Monthly Archives: January 2015

John Fitch and the Steam Boat

John Fitch and the Steam Boat

On January 21, 1743, American inventor, clockmaker, entrepreneur and engineer John Fitch was born. He was most famous for operating the first steamboat service in the United States even before Robert Fulton. John Fitch grew up with his father and it is believed that he did not enjoy his childhood too much. He was pulled from school at the age of eight and had to work at the family farm. Eventually, he fled…
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Simon Marius and his Astronomical Discoveries

Simon Marius and his Astronomical Discoveries

On January 20 (or January 10 according to the old Julian calendar), 1573, German astronomer Simon Marius was born. Marius was pupil of Tycho Brahe, one of the earliest users of the telescope and the first in print to make mention the Andromeda nebula. He studied and named the four largest moons of Jupiter that he claimed to have them discovered independently and even before Galileo. Simon Marius was born in Gunzenhausen, near…
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The Steel of Sir Henry Bessemer

The Steel of Sir Henry Bessemer

On January 19, 1813, English engineer, inventor, and businessman Sir Henry Bessemer was born. Bessemer’s name is chiefly known in connection with the Bessemer process, the first process for manufacturing steel inexpensively (1856), leading to the development of the Bessemer converter. Henry Bessemer was born on January 19, 1813 in Charlton, Hertfordshire, England. He was the son of an engineer and typefounder and he showed a great interest in making own inventions at…
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Thomas Augustus Watson – Recipient of the Very First Phone Call

Thomas Augustus Watson – Recipient of the Very First Phone Call

On January 18, 1854, American telephone pioneer and shipbuilder Thomas Augustus Watson was born. He is best known because, as the recipient of the first telephone call being the assistant of Alexander Graham Bell. He was one of the original organizers of the Bell Telephone Company and later turned to shipbuilding and constructed a number of vessels for the United States government. Becoming the Assistant of Alexander Graham Bell Born in Salem,…
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Gaspard Bauhin and the Classification of Plants

Gaspard Bauhin and the Classification of Plants

On January 17, 1560, Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin was born. He is best known for his contributions to the field of botany, and especially for his classification of plants. He was a disciple of the famous Italian physician Girolamo Mercuriale and he also worked on human anatomical nomenclature. Early Years Caspar Bauhin came from the Bauhin medical family, which had fled to Basel as Huguenots from Paris and Amsterdam; his father was…
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Johannes Schöner and his Globes

Johannes Schöner and his Globes

On January 16, 1477, German polymath Johannes Schöner was born. He was a priest, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, cosmographer, cartographer, mathematician, globe and scientific instrument maker and editor and publisher of scientific tests. He is well known for making and printing geographical globes, notably his 1515 globe which is one of the earliest surviving globes produced following the discovery of new lands by Christopher Columbus. Early Years Schöner was born in Karlstadt am Main…
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Lewis Terman and the Intelligence Quotient

Lewis Terman and the Intelligence Quotient

On January 15, 1877, American psychologist Lewis Madison Terman was born. He is best known for his pioneering work in individual intelligence tests as well as for his revision of the Stanford-Binet IQ test, with which he introduced the IQ (Intelligence Quotient), being a ratio of chronological age to mental age times 100. Lewis Terman was raised on a farm became a school teacher as well as high school principal in his…
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Alfred Tarski and the Undefinability of Truth

Alfred Tarski and the Undefinability of Truth

On January 14, 1902, Polish-American mathematician and logician Alfred Tarski was born. A prolific author he is best known for his work on model theory, metamathematics, and algebraic logic, he also contributed to abstract algebra, topology, geometry, measure theory, mathematical logic, set theory, and analytic philosophy. For my annual Semantic Web Technologies lecture series I always introduce my students to model-theoretic semantics as means to enable a formal representation of meaning for…
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Friedrich Schiller’s Iconic Sturm and Drang Drama ‘The Robbers’

Friedrich Schiller’s Iconic Sturm and Drang Drama ‘The Robbers’

On January 13, 1782, Friedrich Schiller’s play ‘The Robbers‘ (Die Räuber) was premiered at the national theatre in Mannheim. The work, which was initially conceived not as a stage play but as a reading drama was written during the Enlightenment and can be attributed to the Sturm und Drang movement in German literature. It was first published anonymously in 1781, then premiered in Mannheim on 13 January 1782, where it caused a national…
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Igor Kurchatov – Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb

Igor Kurchatov – Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb

On January 12, 1903, Soviet nuclear physicist and Nobel Laureate Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov was born. Kurchatov is widely known as the director of the Soviet atomic bomb project and therefore often referred to as ‘Father of the Soviet Atomic Bomb‘. Youth and Education Igor Kurchatov was born in Simsky Zavod, Ufa Governorate (now the town of Sim, Chelyabinsk Oblast) in the family of a chartered surveyor and his mother a teacher. After completing high…
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