Monthly Archives: March 2014

J.C.R. Licklider and Interactive Computing

J.C.R. Licklider and Interactive Computing

On March 11, 1915, American psychologist and computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider, known simply as J.C.R. or “Lick“, was born. He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and was one of the most distinguished Internet pioneers. Licklider was born in St. Louis, Missouri and his engineering talents became clear pretty early, when he built model airplanes as a child. He enrolled at Washington University in…
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Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

On March 10, 1697, Russian Tsar Peter the Great began his diplomatic mission to Western Europe, referred to as the ‘Grand Embassy‘. The goal of this mission was to strengthen and broaden Russia‘s influence in Western Europe and to find allies against the Ottoman Empire. What makes the mission so special is that Peter the Great led the mission himself, but incognito under a wrong name. At the age of 10, Peter…
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Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Discovery of Brazil

Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Discovery of Brazil

On March 9, 1500, Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral set sail with a fleet of 13 ships to establish a trade route to India. But, due to a storm his ships got lost and he should become one of the first Europeans to reach the coast of Brazil. While details of Cabral’s early life are unclear, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education. He…
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Hachiko – the Most Famous Dog of Japan

Hachiko – the Most Famous Dog of Japan

On March 8, 1935, Hachiko, a famous Japanese Akita dog passed away, remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, even many years after his owner’s death. In 1924, Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachiko, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner’s life, Hachiko greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The two…
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Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of Scholasticism

Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of Scholasticism

Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas by Andrea di Bonaiuto On March 7, 1271, Thomas Aquinas, Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, passed away. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Thomas Aquinas was born around…
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The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

On March 6, 1801, French novelist Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, was arrested for being the author of the anonymously published book ‘Justine or the Misfortune of Virtue‘ by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Sades were an old, albeit no longer rich noble family of Provence, which originally had the count’s title (French comte). Grandfather Gaspard-François de Sade was the first family member to use the…
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Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th-century Alsatian nun and abbess of Hohenburg Abbey in the Vosges mountains. She is known as the author of the pictorial encyclopedia Hortus Deliciarum (The Garden of Delights). It is assumed that Herrad of Landsberg was born around 1130. Hohenburg Abbey, also known as Mont St Odile, was run by Abbess Relinda, a nun sent from the Benedictine monastery of Bergen in Bavaria. Due to her support…
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John Flamsteed – Astronomer Royal

John Flamsteed – Astronomer Royal

On March 4, 1675, the English King Charles II appoints John Flamsteed to “The King’s Astronomical Observator” – the first English Astronomer Royal, with an allowance of £100 a year. In the same year, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was founded and Flamsteed laid the foundation stone. John Flamsteed’s early interests concentrated mainly on the fields of history and languages, especially Latin. He grew up in Denby, England as the son of a…
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Fritz Schaudinn and the ‘French Disease’

Fritz Schaudinn and the ‘French Disease’

On March 3, 1905, German zoologist Fritz Schaudinn together with dermatologist Erich Hoffmann discovered the causative agent of syphilis, the spiral-shaped Spirochaeta pallida, at Berlin Charité Clinic. The origin of syphilis is not very clear, but it is assumed that it was present in the Americas before European contact. Many historical scientists assume, that the illness was carried to Europe by the returning crewmen from Christopher Columbus‘s voyage. Others dispute, that syphilis…
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Giovanni Battista Belzoni and the Egyptian Adventure

Giovanni Battista Belzoni and the Egyptian Adventure

On March 2, 1818, Prolific Italian explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni – also known as ‘The Great Belzoni‘ – discovered the burial chamber of Pharaoh Khafra in the 2nd of the large pyramid‘s of Giza. But, like in all the other burial chambers in the great pyramids, the sarcophagus was empty. Belzoni was born in Padua, Italy, as the son of a barber. At the age of 16, he moved to Rome in…
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