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Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

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Happy Birthday, Julio Garavito Armero!

Posted January 05, 2007 10:41 AM
Pathfinder Tags: January 5 March 11

Today is the birthday of Julio Garavito Armero, the Colombian astronomer who studied comets, celestial mechanics, lunar fluctuations, and Earth's orbital acceleration. Garavito was born on January 5, 1865 in the Santa Barbara district of Bogotá, a mile-high Colombian city whose original inhabitants, the Muiscas, worshipped the moon and the sun. The third of six children, Garavito was influenced by his brothers, several of whom later became mathematicians, engineers, and cartographers. As a child, young Julio demonstrated an aptitude for math and science, producing an almanac by age 11. When Colombia's civil war interrupted his studies at the National School of San Bartolome, Garavito moved his education underground, forming a secret society called El Circulo de los Nuevo Puntos (the nine-point circle). As a condition of admission, prospective members were forced solved a problem regarding Euler's theorem, a proof which is used to reduce large powers modulo n.

Despite Colombia's continued strife, Garavito earned a bachelor's degree from San Bartolome in 1881. Four years later, the first of his investigative tracts was published in The Annals of Engineering, a scientific journal which he would later edit. In 1891, Julio Garavito Armero received advanced degrees in mathematics and civil engineering from the National Engineering School of Colombia. He later joined the school's Faculty of Mathematics and Engineering as a professor and served as director of the National Astronomical Observatory, where he met his future wife, Maria Luisa Cadena Reyes. As an astronomer, Garavito studied the comets which passed by the earth and observed the solar eclipse of 1916, an event which darkened much of Colombia. He also examined the effects of lunar fluctuations upon weather, flooding, and polar ice. As an academic, Garavito penned articles about topics such as non-Euclidean geometry, the distribution of wealth, and agricultural insurance. His study of optics includes notes about refraction and the aberration of light.

Toward the end of his career, Julio Garavito Armero was named president of the Colombian Society of Engineering and director of the Chorographic Commission, an organization devoted to the development of Colombia's railways. He was also named director of the National Engineering School. Although Garavito dismissed Albert Einstein's theory of relativity as vague and contradictory, he retained the respect of the international academic community as he sought to complete his master work, "The Tables of the Moon", before his death in 1920. Today, the Garavito crater on the far side of the moon honors the memory of Julio Garavito Armero.

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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 17
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Re: Happy Birthday, Julio Garavito Armero!

01/05/2007 10:28 PM

Happy BRITHDAY. I've yet to learn more about him. =)

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