Monthly Archives: April 2016

George Stibitz and the Electromechanical Digital Computer

George Stibitz and the Electromechanical Digital Computer

  On April 30, 1904, U.S. mathematician George Robert Stibitz was born. Stibitz is recognized as one of the fathers of the modern first digital computer. He was a Bell Labs researcher known for his work in the 1930s and 1940s on the realization of Boolean logic digital circuits using electromechanical relays as the switching element. “Part of the charm in solving a differential equation is in the feeling that we are…
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Harold Urey and the famous Miller–Urey experiment

Harold Urey and the famous Miller–Urey experiment

On April 29, 1893, American physical chemist and Nobel Laureate Harold C. Urey was born. He played a significant role in the development of the atom bomb, but may be most prominent for his contribution to theories on the development of organic life from non-living matter. Harold Urey – Early Years Harold Clayton Urey entered the University of Montana in 1914 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology in 1917. A few…
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Franz Achard and the Sugar Beet Revolution

Franz Achard and the Sugar Beet Revolution

On April 28, 1753, German (Prussian) chemist, physicist and biologist Franz Carl Achard was born. Achard‘s principal discovery was the production of sugar from sugar beets. In 1802, Achard opened the world’s first sugar producing industry plant in Prussia. Just imagine, the world harvested 250,191,362 metric tons of sugar beets in 2013, with Russia being the world’s largest producer. And only about 20% of the world‘s sugar production comes out of sugar…
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Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

On April 27, 1820, English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era Herbert Spencer was born. Spencer is best known for the expression “survival of the fittest“, which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin‘s On the Origin of Species.[4] This term strongly suggests natural selection, yet as Spencer extended evolution into realms of sociology and ethics, he also made use…
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The Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein

The Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein

On April 26, 1889, Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was born. He worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He is considered one of the world‘s most famous philosophers. Wittgenstein‘s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences. “My work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not…
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William Turner – Romantic Preface to Impressionism

William Turner – Romantic Preface to Impressionism

Probably on April 23, 1775, (and baptized May 14, 1775) English Romanticist landscape painter Joseph Mallord William Turner was born. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting commonly known as “the painter of light“. His…
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The World Digital Library

The World Digital Library

On April 21, 2009, the World Digital Library (WDL) was launched. The WDL is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials. A View of…
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Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

Ernest Solvay and his Love for Physics

On April 16, 1838, Belgian chemist, industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Gaston Joseph Solvay was born. Solvay invented the Solvay Process (1863), a commercially viable ammonia-soda process for producing soda ash (sodium carbonate), widely used in the manufacture of such products as glass and soap. In 1911, he began a series of important conferences in physics, known as the Solvay Conferences, whose participants included luminaries such as Max Planck, Ernest Rutherford, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Henri…
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Max Wertheimer and Gestalt Psychology

Max Wertheimer and Gestalt Psychology

On April 15, 1880, Austro-Hungarian-born psychologist Max Wertheimer was born. Wertheimer was one of the three founders of Gestalt psychology, along with Kurt Koffka [4] and Wolfgang Köhler. He is known for his book, Productive Thinking, and for conceiving the phi phenomenon as part of his work in Gestalt psychology. “Man is not only part of a field, but a part and member of his group. When people are together, as when they…
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Sir Victor Horsley – A Pioneer in Neural Surgery

Sir Victor Horsley – A Pioneer in Neural Surgery

On April 14, 1857, English physiologist and neurosurgeon Sir Victor Horsley was born. Horsley was a pioneer in surgery on the brain and spinal cord. His best-known innovation is the Horsley–Clarke apparatus (developed together with Robert H. Clarke in 1908) for performing the so-called stereotactic neurosurgery, whereby a set of precise numerical coordinates are used to locate each brain structure. Victor Horsley – Youth and Education Victor Horsley was born in Kensington,…
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