Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was born on this day in 1926. Her key influence was in the area of the psychology of dying.
She wrote 12 books, beginning with On Death and Dying in which she proposed that the terminally ill go through five stages in their attitude: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, perhaps, acceptance. The success of the book led Kübler-Ross into a career of clinical practice treating dying patients of all ages. Her lectures changed institutional attitudes towards the terminally ill. Kubler-Ross died on 24 Aug 2004 at age 78.
Christiaan Huygens (died 8 Jul 1695 at age 66), was a Dutch mathematician, physicist, astronomer and inventor, regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time and a major figure in the scientific revolution.
Huygens proposed the wave theory of light, discovered the true shape of the rings of Saturn, patented the first pendulum clock, and contributed to the science of dynamics – the study of the action of forces on bodies – stating theories on centrifugal force in circular motion which influenced Sir Isaac Newton in formulating his Law of Gravity. On 14 Jan 2005, a NASA space probe named after Huygens landed on Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons, discovered by Huygens in 1655.
Japanese physicist Shinichiro Tomonaga (born 31 March 1906 and died 8 July 1979) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, together with Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger, for their contributions to the advancement of the field of quantum electrodynamics.
Tomonaga’s work established the basic principles of quantum electrodynamics and helped to resolve some of the key problems in the area. His other awards and honours included the Japan Academy Prize, the Order of Culture of Japan, and the Lomonosov Gold Medal, bestowed by the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was also the president of the Tokyo University of Education from 1956 to 1962 and chairman of the Japan Science Council.
Chuck Smeeton is Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Institution of Australia.
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