SciHi Blog

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Pencil

On August 4, 1755, French painter, inventor, army officer and balloonist, Nicolas-Jacques Conté was born. Among others, he is credited with the invention of the modern pencil. Moreover, some consider him one of the greatest inventive minds of the eighteenth century. He distinguished himself for his mechanical genius which was of great avail to the French army in Egypt. Napoleon Bonaparte called him “a universal man with taste, understanding and genius capable of…
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Richard Arkwright – the Father of the Industrial Revolution

Richard Arkwright – the Father of the Industrial Revolution

On August 3, 1792, Sir Richard Arkwright passed away. He was a self-made man and a leading entrepreneur during the early Industrial Revolution. Arkwright’s achievement was to combine power, machinery, semi-skilled labour and the new raw material (cotton) to create mass-produced yarn. His skills of organization made him, more than anyone else, the creator of the modern factory system. Later in his life Arkwright was also known as ‘the Father of the Industrial Revolution‘.…
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John Tyndall and the Physics of Air

John Tyndall and the Physics of Air

On August 2, 1820, British physicist John Tyndall was born. His initial scientific fame arose in the 1850s from his study of diamagnetism. Later he made discoveries in the realms of infrared radiation and the physical properties of air. As the most prominent example, he was able to demonstrate why the sky is blue. “Every occurrence in Nature is preceded by other occurrences which are its causes, and succeeded by others which are…
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Maria Mitchell and “Miss Mitchell’s Comet”

Maria Mitchell and “Miss Mitchell’s Comet”

On August 1, 1814, American astronomer Maria Mitchell was born who, in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet“. „We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but is somewhat beauty and poetry.” – Maria Mitchell Maria Mitchell – Youth and Education Maria Mitchell was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, among nine brothers and sisters…
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Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

On July 31, 1923, American polymer chemist Stephanie Louise Kwolek was born. She is best known for her invention of poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – better known as Kevlar. Stephanie Kwolek – Becoming a Chemist Stephanie Kwolek was born to Polish immigrant parents in the Pittsburgh suburb of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Her father, John Kwolek died when she was ten years old. She inherited her love for fabrics and sewing from her mother. Before thinking…
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Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

On July 30, 101 BC, the Battle of the Raudine Plain took place, which resulted in the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic tribe of the Cimbri near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul. The entire tribe of the Cimbri was virtually wiped out and the plans of the Germanic tribes of an invasion of Rome was put to an end. “[Now a danger occurred] that threatened Italy from…
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Dorothy Hodgkin and the Structure of Penicilin

Dorothy Hodgkin and the Structure of Penicilin

On July 29, 1994, British chemist and Nobel Laureate Dorothy Mary Hodgkin passed away. She advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. Among her most influential discoveries are the confirmation of the structure of penicillin. “Would it not be better if one could really ‘see’ whether molecules…were just as experiments suggested?” – Dorothy Hodgkin, as quoted in [11] Dorothy Hodgkin Background Dorothy Crowfoot (later Hodgkin) was the…
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Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

On July 28, 1902, Austrian-British philosopher Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method, in favour of empirical falsification: A theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinized by decisive…
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Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

On July 27, 1740, French natural scientist Jeanne Baret was born. She was probably the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, but with certainty she was the first woman who achieved this disguised as a man. Background Jeanne Baret Jeanne Baret grew up in a very poor region of France with rather uneducated people. It is assumed that her father has been illiterate in contrast to Jeanne. However, it is not clear,…
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George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

On July 26, 1856, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw was born. As a writer, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to…
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