Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside was born on 18 May, 1850 in London’s Camden Town and died on 3 February, 1925 at Torquay in Devon, and is buried in Paignton cemetery. Most of his recognition was gained posthumously.

Oliver Heaviside was a self-taught English electrical engineer, mathematician and physicist who adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, invented mathematical techniques to the solution of differential equations (later found to be equivalent to Laplace transforms), reformulated Maxwell’s field equations in terms of electric and magnetic forces and energy flux, and independently co-formulated vector analysis. Although at odds with the scientific establishment for most of his life, Oliver Heaviside changed the face of mathematics and science for years to come.

Oliver Heaviside was short and red-headed, and suffered from scarlet fever during his youth. The illness had a lasting impact on him, and Oliver Heaviside was left partially deaf. Oliver Heaviside was a good scholar (placed 5th out of 500 students in 1865). Oliver Heaviside left school at the age of 16 and to study at home in the subjects of telegraphy and electromagnetism. Oliver Heaviside’s uncle Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) was the original co-inventor of the telegraph back in the mid 1830s. Sir Charles Wheatstone was married to Oliver Heaviside’s mother’s sister in London. During the early decades of Oliver Heaviside’s life his uncle was an internationally celebrated expert in telegraphy and electromagnetism.

Between the age of 16 and 18 he studied at home. Then—in the only paid employment he ever had—he took a job as a telegraph operator with the Great Northern Telegraph Company, working in Denmark and then in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was soon made a chief operator. Oliver Heaviside’s uncle’s connections probably helped him get this job. Oliver Heaviside continued to study and at the age of 21 and 22 he published some research related to electric circuits and telegraphy. In 1874 at the age of 24 Oliver Heaviside quit his job to study full-time on his own at his parents’ home in London.

Subsequently, Oliver Heaviside did not have a regular job. Oliver Heaviside remained single throughout his life.

In 1873 Oliver Heaviside had encountered James Clerk Maxwell’s just published, and today famous, 2-volume Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. In his old age Oliver Heaviside recalled:

“I remember my first look at the great treatise of Maxwell’s when I was a young man… I saw that it was great, greater and greatest, with prodigious possibilities in its power… I was determined to master the book and set to work. I was very ignorant. I had no knowledge of mathematical analysis (having learned only school algebra and trigonometry which I had largely forgotten) and thus my work was laid out for me. It took me several years before I could understand as much as I possibly could. Then I set Maxwell aside and followed my own course. And I progressed much more quickly… It will be understood that I preach the gospel according to my interpretation of Maxwell.”

Doing full-time research from home, he helped develop transmission line theory (also known as the “telegrapher’s equations”). Oliver Heaviside showed mathematically that uniformly distributed inductance in a telegraph line would diminish both attenuation and distortion, and that, if the inductance were great enough and the insulation resistance not too high, the circuit would be distortionless while currents of all frequencies would be equally attenuated. Oliver Heaviside’s equations helped further the implementation of the telegraph.

In 1880, Oliver Heaviside researched the skin effect in telegraph transmission lines. In 1884 he recast Maxwell’s mathematical analysis from its original cumbersome form (they had already been recast as quaternions) to its modern vector terminology, thereby reducing the original 20 equations in 20 unknowns down to the 4 differential equations in 2 unknowns we now know as Maxwell’s equations. The 4 re-formulated Maxwell’s equations describe the nature of static and moving electric charges and magnetic dipoles, and the relationship between the 2, namely electromagnetic induction. In 1880 he patented, in England, the co-axial Cable.

Between 1880 and 1887, Oliver Heaviside developed the operational calculus (involving the D notation for the differential operator, which he is credited with creating), a method of solving differential equations by transforming them into ordinary algebraic equations which caused a great deal of controversy when first introduced, owing to the lack of rigor in his derivation of it. Oliver Heaviside famously said, “Mathematics is an experimental science, and definitions do not come first, but later on.” Oliver Heaviside was replying to criticism over his use of operators that were not clearly defined. On another occasion he stated somewhat more defensively, “I do not refuse my dinner simply because I do not understand the process of digestion.”

In 1887, Oliver Heaviside proposed that induction coils (inductors) should be added to telephone and telegraph lines to increase their self-induction in and correct the distortion from which they suffered. For political reasons, this was not done. The importance of Oliver Heaviside’s work remained undiscovered for some time after publication in The Electrician, and so its rights lay in the public domain. AT&T later employed one of its own scientists, George A. Campbell, and an external investigator Michael I. Pupin to determine whether Oliver Heaviside’s work was incomplete or incorrect in any way. Campbell and Pupin extended Oliver Heaviside’s work, and AT&T filed for patents covering not only their research, but also the technical method of constructing the coils previously invented by Oliver Heaviside. AT&T later offered Oliver Heaviside money in exchange for his rights; it is possible that the Bell engineers’ respect for Oliver Heaviside influenced this offer. However, Oliver Heaviside refused the offer, declining to accept any money unless the company were to give him full recognition. Oliver Heaviside was chronically poor, making his refusal of the offer even more striking.

