Category Famous Personalities

By whom the electric light bulb was born and how?

Thomas Edison had discovered in his experiments that there were certain bodies through which electric power flowed more easily. He called these good conductors and other bodies that resisted the flow of electric power he called bad conductors. When electricity tried to travel along a bad conductor the latter would resist so much that it glowed until became white-hot.

A carbon filament, for example, gave out a good deal of light; but the light did not last very long because the carbon would soon burn itself up as it was in contact with the oxygen in the air.

Edison then carried out an experiment inside a glass bulb from which he had removed all the air. This time the light of the glowing filament lasted much longer and the fist electric light bulb was born.

Carbon filaments have now been replaced by tungsten wire as its high melting point, low rate of evaporation and low electrical consumption make it most suitable for use in light bulbs. A further improvement has been the introduction of an inert gas in to the bulb. This was at first nitrogen but is now a mixture of 88 per cent argon and 12 per cent nitrogen.


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How many women have flown in space so far?

As of December 2019, of the 565 total space travelers, 65 have been women. There have been one each from France, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom; two each from Canada, China, and Japan; four from the Soviet Union/Russia; and 50 from the United States. The time between the first male and first female astronauts varied widely by country. The first astronauts originally from Britain, South Korea, and Iran were women, while there was a two-year gap in Russia from the first man in space on Vostok 1 to the first woman in space on Vostok 6. The time between the first American man and first American woman in space was 22 years between Freedom 7 and STS-7, respectively. For China, this interval was almost eight and a half years between the Shenzhou 5 and Shenzhou 9 space missions, and for Italy, there was approximately twelve years between the STS-46 and Expedition 42 spaceflights.

A span of 19 years separated the first and second women in space. They were cosmonauts on the Vostok 6 and Soyuz T-7 missions. Though the Soviet Union sent the first two women into space, only four of the women in space have been Russian or Soviet citizens. However, British, French, Italian, dual-citizen Iranian-American and South Korean women have all flown as part of the Soviet and Russian space programs. Similarly, women from Canada, Japan, and America have all flown under the US space program. A span of one year separated the first and second American women in space, as well as the first and second Chinese women in space, taking place on consecutive missions, Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10.


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In 2006, which astronaut with Indian ancestry established a world record for women with four spacewalks?

Indian-American astronaut Sunita Williams, who holds the record of the longest space flight (195 days) for a woman, arrived at her new home amid stars with an international cast of crew for another four-month stay.

In 1993 she became a naval test pilot, and she later became a test pilot instructor, flying more than 30 different aircraft and logging more than 2,770 flight hours. When selected for the astronaut program, she was stationed aboard the USS Saipan.

Williams completed an M.S. in engineering management from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne in 1995, and she entered astronaut training in 1998. She traveled to Moscow, where she received training in robotics and other ISS operational technologies while working with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and with crews preparing for expeditions to the ISS.


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Which is the first woman of Indian descent to go into space?

Born on March 17, 1962, in Karnal, Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian-origin woman to go into space. Chawla joined NASA in 1988 and first flew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997. The astronaut died on her second mission aboard Columbia in 2003. Sunita Williams, born in the US, became the second Indian-origin woman to travel into space in 2006.

Born in Karnal, Chawla received a degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab Engineering College before moving to the United States for her masters and PhD. In 1994, she was selected as an astronaut candidate at NASA.

Chawla first travelled to space aboard the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. The shuttle made 252 orbits around the Earth in a little over two weeks, before the tragic accident that took place in February while it was returning to Earth.

Chawla moved to the United States to pursue her graduate education; in 1984 she received a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado in 1988. She held commercial pilot’s licenses for single- and multi-engine aeroplanes, seaplanes and gliders, and was also a certified flight instructor.

After becoming a naturalised US citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA astronauts corps. She was selected in December 1994 and reported to the Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1995 as an astronaut candidate in Group 15. In November 1996, Chawla was assigned as a mission specialist on STS-87 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, becoming the first woman of Indian descent to fly in space.


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In 2020, which astronaut completed the longest-ever single space-flight by a woman?

NASA astronaut Christina Koch has completed the longest-ever single spaceflight by a woman.

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying Koch parachuted down to the grasslands of Kazakhstan at around 09:12 GMT.

She spent 328 days on the International Space Station (ISS), surpassing the previous record held by fellow American Peggy Whitson.

