Showing posts with label lists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lists. Show all posts

5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Marie Curie

marie curie quotes international women's day

Marie Curie (1867-1934) was denied higher education in her native Poland for she was a woman. She had to attend a secret underground university but times changed and Marie emerged as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, winning two Nobel Prizes in a span of less than 10 years.

It was a period of very limited opportunities for women in all spheres, yet in an academic world that predominantly belonged to men, Curie made an everlasting mark. Following are five inspiring quotes by Madame Curie that each teach you a valuable lesson in life.

1. To her two daughters – Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

marie curie quotes international women's day

Irene and Eve grew up to be distinguished figures in their own fields. While Irene became famous for her scientific achievement, Eve worked for UNICEF providing help to mothers in the developing countries.

2. On curiosity – Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. If I see anything vital around me it is precisely this spirit of adventure, which seems indestructible and is akin to curiosity, that guides me.

According to Madame Curie: We only fear that we do not yet understand. Curie was exposed to Radiation in her scientific investigation of elements. Later on, she was exposed to X-ray when she served as a medical doctor during the first World War.

3. On scientific beauty – I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.

All my life the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a little child. So we should not allow it to be believed that all scientific progress can be reduced to mechanisms, machines, gearings; even though such machinery also has its beauty.

4. On usefulness of science – We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it.

Apart from its medical application, Radium was increasingly used in industries such as timekeeping. The radium watch first produced in 1916 became a highly profitable commodity. However, Marie and her husband Pierre benefited little as they refused to patent their discovery of Radium.

5. On her wedding dress – I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.

Marie and her husband Pierre came together through common love of science and research. They shared the Nobel Prize in 1903 in recognition of their extraordinary services to the study of radiation phenomena. For their honeymoon, Marie and Pierre took a bicycle tour around the French countryside in 1895.

marie curie and pierre curie, international women's day

One can know of her dedication to science by the fact that Curie survived on buttered bread and tea to be able to afford her education. Denied access in early years, she received her doctorate of science only at the age of 36. The way of progress is neither swift nor easy, Curie used to say.

Before her untimely death in 1934, Marie Curie founded the Radium Institute in 1932 as a specialized research institute and hospital. Hugely inspired by her drive and intellect, Albert Einstein said: Of all celebrated beings, Madame Curie is the only one whom fame has not corrupted.

10 Engineers Who Won Nobel Prize In Physics

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

It is not surprising that there are many engineers whose first passion is physics (or mathematics). However, under unavoidable circumstances, they end up doing engineering instead. For example: did you know that Paul Dirac's father wanted him to become an electrical engineer?

After graduating, Dirac was without job. He decided to shift his attention to his first love-physics and the rest is history. Today we know Dirac as one of the founders of quantum mechanics. So, even if you might be clueless in life right now, your passion will find you in the end.

John Bardeen

Bardeen is the only person in history to have won two Nobel Prizes in physics. He received his bachelor and master degrees in electrical engineering in 1928 and 1929 respectively from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At first, John was employed by Gulf Oil corporation where he worked for four years. But he switched career by enrolling at Princeton University in 1933 to obtain a degree in mathematical physics. John went on to win Nobel Prizes in 1956 and 1972.

Henri Becquerel

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

Henri Becquerel was born into a family which produced four generations of physicists. He specialized in civil engineering at one of the most prestigious institutions in France. Becquerel was appointed as chief engineer at the Department of Bridges and Highways in 1894.

Around the same time he was investigating the properties of chemical elements. In 1896, he stumbled upon a new phenomenon that was named radioactivity by Madame Curie. The 1903 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Becquerel and the Curies.

Wilhelm Röntgen

Röntgen was a student of mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich. He was a contemporary of Becquerel... in fact, their ground-breaking discoveries were apart by only a few months. In 1895, Wilhelm produced very high energy waves called the x-rays, an achievement that earned him the inaugural Nobel Prize in 1901.

Eugene Wigner

Eugene Wigner was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1963 for contributions he made to nuclear physics, including the formulation of the law of conservation of parity.

