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Physical Review Letters Milestones 1958-1969

Data re-ordered and summarized from much lengthier, reviewed and abstracted summaries from:
Letters from the Past – A PRL Retrospective
Gene D. Sprouse
Editor-in-Chief, APS

1969 High-Energy Inelastic e-p Scattering at 6° and 10°
E. D. Bloom, D. H. Coward, H. DeStaebler, J. Drees, G. Miller, L. W. Mo, R. E. Taylor, M. Breidenbach, J. I. Friedman, G. C. Hartmann, and H. W. Kendall
Phys. Rev. Lett. 23, 930 (1969) NOBEL 1990

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1285

This is the first of seven installments on introducing 17th and 18th century children to wide ideas. The text and images all come from the 1726 English translation of John Comenius' Orbita Pictus, and cover the following territory: Part 1, Occupations; Part 2, Anatomy; Part 3, Books and Book Arts; Part 4, the Sciences; Part 5, Morals and Philosophy; Part 6, Games and the Arts; and Part 7, the Military.

"O Babees yonge, my Book only is made for youre lernynge” says what well may be the first book made in the West for children, written in the 14th century. It was made for the eyes of noble blood, of course, and was basically a contribution towards how the children should act and behave, rather than teaching them anything outside of their immediate interactions with each other or their parents. Books of manner and behavior was the dominant—if perhaps the only(?)—category of books for children until the late 16th century.

John Locke, in his Thoughts on Education (1691), suggests that "when a child begins to read, some easy, pleasant book, like Aesop's Fables or Reynard the Fox, with pictures if possible, should be put into his hands". He adds, "What other books there are in English of the kind above-mentioned, fit to engage the liking of children, and tempt them to read, I do not know, but am apt to think, that children, being generally delivered over to the method of schools, where the fear of the rod is to enforce, and not any pleasure of the employment to invite them to learn, this sort of useful books, amongst the number of silly ones that are of all sorts, yet have had the fate to be neglected; and nothing that I know has been considered of this kind out of the ordinary road of the hornbook, primer, Psalter, Testament, and Bible." (This quote from C.M. Watkins article in The Atlantic Monthly, 1880.)


Perhaps the most beautiful of early books for children is found behind this deeply designed title page, brought to us by Christoph Weigel (German, 1654-1726), the author, illustrator and engraver of Die Welt in einer Nuss oder die Historien vom Aufgang der Welt1 published in Nurnberg in 1726. The book was a tall, thin production, with 16 pages of text and 43 engraved plates, much like this one, emblazoned with emblematic studies and dedicated to a particular point in the historical continuum. And it was intended, believe it or not, for children—the title can be basically translated as “The World in a Nutshell” and was absolutely intended for kids, compressing all of the human story into 16 terse pages and a whole bunch of gorgeous illustration. This image shows the second millennium after the birth of Christ, illustrated with seven engravings (secula septem).

But the first of all of the encyucloepdia-like books fasiohioned for children–and the first with illustratiions–belongs to the very well studied 13. The fteeple-crowned, 15. add te thefe The bald-pated, 14.

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The Plow-man, i. yoketh Oxen, 3. to a Plough, 2. and holding the Flow-Rïlt, 4. in his left hand, and the Plow-ftaff, 5. in his right hand, ivith 'which he remcveth Clods, 6. he еutteth the Land {ivhich ivas manured afore ,uiifh Dung, 8.) with a Share, 7. and a Coulter, and makethFurrows, 9. Then he foweth the Seed, 10. and harroweth it in with a Harrow, 11. The Reaper, I2. jheareth the ripe Corn with a Sickle, 13. gatheteth up the handfuls, 14, und bindcth the Sheaves, 45.<t¿í Threiher, 16.; threfieth Corn en the Barn-floor, 17. ,with a Flail, 18. .*. toffeth it in a winnowing bafket, 19. andfo ivhen the Chaff', and the Straw, 20. are ßparatedfrom it, heputteth it into Sacks, 21 , The Mower, 22. maketh Hay /я я Meadow, tutting do'wn Grafs with a Scythe, 23. and raketh it together üvith a Rake, 24. andmaketh up Cocks, 26. nvith a fork, 25. and carrieth it on Carriages, 27. into the Hay-barn, 28.

