Yearly Archives: 2013

You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet – The Movies started Talking

You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet – The Movies started Talking

The first feature-length motion picture withsequences of synchronized speech:‘The Jazz Singer’ from 1927 On October 6, 1927, the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, The Jazz Singer premiered. With its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system it heralded the commercial ascendance of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film era. We all know that it started with the silent films already at the end of the 19th century as a simple…
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Balboa and the Southern Ocean

Balboa and the Southern Ocean

Balboa taking possession of the South Sea On September 25, 1513, Spanish conquistador and explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa discovered the legendary Southern Ocean, having crossed the Isthmus of Panama facing the Pacific Ocean. Inspired by Christopher Columbus, Balboa embarked on a trip to the Americas as part of Rodrigo de Bastidas’ expedition. The young explorer started settling at Hispaniola in 1505 but was bankrupt shortly after. Balboa hid in a barrel…
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Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

On September 15, 1929, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann was born. He is best known for his work on the theory of elementary particles and introduced the quark model. The quark model is a classification scheme for hadrons, i.e. composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force (in the same way as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force). “While many questions about quantum mechanics…
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Luigi Galvani and the Discovery of Bioelectricity

Luigi Galvani and the Discovery of Bioelectricity

On September 9, 1737, Italian physician, physicist and philosopher Luigi Aloisio Galvani was born. He is best known for his discoveries in bioelectricity. In particular, he discovered that the muscles of dead frogs legs twitched when struck by a spark. As a legacy, Galvani’s name survives in the Galvanic cell, Galvani potential, galvanic corrosion, the galvanometer and galvanization. Moreover, his reports also heavily influenced famous author Mary Shelley writing her novel ‘Frankenstein‘.[4] “When…
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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 the Economist,…
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Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

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 on esoteric truths of the ancient…
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Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

On August 5, 1735, German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee was born. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms. His affair with Queen Caroline Matilda caused his downfall and dramatic death. Johann Friedrich Struensee – Early Years Johann Friedrich Struensee was born in Halle as the second of six children of the pietist…
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Eugene Vidocq – The Father of Criminology

Eugene Vidocq – The Father of Criminology

During the night of 23 to 24 July 1775, French criminal and criminalist Eugene Vidocq was born. Vidocq is considered the world’s first private detective and father of modern criminology. His life story inspired several writers, including Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. “I thought I could have remained an informer forever, so far from the thought of suspecting that I was a police agent. Even the door closers and the guards…
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John Napier and the Discovery of Logarithms

John Napier and the Discovery of Logarithms

On April 4, 1617, Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer and astrologer John Napier of Merchiston, the 8th Laird of Merchistoun passed away. John Napier is best known as the discoverer of logarithms. He was also the inventor of the so-called “Napier’s bones“, a kind of abacus for calculation of products and quotients of numbers. Napier also made common the use of the decimal point in arithmetic and mathematics. “A Logarithmic Table is a…
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Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

On March 10, 1709, German botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller was born. He joined the Russian explorer Vitus Bering on his second expedition to Kamchatka and Alaska, where he discovered numerous new species, as e.g. the Steller‘s sea cow that was named after him. From Theology to Medicine Georg Wilhelm Stöller was born and grew up in Windsheim, Germany. Due to his father being a protestant church organist, Stöller…
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