Hertha Marks Ayrton accomplishments(Hertha Marks Ayrton,Hertha Marks Ayrton’s birthday) was an award-winning English engineer, mathematician, inventor and physicist, best known for her ground....
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Born in Portsea, Portsmouth, on April 28, 1854, she was of Jewish parentage and the third of eight children. She was the daughter of a seamstress, while her father was a clockmaker and jeweller who left his family in debt when he passed away in 1861.
She went to live in London at the age of nine and was taught at a school owned by her aunt Marion Harzog. She adopted the name Hertha in her teenage years, after the ancient Germanic earth Goddess.
The young scientist attended Girton College in 1876, part of the University of Cambridge, famous for pioneering women’s education and the first residential college for women established in England.
Ayrton famously wrote: “An error that ascribes to a man what was actually the work of a woman has more lives than a cat.”
She passed the Cambridge University Examination for Women in 1874 with honors in English and mathematics, the University of California notes, and was known by her peers for her fiery personality.
Ayrton was also a life-long inventor and in 1884 she patented a line divider, an instrument for dividing a line into any number of equal parts which could be used by artists and architects.
The device was unveiled at the Exhibition of Women’s Industries and was her first major invention.
In 1915, Ayrton invented a fan to clear poisonous gases away from the trenches, with over 100,000 fans dispatched to the Western Front.
From 1884 until her death in 1923, Hertha had registered 26 different patents.
Ayrton is also celebrated for her work on electric arcs, a highly luminous and intensely hot discharge of electricity between two electrodes, which she began researching in 1893.
Arc lamps were widely used for public lighting at the time but their tendency to flicker and hiss was a problem.
“In experimenting on the arc, my aim was not so much to add to the large number of isolated facts that had already been discovered, as to form some idea of the bearing of these upon one another, and thus to arrive at a clear conception of what takes place in each part of the arc and carbons at every moment,” she famously wrote.
“The attempt to correlate all the known phenomena, and to bind them together into one consistent whole, led to the deduction of new facts, which, when duly tested by experiment, became parts of the growing body, and, themselves, opened up fresh questions, to be answered in their turn by experiment.”
The motion of ripples in sand and water
This simple observation was a scientific mystery until Ayrton read "The Origin and Growth of Ripple Marks" to the Royal Society in 1904 [the first woman to do so] when she received the Hughes Medal for her work on ripples and the electric arc.
“To anyone who, for the first time, sees a great stretch of sandy shore covered with innumerable ridges and furrows, as if combed with a giant comb, a dozen questions must immediately present themselves,” she wrote.
“How do these ripples form? Are they made and wiped out with every tide, or do they take a long time to grow, and last for many tides? What is the relation between the ripple and the waves to which they owe their existence? And a host of others too numerous to mention.”
Her words were then published, marking a permanent contribution to the canon of physical science and a victory over discrimination and exclusion.
Hertha Marks Ayrton
Today's Google Doodle CREDIT: GOOGLE
Today's Google Doodle was designed by artist Lydia Nichols and shows Ayrton framed by her breakthrough findings.
It marks her 162nd birthday and celebrates her legacy as an engineer, mathematician, physicist, and inventor.
“Her impact is still rippling through the scientific community,” Google notes.
The Doodle can be seen in browsers in countries including Egypt, Iceland, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Tunisia and the UK.
Google Doodle 28 April 2016 Hertha Marks Ayrton’s 162nd birthday Hertha Marks Ayrton When a wave washes over sand, ripples will
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