1912 in science
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The year 1912 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.
- At the beginning of this year an extreme decadal variation in length of day produces mean solar days having a duration of 86400.00389 seconds of Terrestrial Time (or ephemeris time), the slowest rotation of Earth's crust ever to be recorded.
- July 23 – Horace Donisthorpe first discovers Anergates atratulus in the New Forest, England.
- Reginald Punnett is appointed as first Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics in the University of Cambridge (U.K.), probably the oldest chair of genetics in the English-speaking world.
- Peter Debye derives the T-cubed law for the low temperature heat capacity of a nonmetallic solid.
- Casimir Funk introduces the concept of vitamins.
- Fritz Klatte, a German chemist working for Griesheim-Elektron, discovers polyvinyl acetate and applies for a patent for preparing the monomer, vinyl acetate, by addition of acetic acid to acetylene using a mercuric chloride catalyst although it is not successfully commercialized at this time.
- Wilbur Scoville devises the Scoville scale for measuring the heat of peppers.
- December 24 – Merck files patent applications for synthesis of the entactogenic drug MDMA, developed by Anton Köllisch.
- January – Alfred Wegener proposes a fully formulated theory of continental drift and gave the supercontinent Pangaea its name.
- June 6 – The Novarupta volcano on the Alaska Peninsula comes into being through a VEI 6 eruption, the largest this century.
- January 17 – British polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott and a team of four reach the South Pole to find that Amundsen has beaten them to it. They will die on the return journey, just eleven miles from a polar base (March 16–29).
- March 7 – Roald Amundsen announces in Hobart that his expedition reached the South Pole on last December 14.
History of science
- November 20 – History of Medicine Society holds its first meeting, under the chairmanship of Sir William Osler, in London.
- Georgius Agricola's De re metallica (1556) is first published in an English translation, made by Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, in London.
- Voynich manuscript discovered.
- Publication of the 2nd volume of Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, one of the most important and seminal works in mathematical logic and philosophy.
- Karl F. Sundman solves the n-body problem for n=3.
- Harvey Cushing identifies Cushing's disease, caused by a malfunction of the pituitary gland.
- Solomon Carter Fuller first names Alzheimer's disease.
- Krupp engineers Benno Strauss and Eduard Maurer patent austenitic stainless steel (October 17) and Elwood Haynes (in the United States) and Harry Brearley (of Brown-Firth in Sheffield, England) independently discover martensitic stainless steel alloys.
- April 5 – Milutin Milanković’s Contribution to the mathematical theory of climate, his first work in this field, is published in Belgrade.
- December 18 – Skull of "Piltdown Man" presented to the Geological Society of London as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown form of early human. It is revealed to be a hoax in 1953.
- November 11 – William Lawrence Bragg presents his derivation of Bragg's law for the angles for coherent and incoherent scattering from a crystal lattice.
- Max von Laue suggests using crystal lattices to diffract X-rays.
- Walter Friedrich and Paul Knipping diffract X-rays in zinc blende.
- Victor Hess discovers that the ionization of air increases with altitude, indicating the existence of cosmic radiation.
- Carl Jung publishes Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (Psychology of the Unconscious), based on lectures delivered at Fordham University and precipitating a break with Sigmund Freud.
- Sabina Spielrein delivers her paper on "Destruction as the Cause of Coming Into Being" to the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society.
- April 14–15 – Sinking of the RMS Titanic: The ocean liner RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks on her maiden voyage from the United Kingdom to the United States.
- The British Royal Navy introduces the director ship gun fire-control system using the Dreyer Table, a mechanical analogue computer.
- The Sperry Corporation develops the first gyroscopic autopilot ("gyroscopic stabilizer apparatus") for aviation use.
- American ornithologist Robert Ridgway publishes Color Standards and Color Nomenclature.
- Conférence internationale de l'heure radiotélégraphique.
- First International Congress of Eugenics held in London with the support of Leonard Darwin, Winston Churchill, Auguste Forel, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Davenport and other prominent scientists.
- Nobel Prize
- January 21 – Konrad Emil Bloch (died 2000), German-born biochemist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- January 27 – Francis Rogallo (died 2009), American aeronautical engineer.
- January 30 – Werner Hartmann (died 1988), German physicist.
- March 1 – Boris Chertok (died 2011), Russian rocket designer.
- March 19 – Bill Frankland, English immunologist.
- March 23 – Wernher von Braun (died 1977), German-born physicist and engineer.
