Sunday, August 31, 2008

Some useful history sites

BBC History Online - For fans of World and British History (as I am). - Has a plethora of information and many links. - I love the international focus on this site.
The History Guy - A site that is very strong in US History.
HistoryWiz - A fun site.
HyperHistory Online - An ongoing project that has the potential to deliver much.
Napoleon.Org - For those that appreciate the Little Corporal.
Nostradamus - For those interested in the prophecies of the Seer.
Spartacus Educational - Great beginner site for World History.
WhoWhatWhen - An excellent Interactive timeline site.

10 Greatest British Prime Ministers of All-Time

Just my opinion........

1. Winston Churchill
2. William Gladstone
3. Benjamin Disraeli
4. Margaret Thatcher
5. Robert Peel
6. David Lloyd George
7. William Pitt
8. Robert Walpole
9. Viscount Palmerston
10. Harold Wilson

Saturday, August 23, 2008

20 Most Important Events in Central American History

Refer to the links for more detail - they have been carefully selected

1. European Invasion and the Subsequent Indian Genocide (includes the campaigns of the Spaniard Cortes)
2. Creation of the Aztec Empire
3. Creation of the Mayan Empire
4. Fall of the Mayan Empire - see NASA evidence
5. Period of Olmec Rule in Pre-European times.
6. Mexican rebellion against the Spanish and the creation of the Modern Mexican state.
7. Central American states win independence from Spain.
8. Building of the Panama Canal.
9. Key Mexican territory is lost to the US in the Mexican-American War - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
10. Period of the Diaz regime in Mexico.
11. Invasion of Mexico by the French during the rule of Maximilian I.
12. The Proliferation of the Drug industry in Central America.
13. US attacks Mexico to capture Pancho Villa.
14. Collapse of the Somoza Regime in Nicaragua. Beginning of Sandinista rule.
15. US drive out Noriega from Panama.
16. Death Squads run riot in El Salvador.
17. The Guatemalan Civil War (post WWII).
18. Collapse of Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
19. Soccer War between Honduras and El Salvador.
20. British Honduras gain independence and becomes Belize.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

40 Greatest Western Explorers

40 greatest Western explorers

1. Lief Ericson - discovered North America
2. Christopher Columbus - discovered West Indies
3. Vasco da Gama - visited India after rounding Africa
4. Marco Polo - reached China
5. James Cook - Crossed Antarctic circle. Visited New Zealand
6. Ferdinand Magellan/Juan Sebastian del Cano - first to Circumnavigate the globe
7. Walter Raleigh - Visited North America. Drew up plans for 13 colonies
8. Abel Tasmin - Visited Australia
9. David Livingstone - Discovered Victoria Falls and Zambezi River
10. John Cabot - reached Newfoundland
11. Robert Peary - First to reach North Pole
12. Vasco Balboa - discovered Pacific Ocean
13. John Speke - discovered Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria
14. Roland Amundsen - First to reach South Pole
15. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark - Explored American Interior
16. Bartholmew Diaz - Sailed around Cape of Good Hope
17. Eric the Red - Viking explorer who visited Greenland
18. Jacques Cartier - explored St Lawrence River
19. Robert Burke and William Wills - explored Australian Interior
20. Ernest Shackleton - explored Antarctica
21. Henry Stanley - traced the Congo River
22. Richard Burton - discovered Lake Tanganyika
23. Francis Younghusband - Explorer. Opened up Tibet to the Western World.
24. Henry Hudson - discovered Hudson's Bay
25. Simon Champlain - explored Canadian interior
26. Vitus Bering - discovered Alaska
27. Fabian von Bellinghausen - circumnavigated Antarctica
28. Mungo Park - explored the Niger River
29. Hernando de Soto - discovered the Mississippi River
30. Ponce De Leon - discovered Florida
31. Alexander Mackenzie - discovered Mackenzie River
32. Nathaniel Palmer - sighted Antarctica
33. Amerigo Verspucci - explored Venezuela.
34. Edmund Hillary - Together with the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the first to climb Mount Everest. Was involved as well in expedition that crossed Antarctica for the first time.
35. Robert Falcon Scott - explored the Antarctic
36. Heinrich Barth - explored Sudan
37. John Fremont - Crossed Rocky Mountains to California
38. William Baffin - Explorer. Penetrated to within 800 miles of the North Pole. Closest for 250 years.
39. Semyon Dezhnev - Cossack Explorer. Sailed around eastern part of Asia in 17th century.
40. St Francis Xavier - visited Japan

Friday, August 8, 2008

50 Most Influential Physicists/Astronomers of All-Time

1. Isaac Newton - English. Quantified and Qualified laws of motion and gravity. Invented the reflecting telescope. Explained the concept of light dispersion and co-invented the Calculus.

