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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Edward Whymper and the First Ascend of the Matterhorn

Edward Whymper and the First Ascend of the Matterhorn

On April 27, 1840, English mountaineer, explorer, illustrator, and author Edward Whymper was born. He is best known for the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865; four members of his party were killed during the descent. Edward Whymper was born in London, England as the second of eleven children. He learned and practiced wood-engraving starting at very young age. In order to draw scenery pictures for a London publisher in the…
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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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Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

On April 25, 1792, French army officier Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle during the French Revolution composes the ‘Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin‘ for the declaration of war against Austria. Under the name ‘La Marseillaise‘ his song later becomes the national anthem of France. I’m pretty sure that almost everybody knows the French national anthem, the so-called Marseillaise, simply because of its numerous references throughout music history as well as from movies.…
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Recovering the Lost Lunar Photographs

Recovering the Lost Lunar Photographs

Maybe you remember that we had an article on the very first image of the Earth taken from abroad?[1] It was an image taken in 1966 by one of the Lunar Orbiter space probes, which had the task of taking closeup pictures of the lunar surface to find a well suited landing spot for the upcoming Apollo Moon missions. Well, you might wonder, how these photographs came back to Earth. Well, the…
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Laurens Hammond and the Hammond Organ

Laurens Hammond and the Hammond Organ

On April 24, 1934, American engineer and inventor Laurens Hammond filed US Patent 1,956,350 for an “electrical musical instrument“, his famous eponymous electric organ with the unique ‘Hammond sound’. Laurens was born in Illinois, USA, but moved to France after his father took his life. In  Europe, Hammond began to design some of his earliest inventions. By the age of 14, the boy had already designed systems for automatic car transitions. Unfortunately, when…
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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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Encore un Moment – The Life of Madame Du Barry

Encore un Moment – The Life of Madame Du Barry

On April 22, 1769, Jeanne Bécu, comtesse du Barry, better known as Madame du Barry, was introduced at the French court. Originally being only a seamstress, Madame du Barry should become Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV of France and the most powerful woman in France. Madame du Barry was born in Lorraine, France and had to support herself financially at the age of 15 or 16. It is assumed that she had started…
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