Monthly Archives: July 2014

Jean Picard and his Love for Accuracy

Jean Picard and his Love for Accuracy

Jean-Félix Picard (1620 – 1682) On July 21, 1620, French astronomer, cartographer and hydraulic engineer Jean-Félix Picard was born. He is regarded as the founder of modern astronomy in France. He introduced new methods, improved the old instruments, and added new devices, such as Huygens‘ pendulum clock to record times and time intervals. Jean-Félix Picard was born as a son of a bookseller and was allowed to study at the Jesuit…
Sir John Reith and the BBC

Sir John Reith and the BBC

On July 20, 1889, John Charles Walsham Reith, 1st Baron Reith, was born. Sir John Reith was the first General-Director of the British Broadcasting Corporation and regarded as one of BBCs founding fathers. His concept of broadcasting as a way of educating the masses marked for a long time the BBC and similar organizations around the world. John Reith was the founder of the BBC. He was its first general manager when…
The Dancers of Edgar Degas

The Dancers of Edgar Degas

Ballet Class (1873) by Edgar Degas On July 19, 1834, French artist Edgar Degas was born, famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. Edgar Degas graduated from school in 1853…
William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

William Makepeace Thackeray’s deft Skewering of Human Foibles

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) On July 18, 1811, English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray was born. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society. During the Victorian era, Thackeray was ranked second only to Charles Dickens, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair, which has become a standard fixture in university courses and has been repeatedly…
The World of Lyonel Feininger

The World of Lyonel Feininger

Collage consisting of a section of a newspaper page of the “San Francisco Examiner” (1925) from left: Galka Scheyer, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Alexej Jawlensky On July 17, 1871, German-American painter Lyonel Charles Feininger was born. He became a leading exponent of Expressionism and especially Cubism. Lyonel Feininger was born into a family of musicians. His father was the famous German violinist and composer Karl Feininger and his…
Dan Bricklin and VisiCalc

Dan Bricklin and VisiCalc

VisiCalc On July 16, 1951, computer scientist Dan Bricklin was born. Together with Bob Frankston he created VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet computer program (1979) which created a market beyond hobbyists for the emerging personal computers. Today, everybody knows spreadsheet programs, no matter if you choose a desktop application or a web based application, spreadsheets are everywhere. And sometimes, we don’t have any idea, how we could possibly get along without…
Pavel Cherenkov and the Blue Light

Pavel Cherenkov and the Blue Light

Pavel Cherenkov (1904 – 1990) On July 15, 1904, Soviet physicist Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov was born. He shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1958 with Ilya Frank and Igor Tamm for the discovery of Cherenkov radiation, made in 1934. Cherenkov radiation is a faint blue light emitted by electrons passing through a transparent medium when their speed exceeds the speed of light in that medium. This sounds pretty weird,…
The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

Madame de Staël (1766-1817) On July 14, 1817, French woman of letters of Swiss origin Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, passed away. She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism. She was a…
August Kekulé and the Carbon Ring Structure

August Kekulé and the Carbon Ring Structure

August Kekulé (1829 – 1896) On July 13, 1896, German organic chemist Friedrich August Kekulé passed away. Being one of the world’s leading chemists of his time, he is best known for devising the ring structure of carbon atoms in organic molecules and became the principal founder of the theory of chemical structure. August Kekulé was born on September 7, 1829 in Darmstadt as son of a civil servant. After graduating from…
Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, 1937, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain On July 12, 1937, Pablo Picasso presents his famous painting Guernica for the very first time at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces on 26 April 1937 during the…
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