Monthly Archives: August 2013

Freedom within Limits – the Education Principles of Maria Montessori

Freedom within Limits – the Education Principles of Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori(1870 – 1952) On August 31, 1870, Italian physician and educator Maria Tecla Artemesia Montessori was born. She is probably best known for the philosophy of education that bears her name, and her writing on scientific pedagogy. Her educational method is in use today in public and private schools throughout the world. Maria Montessori was pretty well educated herself and mostly supported by her mother to continue school. She…
Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Walcott and the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Doolittle Walcott (1850-1927) On August 30, 1909, American paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale Formation, located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. With its Cambrian fossils the Burgess Shale is one of the world’s most celebrated fossil fields. Walcott excavated repeatedly to collect more than 65,000 specimens from what is now known as the Walcott Quarry, named after him. Today, most of us are aware of…
Whitcomb L. Judson and the Invention that holds our life ‘together’

Whitcomb L. Judson and the Invention that holds our life ‘together’

Whitcomb L. Judson(1846 – 1909) On August 29, 1893, American machine salesman, mechanical engineer and inventor Whitcomb L. Judson receives the patent for a “Clasp Locker”, today better known as the zipper, the mechanical little wonder that has kept so much in our lives ‘together.’ But first, the new invention showed only little commercial success. It took almost 80 years that the magazine and fashion industry made the novel zipper…
The Hyperbolic World of Vladimir Shukhov

The Hyperbolic World of Vladimir Shukhov

Vladimir Shukhov(1853 – 1939) On August 28, 1853, Russian engineer-polymath, scientist and architect Vladimir Grigoryevich Shukhov was born. He is renowned for his pioneering works on new methods of analysis for structural engineering that led to breakthroughs in industrial design. He was one of the most outstanding designers and constructors of the 19th and 20th century. Moreover, he is considered as one of Russia’s most important engineers. Vladimir Shukhov was…
Giuseppe Peano and the Axiomatization of Mathematics

Giuseppe Peano and the Axiomatization of Mathematics

Giuseppe Peano (1858-1932) On August 27, 1858, Italian mathematician and philosopher Giuseppe Peano was born. He is he author of over 200 books and papers, and is considered the founder of mathematical logic and set theory. The standard axiomatization of the natural numbers is named the Peano axioms in his honor. These axioms have been used nearly unchanged in a number of metamathematical investigations, including research into fundamental questions of…
Allessandro Cagliostro – Imposter and Adventurer

Allessandro Cagliostro – Imposter and Adventurer

Count Alessandro di Cagliostro(1743 – 1795) On August 26, 1795, Italian physician, occultist and adventurer Giuseppe Balsamo aka Count Alessandro di Cagliostro passed away. The history and stories around Cagliostro are shrouded in rumour, propaganda, and mysticism. Some effort was expended to ascertain his true identity when he was arrested because of possible participation in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace. Despite the fact that Giuseppe Balsamo had to deal…
The Exploration of Saturn

The Exploration of Saturn

True color picture of Saturn, assembled from Voyager 2 images obtained Aug. 4, 1981 On August 25, 1981, American space probe Voyager 2 passed Saturn and transmitted stunning pictures of the ring planet. The space probe had been launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually to push forward into interstellar space. Until today, operating for more than 30 years the spacecraft still…
The Gutenberg Bible and the Printing Revolution

The Gutenberg Bible and the Printing Revolution

Gutenberg’s famous Bible with 42 text lines per page (B42) On August 24, 1456, the printing of the famous Gutenberg Bible was completed. The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with movable type in the West, applying the newly developed technology by Johannes Gutenberg. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status. We know that Gutenberg did not really invent printing,…
Georges Cuvier and the Fossils

Georges Cuvier and the Fossils

Georges Cuvier(1769 – 1832) On August 23, 1769, French naturalist and zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier aka Georges Cuvier was born. He was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century, and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils. The young Georges Cuvier was well educated and received additional classes by his…
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Facade of Al Khazneh, Petra, JordanImage: Bernard Gagnon On August 22, 1812, Swiss traveller and orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in the disguise of an arab traveller discovered the ruins of the ancient city of Petra, one of the most compelling archaeological sites in existence, in today’s Jordan. Petra is located east of the Arabah, half way between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea. Its location caused several religious…
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