Some of the most impressive scientific achievements of the 20th century will be recognized in April when the American Scientists stamps are issued. The series honors four scientists:
-- Theoretical physicist John Bardeen (1908-1991) co-invented the transistor, arguably the most important invention of the 20th century. Bardeen also collaborated on the first fundamental explanation of superconductivity at low temperatures, a theory which has had a profound impact on many fields of physics.
-- Biochemist Gerty Cori (1896-1957), in collaboration with her husband Carl, made important discoveries that later became the basis for our knowledge of how cells use food and convert it into energy. Among her discoveries was a new derivative of glucose, a finding that elucidated the steps of carbohydrate metabolism. Their work also contributed to the understanding and treatment of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
-- Astronomer Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) played a pivotal role in deciphering the vast and complex nature of the universe. His meticulous studies of spiral nebulae proved the existence of galaxies other than our own Milky Way, paving the way for a revolutionary new understanding that the cosmos contains myriad separate galaxies, or "island universes."
-- Structural chemist Linus Pauling (1901-1994) determined the nature of the chemical bond linking atoms into molecules. He routinely crossed disciplinary boundaries throughout his career and made significant contributions in several diverse fields. His pioneering work on protein structure was critical in establishing the field of molecular biology and his studies of hemoglobin led to many findings, including the
classification of sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease.
For each stamp, artist Victor Stabin of Jim Thorpe, PA, with the assistance of art director Carl Herrman of Carlsbad, CA, created a collage featuring a painted portrait of each scientist combined with diagrams or photographic representations associated with their major contributions.
I'm glad to see that John Bardeen is being recognized, considering that many still are not familiar with his name.