This Month in Sol-Gel (and Materials Chemistry) History

Anna Nichols: On 8 July 1873, Anna Nichols became the first female patent examiner appointed by the US Patent Office. Of the 38 men and 7 women who competed for positions, only five men and Nichols passed the qualifying exam in science. It was hoped that her appointment might “possibly encourage women to submit inventions that they might have feared would be viewed with less sympathy by male examiners (more details click here).

William Henry Bragg (born 2 July 1862) and Lawrence Bragg (died 1 July 1971): This father and son duo were jointly awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 1915 for their work on X-ray diffraction as a tool for determining the structure of materials:

Mildred Cohn (born 12 July 1913): Cohn was a pioneer in the use of NMR and isotopic labelling for studying chemical reactions. She began her college studies in New York when only 15 years of age, majoring in chemistry despite being told by one of her teachers that it was “unladylike for women to become chemists”. Much of her remarkable career as a scientific innovator and mentor was spent in fighting prejudice for being a successful Jewish female chemist. In 1982, she was awarded the US National Medal of Science:

Gerd Binnig (born 20 July 1947): Binnig was a German Physicist who shared the Nobel in Physics in 1986 for the invention of the scanning tunnelling microscope at IBM’s laboratories in Switzerland:

In July 1892, Court Avenue, the first street paved with concrete (or “artificial stone”, as it was called in the 19th century), was built around the Logan County Court House, in Bellefountaine, Ohio. The designer, George Bartholemew, posted a bond with the Bellefontaine City Council guaranteeing that the pavement would last for at least five years. A section of the paving still remains in use for light traffic to this day (more details).