Monthly Archives: August 2013

Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

On August 21, 1789, French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was born. He is considered one of the greatest mathematicians during the nineteenth century. There are 16 concepts and theorems named for Cauchy, more than for any other mathematician. Cauchy was one of the most prolific mathematicians of all times. Cauchy wrote 789 papers, a quantity exceeded only by Euler and Cayley, which brought precision and rigor to mathematics. Actually, Cauchy was…
Courage and Folly – The Burke and Wills Expedition Crossing Australia

Courage and Folly – The Burke and Wills Expedition Crossing Australia

Burke and Wills on the Way to Mount HopelessImage: George Washington Lambert On August 20, 1860, Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills led an expedition of 19 men with the intention of crossing Australia from South to North and back again. But, due to poor leadership and bad luck, both of the expedition’s leaders died on the return journey and only one man, John King, crossed the continent with…
Making Photography Really Operational – Louis Daguerre

Making Photography Really Operational – Louis Daguerre

Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) On August 19, 1839, French artist and physicist Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, after announcing his invention to the French Academy of Sciences, went public with his newly developed photographic process called Daguerrotype, the wold’s first practicable photographic process. Actually, Louis Daguerre did not invent photography, but, in 1829, he partnered with Nicéphore Niépce, an inventor who had produced the world’s first heliograph in 1822 and the first…
The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

Different kinds of birth control pillsImage: Ceridwen On August 18, 1960, the first contraceptive pill Enovid went on public sale in the U.S. But the contraceptive pill was not available to married women in all states of the U.S. until 1972. Especially the Roman Catholic Church holds a strong position against the contraceptive pill, because according to her teachings artificial contraception distorts the nature and purpose of sex. According to…
Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

Johann Valentin Andreae (1586-1654) On August 17, 1586, German theologian and author Johann Valentin Andreae was born. He claimed to be the author of the Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459 (1616, Strasbourg, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz), one of the three founding works of Rosicrucianism, a philosophical secret society said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreutz. Rosicrucianism holds a doctrine or theology “built…
The Man who Invented Science Fiction – Hugo Gernsback

The Man who Invented Science Fiction – Hugo Gernsback

Hugo Gernsback (1885-1967) on the cover of hisown magazine watching TV in 1928 On August 16, 1884, Luxembourgian American inventor, writer, editor, and magazine publisher Hugo Gernsback was born. Gernsback best known for publications including the first science fiction magazine. His contributions to the genre as publisher were so significant that, along with the novelists H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, he is often referred to as “The Father of…
The Affair of the Diamond Necklace

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace

“The Queen’s necklace”, reconstruction, Château de Breteuil, France On August 15, 1785, the Cardinal de Rohan was arrested and the ‘Affair of the Diamond Necklace’, an extraordinary expensive piece of jewelry intended for Madame du Barry, the maitresse of King Louis XV of France, became a public scandal that led to the French populace’s disillusionment with the monarchy, which, among other causes, eventually culminated in the French Revolution. Actually, the…
The Cologne Cathedral – More than 600 Years of Construction

The Cologne Cathedral – More than 600 Years of Construction

Cologne CathedralImage: Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de On August 14, 1880, after more than 600 years the construction of the Cologne Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Cologne, Germany, is completed. The World Heritage Site is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires and largest facade of any church in the world.…
David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

Ultraviolet image of the star Mira showing its comet-like trail of gas over 13 light-years longImage: NASA On August 13, 1596, German theologian and astronomer David Fabricius discovered the first known periodic variable star, which he called Mira Ceti (The ‘Wonder’ in the stellar constellation ‘Whale’). David Fabricius was born in Esens, Lower Saxony and received a pretty good education, learning mostly Latin. In Braunschweig, he first gained a few…
Cleopatra – The Myth about Egypt’s Last Pharaoh

Cleopatra – The Myth about Egypt’s Last Pharaoh

Cleopatra and Julius Caesar On August 12, 30BC, ancient Egyptian pharao Cleopatra VII Philopator, known to history simply as Cleopatra, passed away under myserious circumstances. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar’s legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus). To this day, Cleopatra remains a popular figure in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and…
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