Monthly Archives: June 2013

Georges Lemaître and the Big Bang Theory

Georges Lemaître and the Big Bang Theory

Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) On June 20, 1966, Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics Georges Lemaître passed away. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble, and is best known for his proposal of what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe. Maybe, if you are interested in astronomy, you might have heard…
Around the World in a Balloon

Around the World in a Balloon

Steve Fossett(1944 – 2007) On June 19, 2002, American businessman, and a record-setting aviator, sailor, and adventurer Steve Fossett launched the 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom from Northam, Western Australia, for a journey around the world. In his youth, Fossett’s career as an adventurer began when he joined the boy scouts. He began climbing his first mountains and through the years he seeked higher mountains, bigger adventures and longer…
Waterloo and the European Balance of Power

Waterloo and the European Balance of Power

Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler On June 18, 1815, a battle was fought near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, which should be Napoleon’s last. An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher. The defeat at…
The Phantastic Worlds of M. C. Escher

The Phantastic Worlds of M. C. Escher

Hand with Reflecting Sphereby M.C. Escher On June 17, 1898, Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, better known as M. C. Escher, was born. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints, which feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations. M. C. Escher always glanced with his drawing abilities as a child, but also arrested attention with his otherwise poor grades. After school, he…
Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith(1723 – 1790) On June 16, 1723 (June 5 according to the old Julian calendar), Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economy Adam Smith was born. He is one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment and is best known for two classic works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) Adam Smith…
Bartolomeo Platina and the Vatican Library

Bartolomeo Platina and the Vatican Library

The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library On June 15, 1475, Pope Sixtus IV issued the papal bull ‘Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae‘ in which he regulated the complex structure of the newly founded Vatican Apostolic Library and appointed Renaissance author Bartolomeo Platina as its first head librarian. For sure you will heave heard about the famous Vatican Library and even more about the Vatican Secret Archives, which are part of…
Index Librorum Prohibitorum – The List of Banned Books

Index Librorum Prohibitorum – The List of Banned Books

Title page of Index Librorum Prohibitorum(Venice 1564) On June 14, 1966, the Roman Catholic Church abolished their famous list of banned books, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or shorter simply, the Index, that had been installed almost 500 years ago. Actually, it was soon clear, that the written word could also be dangerous, especially if it can be published in large quantities. Once Johannes Gutenberg had invented the printing press and the…
James Clerk Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Fields

James Clerk Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Fields

James Clerk Maxwell(1831 – 1879) On June 13, 1831, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell was born. His most prominent achievement was formulating a set of equations that united previously unrelated observations, experiments, and equations of electricity, magnetism, and optics into a consistent theory. According to his theory he has demonstrated that electricity, magnetism and light are all manifestations of the same phenomenon, namely the electromagnetic field. This has been called…
Yamamoto Tsunetomo and the Way of the Samurai

Yamamoto Tsunetomo and the Way of the Samurai

On June 12, 1659 (other sources report June 11, 1659 – according to the Julian calendar July 13), Japanese Samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo was born. He is best known for the publication of his compiled commentaries and aphorisms about the life of the Samurai under the title of Hagakure, a word that can be translated as either In the shadow the Leaves or The Hidden Leaves. Above all, the Way of…
The Bridge of Spies and the biggest Agent Swap in History

The Bridge of Spies and the biggest Agent Swap in History

Glienicke Bridge Image: Tabea Tietz On June 11, 1985, the biggest agent swap known in history occurred at the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam. The Glienicke Bridge became very famous during the Cold War, not only for its beauty, but for its function as an agent swapping location for the eastern and western governments. The bridge itself was built in the 17th century in order to guarantee the nobility a connection…
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