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Vhe Bees find ota ¿r/warm, i. andfiet over it «Leader, 2. That Jkxiarm heing ready to fly away, is recalled hy the Tinkling ef a braaen Vefl.el, 3. and is put up into a neiv Hive, 4. They make little Cells nvith ßx comers, 5. and Jill them with Honey-dew, and make Combs, 6. cut of ivhich the Honey runneth, 7. The Partitions heing melted -with ßre, turn into Wax, 8.


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In a Mill, i. « ft'one, 2. runneth upen a ft one, 3. A Wheel, 4. turning them ahout, end grindeth Corn poured in by a Hopper, 5. endparteth the Bran, 6. falling into the .Tro ugh, 7. from the Mealßipping through aBolter, 8. Such a Mill voasßrft a Hand-mill, 9. then a Horfe-miil, 10.. then a Water-mill, 11. anda Ship-mill, i2. amdatlaßt a Wind-mill, 13.

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JF Ptak Science Books Post 1268

When I look at something like this–an advertisement for a company that produced precision instruments–I think instantly of industry, automation, Dada and Duchamp, who along with Cubists and Precisionist and Futurists whobrought out the extreme beauty of industrial, technical, instrumental form. At the same time its probably possible to unthink Engels and Marx who thought that the new coming art form of Communism would be purely functional, to be used in design and implementation only. And I'm not talking about the way that the Victorians added their Victorian crowns and laces and altars in the design of machines and machine parts, worshiping as they did at the shrine of tech science. Marx and Engels had something different in mind, a non-art of simple, employable, straightforward applied design.

This ad is just beautiful.

Ball bearingsb076

Which is a detail from this image (available from our blog bookstore, here):

Ball bearings075

Ball bearings are exceptionally important and have a long history, I mean, long stretching back more than 2000 years (in its most primitive form), finding formative articulation in the Renaissance, and then their first patent in 1869–long and off the point for right now, just long and a little complicated. I just want to say–I find this image to be quite lovely.

JF Ptak Sciene Books LLC Post 380

0-blog---Nov 19 kircher chicken080This non-metaphorical, truth-be-told image is the responsibility of the irrepressible everyone's-favorite-18th-century-Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher. Fr. Kircher was extremely learned and had a superb memory and a great scientific bent; and for the stuff that he didn't know or hadn't read about or couldn't prove by experimentation or produce by logical means, well, he just made the stuff up and pressed on. But there is *so* much that he got correct and he published such a terrific amount of material that we'll forgive these forays into The Twilight Zone His detractors and critics couldn't keep up with the man; almost nobody could–the bit about the hypnotized chicken that appears in his incredible Physiologia Kircheriana Experimentalis...(Amsterdam, 1680, edited and compiled by Kircher's pupil Johann Stephan Kestler), which is packed with so much diverse material that the chicken pretty much gets lost in the intellectual sauce. Kircher's reach was deep, formalizing bunches of natural science expositions by physical and mathematical experimentation and proof, not the least of which was proving the lunar influence on the tides and the construction of a magic lantern (below) .

The hypno-chicken comes into the picture via Kircher's interests in the magnetic art and electricity, dabbling away at the edges of science in a precursor to Mesmerism. He also came up a little short with his experimental proof that insects were born of animal dung, but, as I said, he got much more right than he did wrong, and forgive him his rush to publication on some things that he may not have been happy with.

