by Donald E. Simanek

This quiz has answers below, but please don't look at them too soon. I've used these questions in history of science seminars at Lock Haven University to give students practice in library research.

1. Who first described Newton's rings?

2. Who first successfully explained Newton's rings?

3. Who first gave a correct physical explanation of why the sky is blue?

4. Who invented the Wheatstone bridge?

5. Who first patented the telegraph?

6. Who invented Morse code?

7. Who first experimentally verified Coulomb's law of electric attraction?

8. Who first performed Faraday's ice pail experiment demonstrating electrostatic shielding?

9. Who invented the decimal point notation in mathematics?

10. Who invented the drip coffee pot?

11. Who first made carbonated water?

12. What chemist was the first to discover and describe color blindness?

13. Who first formulated L'Hospital's rule for evaluating indeterminate algebraic forms?

14. Who first made a `Galilean' (non-inverting) type telescope consisting of a positive objective lens and a negative eyelens at opposite ends of a tube?

15. Who invented the microscope?

16. Who fist made the `Keplerian' (astronomical, inverting) type telescope consisting of a positive objective lens and a positive eyelens at opposite ends of a tube?

17. Who first made a `Newtonian' reflecting telescope with a concave objective mirror?

18. Who first proposed and performed the experiment of dropping two balls of different weight from a high tower to test Aristotle's assertion that they'd fall at different speeds?

19. Who first performed the experiment of flying a kite to `draw down the electric fluid' of lightning?

20. Who does lie buried in Grant's tomb? Where is Grant's tomb? How many bricks are in Grant's tomb?

Are you beginning to think that much of what you were taught in school, and expected to regurgitate on exams, is wrong? If so, you are getting the picture. If you want to find out more examples of how many of the things `everybody knows' are actually wrong, this short bibliography should provide a good start:

  1. Boller, Paul F., Jr & John George. They Never Said It, A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes & Misleading Attributions. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  2. Burnam, Tom. The Dictionary of Misinformation. Ballantine paperback, 1975.
  3. Burnam, Tom. More Misinformation. Ballantine paperback, 1980.
  4. Dickson, Paul, & Joseph C. Goulden. Myth-Informed, Legends, Credos, and Wrongheaded "Facts" We All Believe. Perigee Books, 1993.
  5. Evans, Bergen. The Natural History of Nonsense. Knopf, 1946, 1960.
  6. Evans, Bergen. The Spoor of Spooks and other Nonsense. Knopf, 1954.
  7. Montagu, Ashley and Edward Darling. The Prevalence of Nonsense. Harper and Row, 1967.
  8. Montagu, Ashley and Edward Darling. The Ignorance of Certainty. Harper and Row, 1970.
  9. Morgan, Chris and David Langford. Facts and Fallacies, a Book of Definitive Mistakes and Misguided predictions. St. Martin's Press, 1981.
  10. Rosten, Leo. The Power of Positive Nonsense. McGraw-Hill, 1977.
  11. Stefanson, Vilhjalmur. Adventures in Error, 1936. Gale Research Co. reprint, 1970.
  12. Tabori, Paul. The Natural Science of Stupidity. Chilton, 1959.
  13. Tabori, Paul. The Art of Folly. Chilton, 1961.
  14. Tuleja, Tad. Fabulous Fallacies. Harmony Books, 1982.
  15. Varasdi, J. Allen. Myth Information. Ballantine Books, 1989.


This quiz appeared in The Vector, Vol 2 #1 (Jan 1978). The answers didn't. These answers should not be considered the final word, for one can always dig deeper. Some of the library digging was done by students in my History of Science Seminars.

1. Who first described Newton's rings?

Newton's rings are the colored rings one sees in thin oil or soap films, and when two pieces of glass are placed in contact, with a slight gap of varying thickness between them. Since they are easily observed, we have no idea who first saw them. I've found no clear evidence of these being described in print before Newton did so.

