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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
A Meteoric Career
23 October 1998 7:00 pm
Ernst Öpik, an Estonian astronomer whose wide-ranging work on meteors led to the development of heat shields for spacecraft, was born on this day in 1893. Öpik studied the erosion of meteors as they plunge through an atmosphere. His calculations led to the design of heat shields and other protective devices that enable spacecraft to survive the friction and heat upon reentering Earth's atmosphere.
Earlier in his career, Öpik originated the practice of the "double-count," in which two astronomers simultaneously scan the heavens for meteors to gain a more accurate count of meteors. He also proved that stars depend on nuclear reactions for their energy.
[Source: Roy Porter, Ed., The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists (Oxford University Press, ed. 2, 1994).]