Monthly Archives: May 2013

The American Expedition of Lewis and Clark

The American Expedition of Lewis and Clark

On May 14, 1804, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed for the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing from St. Louis on the Mississippi River making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast. To cross Northern America from the east to the west, and doing this even more than 200 years ago, this really was an adventurous…
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Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

Justus von Liebig and the Agricultural Revolution

On May 12, 1803, German chemist Justus Freiherr von Liebig was born, who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry. He is probably best known as the “father of the fertilizer industry” for his discovery of nitrogen as an essential plant nutrient. Justus Liebig’s father was also a chemist and he began his experiments with his father’s equipment in very early childhood years. Even though Justus Liebig was a curious student,…
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Deep Blue vs Gary Kasparov

Deep Blue vs Gary Kasparov

On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, and becme the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format. The story of the chess playing supercomputer started in 1985 with a computer called ChipTest at Carnegie Mellon University by Feng-hsiung Hsu. But actually, the dream of an automated chess player being able to beat a…
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Sebastian Brant and the Ship of Fools

Sebastian Brant and the Ship of Fools

On May 10, 1521, German humanist and satirist Sebastian Brant passed away. He is best known for his book of satire entitled ‘Das Narrenschiff” (The Ship of Fools) published in 1494 in Basel, Switzerland. It is most likely that you might have never heard of Brant nor of his famous book. Anyway, if you continue reading, you won’t regret… Sebastian Brant was born in Strasbourg in 1457. The exact date is unknown as…
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Nikolaus Otto and the Four Stroke Engine

Nikolaus Otto and the Four Stroke Engine

On May 9, 1876, German inventor Nikolaus Otto working with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach started the world’s first internal-combustion engine that efficiently burned fuel directly in a piston chamber.[1] However, German courts did not hold his patent to cover all in-cylinder compression engines or even the four-stroke cycle, and after this decision, in-cylinder compression became universal and the principle of Otto’s engine still is the general principle for engines today. Despite the…
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Henry Dunant and the Red Cross

Henry Dunant and the Red Cross

On May 8, 1828, Swiss businessman and social activist Henry Dunant was born. He is best known for the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863. Also the 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant‘s ideas. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy. “In one of the Cremona hospitals, an Italian doctor had said: “We keep the good things for our friends…
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Reshaping India’s Literature – Rabindranath Tagore

Reshaping India’s Literature – Rabindranath Tagore

On May 7, 1861, Bengali polymath and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore was born. He was highly influential in introducing the best of Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he is generally considered as the outstanding creative artist of modern India. Many of you might never have heart of the great Indian poet, who also was the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1913. But, besides…
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The Incredible Story of Robinson Crusoe

The Incredible Story of Robinson Crusoe

On May, 6, 1719 (julian calendar, April 25), Daniel Defoe‘s famous novel ‘Robinson Crusoe‘ was published under the title ‘The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With…
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Steven Weinberg and the Great Unifying Theory

Steven Weinberg and the Great Unifying Theory

On May 3, 1933, American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg was born. His research on elementary particles and cosmology has been honored with numerous prizes and awards including the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he received in 1979 together with his colleagues Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow for the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particle. “Elementary particles are terribly boring, which is one reason why…
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Athanasius Kircher – A Man in Search of Universal Knowledge

Athanasius Kircher – A Man in Search of Universal Knowledge

On May 2nd, 1601 (or 1602), German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher was born. He has published most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine, and has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci for his enormous range of interests.[5] He is regarded as one of the founders of Egyptology for his (mostly fruitless) efforts in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, wrote an encyclopedia about China, studied volcanos and fossils, was one of the very…
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