Monthly Archives: April 2015

Marc Seguin and the Wire-Cable Suspension Bridge

Marc Seguin and the Wire-Cable Suspension Bridge

On April 20, 1786, French engineer Marc Seguin was born. He is best known as being the inventor of the wire-cable suspension bridge and the multi-tubular steam-engine boiler. Marc Seguin was born in Annonay, a French commune in the north of the Ardèche department in the Rhône-Alpes region of southern France, to Marc François Seguin and Thérèse-Augustine de Montgolfier, a niece of Étienne and Joseph Montgolfier, the pioneer balloonists. Séguin developed…
Gustav Fechner and Psychophysics

Gustav Fechner and Psychophysics

On April 19, 1801, German philosopher, physicist and experimental psychologist Gustav Theodor Fechner was born. An early pioneer in experimental psychology and founder of psychophysics, he inspired many 20th century scientists and philosophers. He is also credited with demonstrating the non-linear relationship between psychological sensation and the physical intensity of a stimulus, which became known as the Weber–Fechner law.   Gustav Fechner was educated in Sorau and studied medicine at…
Conrad Celtis, the first Poeta Laureata

Conrad Celtis, the first Poeta Laureata

On April 18, 1487, German Renaissance humanist scholar and Neo-Latin poet Conrad Celtis was claimed “poeta laureatus“, the prince of poets, the first German to receive this honor by emperor Frederic III at the Imperial Diet in Nuremberg. Conrad Celtis‘ teachings had lasting effects, particularly in the field of history, where he was the first to teach the history of the world as a whole. He is also often referred…
Giovanni Riccioli – a man of Encyclopedic Knowledge

Giovanni Riccioli – a man of Encyclopedic Knowledge

On April 17, 1598, Italian astronomer and a Catholic priest in the Jesuit order Giovanni Battista Riccioli was born. He is known, among other things, for his experiments with pendulums and with falling bodies, for his discussion of 126 arguments concerning the motion of the Earth, and for introducing the current scheme of lunar nomenclature. He also was the first to observe a double star (two stars so close together…
Joseph Black and the Discovery of Carbon Dioxide

Joseph Black and the Discovery of Carbon Dioxide

On April 16, 1742, Scottish physician and chemist Joseph Black was born. He is best known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. Joseph Black was sent off to school in Belfast to learn Latin and Greek, and subsequently, aged 16, enrolled at Glasgow University in 1744 to study arts. After y few years however, his father managed to persuade him of choosing a more useful…
Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

Nikolaas Tinbergen and the Study of the Instinct

On April 15, 1907, Dutch biologist, ornithologist, and Nobel Laureate Nikolaas Tinbergen was born. He studied the behavior of animals in their natural habitats and shared (with Konrad Lorenz and Karl von Frisch) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1973 for their discoveries concerning “organization and elicitation of individual and social behavior patterns.” Nikolaas Tinbergen was born in The Hague, Netherlands, as the third of five children of…
Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers – the Father of British Archaeology

On April 14, 1832, English army officer, ethnologist, and archaeologist Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers was born. He is often called the “father of British archaeology”, who stressed the need for total excavation of sites, through stratigraphic observation and recording, and prompt and complete publication. Like Sir Flinders Petrie, Pitt-Rivers adopted a sociological approach to the study of excavated objects and emphasized the instructional value of common artifacts. Pitt Rivers…
Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

On April 10, 1719, German mathematician, physicist, physician, and philosopher Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus was born. Among others, he is credited being the first European to discover the secret of the creation of porcelain in 1708. Certainly, the Meissen factory, established 1710 with its director Johann Friedrich Böttger, was the first to produce porcelain in Europe in large quantities and since the recipe was kept a trade secret by Böttger for his…
The Broughton Suspension Bridge and the Resonance Disaster

The Broughton Suspension Bridge and the Resonance Disaster

On April 12, 1831, the Broughton Suspension bridge collapsed, reportedly due to mechanical resonance induced by troops marching in step. But, also wind can be the cause for mechanical resonance which leads to disaster, such as for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. But, also buildings can be affected, such as the 39-story shopping mall called the “Techno-Mart” in Seoul, Korea, that had to be evacuated because of people synchronously exercising Tae…
Henry Rawlinson and the Mesopotamian Cuneiform

Henry Rawlinson and the Mesopotamian Cuneiform

On April 11, 1810, British East India Company army officer, politician and Orientalist Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson was born. As an army officer, became interested in antiquities after his assignment to reorganize the Persian army. He accomplished the translation of the Old Persian portion of the trilingual mutilingual cuneiform inscription of Darius I on the hillside at Behistun, Iran, which provided the key to the deciphering of Mesopotamian cuneiform script.…
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