Charles Proteus Steinmetz (born Karl August Rudolph Steinmetz, April 9, 1865 – October 26, 1923) was a German-born American mathematician and electrical engineer and professor at Union College. He fostered the development of alternating current that made possible the expansion of the electric power industry in the United States, formulating mathematical theories for engineers. He made ground-breaking discoveries in the understanding of hysteresis that enabled engineers to design better electromagnetic apparatus equipment, especially electric motors for use in industry.
At the time of his death, Steinmetz held over 200 patents. A genius in both mathematics and electronics, he did work that earned him the nicknames “Forger of Thunderbolts” and “The Wizard of Schenectady”. Steinmetz’s equation, Steinmetz solids, Steinmetz curves, and Steinmetz equivalent circuit are all named after him, as are numerous honors and scholarships, including the IEEE Charles Proteus Steinmetz Award, one of the highest technical recognitions given by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers professional society.
Steinmetz was affected by kyphosis, as was his father and grandfather. In spite of his love for children and family life, Steinmetz remained unmarried, to prevent his spinal deformity from being passed to any offspring.
When Joseph LeRoy Hayden, a loyal and hardworking lab assistant, announced that he would marry and look for his own living quarters, Steinmetz made the unusual proposal of opening his large home, complete with research lab, greenhouse, and office to the Haydens and their prospective family. Hayden favored the idea, but his future wife was wary of the unorthodox arrangement. She agreed after Steinmetz’s assurance that she could run the house as she saw fit.
After an uneasy start, the arrangement worked well for all parties, especially after three Hayden children were born. Steinmetz legally adopted Joseph Hayden as his son, becoming grandfather to the youngsters, entertaining them with fantastic stories and spectacular scientific demonstrations. The unusual, harmonious living arrangement lasted for the rest of Steinmetz’s life.
Steinmetz founded America’s first glider club, but none of its prototypes “could be dignified with the term ‘flight'”.
Question of the Day
I hear a lot about the Gulf Stream, but what exactly is it?
The Gulf Stream is an ocean current — like a river flowing through the sea rather than on land. The Gulf Stream moves northward along the east coast of the United States, across the North Atlantic Ocean, and then to northwestern Europe.
Advice of the Day
All glory comes from daring to begin.
Home Hint of the Day
Always keep your work area well ventilated when you are using solvents. Their strong odors can be dangerous unless accompanied by plenty of fresh air.
Word of the Day
The temperature to which a given parcel of air must be cooled before it becomes saturated; the temperature of an object when dew first forms on it.
Puzzle of the Day
What is it that goes when a wagon goes, stops when a wagon stops, is of no use to the wagon, and yet the wagon cannot go without it?
The noise of the wheels.
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