Her stay is just 12 days short of the all-time US record set by Scott Kelly, who was on the ISS from 2015-2016.

During her mission, Koch completed six spacewalks — including another two with Meir — and spent 42 hours and 15 minutes outside of the station.

Koch also devoted much of her time to a variety of experiments and investigations. The space station acts as an orbiting laboratory that can be used to test how different aspects of everyday human life on Earth react to the lack of gravity.

On the station, astronauts experience a plethora of science activities. Sometimes, they’re the test subject, contributing to studies about human health in space. Other times, they’re working with scientists on Earth to test their experiments.


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In 2007, who became the first woman to command the International Space Station?

On just her second spaceflight, Expedition 16, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson became the first woman to command the International Space Station.

This year marks a milestone in spaceflight history, 20 years of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station (ISS)

She became NASA’s first ISS Science Officer during her first flight (Expedition 5), the first female ISS commander with her second (Expedition 16), and the first two-time female commander of the ISS with her third and final stay on station (Expedition 50/51/52).

She has conducted 10 spacewalks totaling 60 hours and 21 minutes, holding the record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut. Whitson has also logged 665 days in space, the most for any American astronaut, placing her in the eighth spot on the all-time space endurance list.

From Oct. 2009 to July 2012, Whitson served as the Chief of the Astronaut Corps, the first woman and non-military astronaut to fill the role.

In 2018, Whitson retired from NASA.


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Which is the first American woman in space?

On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally K. Ride became the first American woman in space, when she launched with her four crewmates aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-7.  Ride and five other women had been selected in 1978 for NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first American selection class to include females.  With the advent of the space shuttle, NASA expanded astronaut selection from only pilots to scientists and engineers, and women became eligible for selection.  NASA announced Ride and her classmates to the public on Jan. 16, 1978.

NASA announced Ride would be part of the STS-7 crew on April 30, 1982, serving as mission specialist and joining Commander Robert L. Crippen, mission specialist John M. Fabian, physician-astronaut Norman E. Thagard and pilot Frederick H. Hauck on the historic flight.

Over six days, the crew’s complex tasks included launching commercial communications satellites for Indonesia and Canada and deploying and retrieving a satellite using the shuttle’s robotic arm. Ride, who was 32 at the time, was the first woman to operate the shuttle’s mechanical arm. 


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Which is the second woman to travel into space was also the first woman to fly to space?

Svetlana Savitskaya was just the second woman to reach space. She was also a record-breaking jet pilot. Savitskaya was born in Moscow in 1948, and likewise started skydiving as a teenager. Her father, a high-ranking officer in the Soviet military, was allegedly unaware of her skydiving exploits. However, he soon supported her passion for flying jets, and Savitskaya quickly found herself competing in aerobatic competitions.

In 1970, while she was still in her early 20s, Savitskaya won the prestigious competition: the World Aerobatic Championship. That flying prowess helped her earn a spot as a cosmonaut, and she went on to earn her astronaut wings in 1982. That made her just the second woman to travel to space, following Tereshkova’s in 1963. Unlike Tereshkova, however, Savitskaya did get to fly a second time, making her the first woman to travel to space multiple times.


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Who was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

Long, entertaining and enticing. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poems take you on a memorable trip down U.S. history. Hailed for their musical verses, Longfellow’s poems are treasured and widely translated even today. Some of us might have even studied them as part of our syllabus. Prominent public figures from Abraham Lincoln and Charles Dickens to Charles Baudelaire were admirers of his poetry.

Born on February 27, 1807 in Portland, Maine in the U.S., Longfellow started his career as a professor at Bowdoin College and later at Harvard College. But he gave up teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing. His works “Evangeline” (1847), “The Song of Hiawatha” (1855), and “Paul Revere’s Ride” (1860) cemented his place as one of the iconic poets of the U.S. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”.

Popular works

Let’s take a look at some of his noteworthy poems and the history behind them…

“Paul Revere’s Ride”

Written in a manner that suggests the galloping of a horse, Longfellow writes about the actions of American patriot Paul Revere in this poem. Revere is known for his midnight horse ride to alert the colonial militia in April 1775 to the approach of British forces. Longfellow wrote this epic poem as the U.S. moved towards a civil war. Though the poem has been criticised for its factual inaccuracies, it has been hailed as a call for courage.

