Stochastic Scribbles
Random musings in a variety of subjects, from science to religion.

The Giant's Shoulders

Every scientist stands on the shoulders of giants as they add just a little bit more to what their intellectual forbears had achieved in science. In the same vein and as the host for the April edition of The Giant’s Shoulders, I stand on the shoulders of the previous giant (singular), The Evilutionary Biologist, where I link to blog posts talking about classic papers in science and important people or concepts in the history of science. And Curving Normality will be the next host in May.

  • Skulls in the Stars talks about Earnshaw’s theorem which was proven in 1839, which among other things shows that no static magnetic field by itself can stably levitate another magnet, except Earnshaw was more concerned about figuring out the nature of the “aether” rather than levitation.
  • A book review of Jim Endersby’s Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the Practices of Victorian Science at The Dispersal of Darwin gives us a look at how scientists worked in the Victorian era, focusing on the botanist Joseph Hooker.
  • Materialia Indica talks about an experiment in metallurgy by S. Harper in 1951, which used a torsional pendulum to measure the amount of dissolved carbon in iron and confirm a theoretical prediction by Cottrell and Bilby from two years earlier.
  • I talk about Dijkstra’s algorithm that was published in 1959, which is a classic algorithm that most students in computer science learn about today.
  • Mary at the OpenHelix Blog wrote about Margaret Dayhoff and her work on the first computational protein sequence analysis paper written with Robert Ledley in 1962, as part of the Ada Lovelace Day celebration on March 24.
  • The Primate Diaries discusses the theories of kin selection and reciprocal altruism as background to the recent theory of group selection.
  • The Evilutionary Biologist talks about a breakthrough in DNA sequencing published in 1977, which was a dramatic improvement over previous DNA sequencing techniques and made whole genome sequencing feasible.