2. Who first successfully explained Newton's rings?

Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618-1663) is credited as the discoverer of diffraction. He held the view that colors are a `modification' of light. Hooke and Newton were both familiar with Grimaldi's work. Grimaldi's one book was published posthumously in 1665. [1] Newton's experiments with prisms supported the view that white light contains all colors, the prism merely separates (disperses) them spatially. Newton gave a series of lectures on optics at Cambridge around 1670, and later published them under the title Optiks: or, a Treatise on the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light. Newton's particle theory of light was complicated and unsuccessful in many ways, especially his explanation of interference colors such as Newton's rings. Thomas Young (1773-1829) explained them using the wave theory of light. Young was not noted for giving clear, understandable explanations, but his wave theory did work, and became the accepted model of light.

3. Who first gave a correct physical explanation of why the sky appears blue?

John Tyndall (1820-1893) proposed that the blueness of the sky is due to light scattering by atmospheric particles. He showed in the laboratory that scattered light from small particles appears bluish. This is called the "Tyndall effect". John William Strutt [Lord Rayleigh] (1842-1919) was somewhat more successful in arguing for that explanation, and is usually the one credited with the law that light scattering depends on the inverse fourth power of the wavelength. So it is now called "Rayleigh scattering." Both Tyndall and Rayleigh thought that dust particles were doing the atmospheric scattering. But it is primarily the gas molecules in the atmosphere that are responsible for the apparent sky color. Dewar wrongly thought the blue sky was due to oxygen in the atmosphere, because liquid oxygen appears bluish in color.

So the sky appears blue because we are seeing only the predominantly short wavelength (violet and blue) end of the spectrum of scattered sunlight. The setting sun appears reddish because in our line of sight the violet and blue spectral colors are scattered and do not reach our eyes. Though looking directly at the sun can cause serious eye damage, sunlight appears yellow, again because the violet and blue part of its spectrum is reduced by scattering out of the line of sight. Clouds appear white because their vapor droplets are large enough to scatter all colors of the spectrum of sunlight. If there were no atmosphere the sun would appear white.

Then why do white painted houses appear white? They receive light from both sun and sky, and scatter it all. However, if a white surface, such as a clean winter snowbank is in a place shaded from the sun, but not from the blue sky light, the snow appears bluish. And in photographs it may seem "too" blue because the film (or the digital camera sensor) is also sensitive to ultraviolet light, rendering it as blue.

For a more complete explanation see John Baez's website Blue Sky.


4. Who invented the Wheatstone bridge?

The Wheatstone bridge is an electrical circuit for the precise comparison of resistances. Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) never claimed to have invented it, but he did more than anyone else to invent uses for it. The first description of the bridge was by Samuel Hunter Christie (1784-1865) in 1833. Christie also showed that conductivity of wires varies directly with their diameter and inversely to their length, a law often credited to Ohm. [3] Wheatstone did invent the telegraph (patented in 1837), and the concertina (a small musical instrument like the accordion).

5. Who first patented a telegraph?

The first known suggestion for using electrical currents to transmit messages was made in an anonymous letter to a Scottish magazine in 1753. [4] Sir Francis Ronalds set up a telegraph demonstration in his garden in London in 1816. It sent a message by turning a wheel with letters around its rim (a somewhat slow method!). [5]

William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone (physicist) took out the first patent, in England, in 1837. Their device used five magnetic needles arranged to point at different letters, and it required five wires. By 1838 they had reduced it to two needles by use of a code. Wheatstone acknowledged his debt to American Joseph Henry (1897-1878), with whom he had helpful discussions about the idea. Wheatstone was not so gracious in acknowledging Cooke's contributions. [6]

Joseph Henry developed a system of electric telegraphy a decade before Morse. [7] He could have patented the idea, had he cared about such trivial things as fame and wealth. [8] Samuel Morse (1791-1872) got the idea from Henry, but he wasn't gracious enough to admit it—even at the court trial in which a number of others challenged Morse's priority. At this trial Morse clearly demonstrated that he didn't understand electricity well enough to have invented the telegraph all by himself. Yet Morse won the court battle anyway! Morse fought many patent suits over his inventions, and won them. Morse had also gotten some of his ideas for the telegraph from second-hand accounts of the work of Faraday. Leonard Gale looked at Morse's inept early models, "took pity on him", and gave help and advice. [9] Gale knew physics and had read (and understood) Joseph Henry's papers on the subject of electricity. Morse's first private demonstrations were in 1837, his first commercial installation in 1844. [10] The successful telegraph owes more to Gale and Henry than to Morse. [11] When Morse attempted to secure patent protection in England, he learned to his dismay that Wheatstone had invented the telegraph, and it was already in use by the Post Office. In continental Europe he found that Steinhill had invented the telegraph, and it was in use in railroad stations.

