Jewish Contributions : Science
Mike Martin - July 12, 2009
The Jewish contribution to science has been so extensive that it has hard to describe the initiative and brilliance of their efforts without breaking them down into specific sciences and sub-glasses in order not to overlook the many individual and group contributions. Jews have been involved with every major branch of science and have particularly excelled in the hard sciences of mathematics, physics and chemistry. They have also been on the forefront of every modern medical advancement from finding vaccines and treatments to infectious diseases to helping identify the causes of coronary disease and cancer. But Jews have also been influential in other aspects of scientific research from astronomy to anthropology to the atomic bomb and have had similar success to other Jewish scientists in these fields as well.
Sir Frederick William Herschel
(Photo: Julia Margaret Cameron)
Sir Frederick William Herschel is one of those pioneer Jewish scientists who was called the most famous astronomer of the 18th century and whose interest in the solar system helped him to discover the planet Uranus. He also discovered infrared radiation by passing sunlight through a prism and holding a thermometer just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum which led him and the rest of us to know that there must be an invisible form of light beyond the visible spectrum. His work was so important to other astronomers that they even named a crater on the moon after William Herschel and his wife.
Herman Mueller was another notable Jewish scientist who was a geneticist and educator who became best known for his work on the physiological and genetic effects of radiation (X-ray mutagenesis). Mueller became one of the better known public intellectuals of the early 20th century for his public presentations on the likely dangers of radiation exposure in humans, especially doctors and medical personnel who operated the machinery.
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