In 2 papers of 1888 and 1889, Oliver Heaviside calculated the deformations of electric and magnetic fields surrounding a moving charge, as well as the effects of it entering a denser medium. This included a prediction of what is now known as Cherenkov radiation, and inspired Fitzgerald to suggest what now is known as the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Oliver Heaviside worked on the concept of electromagnetic mass. Oliver Heaviside treated this as “real” as material mass, capable of producing the same effects. Wilhelm Wien later verified Oliver Heaviside’s expression (for low velocities).

In 1891 the British Royal Society recognized Oliver Heaviside’s contributions to the mathematical description of electromagnetic phenomena by naming him a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1905 Oliver Heaviside was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Göttingen.

In 1902, Oliver Heaviside proposed the existence of the Kennelly-Heaviside Layer of the ionosphere which bears his name. Oliver Heaviside’s proposal included means by which radio signals are transmitted around the earth’s curvature. The existence of the ionosphere was confirmed in 1923. The predictions by Oliver Heaviside, combined with Planck’s radiation theory, probably discouraged further attempts to detect radio waves from the Sun and other astronomical objects. For whatever reason, there seem to have been no attempts for 30 years, until Jansky’s development of radio astronomy in 1932.

In later years his behavior became quite eccentric. Though he had been an active cyclist in his youth, his health seriously declined in his 6th decade. During this time Oliver Heaviside would sign letters with the initials “W.O.R.M.” after his name though the letters did not stand for anything. Oliver Heaviside also reportedly started painting his fingernails pink and had granite blocks moved into his house for furniture.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Tom Fears

Thomas Jesse Fears was born on 3 December, 1923 in Guadalajara, Mexico and died on 4 January, 2000 after spending a 6 year long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tom was the son of an American mining engineer who had married a Mexican woman, and moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age of 6. There, he began to display his ample work ethic by unloading flowers for 25 cents an hour, and later serving as an usher at football games for double that amount.

Tom was an American football wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams in the National Football League, playing 9 seasons from 1948 to 1956.

Tom first played football at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School, then advanced to compete for Santa Clara University. Tom spent 1 year at the latter school before he was drafted for World War II and spent the next 3 years in military service. After his father became a Japanese prisoner of war, Tom sought to become a fighter pilot to fight Japan. Tom became a pilot, but was instead shipped to Colorado Springs to play football for a service team.

Upon his release, he had been drafted by the Rams in 1945, but remained in school and transferred to UCLA, winning All-American following each of his 2 seasons at the school. Tom’s senior campaign nearly ended in abrupt fashion in 1947, when he and some Bruin teammates were investigated for posing in local advertisements for a Los Angeles clothing store. When it was determined that Tom and the other players worked for the store, and were not identified as athletes, the matter was dropped.

The job had been one of many provided by school boosters, and included a brief bit as a pilot in the Humphrey Bogart film, “Action in the North Atlantic.” The largesse by such people led Tom to joke that his $6,000 first-year contract and $500 bonus from the Rams meant that he was taking a pay cut.

Tom was the first player in NFL History to line up on the line of scrimmage, away from the tackle, thus making him the first Wide Receiver in NFL History. Selected as a defensive back by the Rams, Tom quickly made his mark as a wide receiver in 1948, while also displaying his versatility by playing on defense and at tight end. During his first 3 seasons at the professional level, he led all NFL receivers in catches, and broke the league’s single-season record with 77 catches in 1949.

The record would be short-lived as he increased that mark to 84 during the 1950 NFL season, including a then-record 18 catches in one game against the Green Bay Packers on 12 November. Tom also helped the team advance to the NFL title game with a trio of touchdown receptions in the divisional playoff against the Chicago Bears, winning All-Pro accolades for the second consecutive year.

During the ensuing offseason, Tom became embroiled in a contract dispute with the team for the second straight year. The year before, he hinted at leaving the team to work for General Motors Corporation, then announced on 13 March, 1951 that he was retiring to work for a local liquor distributor. Neither threat materialized, and despite offers from four Canadian Football League teams, Tom signed for $13,000.

That season, Tom played in only 7 games, but helped lead the Rams to their 3rd straight championship game appearance. After 2 disappointments, the franchise captured its 1st NFL title since moving to the West Coast, with Tom an integral part of the title game victory when he caught the winning score. Tom’s 73-yard touchdown reception midway through the 4th quarter broke a 17-17 deadlock with the Cleveland Browns.

After bouncing back in 1952 with 48 receptions for 600 yards and 6 scores, the beginning of the end of his career began after he fractured 2 vertabrae in a 18 October, 1953 game against the Detroit Lions. Limited to just 23 receptions that year, he would average 40 catches the next 2 years, but after a preseason injury in 1956, he hauled in only 5 passes and retired on 6 November. For the remainder of that campaign, he served as an assistant coach, finishing his playing days with 400 catches for 5,397 yards and 38 touchdowns.