2. Albert Einstein - German/Swiss/American - Developed Theories of Special and General Relativity. Described Brownian Motion. Nobel Prize winner for his work on the photoelectric effect. Showed mass-energy equivalence.

3. Galileo Galilei - Italian - Discovered the law of Uniformly accelerated motion. Improved on the refracting telescope. Discovered the Four largest moons of Jupiter. Described projectile motion and the concept of weight. He is however best known for his championing of the Copernican theory of heliocentricity against church opposition.

4. Michael Faraday - Self taught English Physicist - Showed how a changing magnetic field can be used to generate an electric current. This is the Principle of Electromagnetic Induction that is used in today's electric generators. He applied this knowledge to the development of several electrical machines as well. Described principles of electrolysis. Early pioneer in the field of low temperature study

5. Johannes Kepler - German - Outlined Three fundamental laws of planetary motion. Described elliptical motion of planets around the sun. Work served as the precursor to that of Newton's.

6. Archimedes - Greek - Described concept of buoyancy. Developed formulae for the areas and volumes of spheres, cylinders, parabolas, and several other solids. Worked extensively with levers. Also invented the Archimedes screw to raise water. In warfare he developed several siege engines that served to hamper the Roman invasion of his home city of Syracuse.

7. Nikolai Tesla - Yugoslavian/American - Champion of alternating current flow (which is the means by which electric power is carried in our modern network). Improved on the dynamo, transformer and electric bulb and invented the Tesla coil.

8. Max Planck - German - Father of Quantum mechanics. Showed how the energy of a photon is proportional to its frequency.

9. James Maxwell - Scottish - Developed equations for electromagnetism and the kinetic theory of gases. He predicted that other that there were other types of radiation beyond that of visible light. Showed that light was a type of electromagnetic radiation.

10. Marie Curie - Polish - Two time Nobel Prize winner. With Henri Becquerel and her Pierre she discovered radioactivity. She also isolated Plutonium and Radium.

11. Niels Bohr - Danish - Used Quantum mechanical model to show how electron energy levels are related to Spectral lines.

12. Erwin Schrödinger - Austrian - Famous for the equation that bears his name. Describes the wave action and behaviour of matter.

13. Werner Heisenberg - German - Developed method to express Quantum mechanics in terms of matrices. Best known for his Uncertainty Principle.

14. Ernest Rutherford - New Zealander/British - Father of Nuclear Physics. Showed how the atomic nucleus has a positive charge. Was the first to change one element into another by an artificial nuclear reaction.

15. Nicolas Copernicus - Polish Monk - Wrote 400 Page treatise 'On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres' that argued that the Earth revolved around the sun. The book challenged the way the world was viewed leading to much ecclesiastical opposition.

16. Christiaan Huygens - Dutch - Developed Wave Theory of Light and discovered polarization.

17. James Joule - English - Showed that heat is a form of energy. Also demonstrated that gas expansion with no work leads to a fall in temperature. Work led to the Theory of Conservation of Energy.

18. Henry Cavendish - English - Showed that water was made up of the union of two gases. Determined the Universal Gravitation constant.

19. William Thomson Kelvin - Scottish - Major figure in Thermodynamics. Helped develop Law of Conservation of Energy. Studied Wave motion and vortex motion in hydrodynamics and produced a dynamical theory of heat.

20. Thomas Young - English - Furthered the doctrine of wave interference. Famous for his 'slit' experiments.

21. Enrico Fermi - Italian/American - Split the nucleus by bombarding it with neutrons. Built first Nuclear reactor in the US.

22. Richard Feynman - American - Known for his work on quantum electrodynamics, as well as for his visual representation of the behaviour patterns of interacting particles (Feynman diagrams).

23. Alessandro Volta - Italian - Built the first electrical battery. First scientist to do substantial work with Electric currents.

24. Heinrich Hetrz - German - Discovered radio waves and determined their velocity.

25. Benjamin Franklin - American - Worked with electricity. Defined positive and negative charges.

26. John Bardeen - American - Developed the point contact transistor (won Nobel Prize with Walter Brattain and William Shockley in 1956). Won a second Nobel Prize (1972) for work on Superconductivity (shared with Leon Cooper and John Schrieffer).