6. Who invented Morse code?

No, not Morse. The code was the invention of Morse's assistant Alfred Vail. Vail perfected the final form of the code and simplified the whole process by introducing the telegraph key. Vail is responsible for the efficiency of the code, using the principle that the most frequently sent letters should have the shortest code. He also invented a printing telegraph which Morse patented in his own name, as he was entitled to do under the terms of Vail's contract with Morse. Though Morse wasn't very impressive as a scientist or inventor, he was a good artist (painter and sculptor).

7. Who first experimentally verified Coulomb's law of electric attraction?

See question 8.

8. Who first performed Faraday's ice pail experiment demonstrating electrostatic shielding?

Henry Cavendish in both cases. Cavendish's early work, on the experimental determination of the gravitational constant, was reported to the Royal Society. But his later work was recorded in notebooks and not published until after his death. He spent 60 years in exclusive preoccupation with research, caring nothing about fame, credit, or money. That attitude is really ``doing science for its own sake.''

Cavendish made many important discoveries in electrostatics, but since the world didn't hear of them, others got the credit. Thus we see in textbooks `Faraday's ice pail experiment,' and `Coulomb's law,' but Cavendish did them first.

9. Who invented the decimal point?

The decimal point goes along with place-value notation. According to Edward deBono's very comprehensive book Eureka, [12] place-value notation goes back at least to the Sumerians in Babylonia in the 18th century BCE, who wrote numbers in base 60 with cuneiform script. They had no zero symbol, however, merely leaving a space where a zero should be. This source claims that Indian mathematicians picked up the Babylonian place-value idea and adapted it to decimal notation. Quoting deBono:

Indian mathematicians simplified the Babylonian number notation and changed from base 60 to base 10, thus creating the modern decimal system. Very little evidence exists of the chronology of Indian number symbols but it seems that, like the Babylonians, the Indians for a long time saw no need to write a symbol for zero. The earliest example of Indian use of the decimal system with a zero dates from AD 595.

The earliest definite reference to the Hindu numerals beyond the borders of India is in a note written by a Mesopotamian bishop, Severus Sebokht, about AD 650, which speaks of `nine signs', not mentioning the zero. By the end of the 8th century, some Indian astronomical tables had been translated at Baghdad and these signs became known to Arabian scholars of the time. In 824, the scholar al-Khwarizmi wrote a small book on numerals, and 300 years later it was translated into Latin by Adelard of Bath. Some historians believe that these number symbols came to Europe even before they arrived in Baghdad, but the oldest European manuscript containing them dates from AD 976 in Spain.

From the same source:
Far away from the mainstream of Western history, the Mayan culture of Central America, which died out at the end of the 9th century, developed a place-value system of notation with a symbol for zero. Mayan numbers were written vertically and are read from bottom upwards. The Mayans worked in base 20... It is conjectured that the Mayans first used their zero symbols at about the same time as the Babylonians used theirs on the other side of the earth, but the oldest Mayan numerical inscription dates from no earlier than the end of the 3rd century AD.
But there's still the question of the decimal point. Francesco Pellos (or Pelizzati) of Nice used a decimal point to indicate division of a number by a power of 10, in his 1492 book on commercial arithmetic. The 16th century German mathematician Bartholomäus Pitiscus (or Petiscus) (1561-1613) uses a decimal point in his book on trigonometry. [13]

10. Who invented the drip coffee pot?

Physicist Benjamin Thompson [Count Rumford] (1754-1814). He tried to find out why boiled coffee tasted so bad, and concluded that volatile oils were the source of the flavor, and were being evaporated by boiling the coffee. So he designed the drip coffee pot to preserve the flavor.

11. Who first made carbonated water?

Chemist Joseph Priestly (1733-1804). Priestly discovered carbon dioxide (fixed air) as one of the components of air. He used it to make carbonated water. Think of this next time you have a soda pop.

