Monthly Archives: May 2013

Albrecht Berblinger, the Tailor of Ulm and His Flying Machine

Albrecht Berblinger, the Tailor of Ulm and His Flying Machine

On May 31, 1811, Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger, also known as the Tailor of Ulm, failed to give the proof that his machine was able to fly and fell into the Danube river during the demonstration. He is famous for having constructed a working flying machine, presumably a hang glider. Albrecht Berblinger was born as the seventh child of the servant Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger the Elder and his wife Anna Dorothea Fink in…
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Isadora Duncan Restoring the High Art of Dance

Isadora Duncan Restoring the High Art of Dance

On May, 27, 1877, American dancer Angela Isadora Duncan was born, who restored the dance to a high place among the arts. Breaking with convention, she traced the art of dance back to its roots and developed within this idea, free and natural movements inspired by the classical Greek arts. Angela Isadora Duncan grew up in a poor family in California and dropped out of school to support the family very early.…
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Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

On May 25, 1803, American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. He disseminated his philosophical thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures. Ralph Waldo Emerson enrolled at Harvard College at the age of 14 and throughout his…
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Otto Lilienthal, the Glider King

Otto Lilienthal, the Glider King

On May 23, 1848, German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal was born, who was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful gliding flights. For his contributions to aviation he is often referred to as “The Father of Flight.” Otto Lilienthal received a good education at a grammar school in Anklam despite the sudden death of his father and the financial struggles of his family. Flight tests and experiments as well as the study…
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Richard Wagner – Genius and Megalomania

Richard Wagner – Genius and Megalomania

On May 22, 1813, German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor Richard Wagner was born. His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration. His music is characterized by elaborate use of leitmotifs, i.e. musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. His advances in musical language greatly influenced the development of classical music and made way to modern music. And…
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Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

On May 20, 1799, French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac was born. He is best known for his his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, which is reflected in his opus magnum, the Comédie Humaine, sequence of short stories and novels, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815–1848).…
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Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus

Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus

On May 18, 1883, German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School Walter Gropius was born, who is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. “Art itself cannot be taught, but craftsmanship can. Architects, painters, sculptors are all craftsmen in the original sense of the word. Thus it is a fundamental requirement of all artistic creativity that every student undergo a thorough training in the workshops of all branches of…
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Edward Jenner’s Fight against Smallpox

Edward Jenner’s Fight against Smallpox

On May 17, 1749, English physician and scientist Edward Anthony Jenner was born, who was the pioneer of smallpox vaccine. He is often referred to as “the father of immunology“. Edward Jenner was lucky to receive a good education and decided to go into the field of medicine quite early. Already at the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a surgeon and later also studied anatomy at a local hospital, where he…
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Theodore Maiman and the Laser

Theodore Maiman and the Laser

On May 16, 1960, American physicist Theodore Maiman presents the world’s first operating laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, California. Today, lasers are present everywhere, ranging from common consumer devices such as DVD players, laser printers, and barcode scanners to professional laser devices for surgery and various other skin treatments, or in industry for cutting and welding materials. Actually, it was Albert Einstein, who has laid the theoretical foundations for the laser in his…
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The Poems of Emily Dickinson

The Poems of Emily Dickinson

On May 15, 1886, American poet Emily Elizabeth Dickinson passed away. Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism soon after her publications, she is now almost universally considered to be one of the most important American poets. Emily Dickinson’s poetry is rather unconventional and unique for her time, in which she wrote. They contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Like writers such as…
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