Wigner enrolled at the Budapest University of Technical Sciences in 1920 but he was unhappy there and decided to drop out. In 1921, as guided by his parents, he joined the Technical University of Berlin where he studied chemical engineering.

Wigner accepted this offer because he was able to attend weekly conferences of the German Physical Society that hosted leading physicists of the time including Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg and Albert Einstein.

Paul Dirac

As mentioned before, Dirac studied electrical engineering at the University of Bristol. He graduated in 1921 but despite having a first class honors in engineering, he was unable to find work as an engineer in the post-war Britain.

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

Dirac again enrolled for a bachelor degree, this time in mathematics at the University of Bristol. He was allowed to skip a year as well as study free of charge because he was an exceptional student during his engineering years.

In 1923, Dirac once again graduated with a first class honors. Several years later, he became part of the quantum revolution that engulfed Europe. In 1928, Dirac predicted the antimatter which was discovered within few years by Carl Anderson in America.

Dennis Gabor

Dennis Gabor was a Hungarian-British electrical engineer and physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1971 for the invention of Holography, a technique he created in 1948 to create photographic recording of a light field.

Jack Kilby

Kilby was an American electrical engineer who was one of the inventors of the integrated circuit, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 2000. Jack also invented hand-held calculator and thermal printer. He had completed bachelor and master degrees in engineering in 1947 and 1950 respectively.

Simon van der Meer

Dutch scientist Van der Meer was born in a family of teachers. He received an engineer's degree in 1952 from Delft University of Technology, which is the largest public university in the Netherlands. Simon joined CERN in 1956 and remained there until his retirement in 1990.

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

In 1984, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Italian physicist Carlo Rubbia for contributions to various projects at CERN that led to the discovery of the W and Z particles, which play a role in the weak nuclear force.

Shuji Nakamura

Nakamura was a Japanese-American electronics engineer who holds over 100 patents. He won the Nobel Prize in 2014 for the creation of blue laser diodes in the early 1990s that were later on used in the HD-DVD and blue-ray technologies.

Shuji Nakamura obtained his bachelor and master degrees in electronics engineering from the University of Tokushima in 1977 and 1979 respectively. Nakamura was also awarded a D.Eng. degree from the University of Tokushima in 1994.

Ivar Giaever

Ivar Giaever is a Norwegian-American engineer who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in physics with Esaki and Josephson for their discoveries regarding electron tunneling. Giaever had earned a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1952.

10 Discoveries By Newton That Changed The World

top ten isaac newton discoveries

Isaac Newton is one of the few names that will forever be enshrined in physics history and that too with a lot of glamour associated. Contributions of none other physicist match his, well, probably Einstein's, or not even his!? The following are Newton's ten most well-known works that changed the world later on.

Laws of motion

1. An object will remain at rest or move in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.
3. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Newton's three laws of motion, along with thermodynamics, stimulated the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. Much of the society built today owes to these laws.

Binomial Theorem

Around 1665, Isaac Newton discovered the Binomial Theorem, a method to expand the powers of sum of two terms. He generalized the same in 1676. The binomial theorem is used in probability theory and in the computing sciences.

Inverse square law

By using Kepler's laws of planetary motion, Newton derived the inverse square law of gravity. This means that the force of gravity between two objects is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers. This law is used to launch satellites into space.

Newton's cannon

Newton was a strong supporter of Copernican Heliocentrism. This was a thought experiment by Newton to illustrate orbit or revolution of moon around earth (and hence, earth around the Sun).

top ten discoveries by isaac newton

He imagined a very tall mountain at the top of Earth on which a cannon is loaded. If too much gunpowder is used, then the cannonball will fly into space. If too little is used, then the ball wouldn't travel far. Just the right amount of powder will make the ball orbit the Earth.


Newton invented the differential calculus when he was trying to figure out the problem of accelerating body. Whereas Leibniz is best-known for the creation of integral calculus. The calculus is at the foundation of higher level mathematics. Calculus is used in physics and engineering, such as to improve the architecture of buildings and bridges.