“The Song of Hiawatha”

A long poem about the life of the Native Indians, “The Song of Hiawatha” tells the tale of Hiawatha, an Ojibwa Indian who becomes his people’s leader after performing feats of courage.


A sentimental poem, “Evangeline” follows a young couple separated when British soldiers expel the French colonists from what is now Nova Scotia. The couple, Evangeline and Gabriel, are reunited years later as Gabriel is dying.

Translating Dante

Longfellow lost the will to write after the death of his second wife 1861. She died after her dress accidentally caught fire. Seeking comfort in spirituality, he translated ‘The Divine Comedy” by Dante. He also wrote six sonnets on Dante that are among his finest poems.

Other works:

  • “Poems on Slavery” (1842)
  • “The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems” (1845)
  • “The Courtship of Miles Standish” (1858)
  • “The Golden Legend” (1851)
  • “The Masque of Pandora and Other Poems” (1875)
  • “The Seaside and Fireside” (1849)


  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer recited lines from Longfellow’s 1849 poem The Building of the Ship,” during Trump’s impeachment trial on February 10. 2021. The famous lines from the poem are: “Fear not each sudden sound and shock, Tis of the wave and not the rock.”
  • The Portland Gazette published Longfellow’s first poem at the age of 13.
  • Longfellow was a dog lover! His family had many pets, but Trap the Scotch Terrier was his favourite.
  • Longfellow is the only American to be honored with a bust in Westminster Abbey in London, England. His marble bust was placed in the Poet’s Comer in 1884.
  • One of his students at Harvard University was Henry David Thoreau.
  • Longfellow was a polyglot and could speak eight languages.


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What is the life story of Abhijit Banerjee?

By now you may be familiar with the name, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee. An Indian-American economist, he became the ninth Indian to win the Nobel Prize (jointly with Esther Dufi and Michael Kremer) in 2019. But did you know Banerjee spent his childhood in Kolkata? Or that he actually wanted to study Mathematics instead of Economics? Read on to learn more about him…

Economics in his blood

Born on February 21, 1961, Banerjee grew up in Kolkata, West Bengal. Observing the disparity between the rich and the poor from close quarters helped him gain insights into economics and poverty. Both his parents, Nirmala and Dipak, were eminent economists.

From Maths to Economics

However, Banerjee was more interested in Mathematics than Economics. He chose to study the subject at the prestigious Indian Statistical Institute. However, he quit within a week because he disliked the long commute from home to the institute. That’s how he switched over to Economics at Presidency College, which was closer home. It also happens to be the alma mater of another Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. A close friend of the family. Sen also mentored Banerjee.

Spreading his wings

After graduation, Banerjee went on to pursue his masters in Economics from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. Once during a student protest over the expulsion of the president of the student union, he was arrested along with hundreds of other students for ‘gheraoing’ the vice-chancellors house. He spent 10 days in the notorious Tihar jail and was later released on bail. Subsequently, the charges were dropped against the students.

He earned a Ph.D from Harvard University in the U.S. in 1988. Later, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked with his co-researcher and second wife Duflo. The two co authored the book “Poor Economics” after working 15 years in five continents to find practical solutions to poverty. They broke down large social problems into smaller pieces and then conducted randomised controlled trials to learn from the behaviour of people and understand where welfare policies may be failing them. For instance, they sought answers to questions such as ‘Does having lots of children actually make you poorer? and ‘Why would a man in Morocco who doesn’t have enough to eat buy a television’?

Their work earned them the nickname the Randomistas. The duo also co-founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab with fellow economist Sendhil Mullainathan. Started in June 2003, the lab today is the hub of scientific research and it comes up with innovative solutions to economic problems.

Nobel honour

Their work made the study of poverty alleviation more scientific and saved countless lives. “As a direct result of one of their studies, more than 5 million Indian children have benefited from effective programs of remedial tutoring in schools.” The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said while announcing the Nobel Prize on October 14, 2019.


  • Abhijit Banerjee’s CV is 17-pages long.
  • He received the Infosys Prize 2009 in the social sciences category of economics.
  • In 2014, Banerjee received the Bernhard Harms-Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  • He is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had also taught at Harvard University and Princeton University.
  • Popular works: “Good Economics for Hard Times”, “Poor Economics”, and “What the Economy Needs Now”.


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