12. What chemist was the first to discover and describe color blindness?

The English chemist John Dalton (1766-1844). He noticed that his description of the colors of chemical reactions did not agree with other people's descriptions. So he investigated, and discovered that he had color blindness. He shunned honors and awards because of his Quaker beliefs that one should not seek personal glory. Late in life he was to receive a doctor's degree from Oxford, and colleagues chose the occasion to present him to King William IV. Dalton would not wear court dress, and Oxford's academic robes were scarlet (not an appropriate color for a Quaker!). Quakers shunned ostentatious clothing and bright colors. But Dalton, being color-blind, said that the robes looked gray to him. So he wore the academic robe, received his degree and was presented to the king. [14] I'm suspicious about the authenticity of this colorful story. Sometimes such tales are invented after the fact, often by overzealous biographers.

13. Who first formulated L'Hospital's rule for evaluating indeterminate forms?

John Bernoulli (1667-1748). Guillaume François Antoine de l'Hospital (1661-1704) hired Bernoulli to tutor him in mathematics, and their written contract gave l'Hospital the right to use what he learned in any way he wished. Bernoulli had sent l'Hospital this rule of calculus, and l'Hospital published it under his own name, with only an unspecific acknowledgment of help from ``the young professor at Groningen.'' This shows that immortality can sometimes be bought. Do not feel too much sympathy for John Bernoulli, however. When his own book was published, it was alleged that much of it was plagiarized from the work of John's son, Jacob Bernoulli. After l'Hospital's death John claimed that l'Hospital had plagiarized much of his work, but since he often accused others of plagiarism, he was not believed. The Bernoulli clan of mathematicians was a contentious lot, often publicly squabbling, competing for mathematics prizes and honors, and accusing each other of stealing ideas. [15]

14. Who invented the `Galilean' telescope consisting of a positive objective lens and a negative eyelens at opposite ends of a tube?

In 1590 the Dutch optician Zacharias Janssen of Middleburg placed a concave and convex lens at either end of a tube. He used it to magnify small, nearby objects—as a microscope. [16] With a change of separation of the lenses it could have been used as a Galilean telescope.

Later, Johannes Lippershey (or Lippersheim) (?-1619), also of Middleburg, applied for a patent for such a telescope in 1608. Lippershey was a spectacle maker. His assistant pointed out that two lenses could be used to make distant objects seem nearer. [17] Lippershey made up tubes with lenses, and attempted to sell them to the Dutch Government, which tried to keep the invention secret. [18]

Giambattista della Porta (1534?-1615) claimed to be the inventor of the telescope, and was working on a book documenting that claim when he died.

Rumors of the Dutch `perspective glasses' reached Galileo in 1609, [19] who then constructed such a telescope and used it to make revolutionary discoveries in astronomy. It is now known as the `Galilean' telescope, but Germans still call it the `Dutch' telescope. Galileo tells the story this way: [20]

Ten months ago, nearly, a rumour came to our ears that an optical instrument had been elaborated by a Dutchman, by the aid of which visible objects, even though far distant from the eye of the observer, were distinctly seen as if near at hand; and some stories of this marvelous effect were bandied about, to which some gave credence and which others denied. The same was confirmed to me a few days after by a letter sent from Paris by the noble Frenchman Jacob Badovere, which at length was the reason that I applied myself entirely to seeking out the theory and discovering the means by which I might arrive at the invention of a similar instrument, an end which I attained a little later, from considerations of the theory of refraction; and I first prepared a tube of lead, in the ends of which I fitted two glass lenses, both plane on one side, one being spherically convex, the other concave, on the other side. [21]
Chances are someone put two lenses together in this way even earlier. The credit for the invention of a telescope should go to the one who not only put the lenses together, but put them in a tube for convenient use. There's some evidence that Arab seamen used telescopes much earlier than those described above. This is plausible, because the first use of lenses as optical aids originated in Arabia. I haven't tracked down the references yet.

15. Who invented the microscope?

The invention of the microscope is credited to Zacharias Jonnides and his father. [22] This had a diverging eyelens, and was essentially a telescope, but Zacharias used it to look at nearby objects.

16. Who fist made the `Keplerian' (astronomical, inverting) type telescope consisting of a positive objective lens and a positive eyelens at opposite ends of a tube?