27. Georg Ohm - German - Determined law in electricity that states that current is equal to the ratio of voltage to resistance.

28. Paul Dirac - English - Developed theory of the spinning electron. Proposed the existence of anti-matter.

29. Robert Millikan - American - Determined the charge on an electron. Did vital work with Cosmic Rays.

30. Edwin Hubble - American - Discovered that the universe is expanding. Established a ratio between the rate of expansion and the distance between galaxies.

31. Pieter Zeeman - Dutch - Discovered the Zeeman effect, whereby a ray of light placed in a magnetic field is split spectroscopically into several components. This has helped physicists investigate atoms, study electromagnetic radiation and for astronomers to measure the magnetic field of stars.

32. Andre-Marie Ampere - French - Worked in field of Electrodynamics. Showed how an electric current produces a magnetic field.

33. Joseph John Thomson - English - Showed that Cathode rays were rapidly moving particles. Worked out that the mass of these individual particles (electrons) was less than 2000 times that of the atom itself.

34. Henri Becquerel - French - Discovered the natural radioactivity of uranium.

35. Louis de Broglie - French - Discovered the wave nature of electrons and particles.

36. Charles Coulomb - French - Determined that positive and negative charges attract one another and showed that the magnitude of the force diminishes with distance.

37. Georges Lemaître - Belgian - Proposed the Big Bang Theory of the origin of the Universe.

38. Christian Doppler - Austrian - Discovered that a wave's frequency changes when its source and the observer are moving relative to one another (the Doppler Effect).

38. Lise Meitner - Austrian - Discovered with Otto Hahn the radioactive element protactinium. Known for her work in Nuclear Physics she developed, with her nephew Otto Frisch, the concept of Nuclear Fission.

39. Hans Oersted - Danish - Discovered magnetic effect of an electric current.

40. Robert Boyle - Irish - Showed that the pressure and volume of a mixed mass of gas are inversely proportional. Was highly active as a Chemist as well.

41. Hendrik Lorentz - Dutch - Clarified Electromagnetic Theory of light. Developed concept of local time. Work would influence Albert Einstein.

42. Joseph von Fraunhofer - German -First to realize that dark lines in spectra of light can be used to determine makeup of celestial bodies.

43. Ludwig Boltzmann - Austrian - Father of Statistical Mechanics. Worked on the kinetic theory of gases.

44. Robert Hooke - English - Formulated the law of elasticity. Invented the balance spring, the microscope and the Gregorian telescope.

45. Evangelista Torrecelli - Italian - Inventor of the Barometer. Father of Hydrodynamics.

46. Wilhelm Weber - German - invented the electrodynamometer. First to apply the mirror and scale method of reading deflections.

47. Ernst Mach - Austrian - Showed how airflow is disturbed at the speed of sound.

48. John Wheeler - American - Theoretical physicist. Coined the terms black hole and worm hole.

49. Wilhelm Roentgen - German - Discovered x-rays.

50. Stephen Hawking - English - Noteworthy for his work in cosmology especially with respect to singularities. Predicts that a Black hole will convert its mass to radiation, then disappear.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Don't worry, kid, you don't need to know that

I am a strong champion of critical thinking but I also believe (how silly of me) that a solid foundation in facts is necessary when teaching students history. Unfortunately not all teachers are in agreement on this issue as the article reprinted from the Review Journal. shows.

"To understand and explain American exceptionalism, like it or not, it may be necessary to at least understand why aeroplanes were not used in the Civil War, why the British couldn't use the train to get back and forth between New York and Philadelphia in 1788, and why the Jackson Democrats kept making such a fuss about the National Bank.

"Nevada's Council to Establish Academic Standards was scheduled to meet July 21 to adopt new public-school history standards. When some attention was drawn to what they're up to, they promptly postponed their meeting for 'lack of a quorum.'

"Behind all the double-talk about replacing fact-driven, chronological history with a more 'thematic approach,' the unmistakable goal is to dumb down our history classes still further. The draft proposal under consideration is 'gobbledy-gook,' says Carson City School Board member (and former history teacher) Joe Enge. The stated goals are 'so broad I could drive a truck through them,' Mr. Enge says.

"Extrapolating 'themes' from history is great. But a young person cannot possibly judge -- let alone generate -- a useful interpretation of any facet of American history if he or she cannot locate the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, Bunker Hill, Guadalcanal, Normandy, and Yorktown on a globe ... place them in their proper chronological order ... and name a commanding officer from at least three.
"Go ahead, ask them."

Check out the Review Journal for the rest.