Monthly Archives: April 2014

J. J. Thomson and the Existence of the Electron

J. J. Thomson and the Existence of the Electron

On April 30, 1897, English physicist Joseph John Thomson gave the first experimental proof of the electron, which had been already theoretically predicted by Johnstone Stoney. Thomson was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the electron and for his work on the conduction of electricity in gases. Joseph John Thomson was born in 1856 in Manchester, England and was taught mainly in private schools at the beginning. In 1876,…
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Henri Poincaré – the Last Universalist of Mathematics

Henri Poincaré – the Last Universalist of Mathematics

On April 29, 1854, French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science Henri Poincaré was born. He is often described as a polymath, and in mathematics as The Last Universalist since he excelled in all fields of the discipline as it existed during his lifetime. Jules Henri Poincaré was born in Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, to Léon Poincaré, professor of medicine at the University of Nancy, and his mother Eugénie Launois. He excelled in every…
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Dennis Tito, the very first Space Tourist

Dennis Tito, the very first Space Tourist

On April 28, 2001, American engineer and multimillionaire Dennis Tito joined the Soyuz TM-32 mission to the International Space Station ISS, spending 7 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes in space and orbiting Earth 128 times. He paid $20 Mio for his trip, which made him the very first space tourist in history. Who ever thought that space tourism would become possible? To travel in space simply for recreational, leisure or business purposes.…
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John James Audubon’s Birds of America

John James Audubon’s Birds of America

On April 26, 1785, French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter John James Audubon was born. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. OK, who the heck is john James Audubon and why…
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The German Reinheitsgebot and the Secrets of Brewing Beer

The German Reinheitsgebot and the Secrets of Brewing Beer

On April 23, 1516, in the city of Ingolstadt in the duchy of Bavaria, Duke Wilhelm IV. and Duke Ludwig X of Bavaria publish a new law that contains regulations about the price and the ingredients of beer. These Regulations later are called the ‘Reinheitsgebot‘ ( German Beer Purity Law), which states that the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer are water, barley and hops. Brewing regulations…
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The Passionate Life of Charlotte Brontë

The Passionate Life of Charlotte Brontë

On April 21, 1816, English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters was born, whose novels are English literature standards. Most notably she wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell. Following the usual stereotype, computer scientists are nerds and the only literature they read – if they read any literature at all – are science fiction stories or fantasy novels. Of course I like science fiction stories –…
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Harriet Quimby – the First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel

Harriet Quimby – the First Woman to Fly Across the English Channel

On April 16, 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She was the the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States. Although Quimby lived only to the age of thirty-seven, she had a major influence upon the role of women in aviation. Harriet Quimby was born into a farmer’s family in Michigan and moved to San Francisco in order to become an…
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Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

On April 15, 1755, after nine years of intensive labor, Samuel Johnson publishes his “Dictionary of the English Language”, sometimes published as Johnson‘s Dictionary. It is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. Samuel Johnson showed signs of great intelligence quite early and his parents decided to start his educational program, when he was only three years old. At the age of nine, he was already promoted…
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The Kinetoscope and Edison’s Wrong Way to Invent the Cinema

The Kinetoscope and Edison’s Wrong Way to Invent the Cinema

On April 14, 1894, chief engineer William K. L. Dickson in the team of Thomas Alva Edison, presents the newly invented Kinetoscope, an early motion picture exhibition device designed for films to be viewed by one individual at a time through a peephole viewer window at the top of the device. Ok, according to Edison, the cinema would never have become the silver screen you know, but would have remained a cheap fairground…
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The Origins of Copyright Law

The Origins of Copyright Law

On April 10, 1710, the Statute of Anne, an act of the Parliament of Great Britain, was introduced. It was the first statute to provide for copyright regulated by the government and courts, rather than by private parties. With the introduction of the printing press to Britain by William Caxton in 1476, printed works became more and more important as an economic asset. As early as 1483, King Richard III recognized the…
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