Tom was out of the game for the next 2 years, but returned briefly as an assistant in the 1st year of Vince Lombardi’s reign with the Packers. Business conflicts back in California caused him to leave the position at midseason, but Tom resumed his coaching career the following year with the Rams under former teammate Bob Waterfield. After 2 seasons in that role, Tom returned to Green Bay for a 4 year stint as an assistant, where he was part of championship teams in 1962 and 1965.

Tom applied for the head coaching job with the St. Louis Cardinals (football) after the 1965 NFL season, but after not being chosen, he joined fellow Packer assistant Norb Hecker, who had been named head coach of the expansion Atlanta Falcons. In the first game of the 1966 regular season, Tom caused controversy when he accused Rams coach George Allen of attempting to garner inside information on the team from a player that had been cut, charges that were never proven.

After that 2-12 first season in Atlanta, Tom became a head coach for the first time when he was hired by the expansion New Orleans Saints on 27 January, 1967. Despite the promise of the team scoring on the first-ever kickoff return in franchise history, Tom’s nearly 4 years at the helm of what became a perennial losing franchise were an exercise in frustration.

In 1970, Tom was recognized for his professional playing career when he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That March, rumors of Tom replacing the departed Don Shula with the Baltimore Colts surfaced, but Don McCafferty was hired by the Maryland team in early April. Issues between Tom and Saints owner John Mecom, Jr., primarily Tom seeking the additional role of general manager, fueled such speculation. On 20 April, the matter ended when he was given control over all player personnel matters.

Tom’s tenure in his new dual roles, however, would be short, when the team ended the first half of the 1970 NFL season with a 1-5-1 mark, resulting in his dismissal on 3 November after compiling an overall mark of 13-34-2. Tom resurfaced a few months later, serving as offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, but when head coach Ed Khayat was fired at the end of the 1972 NFL season, Tom was out of work again.

After spending 1973 off the gridiron, Tom was named head coach of the fledgling World Football League’s Southern California Sun on 14 January, 1974. The fragile financial condition of the entire league resulted in Tom leading the team for less than 2 years before the WFL folded in October 1975.

Tom’s disappointment was soothed somewhat when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1976, the same year he was named president of the All-Sports Council of Southern California, which helped amateur sports in the area. 1 year later, he returned to coaching as an assistant at San Bernardino Junior College.

During this period, he was also working as a technical adviser for movies with a football connection, and in 1979, began a football scouting service. The 2 roles came together in controversial fashion when Tom began working on the production of “North Dallas Forty,” a film that took a look at the sordid side of the professional game.

Tom had 3 clients: the Packers, Houston Oilers and Pittsburgh Steelers, but after the movie was released, Tom saw all 3 teams drop his services. Claiming that the NFL had blacklisted him, Tom spoke with league commissioner Pete Rozelle (who had worked for the Rams during Toms’ playing days), but never again found work in the league.

Remaining on the fringes of the sport, Tom in 1980 worked as a coach for the Chapman College club football team, then became a part-owner of the Orange Empire Outlaws of the California Football League the following year. In 1982, he was hired as player personnel director of the new United States Football League’s Los Angeles Express. Bolstered by huge spending from team owner William Daniels, the team reached the conference championship game, but saw financial troubles doom not only the team, but the league as well.

Tom’s final position in football came in 1990, when he was named head coach of the Milan franchise in the fledgling International League of American Football.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Series-Disabled Legend Howard Hughes

Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was born on 24 December 1905 and died on 5 April 1976. Howard was an American aviator, engineer, industrialist, film producer and director, and one of the wealthiest people in the world. By the late 1950s Howard had developed debilitating symptoms of social avoidance behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The Aviator (2004), directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard focuses primarily on Hughes’ achievements in aviation, in the movies, and on the increasing handicaps imposed on him by his obsessive-compulsive behavior.

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Dyslexia Series-Disabled Legend Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci – Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, was born on 15, April, 1452 and died on 2, May, 1519. Leonardo was a Tuscan polymath: scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. As an engineer, Leonardo conceived ideas vastly ahead of his own time, conceptualising a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and the double hull, and outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. He also had the gift of dyslexia. Most of the time, he wrote his notes backwards. Although unusual, this is a trait shared by many left-handed dyslexic people. Most of the time, dyslexic writers are not even consciously aware that they are writing this way.

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Epilepsy Series-Disabled Legend Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on 15 April, 1452 and he died on 2 May, 1519. The man responsible for some of the greatest religious paintings in history Leonardo Da Vinci excelled not only in painting but in numerous other disciplines as well. Leonardo was a Tuscan polymath: architect, botanist, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, and writer. His most famous work is definetely the paintings of both Mona Lisa and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ which have both been the most reproduced religious paintings of all times.

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Epilepsy Series-Disabled Legend Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel – Alfred Bernhard Nobel (October 21, 1833, Stockholm, Sweden – December 10, 1896, Sanremo, Italy) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. By the time of his death he held more than 350 patents and controlled factories and laboratories in 20 countries. William Gordon Lennox wrote that “Nobel was subject to migraines and convulsions from infancy.” Nobel had epileptic seizures as a young child, which later made him write of convulsions and agony in a poem. The foundations of the Nobel Prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth for its establishment. Since 1901, the prize has honored men and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace.

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