherd-Barron came up with the idea of ATM machine when he was taking a bath. Initially, he thought of keeping 6-digit ATM pin as he could remember his six-figure army number but after discussing with his wife, he changed it to 4 digits as she could only remember 4 digits. Thus, four figures became the world standard. The world’s first ATM was installed in a branch of Barclays in Enfield, north London. The use of ATMs really started to take hold around 1973, when 2,000 machines were sold and installed in the United States. Today, it’s estimated there are around 2 million ATMs around the globe. (source)

13. Erno Rubik invented Rubik’s Cube (Magic Cube) to build a structure to help explain three-dimensional geometry which became best selling toy of all time.

Image source: gdb.voanews.com

Erno Rubik invented Magic Cube because he wanted to build a structure with pieces that move independently without falling apart. He had no idea that he was creating the best-selling toy of all time. Magic cube is made up of twenty-six miniature cubes and it won Toy of the Year in 1980 and 1981. It took him over a month to work out the solution to his puzzle. A guide to solving the cube became a best seller. This puzzle even had its own TV show. (source)

14. In 1920, Earle Dickson invented band-aid for his wife, who used to cut or burned herself while cooking.

Image source: www.kilmerhouse.com

Band-Aids were discovered by Johnson & Johnson employee Earle Dickson for his wife Josephine, who frequently cut and burned herself while cooking. The original Band-Aids were handmade and not very popular. By 1924, Johnson & Johnson introduced a machine that produced sterilized Band-Aids. In 1951, the first decorative Band-Aids were introduced and sales took off. Moreover, it became a commercial success with some famous themes such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Superman, Spider-Man, Hello Kitty, Rocket Power, Rugrats, smiley faces, Barbie, Dora the Explorer, Batman, and Duck Dynasty. (source)

15. Nikola Tesla “cured” Mark Twain of his constipation with an electrical charge.

Image source: i0.wp.com

Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain became friends after Tesla cured Twain of his constipation by passing an electrical current through his body. Telsa’s device was actually a high frequency oscillator. Both of them also loved to use Tesla’s X-ray gun against sheets of undeveloped film to capture the images, including several x-rays of Mark Twain’s skull. (source)


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