Monthly Archives: July 2013

Nicole Oresme – Polymath of the Late Middle Ages

Nicole Oresme – Polymath of the Late Middle Ages

Portrait of Nicole Oresme: Miniature from Oresme’s Traité de l’espere, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France, fonds français 565, fol. 1r. On July 11, 1382, significant philosopher of the later Middle Ages Nicole Oresme passed away. As for many historic people of the middle ages, his actual birthdate is unknown and can only be fixed to a period between 1325 and 1330. Nicole Oresme besides William of Ockham or Jean Buridan —…
Nikola Tesla – The Master of Lightnings

Nikola Tesla – The Master of Lightnings

Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943)at Colorado Springs On July 10, 1856, Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist Nikola Tesla was born. He is probably best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Although his work fell into obscurity after his death, he experienced a renaissance in the popular culture of the late 1990s, becoming a center of many…
Ann Raddcliffe – Pioneer of the Gothic Novel

Ann Raddcliffe – Pioneer of the Gothic Novel

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) On July 9, 1764, English author and pioneer of Gothic novel Ann Radcliffe was born. You might have never heard of Ann Radcliffe, if you are not familiar with English literature, but her prose strongly influenced a literature style called ‘Gothic novel’, where the supernatural comes into play and all of today’s vampire, horror, and fantastic literature has originated from. Take, as e.g., her most famous novel…
Jean de la Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

Jean de la Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695) On July 8, 1621, Jean de la Fontaine, the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century, was born. He is best known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists all across Europe. The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine were issued in several volumes from 1668 to 1694 and are…
Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) On July 7, 1752, French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard was born. He is best known for his invention of the programmable loom, the “Jacquard loom”, which in turn played an important role in the development of the computer. Back in the 18th century, literally nobody – maybe with the exception people like Leibniz or Pascal – thought about a programmable computer. But, it was the…
Frieda Kahlo’s struggling Life and Extraordinary Art

Frieda Kahlo’s struggling Life and Extraordinary Art

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) On July 6, 1907, Mexican painter Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón was born. She is probably best known for her impressive self-portrait and is still admired as a feminist icon. Frida Kahlo grew up in a small town near Mexico City, and when the Mexican revolution began, she was about three years old. As the revolution is considered as the most important social and…
Thomas Cook Invents Organized Tourism

Thomas Cook Invents Organized Tourism

Thomas Cook(1808 – 1892) On 5 July 1841, British pioneer of organized tourism Thomas Cook arranged to take a group of 540 temperance campaigners from Leicester Campbell Street station to a rally in Loughborough, eleven miles away. This led him to start his own business founding the world’s first and most famous travel agency. Thomas Cook apprenticed at a cabinet maker and later became a Baptist preacher touring through the…
The RMS Britannia and the Transatlantic Postal Service

The RMS Britannia and the Transatlantic Postal Service

The seamship RMS Britannia On July 4, 1840, the RMS Britannia started her maiden voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia from Liverpool, England. With the ocean liner of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, later known as Cunard Steamship Company, the first regularly operating transatlantic postal service between Europe and America was established. Today, oversea’s communication is no problem at all. No matter via phone, skype, or…
The Russian Dream to Land a Man on the Moon

The Russian Dream to Land a Man on the Moon

N1 Rocket compared with Saturn V Image: Ebs08 On July 3, 1969, the biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurred when the Soviet N-1 rocket exploded and subsequently destroyed its launchpad. After four unsuccessful launch tries of the Soviet counterpart to the NASA Saturn V rocket the Russian Moon program was cancelled in May 1974. Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the leading Soviet space craft designer and rocket engineer, also known…
Herman Hesse and his Search for Self-Knowledge

Herman Hesse and his Search for Self-Knowledge

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) [1] On July 2, 1877, German poet, novelist, painter, and Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse was born. He is best known for his novels ‘Steppenwolf‘, ‘Siddhartha‘, or ‘The Glass Bead Game‘, in which he explores the individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. I’ve read the works of Hermann Hesse – as many other of my generation – when I was just 18 years of age. Interestingly, my…
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