The microscope with a converging eyelens is attributed to Franciscus Fontana of Naples. Kepler suggested a convex eyelens for the telescope. [23] But, as indicated above, Janssen may have done it earlier, dismissing it as useless because it gave an inverted image. Image inversion is not a problem for an astronomer. I don't know who first used it this way. In any case, it is now known at the `Keplerian' telescope.

17. Who invented the `Newtonian' reflecting telescope with a concave objective mirror?

Newton designed his telescope after those of Niccolò Zucchi (1586-1670) and James Gregory, which used a concave mirror and a smaller flat one. [24] Gregory, a Scottish mathematician, proposed the reflecting telescope in 1663, in his Optica Promota, but apparently didn't make one because of the difficulty of grinding good mirrors. [25]

18. Who first proposed the experiment of dropping two balls of different weight from a high tower to test Aristotle's assertion that they'd fall at different speeds?

The Byzantine scholar John Philoponus (or John the Grammarian) (6th century CE) described such an experiment:

For if you let fall from the same height two weights of which one is many times as heavy as the other, you will see that the ratio of times required for the motion does not depend on the ratio of the weights but that the difference in time is a very small one. And so, if the difference in weights is not considerable, that is, if one is, let us say, double the other, there will be no difference, or else an imperceptible difference, in time, though the difference in weight is by no means negligible, with one body weighing twice as much as the other. [26]
One of Tartaglia's pupils, Giovanni Benedetti, in 1533, proposed the experiment of dropping two balls, one heavy and one light, from a tower to test Aristotle's assertion that the heavier ball would fall a given distance in shorter time. Flemish engineer Simon Stevin did the experiment and published the results in 1586. There was very little difference in how fast the balls fell. Stevin includes an experimental detail of considerable importance, determining the simultaneity of landing by the sound as they hit a board:
My experience against Aristotle is the following. Let us take (as the very learned Mr Jan Cornets de Groot, most industrious investigator of the secrets of nature and myself have done) two spheres of lead, the one ten times larger and heavier than the other, and drop them together from a height of 30 feet onto a board or something on which they will give a perceptible sound. Then it will be found that the lighter will not be ten times longer on its way than the heavier but that they will fall together onto the board so simultaneously that their two sounds seem to be one and the same rap. [27]
Galileo described the experiment in his Dialogues of two New Sciences, and refers several times in other writings to having done such an experiment from a high tower, but never names a particular tower. Here's Galileo's account:
But I, Simplicio, who have made the test can assure you that a cannon ball weighing one or two hundred pounds or even more, will not reach the ground by as much as a span ahead of a musket ball weighing only half a pound, provided both are dropped from a height of 200 cubits...the larger outstrips the smaller by two finger-breadths, that is, when the larger has reached the ground, the other is short of it by two finger-breadths.
The well-known and often-repeated story that Galileo did this experiment from the Leaning Tower of Pisa can be traced back to just one uncorroborated source: Vincenzo Vivani, Galileo's last pupil and biographer. Vivani's account describes this as a public demonstration, with the entire university specially assembled by Galileo to observe it. Galileo would have been in his twenties and a professor at Pisa then. No university record confirms this event, nor does anyone who might have been there, other than Vivani, mention it. [28]

F. S. Taylor says ``As Professor Lane Cooper has pointed out in an entertaining pamphlet, [29] the versions of the story differ widely. Sometimes they are one pound and 100 pounds, sometimes they are one pound and ten pounds; one ingenious author makes Galileo enclose different materials in equal-sized boxes, presumably to make their air-resistance the same.'' This shows how colorful fables are embellished and amplified by authors indifferent to historical accuracy.

19. Who first performed the experiment of flying a kite to `draw down the electric fluid' of lightning?

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) studied the so-called `electric fluid,' He investigated charged objects and how sparks jumped between them. Based on these small-scale experiments, Franklin suggested that lightning was just a huge electric spark, like those produced from charged Leyden jars. Franklin proposed an experiment with an elevated rod or wire to `draw down the electric fire' from a cloud. His manuscript showed the experimenter standing in the protection of an enclosure, like a soldier's sentry-box. Before Franklin got around to doing this experiment, others did.

