Monthly Archives: August 2012

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

Alonzo Church (1903-1995) @ University of Berkeley You know, the fact that you can read your email on a cell phone as well as on your desktop computer or almost any other computer connected to the internet, in principle is possible thanks to mathematician Alonzo Church, who gave the proof (together with Alan Turing) that everything that is computable on the simple model of a Turing Machine, also is computable with…
Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

Henry Moseley (1887-1915) For sure you do remember that poster from your classroom with all the chemical elements ordered in the so-called periodic table. But, certainly only a few of you will have heard about Henry Moseley and his concept of the atomic numbers. In chemistry and physics, the existence of a periodic table creates an ordering for the elements, and was first proposed by Russian chemist and inventor Dimitri…
The Man Who Shrank the Globe – Frank Whittle

The Man Who Shrank the Globe – Frank Whittle

On August 9, 1996 the British Royal Air Force engineer officer Sir Frank Whittle passed away. He was best known for inventing the turbojet engine for which he received the knighthood in 1948. Thanks to Whittle’s father Moses, Frank was able to get an early insight in the field of engineering and mechanics. The family bought a company where Frank could get lots of practical experience. He early developed a…
David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert (1862-1943) On August 8, 1900 David Hilbert, probably the greatest mathematician of his age,  gave a speech at the Paris conference of the International Congress of Mathematicians, at the Sorbonne, where he presented 10 mathematical Problems (out of a list of 23), all unsolved at the time, and several of them were very influential for 20th century mathematics. “Who of us would not be glad to lift the…
The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess (1560-1614) How far would you go to maintain your youth and your beauty? While today most people have become a victim of the cosmetic industry and (fortunately) only a few really dare to undergo cosmetic surgery, eternal youth and beauty is not only a subject of today’s affluent society. No, it’s a prominent topic throughout history dating also back into mythology, such as the…
Victorian Poetry with Alfred Lord Tennyson

Victorian Poetry with Alfred Lord Tennyson

On August 6, 1809, one of the most important English poets of the Victorian era was born, Alfred Lord Tennyson. The works of Alfred Lord Tennyson are best known for their close affinity with the English mythology and English history, they influenced the movement of the 19th century’s Victorian Art as well as the Arts and Crafts Movement, which was to join art and handcraft using simple forms applied to…
On the Road with Bertha Benz

On the Road with Bertha Benz

Bertha Benz and the ‘Patent Motorwagen‘ Without her husband knowing about it, Bertha Benz took her two sons on the first long distance car-trip ever performed on August 5, 1888. Before Bertha and Carl Benz got married, she invested in his company to support the engine designer and engineer. The recently patented vehicle ‘Patent Motorwagen’ developed by Benz could not achieve a great financial success due to the lack of…
Mozart Got Married

Mozart Got Married

Constanze Mozart, wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at 78 years of age, pictured front left in black 2 years before her death (1840) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the finest composers the world has ever known, had two great loves in his life: the first was music; and the second one was Constanze Weber, whom he married in Vienna on August 4, 1782. She was 20, he was 26. It was in…
On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On August 3, 1804 geographer, naturalist, and explorer Alexander von Humboldt returned home from his great South America scientific discovery journey. Actually, Humboldt did not make this journey all alone. He had a companion, Aimé Bonpland. But today, almost nobody will remember Bonpland. Being an explorer as well as a botanist, Bonpland worked together with Humboldt during five years of travel in Mexico, Colombia and the districts bordering on the Orinoco…
Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

Veni, Vidi, Vici – according to Julius Caesar

  On August 2, 47 BC the Roman dictator Gaius Iulius Caesar won the battle of Zela against Pharnaces II. king of Pontus. As the Roman victory was won rather quickly, Caesar wanted to emphasize that very fact by the brevity and conciseness of his report sent to the senate and people of Rome. He only wrote three little words: “Veni, Vidi, Vici.“ I came, I saw, and I won. That’s…
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