SciHi Blog

John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

On February 21, 1791, English dye and fabric chemist John Mercer was born. He invented the mercerisation process for treating cotton which is still in use today and was a pioneer in colour photography. Background John Mercer John Mercer grew up in Lancashire, England. He entered the textile industry as a bobbin-winder when he was still a boy. The art of dyeing came to Mercer’s interest approximately at the age of 16. He set…
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Robert E. Peary’s Arctic Expedition

Robert E. Peary’s Arctic Expedition

On February 20, 1920, American polar explorer Robert Edwin Peary passed away. Peary made the first successful expedition to the North Pole arriving 6 Apr 1909 with his assistant Matthew Henson and four Inuit eskimo companions. Peary’s claim was widely credited for most of the 20th century, rather than the competing claim by Frederick Cook, who said he got there a year earlier. Both claims were widely debated in newspapers until 1913.…
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The first Modular Space Station – Mir

The first Modular Space Station – Mir

On February 19, 1986, the main module of Russian MIR Space Station was launched from Baikonur, Russia. MIR was the first modular space station and operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. Launch to a Low Earth Orbit In 1976, MIR was authorized in order to design an improved model of the Salyut space stations. By early 1984, work on MIR had halted while all resources were being put into the Buran programme in order…
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Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots

On February 18, (or February 8 according to the old Julian calendar), 1587,  Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed after having found guilty of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. In the Western world, we all might have heard about the rivalry of Queen Elizabeth I [5] and Mary, Queen of Scots. I have learned about the story back at high school in my German lessons, when we were reading Friedrich Schillers ‘Maria…
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Frederic Eugene Ives and the Halftone Printing Process

Frederic Eugene Ives and the Halftone Printing Process

On February 17, 1856, American photographer and inventor Frederic Eugene Ives was born. He is probably best known for his invention of the halftone process, a method of reproducing photographs on a printing press. In 1881, he was the first to make a three-colour print from halftone blocks. Further inventions in photography and color printing yielded 70 patents. Frederic Eugene Ives Background Born near Litchfield, Connecticut, Ives after receiving a public school education…
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The Letters of Giambattista Bodoni

The Letters of Giambattista Bodoni

On February 16, 1749, Italian typographer Giambattista Bodoni was born. He also was a type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher. Bodoni designed many type-faces, each one in a large range of type sizes. He is even more admired as a compositor than as a type-designer, as the large range of sizes which he cut enabled him to compose his pages with the greatest possible subtlety of spacing. Early Work In his early working…
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Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

On February 15, 1559, French classical scholar and philologist Isaac Casaubon was born. Casaubon is known among philologists and historians of philosophy today above all for his proof in De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes XVI (1614, London) that the so-called Corpus Hermeticum could not have been created earlier than the first century AD. He was regarded by many of his time as the most learned man in Europe. Isaac Causaubon –…
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Fritz Zwicky and the Existence of Dark Matter

Fritz Zwicky and the Existence of Dark Matter

On February 14, 1898, Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky was born. He is best known for his proposal of he existence of dark matter and counts as one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century. “To eliminate the discrepancy between men’s plans and the results achieved, a new approach is necessary. Morphological thinking suggests that this new approach cannot be realized through increased teaching of specialized knowledge. This morphological analysis suggests that the…
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Lejeune Dirichlet and the Mathematical Function

Lejeune Dirichlet and the Mathematical Function

On February 13, 1805, German mathematician Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was born. Dirichlet is best known for his papers on conditions for the convergence of trigonometric series and the use of the series to represent arbitrary functions. He also proposed in 1837 the modern definition of a mathematical function. “In mathematics as in other fields, to find one self lost in wonder at some manifestation is frequently the half of a new discovery.”…
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Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

On February 12, 1804, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant passed away. He is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that human concepts and categories structure our view of the world and its laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. The problem…
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