Thomas Francois D'alibard (1703-99) did so successfully in Paris on May 16, 1752, using a 50 foot long vertical rod. A week later M. Delor repeated the experiment in Paris. John Canton (1717-82) in England did that July in England. The next two to try it were killed by the experiment. Physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann (1711-53) did the experiment in St. Petersburg according to Franklin's instructions, standing inside a room. A glowing ball of charge came down the string, jumped to his forehead and killed him instantly. This is the first well-documented example of ball lightning. Within a few days of that tragedy, Russian chemist Mikhail V. Lomonosov (1711-65) successuflly performed the experiment.

Apparently unaware of these experiments, Franklin did the experiment during a thunderstorm in 1752 (probably in June, on the outskirts of Philadelphia). The demonstration was not public (perhaps to avoid ridicule in case it failed). Franklin did not stand in the open, as so many romanticized paintings depict, but sensibly stood under a shed roof so that he held a dry, non-conducting portion of the string. Still, he was lucky to survive. [30]

20. Who lies buried in Grant's tomb? Where is Grant's Tomb? How many bricks are in Grant's Tomb?

Ulysses S. Grant and his wife are entombed there. However, since the tomb is above ground, no one is buried there. The tomb is in New York City, in a park overlooking the Hudson River, just north of Riverside Church. It has no bricks, being of solid Granite.


  1. Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Doubleday, 1972.
  2. Brush, Steven. History of Physical Science from Newton to Einstein, lecture notes for HIST 402 given at the University of Maryland, College Park, c. 1977 by Stephen G. Brush.
  3. deBono, Edward. Eureka! An Illustrated History of Inventions From the Wheel to the Computer. Thames and Hudson, Ltd, 1974. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.
  4. Clarke, Donald, ed. The How it Works Encyclopedia of Great Inventors and Discoveries. Marshall Cavendish, 1978.
  5. Cooper, Lane. Aristotle, Galileo, and the Tower of Pisa, (pamphlet) Ithaca, 1935.
  6. Feldman, Anthony and Peter Ford. Scientists and Inventions. Facts On File and Aldus Books, 1979.
  7. Hornsby, Jeremy. The Story of Inventions. Crescent Books, 1977. Larsen, Egon. A History of Invention. London, J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1969.
  8. Moore, Patrick. Watchers of the Stars, Putnam's, 1974.
  9. Stein, Ralph. The Great Inventions. Ridge Press/Playboy Press, 1976.
  10. Taylor, F. Sherwood. British Inventions. Longmans, Green & Co., 1950.
  11. Taylor, F. Sherwood. Galileo and the Freedom of Thought. London, Watts & Co, 1938.
  12. Wilson, Colin. Starseekers, Doubleday, 1980.
  13. Wilson, Mitchell. American Science and Invention, Bonanza Books, 1964.
  14. The Smithsonian Book of Invention. Smithsonian Exposition Books, 1978.


1. Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. V. [<]

2. Asimov. [<]

3. Dictionary of Scientific Biography, v. III. [<]

4. Hornsby, p. 111. [<]

5. Hornsby, p. 111. [<]

6. deBono, p. 53. [<]

7. Smithsonian Book of Invention, p. 40. [<]

8.Joseph Henry has to be ranked as one of the truly great scientific minds of America, though his name may be practically unknown to most persons. His skills did not include self- promotion. His specialty was physics, particularly electromagnetic phenomena. He was the first director of the Smithsonian Institution. Wilson's book gives a good account of his scientific work. [<]

9. Wilson, p. 118. [<]

10. deBono. [<]

11. Morse had difficulty obtaining funding for his work. In late 1842 he tried to get Congress to appropriate money for an experimental telegraph system. I find it amusing that when this bill came before the House of Representatives (in 1842), Cave Johnson of Tennessee said that if the Congress wished to promote electromagnetism it ought also to encourage Mesmerism, and he proposed an amendment that half the money go to Dr. Fisk, a Mesmerist. Another amendment was proposed to give money to the Millerites, a religious group which was predicting the Second Coming of Christ in 1844. These amendments were proposed as jokes, but the chair ruled them in order, and suggested that a scientific analysis would be necessary to find out to what extent Mesmerism was analogous to telegraphy. The bill finally passed, stripped of the amendments, appropriating $30,000 to Morse [Stein, p. 97]. Congress had, even then, a well-deserved reputation for doing idiotic things. [<]

