Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

On January 11, 1753, Irish born British physician, naturalist and collector Sir Hans Sloane passed away. Sloane is formost known for bequeathing his collection to the nation, thus providing the foundation of the British Museum. Early Years Hans Sloane was born on 16 April 1660 at Killyleagh in County Down, in the colonial Protestant Plantation of Ulster in the North of Ireland, as the seventh son of Alexander Sloane, agent for James…
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Project Diana hits the Moon

Project Diana hits the Moon

On January 10, 1946 the U.S. Army Project Diana team detected radar signals reflected off the moon‘s surface. This was the first experiment in radar astronomy and the first active attempt to probe another celestial body. Project Pioneer John H. DeWitt Project Diana was designed in order to bounce radar signals off the Moon and receive the reflected signals, which became the first known attempt to probe another celestial body. Pioneer of…
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Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

Alec Jeffreys and the Genetic Fingerprint

On January 9, 1950, British geneticist Alec Jeffreys was born. In 1984, Jeffreys developed techniques for DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling which are now used worldwide in forensic science to assist police detective work and to resolve paternity and immigration disputes. Youth and Education Alec John Jeffreys was born into a middle-class family in Oxford, UK, where he spent the first six years of his life until 1956, when the family moved to Luton, Bedfordshire. He developed…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Émile Borel and the Infinite Monkey Problem

Émile Borel and the Infinite Monkey Problem

On January 7, 1871, French mathematician Félix Édouard Justin Émile Borel was born. Borel is known for his founding work in the areas of measure theory and probability. In one of his books on probability, he proposed the thought experiment that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard will – with absolute certainty – eventually type every book in France’s Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library). This is now…
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The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

The CT Scan of Tutankhamun

On January 6, 2005, the mummy of Tutankhamun (c. 1355-1346 B.C.) was removed from its tomb in the Valley of the Kings to be subject of a state-of-the-art non invasive CT scan, which gave evidence that the young king had suffered a compound left leg fracture shortly before his death, and that the leg had become infected, and did not support the popular assumption that the king had been murdered. The Discovery…
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Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

On January 5, 1838, French mathematician Marie Ennemond Camille Jordan was born. Jordan is known both for his foundational work in group theory and for his influential Cours d’analyse. Early Years Camille Jordan was born in Lyon, France, to Esprit-Alexandre Jordan, an engineer who had been educated at the École Polytechnique, and, Joséphine Puvis de Chavannes. Jordan studied at the Lycée de Lyon and at the Collège d’Oullins. He entered the École…
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Marie-Louise von Franz and her Love for Fairy Tales

Marie-Louise von Franz and her Love for Fairy Tales

On January 4, 1915, Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar Marie-Louise von Franz was born. Von Franz is renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts. Her research showed common themes in tales from many cultures, which she linked with experiences in daily life. “The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. “ —…
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Robert Whitehead – Changing the Game of Naval Warfare with the Torpedo

Robert Whitehead – Changing the Game of Naval Warfare with the Torpedo

On January 3, 1823, English engineer Robert Whitehead was born. Whitehead is most famous for developing the first effective self-propelled naval torpedo. With this he created a weapon that decisively influenced both world wars. Early Years Robert Whitehead was born in Bolton, England, the son of James Whitehead, a cotton-bleacher, and his wife Ellen Whitehead née Swift. He was trained as an engineer and draughtsman, and attended the Mechanics’ Institute, Manchester and was later…
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Basilios Bessarion and the Great Revival of Letters

Basilios Bessarion and the Great Revival of Letters

On January 2, 1403, Roman Catholic Cardinal Bishop Basilius Bessarion was born. The titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, Bessarion was one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century. One of the most learned scholars of his time, Bessarion spread knowledge of Greek language and learning by building a personal library that included a large collection of Greek manuscripts, by his patronage of…
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