Peter Higgs, British physicist
Peter Higgs (born 1929), British theoretical physicist, at the Higgs boson discovery announcement, 4th July 2012, at CERN (the European particle physics laboratory). Data collected by the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and ATLAS (a torodial LHC apparatus) experiments at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN have shown a new particle at around 125 giga electron volts (GeV). Further analysis will determine if the particle is the long sought for Higgs boson, a fundamental particle that is thought to give other particles mass. Peter Higgs predicted its existence in 1964. The particle is required by many of the Grand Unified Theories (or GUTs) which hope to explain three of the fundamental forces (electromagnetism and the weak and the strong nuclear forces) in a single unified theory. Higgs, along with Francois Englert, was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the Higgs field.
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Jean Baptiste van Helmont
Jean Baptiste van Helmont (1579-1644), Belgian doctor & chemist. Van Helmont's work represented a transition from alchemy to experimental chemistry. He was the first to use the word "gas" (from the Greek chaos). He identified carbon dioxide and monoxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. He was the first to use the boiling and freezing points of water as standards for temperature. In medicine, he employed remedies specific to the disease, the affected organ, and the causative agent. He showed that acid is the digestive agent in the stomach. He realised that matter is indestructible and that metals dissolved in acid can be recovered. He held that matter is a combination of air & water.
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Sir Rowland Hill, postal reformer
Sir Rowland Hill (1795-1879), British postal and educational reformer. Although best remembered as a postal reformer, Hill also had great influence as an educational reformer. He is credited with introducing science as a compulsory subject, abolishing corporal punishment, and allocating one afternoon a week to sports. In 1819 he founded his own school, Hazelwood, which won international acclaim. In 1835 he turned his attention to the Post Office. Postage was expensive and paid for by the recipient. In 1837 Hill proposed the use of pre-paid adhesive stamps and a flat rate of postage within the UK. The Penny Black postage stamp was introduced in 1840. Illustration taken from The Pictorial Treasury of Famous Men and Deeds (1894).
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