Scientists born in May

Dorothy Hodgkin (May 12, 1910) won the 1064 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for determining the three dimensional structure of several important biochemical substances by using X-ray diffraction techniques. Some of these substances are the steroid cholesteryl iodide, penicillin, insulin, and vitamin B12. Hodgkin was the second woman to receive the Order of Merit, the first to receive the Copley medal, and she was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize. She worked against social inequalities and the resolution of conflicts. In recognition to her work, the Royal Society created the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship for early career researchers. There are several buildings and educational institutions bearing her name and her face appears in British stamps.

Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856) was a medical doctor, physiologist and psychologist; he is considered the father of modern Psychiatry. Freud was a very influential thinker of the twentieth century. His most important claim is psychoanalysis, a new science of the mind. Freud conceptualized the mind as something that has to be examined and uncovered. His explanations and accounts of sexual genesis and neurosis led to the development of the clinical treatment of psychoanalysis. This treatment aims to self-understanding, and the use of this knowledge to explain the patient’s unconscious motivations and drives. Freud complete work is published in 23 a volume set The complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud.

David Attenborough (May, 8, 1926) is an English naturalist, he is well known as an icon of the advance of popular knowledge of science with many educational programs on television. He started is career as a BBC producer with a successful 10 year long TV series ‘zoo quest’ were animals were film is their native habitat, rather than in the TV studio or zoo. Attenborough is best know for BBC productions like Life of Earth, The living planet, The private Life of Plants, and others nature documentaries that use cutting edge filming techniques. Attenborough has dedicated his life to preserving wildlife. He wrote the environmental themed books State of the Planet and Saving Planet Earth. He is involved in organizations such as Population Matters and World Land Trust.

Cecilia Payne (May 10, 1900) was an English-American astronomer first to apply the laws of physics to the study of stellar bodies, specifically temperature and density. She concluded that hydrogen and helium are the most abundant elements in the universe. Her doctoral thesis showed that the sun’s spectrum consisted of 99% hydrogen and Helium and only 1% iron. This went against the accepted idea at that time that the sun composition of 65% iron and 35% hydrogen. Her superiors did not accept her results until after 20 years her results were confirm by Fred Hoyle.

Richard Feyman (May 11, 1918) was an American theoretical physicist his major claim is that he was one of the three scientists that develop the theory of quantum electrodynamics. Other contributions to science are the formulation a mathematical theory that dealt with the super-fluidity of helium and the development of the quark theory. In collaboration with Murray Gell-Mann he studied beta decay. Feyman introduced his famous Feyman diagrams as a way to conceptualized and calculate basic physical processes. Feyman had a mission to make physic understandable to the general public, he published several popular books like The Character of Physical Law and Q.E.D: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.

Maurice Ewing (May 12, 1906) was an American geologist, oceanographer, and geophysicist. His several contributions include the understanding of marine sediments and ocean basins, earthquake seismology, marine acoustics, sediments, and tectonics. He discovered the continental shelf of the Atlantic coast, and founded the Columbia Lamont Geological Observatory with the mission to study the ocean floor. His constant research on the ocean led to the production of a detailed 3D physiographic map of the North Atlantic Ocean. These maps revealed that the mid-ocean ridge is a global system of volcanic mountains under water.