0-blog---Nov 19 kircher movie081

To press the point only slightly (the list and breadth of his accomplishments is just too much for this prankish little post about the chicken), have a look at the partial list of his publications:

A partial list of Kircher's works include:

* 1631 Ars Magnesia
* 1635 Primitiae gnomoniciae catroptricae
* 1636 Prodromus coptus sive aegyptiacus
* 1637 Specula Melitensis encyclica, hoc est syntagma novum instrumentorum physico- mathematicorum
* 1641 Magnes sive de arte magnetica
* 1643 Lingua aegyptiaca restituta
* 1645–1646 Ars Magna Lucis et umbrae in mundo
* 1650 Obeliscus Pamphilius
* 1650 Musurgia universalis, sive ars magna consoni et dissoni
* 1652–1655 Oedipus Aegyptiacus
* 1654 Magnes sive (third, expanded edition)
* 1656 Itinerarium extaticum s. opificium coeleste
* 1657 Iter extaticum secundum, mundi subterranei prodromus
* 1658 Scrutinium Physico-Medicum Contagiosae Luis, quae dicitur Pestis
* 1660 Pantometrum Kircherianum … explicatum a G. Schotto
* 1661 Diatribe de prodigiosis crucibus
* 1663 Polygraphia, seu artificium linguarium quo cum omnibus mundi populis poterit quis respondere
* 1664–1678 Mundus subterraneus, quo universae denique naturae divitiae
* 1665 Historia Eustachio-Mariana
* 1665 Arithmologia
* 1666 Obelisci Aegyptiaci … interpretatio hieroglyphica
* 1667 China Monumentis, qua sacris qua profanis
* 1667 Magneticum naturae regnum sive disceptatio physiologica
* 1668 Organum mathematicum
* 1669 Principis Cristiani archetypon politicum
* 1669 Latium
* 1669 Ars magna sciendi sive combinatorica
* 1673 Phonurgia nova, sive conjugium mechanico-physicum artis & natvrae paranympha phonosophia concinnatum
* 1675 Arca Noe
* 1676 Sphinx mystagoga
* 1676 Obelisci Aegyptiaci
* 1679 Musaeum Collegii Romani Societatis Jesu
* 1679 Turris Babel, Sive Archontologia Qua Primo Priscorum post diluvium hominum vita, mores rerumque gestarum magnitudo, Secundo Turris fabrica civitatumque exstructio, confusio linguarum, & inde gentium transmigrationis, cum principalium inde enatorum idiomatum historia, multiplici eruditione describuntur & explicantur. Amsterdam, Jansson-Waesberge 1679.
* 1679 Tariffa Kircheriana sive mensa Pathagorica expansa
* 1680 Physiologia Kicheriana experimentalis

JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post #97

The fabulously over-usage of light-polluting electricity in advertising finds its beginning 220 years ago with the work of a modest, family-friendly French country priest. The image to the left is the first example of writing via electricity—basically, the basis for the earliest electric signs, more than 110 years before Edison’s ( et alia ) electric incandescent bulb, and about twenty years before the presumptive “first” electrical experiments of Sir Humphrey Davy )on the first arc/carbon filament electrical light in 1809). They were the product of the electrical mind of Jean-Antoine Nollet (1700-1770), a peasant boy who was educated for the priesthood (becoming Abbe), whose extensive curiosity soon led him to physics and then to electricity—he was well educated and taught at numerous prestigious schools, admitted to the Academy of Sciences as a member in 1742, finally winding up in 1740 tutoring the dauphin at Versailles.. He published widely, was the first person to experiment with the Leyden jar in

France, and made wide contributions in the conduction of electricity through different media. (He also had numerous public disagreements, some of which stood with Benjamin Franklin, whose theories Nollet referred to as “les pretenetions de l’ecole de Philadelphie”. The image was published in Leçons de physique expérimentale, in Paris by Durand, 1783-84.

The, um, adventurous PT Barnum contracted the first electric bulb writing (utilizing the Edison invention) in Manhattan in 1892 to envious attention, resulting in less than 15 years with the Great White Way. The world’s largest electric bulb writing was on the Eiffel Tower, with Andre Citroen agreeing to light the outline of the tower if he could put his name on the rest of it. I’m not sure how this was seen as a good idea, but the sides of the tower were used for this purposes until somebody wised up and put an end to it all in 1937
But as white and as bright as the light bulb was in advertising, it was completely overwhelmed by the invention of the bold, brassy (and with a high potential “trashy” factor) neon sign, which was first used in the United States by Earle Anthony’s Packard dealership in Los Angeles in 1924.Bloglightingpackard_2

(Mr. Anthony paid $24,000 1924 dollars for the two “Packard” signs, which in today’s dollars, employing the kindest inflation factor in the comparative CPI, would be about $3,000,000. Mr. Anthony could afford it, and the signs were a sensation.

JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post #89

This lovely title page is from the book Question Moral Si El Chocolate Quebranta El Ayuno Eclesiastico, (on the Moral Question of Chocolate…), printed in Madrid in 1636, and said to be the first book on American drinks. León Pinelo. a Spanish-colonial historian (1589 – c. 1675), born in Cordova de Tucuman, (Argentina), and educated in the College of the Jesuits of Lima (Peru), and then leaving for Spain by 1612, where he wrote this (and other) books. HE was a significant scholar and an accomplished bibliographer, and compiled a very extensive dissertation upon the history, uses, preparation of chocolate, as well as other drinks in general of the Americas, touching on concoctions of Indians of New Spain, Peru, Nicaragua and Guatamala.

The title page is very dimensional, with the central figure, an Indian woman holding the scroll of the title, with a miniature coca tree in one hand and a four-leaved branch from the cocoa tree in the other.

Leon Pinelo in no way “created” the chocolate drink, but he was the first (and extensive reporter of it and certainly remained it most extensive annotator of the drink for centuries. Columbus was aware of the drink by his fourth voyage in 1502 but said relatively little about it. The Aztecs had been using the cocoa been for a thousand years before that. (It has been remarked that the drink was so extraordinary and special that it was served in one-serve golden goblets that were disposed of after the chocolate was consumed).

Perhaps the great King of Chocolate though was Sir Hans Sloane, who in addition to much else he did in his life traveled to Jamaica, where he assembled a fabulous plant collection for shipment back to England. He also “discovered” chocolate there, improving the native presentation of the drink (which he evidently found to be nauseating) by perfecting a milky solution with it—and *that* it was brought great wealth to Sir Hans. With that wealth Sloane continued to add to his extraordinary collection of natural artifacts, amassing one of the greatest cabinets of curiosity in England and the continent. In addition to his own collecting and minor purchases Sloane used his chocolate money to purchase the fabulous collections of William Courten (who, for example was an extremely wealthy Brit who financed the colonization of Barbadoes among other things before finally going bust), James Petiver, Nehemiah Grew, Leonard Plukenet, the Duchess of Beaufort, the rev. Adam Buddle, Paul Hermann, Franz Kiggelaer and Herman Boerhaave. Death’s dance found Sloane in 1753, who left his entire collection to England, and it was this bequest that formed the opening, golden, sagacious nugget of the British Museum.

JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 4

(Featuring foundation works in the search for extraterrestrial life: Morrison/Coconni, Schwartz/Townes, Dyson, and others.)

In thinking about the “mysterious” optical displays in Texas it brought to mind some of the early publications that we have here on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. I have no doubt that there is abundant life out there, somewhere, in the far-and-gone, but I think it too remote for Earthlings to make visual contact with these folks. It is disappointing that out of all reported sightings there is nothing really decent to say about any of them. And there’s a lot of eyes that have supposedly seen these things over the years—since 1947 I make a rough calculation that there has been a sighting of a UFO (oh please forgive me) every 10 seconds. It sure sounds as though if we were talking about making visual Contact in our own neighborhood that we might have stuck ourselves with one of the needles in the haystack—I think that there are abundant needles in many haystacks out there, but I think too that for all intents and purposes that they’re all pretty much invisible.

All I’m saying is the abundant life in the universe isn’t coming here, though there is no doubt that something is going on, somewhere. The wonderful Paul Butler has found 220+ planets now in an almost-infinitely narrow search spectrum (“around nearby stars”). It would seem that even in our own Milky Way of 400 billion stars that the chances for large number of planets is plausible,, and given the incredible range of life that we find on the Earth that some of these intra-galaxy planets would stand a good chance of supporting life as well.

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