Deepfakes are getting better and better, but instead of wearing Tom Cruise’s face on a golf course, we decided to commemorate some amazing scientists (and one science fiction writer) by bringing them back to fleeting life using DeepNostaglia, a tool created by MyHeritage that breathes movement into old photos.
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Ada Lovelace—Lady Ada to her admirers—is known as the first programmer. Her work on Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine made her realize that the computer he had built was useful for more than just calculating numbers. She published the first algorithm alongside her translation of an Italian article about a new version of Babbage’s machine, the Analytical Engine, in 1843 and set the stage for developers to come.
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Edward Bouchet, a physicist, and is believed to be the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from any university in the U.S., completing his undergraduate studies in 1874 and his dissertation in physics in 1876. He was primarily an educator in physics and other sciences, teaching for 26 years at Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth. Bouchet would later hold other teaching positions in several states around the country, including Virginia, Ohio, and Texas.
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An English naturalist and biologist, Darwin is remembered for having originated a pretty big scientific concept—maybe you’ve heard of it? Yes, Darwin’s belief that organisms evolve over time through heritable traits passed onto offspring, and his publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 laid the foundation for decades of scholarship on the dynamics of the natural world and natural selection.
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A 19th-century mathematician, biologist, and friar, Gregor Mendel did a lot of things (including run an Augustinian monastery)! However, he is probably best known for being the “founder” of modern genetics—having pioneered the idea of “dominant” and “recessive” hereditary traits, which has helped guide the study of genes ever since.
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In the early 20th century, when leprosy was still a major problem for humanity, Alice Ball developed the most effective contemporary treatment for it (later dubbed the “Ball Method”). She was also a pioneer at her alma mater, the University of Hawaii, where she was both the first woman and the first African American to receive a master’s degree. She later became a chemistry professor at the school. She died at the age of 24, possibly as a result of exposure to chlorine in the course of her research. A fellow professor at the University of Hawaii, Arthur Dean, stole Ball’s research on leprosy treatment after she died in 1916 and began producing the treatment. Ball did not receive credit for her leprosy treatment until 1922, six years after her death.
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Nicola Tesla, a fiery inventor whose creation of alternating current technology revolutionized the early electric age, died penniless in 1943 after fighting for the notoriety that came easily to his more showman-like rival and former boss, Thomas Edison.
The Serbian-American inventor created arc lighting and induction motors that defined the state-of-the-art for most of the last century.
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Scientist Thomas Young discovered the wave theory of light. His discovery proved that light moving through a pair of thin slits performed like a wave rather than, as Sir Isaac Newton posited, as a particle. Newton and Young were proven half-right when Einstein posited that light moved like a wave and a particle, but Young’s early work laid the framework for modern physics.
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Carolus Linnaeus is the inventor of a biological naming system called binomial nomenclature —the name Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the best examples of his system. He was also an explorer and naturalist and spent time in Lapland, Finland, working as a geologist. His other work helped define the hierarchical taxonomic rankings for plants and animals.
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Marie Skłodowska Curie’s haunting photo captures a scientist in her prime. Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for her work in X-rays and radiation, a course of study that led to her untimely death in 1934 from extensive radiation exposure. Her papers and belongings are considered so radioactive that researchers must request special permission and wear protective clothing to examine them.
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Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke died in 2008, so video of him is all over the internet. That said, it’s good to see the science fiction author spring to life in the manner of one of his fantasy machines. Clarke’s work spanned space and time, and he was a scientist in his own right, working on early communications satellites (and predicting flat-fee calling) and he wrote books about spaceflight that influenced the U.S. Space Program in the 1960s.
Image via SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AFP via Getty Images
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