Great inventors are the people who invented things or made a discovery without which we cannot imagine our life today. Their names are taught to students in the classroom, their lives and studies are an example for many of us. But this does not mean that these people’s way to recognition was easy and straightforward. In this article, we present a few curious, instructive and even tragic facts from the biographies of great scientists of the past.
Creator of Vaseline ate a spoonful of this substance each day and lived 96 years
Robert Chesbro began his career with an attempt to obtain kerosene from sperm whales. However, he then moved on to studying oil and its products. Communicating with the people from oil industry, Chesbro got interested in the sticky petroleum product; this substance resembled paraffin, got stuck to drilling rigs, and clogged pumps. Chesbro used it to invent Vaseline, which was sold as a healing agent for burns and wounds.
The sales of the new product were not very active, so the inventor went on a tour to America. During the lectures, he poured acid on his hand, made cuts and then greased them with his wonderful Vaseline. Before his death, and he had lived a long time as stated above, Robert Chesbro admitted that he believed in the healing properties of Vaseline so much that he ate a spoonful of this product every day.
Edison killed an elephant with current
Thomas Edison is one of America’s most successful inventors and entrepreneurs. Many ill-wishers argue that his second quality was much more developed than the first one. Edison resorted to any actions to promote his inventions and surpass the competitors.
For example, that is the way he behaved with his rival, Nikola Tesla, who suggested using alternating current instead of direct current. Thomas Edison started a real information war. In the course of this argument, he even sacrificed an innocent elephant from the local zoo. During a public experiment, the animal was put to death by an electric discharge that was expected to prove the danger of alternating current to health.
Stephen Hawking can utter only one word per minute
Hawking is considered to be a remarkable scholar and a great popularizer of science. Everyone knows that he is seriously ill, but that does not prevent him from leading an active life, writing books, taking part in scientific and popular films. However, few people know the difficulties that such activities lead to. Because of complete paralysis, he manages to move only one muscle on the cheek; the movements are registered with the help of a special sensor. This sensor controls the computer cursor, allowing Hawking to communicate with others.
Rudolf Diesel committed a suicide because of the lack of funds and recognition
Rudolf Diesel immortalized his name after creating the famous engine. Diesel applied for a patent for his “new rational heat engine” in 1892, and five years later he created the first fully working samples. Everyone understood almost immediately that the invention is unique in terms of efficiency, but it caused Diesel much trouble to try to promote the use of his engine in reality. Diesel was a bad businessman, and the initial patent wars undermined his health and financial situation.
On September 29, 1913, Rudolf Diesel went onboard the steamship “Dresden” from Antwerp to London where a new plant was due to open. However, nobody saw him ever since he went to his cabin in the evening. Ten days later, Belgian fishermen discovered a body of a well-dressed man in the sea. They emptied his pockets and threw him back into the sea. Later, the relatives identified Rudolf Diesel’s wallet and jewelry.
Marie Curie’s things and notes are dangerous even today
Maria Skłodowska-Curie received the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of radium and polonium, as well as the study of radioactivity. These studies undermined her health, and Marie Curie received a severe form of radiation sickness which she subsequently died from. The scientist’s personal belongings, her furniture, books, laboratory records, etc. are stored in the National Library of France in lead boxes because of the strong radiation. To have a look at them, you must obtain a special permit and sign a disclaimer.
René Laennec invented a stethoscope not to touch women’s breasts
All of us are familiar with a stethoscope – a medical device for listening to the noises of human internal organs. Prior to its appearance, the doctors would just put their ear close to the patient and listen to the lungs, heart, and intestines. But the French doctor René Laennec thought this procedure was not too decent, especially when it came to young girls and began to use a rolled sheet of paper. Later, he found that sounds were conveyed much better due to this method, and after several years of experiments he presented the design of the stethoscope.
Albert Einstein’s last words have not been translated
Albert Einstein spent the final stage of his life in the United States, where he researched, taught and participated in public life almost until the very last day of his life. In 1955, his health deteriorated rapidly, and he was placed under constant medical surveillance. Before his death, Einstein said a few words in German, but the American nurse did not understand them and could not repeat them later. Therefore, no one knows what the great scholar said in the last minute of his life.