- April 19 – Glenn T. Seaborg (died 1999), American physical chemist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- May 22 – Herbert C. Brown (died 2004), English-born chemist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- May 30 – Julius Axelrod (died 2004), American biochemist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- May 31 – Chien-Shiung Wu (died 1997), Chinese-American nuclear physicist, winner of the Wolf Prize in Physics
- June 23 – Alan Turing (died 1954), English computer scientist.
- June 30 – Ludwig Bölkow (died 2003), German aeronautical engineer.
- August 11 – Norman Levinson (died 1975), American mathematician.
- August 13 – Salvador Luria (died 1991), Italian-born biologist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- August 30 – Edward Mills Purcell (died 1997), American physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.
- September 7 – David Packard (died 1996), American electronics engineer.
- September 22 – Herbert Mataré (died 2011), German physicist.
- October 1 – Kathleen Ollerenshaw (died 2014), English mathematician.
- November 14 – Tung-Yen Lin (died 2003), Chinese-born civil engineer.
- November 19 – George Emil Palade (died 2008), Romanian-born microbiologist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
- November 22 - Paul Zamecnik (died 2009), American scientist playing a central role in the early history of molecular biology.
- Genevieve Grotjan Feinstein (died 2006), American mathematician and cryptanalyst.
- February 10 – Joseph Lister (born 1827), English inventor of antiseptic.
- February 12 – Osborne Reynolds (born 1842), British physicist.
- March 19 – Thomas Harrison Montgomery, Jr. (born 1873), American zoologist and cell biologist.
- March 28 – Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran (born 1838), French chemist.
- March 29
- May 30 – Wilbur Wright (born 1867), American aviation pioneer.
- July 17 – Henri Poincaré (born 1854), French mathematician.
- August 7 – François-Alphonse Forel (born 1841), Swiss pioneer of limnology.
- November 23 – Charles Bourseul (born 1829), French telegraph engineer.
- Stephenson, F. R.; Morrison, L. V.; Whitrow, G. J. (1984). "Long-Term Changes in the Rotation of the Earth: 700 B.C. to A.D. 1980" (PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. London. 313 (1524): 47–70. Bibcode:1984RSPTA.313...47S. doi:10.1098/rsta.1984.0082. ISSN 0080-4614. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Just The Facts-Inventions & Discoveries. School Specialty Publishing. 2005.
- Deutsche Reichs Patent no. 281687 (4 July 1913); abstract in Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry (London) 34 (1915) p. 623.
- Bernschneider-Reif, S.; Oxler, F.; Freudenmann, R. W. (2006). "The Origin of MDMA ("Ecstasy") - Separating the Facts From the Myths". Die Pharmazie. 61 (11): 966–972. doi:10.5555/phmz.61.11.966. PMID 17152992. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Firma E. Merck in Darmstadt (1914-05-16). "German Patent 274350: Verfahren zur Darstellung von Alkyloxyaryl-, Dialkyloxyaryl- und Alkylendioxyarylaminopropanen bzw. deren am Stickstoff monoalkylierten Derivaten". Kaiserliches Patentamt. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- Firma E. Merck in Darmstadt (1914-10-15). "German Patent 279194: Verfahren zur Darstellung von Hydrastinin Derivaten". Kaiserliches Patentamt. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
- Wegener, Alfred (January 6, 1912). "Die Herausbildung der Grossformen der Erdrinde (Kontinente und Ozeane), auf geophysikalischer Grundlage". Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen. 63: 185–195, 253–256, 305–309.
- Demhardt, Imre Josef (2005). "Alfred Wegener's Hypothesis on Continental Drift and Its Discussion in Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen (1912–1942)" (PDF). Polarforschung. 75: 29–35. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "ThyssenKrupp Nirosta: History". Archived from the original on September 2, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
- Carlisle, Rodney P. (2004). Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries. John Wiley and Sons. p. 380. ISBN 978-0-471-24410-3. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
- "A non-rusting steel". The New York Times. January 31, 1915.
- To the Cambridge Philosophical Society. "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1915". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
- Lord, Walter (1955). A Night to Remember. New York: Holt.
- Brooks, John (2003). "The Admiralty Fire Control Tables". Warship 2002–2003: pp. 69–93.
- Blom, Philipp (2008). The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900-1914. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-7710-1630-1.
- "Obituary: David Packard". The Independent. 28 March 1996. Retrieved 21 February 2018.