Monthly Archives: January 2014

Carl David Anderson and the Positron

Carl David Anderson and the Positron

Carl David Anderson (1905-1991) On January 11, 1991, American physicist Carl David Anderson passed away. He is best known for his discovery of the positron in 1932, an achievement for which he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics, and of the muon in 1936. Carl D. Anderson was born on September 3, 1905, in New York City as the son of Swedish immigrants. He studied physics and engineering at…
Metropolis – A Cinematic Vision of Technology and Fear

Metropolis – A Cinematic Vision of Technology and Fear

On January 10 1927 German expressionist epic science-fiction film Metropolis was premiered in Berlin. Metropolis is regarded as a pioneer work of science fiction movies, being the first feature length movie of the genre and one of the most expensive movies of its time. If you like science fiction movies and you don’t know Metropolis, you have missed the very first blockbuster of this popular genre. Of course, it was…
Ernest Shackleton’s South Pole Expeditions

Ernest Shackleton’s South Pole Expeditions

Nimrod Expedition South Pole Party On 9 January 1909, British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and three companions reached a new Farthest South latitude of 88° 23? S, a point only 180 km from the South Pole and were forced to return to McMurdo Sound in a race against starvation. At the age of 16, Shackleton was allowed to leave school and go to the sea. Due to his family’s financial…
The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) On January 8, 1687, French ballet dancer and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance of his Te Deum. Because he refused to treat the wound, it got infected and he died from gangrene soon after. Besides this inglourious way of death, Lully is considered the chief master of the French baroque style, who stripped of all Italian influences from…
Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English Channel in a Balloon

Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English Channel in a Balloon

Crossing of the English Channel by Blanchard and Jeffries On January 7, 1785, French inventor, aviation pioneer and balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English channel in a balloon flying from Dover Castle to Guînes for the first time. Just two years before, the two brothers and business partners, Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier changed history when they presented their hot air balloon for the first time to the public of Annonay,…
Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

Stromer’s paper mill in the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493 On January 6, 1329, German long-distance trader, factory owner and councillor of Nuremberg Ulman Stromer was born. Stromer established the very first permanent paper mill north of the Alpes, at the Pegnitz river not far from the city. The first writing material reached Europe in the 12th century and first paper trade is recorded in the near of Valencia, Spain. The…
Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco On January 5, 1932, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and successful novelist Umberto Eco was born. He is best known for his groundbreaking historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. I have read ‘The Name of the Rose‘, when I was just 20 years of age, and ever…
Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

Jeremiah Horrocks(1618 – 1641) On January 3, 1641, English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks passed away. He was the first scientist to demonstrate that the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit and was the only person to predict the transit of Venus of 1639. Jeremiah Horrocks grew up in a well educated family and was introduced to astronomy in early years. He was occupied with many astronomical tasks as…
Urbain Le Verrier and the hypothetical Planet Vulcan

Urbain Le Verrier and the hypothetical Planet Vulcan

Urbain Le Verrier(1811 – 1877 On 2 January 1860, French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier announced the discovery of Vulcan, a hypothetical planet inside the Mercury orbit, to a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris. Despite the lack of any reliable observation, Le Verrier really was convinced until his death that he had discovered a new planet. It was Einstein’s special theory of relativity and a completely new understanding…
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