Whom was Charles Francis Richter?
on April 26, 1966 at 5 hours 23 minutes mornings local time in Tashkent occurred a destructive earthquake. The seismic effect on a terrestrial surface in epicenter exceeded 8 points (on 12 - a mark scale of seismic intensity). That day many Soviet people for the first time heard this set phrase - “ Richter scale “. And today, having learned that somewhere there was a trouble, we first of all try to understand destruction force, being guided by this scale.
And whom was on life this person who left the name in the history? We also learn today about it.
Charles Francis Richter, on a twist of fate, too was born on April 26. In a year when the 19th century handed over powers to the twentieth century - in 1900. Simple farmers who did not think that their son will be engaged in something in other, than they, that is cultivation of cattle, agriculture and cultivation of vegetables were his parents.
In 1909 the family moved from the State of Ohio to more successful countries - to California. And here, studying at school, young Charles opened in himself tendency to physics. And not just to mechanics or a statics, namely to nuclear physics: it liked this invisible world from molecules, atoms, kernels and everything that in it occurs.
After leaving school Richter entered the Stendfordsky university, then defended the doctoral dissertation, at age, quite young for the scientist. But nuclear physics did not manage to devote the life to it - Robert Millikan, the Nobel Prize laureate, saw in Charles what was not seen by others - scrupulousness, - aspiration everything to learn persistence, desire to go all the way, and very important trait of character most, not really - that being guided by authorities.
- And why don`t you work in my seismic laboratory, - Robert offered somehow.
- You are sure? - Charles shrugged shoulders, - as far as I understand, there are not enough knowledge of physics. And geology? And geography?
- You consider, it is less interesting, than physics? Only dig - you will not come off, - Millikan podnachit.
Richter “ dug “ also could not come off. And, as any educated person, he considered that to it articles in original language can open a full picture of this or that science, the translator not always is equal to the researcher. That is why Charles, besides native English, thoroughly learned seven more languages, in that number and Russian.
When Richter shoveled the whole heap of literature, he understood why this science - seismology - remains secret behind seven seals for students. Many concepts of different schools of sciences not only contradicted, but also quite often mutually excluded each other. It was necessary to pull out a pearl kernel from this big heap of scholastic knowledge. And to make it to Richter there was everything - easier, than to someone to another.
Both textbooks written to this great scientists are stated by simple and available language. They did not lose the relevance and in our, 21st century, on them students of universities still study.
Not less concern was caused in Richter also by the scale existing at that time for determination of force of an earthquake offered in 1902 by the Italian priest and the geologist Giuseppe Mercali. Here was a little scientific background, but it is a lot of subjectivity. That is, force of pushes was measured on as far as people gave in to panic. If managed to run out from the collapsed house, the number of points are less if died under fragments - respectively, above. Unless such deal could satisfy meticulous Richter?
The director of seismic laboratory the native of Germany as Benno Gutenberg at that time worked. Together they laboriously studied each news of earthquakes, trying to define also regularities in these natural disasters, and an opportunity to influence them, having tried to weaken their force. In 1935 they created harmonous system which was constructed on indications of devices - the seismographs fixing fluctuations of the earth. And, the logarithmic principle became a basis of system. So force of pushes in three points was ten times weaker, than in four points, and a hundred times less, than in five points. It allowed to be at an assessment of force of pushes more objective.
But also drawing up the scale called by his name - only small part of what was made by Richter. He all the life constantly was at war for toughening of construction norms, for ruthless deletion from projects of various unnecessary excessive decor, such as, for example, placement of multiton stucco mouldings on the top facades of buildings. Of course, not always it managed to overpersuade architects, but its persistence helped to save not one ten lives at earthquakes.
In life Richter was rather a romantic. He loved bicycle walks, fishing, travel during which it is possible to spend the night in tent in the conditions of the wild nature.
But houses it had a seismograph which did not stop the work for a second. Tapes of perforation crept on the room as venomous snakes, the wife often took offense that the hubby loves a seismograph much more, than its. But Charles served science, and it was necessary to reckon with it.
Its techniques, in particular, drawing “ risk zones “ in this or that city or the area, still in the course at seismologists.
And in general Charles Francis Richter lived long life. He died on September 30, 1985. Also bequeathed to us to be more inquisitive in science. If when reading the translation from foreign language there are problems, then it is better not to trust in someone, and most to learn this language.
Of course, at us, today, there is a lot of “ excuses “: there is not enough time, desire. And unless Richter had more time? Give at least to persistence at it we will learn …