Long before there were computers, the greatest minds of all time relied upon scientific notebooks to record their theories, hypotheses, data, tests, and other findings. By hand writing the information in their own personal notebooks, they were able to create a library of works that have been used by other scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and thinkers to further build upon the original concepts and ideas developed by these outstanding people.
Marie Curie worked alongside her husband Pierre Curie to discover radium and polonium. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Curie continued her research, and she was responsible for creating the term “radioactivity.” Today, her notebooks, along with numerous items she had in her home, are considered too radioactive to handle without proper protection.
One of the most well-known scientists of our time, Albert Einstein is probably best recognized by the development of his Theory of Relativity. Mr. Einstein avidly wrote in his notebooks, which he later referenced as he made new discoveries. In fact, the first documentation of the Theory of Relativity can be found in his notebooks dating back to 1912 and 1913.
Best known for the development of Quantum Theory, Max Planck did not initially set out to make this discovery. He accidently discovered energy and how it behaves largely, in part, from reviewing data he had collected and recorded in his notebooks.
Robert Goddard was well ahead of his time. He invented and built the first rockets using liquid fuel. He also successfully launched the first one in 1926. While many of his colleagues ridiculed him for his belief that one day man could use a rocket to travel to the moon, and quite possibly Mars, his discoveries helped pave the way for the space program and creation of NASA.
Sigmund Freud developed the concept of psychoanalysis and helped further the fields of psychology and psychiatry. Dr. Freud made it a habit of recording his concepts in notebooks as he attempted to understand the unconscious mind. While, today, many of his original theories are no longer practiced, they did initially change the way in which people viewed themselves.
Niels Bohr is credited with advancing the study of atoms and their structures. It was his work that helped lead to the creation of the Atomic Bomb, and this would not have been possible if he had not documented his theories in notebooks.
Another physicist, Enrico Fermi, started his career by reading two books on physics and documenting changes to many mathematical errors he found. Later, he conducted experiments with neutrons and developed the concept of splitting atoms. He even conceptualized how to create a nuclear reaction. Ultimately his efforts contributed greatly to the development of the Atomic Bomb.
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