Monthly Archives: May 2014

Francis Baily and the Baily Beads

Francis Baily and the Baily Beads

On May 15, 1836, English astronomer Francis Baily for the first time observed the so-called ‘Baily’s beads‘ during an eclipse of the Sun. For sure you know the effect, although you might not have seen it with your own eyes in nature. But, numerous photographs, pictures, and videos have been published, where the phenomenon can be watched. So what are Beailey’s beads? The Baily’s beads effect is a feature of total solar eclipses. As the moon…
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The Seaplanes of Claude Dornier

The Seaplanes of Claude Dornier

On May 14, 1884, German airplane builder and entrepreneur Claudius Dornier was born. His legacy remains in the few aircraft named after him, including the Dornier Do 18 and the 12-engine Dornier Do X flying boat, for decades the world’s largest and most powerful airplane. Dornier studied engineering at the Technical University of Munich and began his career in Karlsruhe in 1907. Unfortunately, his father fell very ill and could not take care of his…
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Igor Sikorsky and the Perfection of the Helicopter Design

Igor Sikorsky and the Perfection of the Helicopter Design

On May 13, 1940, Russian American aviation pioneer Igor Ivanovitsch Sikorsky made the maidenflight with his newly developed helicopter VS-300, which led to the R-4, the world’s first mass-produced helicopter in 1942. Sure we all know helicopters today. They have become an everyday object, although not everybody of us already had the chance to fly with a helicopter. Actually, I had the pleasure to fly as helicopter passenger during my time of…
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Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

On May 12, 1820, celebrated British social reformer and statistician Florence Nightingale was born. She is best known for being the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was known as “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night. Youth and Education It is known that Florence Nightingale was a…
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The very first Printed Book – The Diamond Sutra

The very first Printed Book – The Diamond Sutra

On May 11, 868, the earliest dated printed book was issued, a Chinese copy of the so-called Diamond Sutra, one of the most important textbooks of Buddhism, originally written in the 1st c. AD. You might think the it was Johannes Gutenberg who invented modern printing. But, he didn’t. Sure, printing with metal movable types including a printing press and a suitable ink, but mostover a way to produce movable types in sufficient…
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Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

On May 10, 1746, French mathematician Gaspard Monge, Comte de Péluse was born. He is best known for being the inventor of descriptive geometry as the mathematical basis of technical drawing, and being the father of differential geometry. During the French Revolution Monge served as the Minister of the Marine, and was involved in the reform of the French educational system, helping to found the École Polytechnique. “Descriptive geometry has two objects: the first is…
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Thomas Blood and the Crown Jewels of England

Thomas Blood and the Crown Jewels of England

On May 9, 1671, Anglo-Irish officer and desperado Colonel Thomas Blood attempted to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London. Not much is known about Thomas Blood’s early life. It is assumed that he was born to a successful blacksmith in Ireland. His father owned some land across the country and his grandfather was a member of the Parliament. Historians believe, that he went to England with the…
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Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess (also known as Maria Prophetissima or Miriam the Prophetess) is a figure who first appeared in the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis, whose sources for this are not clear. On the basis of Zosimos’s comments, she lived between the first and third centuries A.D. She is credited with the invention of several kinds of chemical apparatus and is considered to be the first true alchemist of the…
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Carl Hagenbeck – Pioneer of the Modern Zoo

Carl Hagenbeck – Pioneer of the Modern Zoo

On May 7, 1907, German merchant of wild animals Carl Hagenbeck founded Germany’s most successful privately owned zoo, the Tierpark Hagenbeck. He created the modern zoo with animal enclosures without bars that were closer to their natural habitat. Already his father, Gottfried Hagenbeck, who was originally a fish dealer started displaying and trading animals in the mid-19th century. In 1866, Carl Hagenbeck joined his father’s business and started to expand it to one…
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Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

On May 6, 1796, Freiherr Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Knigge passed away. In Germany, Knigge is best remembered for his book ‘Über den Umgang mit Menschen‘ (On Human Relations), a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behaviour, politeness, and etiquette. “Without inspiration, which fills the soul with a healthy warmth, nothing great can ever be brought to pass.” — Adolph…
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