Yearly Archives: 2014

Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Theory of Colour Vision

Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Theory of Colour Vision

On December 1, 1847, American psychologist, logician, and mathematician Christine Ladd-Franklin was born. She is known for contributions to the theory of color vision accounting for the development of man’s color sense which countered the established views of Helmholtz, Young, and Hering. Her position was that color-sense developed in stages. Christine Ladd-Franklin began her higher education at Vassar College, but had to withdraw after only one year due to financial…
Cavalieri’s Principle

Cavalieri’s Principle

On November 30, 1648, Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri passed away. He is known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri’s principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus. “Rigor is the concern of philosophy not of geometry.” (Bonaventura Cavalieri) Born at Milan, Cavalieri was given the name Francesco when he was born. His…
John Ray and the Classification of Plants

John Ray and the Classification of Plants

On November 29, 1627, English naturalist John Ray was born. He published important works on botany, zoology, and natural theology. His classification of plants in his Historia Plantarum, was an important step towards modern taxonomy. He advanced scientific empiricism against the deductive rationalism of the scholastics and was the first to give a biological definition of the term species. During his childhood, John Ray enjoyed watching his father working in…
John Lloyd Stephens and the Archeology of Middle America

John Lloyd Stephens and the Archeology of Middle America

On November 28,  1805, American explorer, writer, and diplomat John Lloyd Stephens was born. Stephens was a pivotal figure in the rediscovery of Maya civilization throughout Middle America and in the planning of the Panama railroad. His exploration of Maya ruins in Central America and Mexico generated the archaeology of Middle America. John Lloyd Stephens was born in the township of Shrewsbury, New Jersey, as the second son of Benjamin…
Anders Celsius and the Celsius Scale of Temperature

Anders Celsius and the Celsius Scale of Temperature

On November 27, 1701, Swedish astronomer, physicist and mathematician Anders Celsius was born. He is famous for the temperature scale he developed and which is named after him. Besides the U.S. that measures temperature according to the scale developed by Fahrenheit, Celsius’ original scale was adopted as the international standard and is still used in almost all scientific work. Anders Celsius was the son of an astronomy professor and completed his education…
Norbert Wiener and the Science of Cybernetics

Norbert Wiener and the Science of Cybernetics

On November 26, 1894, American mathematician Norbert Wiener was born. Wiener established the science of cybernetics, a term he coined, which is concerned with the common factors of control and communication in living organisms, automatic machines, and organizations. He attained international renown by formulating some of the most important contributions to mathematics in the 20th century. Wiener was born in Columbia, Missouri, the first child of Leo Wiener and Bertha…
Peiresc and the Orion Nebula

Peiresc and the Orion Nebula

Around November 25, 1610, French astronomer and savant Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc discovers the Orion Nebula, a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc studied at the Jesuit College at Tournon, where he first gained his interest in astronomy, as well as archeology…
Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

On November 24, 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant Abel Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania, north of Macquarie Harbour. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Abel Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast in what is now the province of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received a sufficient education to enable him to express his ideas clearly in…
Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

On November 23, 1221, Spanish King and astronomer Alfonso X of Castile was born, who encouraged the preparation of revised planetary tables. These “Alfonsine Tables” a revision and improvement of the Ptolemaic tables, were the best available during the Middle Ages. Alfonso was born in Toledo, Spain. It is not much known about his early life. However, it is widely believed that he started his career as a soldier when…
Wiley Post and the Jetstream

Wiley Post and the Jetstream

Wiley Hardeman Post (1898-1935) On November 22, 1898, US-american aviator Wiley Hardeman Post was born. Post was the first pilot to fly solo around the world and is also known for his work in high-altitude flying, where helped develop one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream. Wiley Post was born in Grand Saline, Texas, to cotton farmer parents William Francis and Mae Quinlan Post. His family…
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