Monthly Archives: March 2013

Frederick the Great’s Cunning Plan to Introduce the Potato

Frederick the Great’s Cunning Plan to Introduce the Potato

On 24, March, 1756, Prussian king Frederick the Great passed the circular order that should ensure the cultivation and deployment of potatoes in his country. Actually, citizens received this only rather refusing, because this subterranean vegetable seemed rather suspicious to them. But there is the saying that the king used a clever trick to convince his subjects… Originally, wild potato species occur throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile…
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Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

On March 21, 1768, French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph du Fourier was born. He is probably best known for his work in thermodynamics, where he introduced the concept of the Fourier Analysis, named in honor after him. There, he claimed that every mathematical function of a variable can be expanded to a sum of sines of multiples of that variable. What people most likely don’t know is that Fourier also was the…
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Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

On March 10, 1709, German botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller was born. He joined the Russian explorer Vitus Bering on his second expedition to Kamchatka and Alaska, where he discovered numerous new species, as e.g. the Steller‘s sea cow that was named after him. Georg Wilhelm Stöller was born and grew up in Windsheim, Germany. Due to his father being a protestant church organist, Steller early decided to begin…
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Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

On March 3, 1931, German physicist Ernst Ruska together with his doctoral advisor Max Knoll presented the very first prototype electron microscope, capable of four-hundred-power magnification; the apparatus was the first demonstration of the principles of electron microscopy. “The light microscope opened the 1st gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the 2nd gate to microcosm.” What will we find opening the 3rd gate? (Ernst Ruska, 1985)[1] Ernst Ruska was born on…
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Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

On March 8, 1931, media theorist, author, and cultural critic Neil Postman was born. He is best known for his works criticizing the increase of the role of technology in every human’s life not seeing the dangerous side effects. Neil Postman spent almost all of his lifetime in New York City and graduated at the State University of New York, receiving a master’s degree in 1955. A few years later, he began teaching at…
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Nicéphore Niépce and the World’s First Photograph

Nicéphore Niépce and the World’s First Photograph

On March 7, 1765, French inventor Nicéphore Niépce was born, who is best known as one of the inventors of photography and a pioneer in the field. He developed heliography, a technique used to produce the world‘s first known photograph in 1825. Niépce was born in Chalon-sur-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, where his father Claude Niépce was a wealthy lawyer and the king’s counsellor, which caused the family to flee the French Revolution. His older…
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