12. DeBono, Edward, ed. Eureka. Thames and Hudson, Ltd, 1974. [<]

13. Smith. [<]

14. Asimov. [<]

15. Brush, Steven. History of Physical Science from Newton to Einstein, lecture notes for HIST 402 given at the University of Maryland, College Park, c. 1977 by Stephen G. Brush. Also see: Berkey, Dennis D. Calculus, Saunders, 1988. The Bernoullis include:

    Bernoulli, Christoph (1782-1863) Son of Daniel (II)
    Bernoulli, Daniel (I) (1700-1782) Son of Jean (I)
    Bernoulli, Daniel (II) (1751-1834) Son of Jean (II)
    Bernoulli, Jacques (I) (1654-1705) [Jacobus, James, or Jacob]
    Bernoulli, Jacques (II) (1759-1789) Son of Jean (II)
    Bernoulli, Jean (I) (1667-1748) [Johann, or John] Brother of Jacques (I)
    Bernoulli, Jean (II) (1710-1790) Son of Jean (I)
    Bernoulli, Jean (III) (1744-1807) Son of Jean (II)
    Bernoulli, Jean Gustave (1822-1863) Son of Christoph
    Bernoulli, Nicolas (I) (1687-1759) Nephew of Jacques (I)
    Bernoulli, Nicolas (II) (1695-1726) Son of Jean (I)

16. Williams, Henry Smith. The Great Astronomers. Newton Pub. Co., 1932. [<]

17. Asimov, .Biographical Encyclopedia. Tauber, p. 130, tells a similar tale about Janssen, whose son accidentally discovered the combination of lenses. Tauber says Janssen presented the telescope to Count Maurice of Nassau in 1609, who ordered it to be kept secret (he found it a great aid in his wars). Someone is very mixed up here. Edward Rosen, in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, tells that Janssen was an optician and counterfeiter of Spanish coins. Janssen's son fraudulently claimed his father's priority for the disputed invention of the telescope. This source gives a good bibliography, but most of these references are not in English. [<]

18. Mason, A History of the Sciences, p. 159, says he `patented the invention in 1608.' But Cajori says that ``on October 2, 1608, he applied for a patent. He was told to modify his construction and make an instrument enabling the observer to see through it with both eyes. This he accomplished the same year. He did not receive the patent, but the government of the United Netherlands paid him 900 gulden for the instrument and an equal sum for two other binocular telescopes, completed in 1609.'' Cajori references Dr. H. Servus, Die Geschichte des Fernohrs, Berlin, 1886, p. 39. I have not been able to consult this reference. The interesting thing about this is that Lippershey not only invented a telescope, but a binocular telescope, a fact not mentioned in many accounts. [<]

19. Mason, A History of the Sciences, p. 159.

20. Williams, Henry Smith. The Great Astronomers. Newton Pub. Co., 1932. [<]

21. Opening passage of Sidereus Nuncius, Galileo Galilei; Venice, 1610. (Opera; Florence, 1929, Vol. 3.i., p. 60.) [Taylor, Galileo and the Freedom of Thought, p. 61.] [<]

22. Cajori, p. 45. [<]

23. Cajori, p. 45. [<]

24. Bettex, Albert. The Discovery of Nature, Simon and Schuster, 1965, p. 113. [<]

25. Brittanica Macropaedia. [<]

26. Quoted I. B. Cohen, Birth of New Physics, Doubleday, 1960, p. 17. If this translation is faithful, John the Grammarian should have pruned some redundancy from his prose. [<]

27. Ibid, p. 18. [<]

28. See Ronan, Colin, Galileo, Putnam's, 1974, p. 81. [<]

29. Cooper, Lane. Aristotle, Galileo, and the Tower of Pisa, (pamphlet) Ithaca, 1935. [<]

30. Most of this information is from Seeger, Raymond John, Benjamin Franklin, New World Physicist, Pergamon Press, 1973. [<]

Input and suggestions are welcome at this address.

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