Science In My Life is maintained by John R. Hoffman, Professor of Biology and a scientist examining the recovery of the nervous system after injury.

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3/12 Westinghouse and Vernadsky

George Westinghouse Jr. died (1914)
George Westinghouse Jr. (1846 – 1914) was an American inventor and businessman.  He served first as a private in the Union cavalry and then as an Assistant Engineer in the Navy during the Civil War.  He completed only 3 months of college before dropping out and obtaining a patent for a rotary steam engine.  Soon after that he invented the air brakes, which allows train cars to stop automatically.   In building the hydroelectric plant that harnessed the water energy falling over Niagara Falls to create electricity in 1896, Westinghouse demonstrated the ability have generating plants at a distance from where the energy is used.  The plant also helped to establish the use of alternating current that is still used today in electric power transmission over direct current (as used in batteries and proposed by Thomas Edison).  By the time he died, he had 341 patents and many continue to be used today with only minor refinements. (image of George Westinghouse from Wikimedia Commons)




Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky born (1863)
Vladimir Vernadsky (1863 – 1945) was a Russian geologist and crystallographer who helped found the study of geochemistry.  He studied the distribution and relationship of the elements in the Earth’s crust.  He published the book “Biosphere” in 1926 that put forward the hypothesis that life was a driving force in shaping the earth and environment.

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