Tag: Technology & Science

Samuel Slater

More than anyone, Samuel Slater pioneered the making of modern Rhode Island. This so-called Father of the Factory System was the catalyst for the economic transformation that gave Rhode Island its salient characteristic – an industrial order that dominated the state’s economy from the early nineteenth century until the dawn of the present postindustrial era.

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Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown (1733-1785), the son of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, was a noted businessman, scientist, professor, and architect, and one of the famous Brown brothers who dominated civic life in Providence during the second half of the eighteenth century. Although he was a successful merchant and the manager of his family’s spermaceti candle

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Moses Brown

Moses Brown (1738-1836), a prominent Providence merchant, reformer, and philanthropist, was one of the five Brown brothers, a group that included John, Joseph, Nicholas, and James, the eldest, a twenty-six-year-old ship captain when he died at sea in 1751. They were the children of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Power,

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Reverend Samuel Hopkins

Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803) was a Congregational theologian and reformer. He was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Hopkins, a successful farmer with the financial means to send young Samuel to Yale, from which he graduated in 1741. During his senior year at Yale, then operating under Congregational auspices, Hopkins became caught up in

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John Carter

John Carter (1745-1814) was born in Philadelphia in 1745, the son of Elizabeth Spriggs, and John Carter, a naval officer of Irish ancestry killed in battle two months before his son’s birth. During the late 1750s, Carter was apprenticed in the print shop of Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. In 1767, Carter moved to Providence,

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Dr. Joseph J. Loferski

Dr. Joseph J. Loferski, physicist and pioneer in the development of modern solar cells, hewas professor emeritus and chair of engineering at Brown. Born and educated in Pennsylvania, Dr. Loferski focused his career on photovoltaic cells and the properties of semiconductors. He joined the Brown faculty as an associate professor of engineering in 1961 and

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Dr. Renato E. Leonelli

Dr. Leonelli, formerly of Providence, advanced the education of RI youth through his 39 year tenure as Professor of Physical Science and Science Education at Rhode Island College, as well as through a weekly, live, local television program entitled ‘Small Fry Science’. He also served on the Boards of numerous civic and cultural organizations and

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John Russell Bartlett

The Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame has developed a tradition of listing its inductees by the title of their highest public office or by the title “Dr.” if they have earned that distinction in their chosen field of endeavor. John Russell Bartlett’s title, though prestigious, only begins to embrace his many notable achievements. Clearly,

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Dr. Norman J. Oliver

Dr. Norman J. Oliver, formerly of Woonsocket, RI, was a brilliant research scientist who, as a world-famous physicist was one of the foremost experts on Antarctica and the Auroras. Born in Fall River, he lived the greater part of his life in Rhode Island, and was an adviser to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. He was

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Frances Harriet (Whipple) Green McDougall

“A Rhode Island Original” is a description used by Sarah O’Dowd to title her biography of Frances Whipple. It aptly describes one of Rhode Island’s most significant mid-nineteenth-century writers and reformers. Frances was born in Smithfield in September 1805, but the exact date is unknown. She was the eldest of the four children of George

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Dr. John Knauss

Dr. John Knauss, 1925-2015, was among the world’s foremost oceanographers. He served as Dean of the University of Rhode Island’s famed Graduate School of Oceanography and Vice President for Marine Affairs. A key participant in the creation of the United States highly successful Sea Grant Program, this Saunderstown, RI, resident served as Chairman of the

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Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman

The third member of Rhode Island’s early nineteenth-century group of famous literary women (Catherine Williams and Frances Whipple) was Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman. She was born in Providence on January 19, 1803, the daughter of the former Anna was Sarah Helen (Power) Whitman, joining Marsh and Providence merchant and sea captain Nicholas Power. Helen’s father

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Dr. Harry Kroll

Dr. Harry Kroll worked as one of the world’s leading scientist and research chemists. He holds fifty-one world patents issued by the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and France. As senior scientist for Technic, Inc., in Cranston, he has done extensive cancer research, having worked as an American Cancer Society Fellow and earlier with

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James Burrill Angell

James Burrill Angell had a remarkably diverse career– Brown University graduate, professor of languages, newspaper editor, university president, and diplomat. He is best known as the longest-serving president of the University of Michigan where he aspired to provide an ‘uncommon education for the common man.’ Born on January 7, 1829, in Scituate, Rhode Island, Angell

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Roger Wheeler

The late Roger Wheeler was State Recreational Supervisor and Director of Water Safety for more than 20 years. During World War II he designed a life jacket that became standard Air Force equipment and received an Army Commendation for invaluable developments of air-sea rescue procedures.

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Zachariah Allen

Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire

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Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi

Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi is the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has received widespread recognition and numerous awards for his efforts to prevent and cure Alzheimer’s disease. This litany of acclaim includes the two

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Dr. Leon Cooper

Dr. Leon Cooper, a physicist at Brown University, won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1972, with two other U.S. scientists. Their discovery illustrated how extremely low temperatures make metal superconductive. He is the Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science at Brown, and Director of the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems.

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George H. Corliss

George H. Corliss, 1817-1888, was the developer of the steam engine. The famous gigantic engine built by Corliss won a first prize at the Paris Exposition of 1867 as well as many other awards.

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Daniel O. Cargill

Daniel Cargill was a native of Cumberland who served the state for forty-six years as a bridge engineer and Chief Engineer of the Division of Roads and Bridges. He played a major role in developing Rhode Island’s interstate highway system and developed bridge preservation techniques that have been utilized in many states.

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Commodore Matthew Cabraith Perry

Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry was the Newport – born son of Sarah Wallace (nee Alexander) Perry, a native of Ireland’s County Down, and mariner Christopher Perry of South Kingstown, who met Sarah when he was confined to a British internment camp in Ireland as a Revolutionary War prisoner. After the conflict, Perry sailed back to

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