Newton was the first to understand the formation of rainbow. He also figured out that white light was a combination of 7 colors. This he demonstrated by using a disc, which is painted in the colors, fixed on an axis. When rotated, the colors mix, leading to a whitish hue.

Top ten discoveries by isaac newton
Newton's disc

Reflecting Telescope

In 1666, Newton imagined a telescope with mirrors which he finished making two years later in 1668. It has many advantages over refracting telescope such as clearer image, cheap cost, etc.

Law of cooling

His law states that the rate of heat loss in a body is proportional to the difference in the temperatures between the body and its surroundings. The more the difference, the sooner the cup of tea will cool down.

Classification of cubics

Newton found 72 of the 78 "species" of cubic curves and categorized them into four types. In 1717, Scottish mathematician James Stirling proved that every cubic was one of these four types.

top 10 discoveries by isaac newton
some cubic curves (Wiki)


At that time, alchemy was the equivalent of chemistry. Newton was very interested in this field apart from his works in physics. He conducted many experiments in chemistry and made notes on creating a philosopher's stone.

Newton could not succeed in this attempt but he did manage to invent many types of alloys including a purple copper alloy and a fusible alloy (Bi, Pb, Sn). The alloy has medical applications (radiotherapy).

5 Poems Written By Famous Physicists

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

Although they mostly employ mathematical language in order to describe nature...but from time to time, physicists cave in to poetry. In this post, you will read some of the best poems written by the most renowned physicists in the world.

Robert Oppenheimer

He was an American theoretical physicist who contributed to our understanding of atoms, black holes and quantum tunneling. He wrote the following poem describing his memories of New Mexico.

It was evening when we came to the river
With a low moon over the desert
That we had lost in the mountains, forgotten.
What with the cold and the sweating
And the ranges barring the sky.

And when we found it again...
In the dry hills down by the river,
Half withered, we had
The hot winds against us.

There were two palms by the landing;
The yuccas were flowering; there was
a light on the far shore, and tamarisks.
We waited a long time, in silence.

Then we heard the oars creaking
And afterwards, I remember,
The boatman called us.
We did not look back at the mountains.

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

Oppenheimer's friend, British physicist Paul Dirac, who hated poetry, quipped, "In science, one tries to tell people, something that no one ever knew before, in such a way as to be understood by everyone. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite!"

Paul Dirac

Ironically, Dirac wrote the following poem; quite full of gloom!

Age is, of course, a fever chill
That every physicist must fear.
He's better dead than living still
When once he's past his 30th year.

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

He was a Nobel Prize winning physicist and this poem, which is attributed to him, shows his dedication towards physics. Dirac was a complicated character; in fact, Einstein described him as an awful balance between genius and madness.

Albert Einstein

Einstein had a great reverence for Baruch Spinoza, who was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese origin, best-known for his conceptions of the self and the universe.

How much do I love that noble man,
More than I could tell with words!
I fear though he'll remain alone
With a holy halo of his own...

This poem was written by Einstein in 1920 in the honor of Spinoza. According to Spinoza, "What many people call God, few call the Laws of Physics."

Galileo Galilei

He was an Italian astronomer who is known to have broken the foundations of Aristotelian physics. Galileo discovered the law of inertia and made pioneering contributions to astronomy.

poems written by famous physicists poetry physics

He wrote the following appreciation poem for mathematics; a free verse.

Nature is written in this grand book
Which stands continually open
Before our eyes
But cannot be understood
Without first learning
To comprehend the language
In which it is written.

Without which
It is impossible..
To even understand a word
Without which
One is just wandering
In a dark labyrinth.

According to Galileo, this was a language whose words were composed with triangles, circles and other shapes. Clearly, his intention was to say, that without math, it is impossible to understand natural phenomena.

Richard Feynman

He was an American Nobel Prize winning physicist who contributed to our understanding of the interaction between light and matter.

Out of the cradle
Onto dry land
Here it is standing:
Atoms with consciousness;
Matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea,
Wonders at wondering: I,
A universe of atoms
An atom in the universe.

