July 9: James B. Pollack, John Wheeler, Oliver Sacks, and Percy Spencer

James B. Pollack

American scientist and NASA researcher James B. Pollack was born on 9 July 1938. Pollack was an expert in the study of planetary atmospheres and helped develop the theory that atomic war would result in a “nuclear winter“; he also discovered the first real evidence that the clouds of Venus are composed of sulphuric acid.

James pollack
Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center

John Wheeler

American theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler was born on 9 July 1911. Wheeler was the first American physicist involved in the theoretical development of the atomic bomb and is best known for popularising the term “black hole”, and for inventing the terms “quantum foam”, “neutron moderator”, and “wormhole”.

Oliver Sacks

British neurologist, naturalist, historian, and writer Oliver Wolf Sacks was born on 9 July 1933. He is best known for the books The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, and Awakenings, the latter adapted into a feature film in which he was portrayed by Robin Williams.

Oliver sacks
Credit: Maria Popova (Creative Commons)


Microwave oven inventor Percy Spencer

American physicist and inventor Percy Spencer was born on 9 July 1894. One day while standing next to a magnetron, Spencer noticed that a peanut butter candy bar he had in his pocket had melted, and the rest is history.


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