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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4/17 Franklin, Sperry, and Riccioli

Benjamin Franklin died (1790)
Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) was an American patriot, statesman, printer, scientist and writer. He wrote and published Poor Richard’s Almanack  from 1732 to 1757. He invented the Franklin Stove and the lightening rod.  He helped draft both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Roger Wolcott Sperry died (1994)
Roger Sperry (1913 – 1994) was an American neurobiologist who conducted  “split brain” studiesand learned that the left and right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex of the brain are able to work almost independently of one another.  He received a share of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for describing the functions of the different sides of the brain.  The left side of the brain is responsible for analytical, math, logic, and verbal tasks.  The right side of the brain is responsible for spatial understanding and artistic expression.

Giovanni Battista Riccioli born (1598)
Giovanni Riccioli (1598 – 1614) was an Italian Jesuit priest and astronomer.  He used a telescope to study and drew the features of the moon with Francesco Grimaldi.  Like many other astronomers of the time he repudiated the work of Copernicus, but he also praised Copernicus for the simplicity of his theory.  He also named a crater on the moon in honor of Copernicus.  Riccioli is best know for the naming of the features of the moon, and many of the names such as the sea of Tranquility and sea of Serenity are still used today.(Photograph of the Moon’s surface was photographed by the Apollo 10 astronauts in May of 1969 and retrieved from Wikimedia Commons)

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