In this poem, Feynman has demonstrated the great extent of his intellect and imagination. It shows the evolution of life from the oceans to land-walking creatures. It also shows that on an astronomical scale, his existence is meaningless; but on this scale, in which he's in, he himself is the universe!

James Maxwell

He was a Scottish physicist who unified the phenomena of electricity, magnetism and optics into one single framework. His work is considered equivalent to that of Einstein's.

The world may be utterly crazy
And life may be labour in vain;
But I'd rather be silly than lazy,
And would not quit life for its pain.

This poem was written by him in 1858 in a book titled, Segreto per esser felice, meaning, Secret to be happy. Maxwell was a great lover of Scottish poetry and wrote many of his own.

10 Documentaries All Physics Students Should Watch


Great American astronomer, Carl Sagan, said in the original Cosmos: "Imagination will carry us to the worlds that never were but without it we go nowhere."

Carl Sagan was probably the first mainstream scientist who started campaigning for public understanding of science on a very large scale through media and TV.

A great many documentaries have been made for educational purposes by esteemed scientists which are watched by millions of people around the world. Following is a list of some of the best physics documentaries.

Einstein and The Theory of General Relativity

This documentary was released to mark 100 years of Einstein's famous theory of gravity. It was created by leading physicists in the world as a tribute to Albert Einstein. The experts in the field have developed new experiments with advanced technology and even hundred years after first publication, the theory still works.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

Thirteen episode series, rated 9.3 out of 10 on IMDb, created by Carl Sagan, based on his best-selling book of the same name. The visual effects are old but each and every topic is explained with great emphasis and detail. No doubt the show was much ahead of its time.


Cosmos: a personal voyage covers a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. Since 1980, it has been broadcast in more than 60 countries and seen by over 500 million people.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

This much needed sequel of Cosmos, released in 2014, was created by American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The visuals are improved and animations have been included making it a wholesome documentary series. The show has received highly positive reviews getting a Metacritic rating of 83 out of 100 based on 19 reviews

Into The Universe

Physicist Stephen Hawking brings his vision of the universe to the screen for the first time to delve into questions like how the universe began, whether life exists on other planets, and whether time travel is possible.


Hawking appears on the show in linking scenes using his own synthesized voice while the voice over narration is provided in character as Hawking by renowned actor Benedict Cumberbatch. It was released on Discovery Channel.

Wonders of The Universe


Particle physicist Brian Cox discusses various aspects of the universe featuring a wonder related to each topic. The topics include nature of time, life cycle of stars and the effect of gravity in the creation of the universe.

Secrets of Quantum Physics

British physicist Jim Al-Khalili shows how quantum physics is in every day life such as robins navigate using quantum entanglement, how our sense of smell is influenced by quantum vibrations and that quantum physics might play a role in biological evolution. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

The Elegant Universe

American physicist Brian Greene explains the eleven dimensions, parallel universes, and a world made out of strings. This is not science fiction; this is a proper mathematical framework called the string theory. You can watch it here.

Lise Meitner: The Mother of the Atom Bomb


Lise Meitner led the small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission of uranium when it absorbed an extra neutron. Her research into nuclear fission helped to pioneer nuclear reactors to generate electricity as well as the development of nuclear weapons in the second world war. This is also available on Amazon Prime.

Fun To Imagine

In 1983, BBC aired this special by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman who used physics to explain how the everyday world worked like why rubber bands are stretchy, why tennis balls can't bounce forever, and what you're really seeing when you look in the mirror.

The Amazing Science of Empty Space

How can the universe come from nothing? This question has haunted scientists and common people for a long time; different explanations have been provided throughout history. However, physicist Jim Al Khalili explores the meaning of nothing in the scientific terms. His journey ends with perhaps the most profound insight about reality that humanity has ever made: everything came from nothing. You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

Bonus: Universe In A Nutshell

This is entry level educational video produced by Big Think and hosted by Professor Michio Kaku. for the lay people. It has a holistic approach towards physics; a brief history, applications and what the future holds for physicists.

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