Alfred Nobel (1833) Nobel was a Swedish chemist and engineer who invented dynamite, the smokeless powder Ballistite, and an explosive gelatin more powerful than dynamite. In his last will, he left his enormous fortune in trust for the endowment of the Nobel Prizes, which recognize outstanding achievements in the fields of science, literature, and economics and in the promotion of peace. What was the content of the prematurely published obituary that is said to have made Nobel resolve to leave a better legacy? Discuss
Béla Lugosi (1882) Lugosi, a Hungarian-born US actor, is best known for his portrayal of Dracula in the Broadway stage production and subsequent film of Bram Stoker's classic vampire story. He appeared in the 1931 film version wearing minimal makeup and using his natural, heavily accented voice. Following this memorable performance, Lugosi found himself frequently typecast as a horror film villain. When Lugosi died in 1956, his son and fourth wife decided to bury him wearing what part of his Dracula costume?
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910) For his contributions to the knowledge of the evolution of stars, Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar shared the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics. His work advanced the understanding of white dwarfs, supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes. He determined the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf—about 1.44 solar masses, the Chandrasekhar limit—beyond which a star will ultimately collapse and become a neutron star or black hole. Who else in his family was a Nobel laureate?
A Little Awareness Goes a Long Way If you were told that you would need to run for 50 minutes or walk five miles (eight kilometers) in order to work off the calories of the soda you were about to buy, would you return it to the shelf? It would seem that being confronted with this sort of information about sugary beverages while shopping does influence buying habits, particularly among teens, and could be a cheap and simple way to combat the growing obesity problem plaguing many countries. Discuss
Hopping Relatively Recent Development in Kangaroos Kangaroos are known for their characteristic hop, but they didn't always get around like this. Analysis of the fossilized bones of extinct kangaroos called sthenurines finds that they were not anatomically cut out for hopping and likely got around instead by walking in much the same manner that humans do. Sthenurines lived in Australia from about 13 million years ago to about 30,000 years ago, going extinct around the same time that humans arrived on the continent, quite possibly as a result of human activities.