" Their zeal might sometimes be too ardent, but it was always sincere. "
John Quincy Adams

Back in the day


DuPont Scientist Wallace Carothers Invents Nylon

Though his struggles with mental illness made him initially reject a lucrative job with DuPont, chemist Wallace Carothers accepted the offer in the late 1920s and enjoyed much success there. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the invention of nylon, which rapidly gained widespread use in an array of products. First used to make toothbrush bristles, nylon was soon replacing silk in the parachutes and flak vests of American WWII combatants and in women's stockings. How did nylon get its name?



Vladimir Solovyov

Solovyov was a Russian writer who played a significant role in the development of Russian religious philosophy and poetry at the end of the 19th century. He believed that religious sects should, at the expense of individualism, pursue common ground and unity, and he was condemned for his "heretical" teachings about the entity Sophia, the incarnation of divine wisdom. Despite his intellectual achievements, he is said to have died a homeless pauper. What celebrated writer was his close friend?

Born on a day like today


Linus Carl Pauling

An American chemist, Pauling was the first person to win two unshared Nobel Prizes: one for chemistry in 1954 and one for peace in 1962. He was one of the first to study molecular structure using quantum mechanics, and he made discoveries in biochemistry and medicine. In the 1950s, he became concerned about nuclear weapons testing and radioactive fallout and wrote an appeal—signed by thousands of scientists—to halt such tests. What publication called his peace prize "A Weird Insult from Norway"?

Last updated on Tuesday, 28th February 2012

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