Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Collages of Kurt Schwitters

The Collages of Kurt Schwitters

On June 20, 1887, German artist Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters, known as Kurt Schwitters was born. Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dadaism, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography, and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures. Kurt Schwitters was born in Hanover, Germany, the only child of Eduard Schwitters, the (co-)proprietor…
The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

On June 19, 1926, German engineer, designer aviation pioneer Engelbert Zaschka filed a patent on his “Hubschraubenflugzeug” (Zaschka Rotary-Wing Airplane), a predecessor of today’s helicopter. He also constructed a large human-powered aircraft and produced some interesting unorthodox designs for automobils and motorcycles. Engelbert Zaschka grew up in a family of musucians. His father taught music and was part of the Freiburg city orchestra and his mother was a singer. However, Zaschka…
Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn and the Rotation of the Milky Way

On June 18, 1922, Dutch astronomer Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn passed away. Kapteyn carried out extensive studies of the Milky Way and was the discoverer of evidence for galactic rotation. He used photography and statistical methods in determining the motions and spatial distribution of stars, the first major step after the works of William and John Herschel. Jacobus Cornelius Kapteyn was born on 19 January 1851 in Barneveld,in the Dutch province…
John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

On June 17, 1821, British inventor John Henry Pepper was born. Pepper is primarily remembered for developing the projection technique known as Pepper’s ghost, building a large-scale version of the concept by Henry Dircks. Furthermore, he toured the English-speaking world with his scientific demonstrations. He also entertained the public, royalty, and fellow scientists with a wide range of technological innovations. John Henry Pepper was highly influenced by the teachings of…
Aryabhata and Indian Mathematics

Aryabhata and Indian Mathematics

In 476 CE, Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata was born. Aryabhata is the earliest Indian mathematician whose work and history are available to modern scholars. In his work “Ganita” Aryabhata names the first 10 decimal places and gives algorithms for obtaining square and cubic roots, using the decimal number system. He also came up with an approximation of pi and the area of a triangle. “Aryabhata is the master who,…
Georg Wüst and the Motion of Water Masses

Georg Wüst and the Motion of Water Masses

On June 15, 1890, German oceanographer Georg Adolf Otto Wüst was born. Wüst’s pioneering work on the Atlantic Ocean provided a new view of the motions of water masses between the northern and southern hemispheres and the first evidence of the concentration of water mass spreading in western boundary currents. He developed the first essentially complete understanding of the physical structure and deep circulation of the Atlantic Ocean. Georg Wüst studied geography and oceanography…
Sir James Black and the Beta Blockers

Sir James Black and the Beta Blockers

On June 14, 1924, British pharmacologist and Nobel Laureate Sir James Whyte Black was born. Black developed propranolol, a beta blocker used for the treatment of heart disease. Black was also responsible for the development of cimetidine, a H2 receptor antagonist, a drug used to treat stomach ulcers. For both developments he was awarded the 1968 Nobel Prize in Medicine. “I call myself a pharmacological toolmaker. ” — Sir James W.…
Alan Arnold Griffith and the Turbojet Engine

Alan Arnold Griffith and the Turbojet Engine

On June 13, 1883, British engineer Alan Arnold Griffith was born. Griffith is best known for his work on stress and fracture in metals that is now known as metal fatigue, as well as being one of the first to develop a strong theoretical basis for the jet engine. Griffith‘s advanced axial-flow turbojet engine designs, were integral in the creation of Britain‘s first operational axial-flow turbojet engine in 1941. Alan Arnold Griffith…
The Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife

On June 12, 1897, the original Swiss Army knife was registered with the patent office as The Officer’s and Sports Knife. This knife featured a second smaller cutting blade, corkscrew, and wood fiber grips. Everybody knows the famous “Swiss Army knife”. But, what’s the history behind? The term “Swiss Army knife” was coined by American soldiers after World War II due to the difficulty they had in pronouncing “Offiziersmesser”, the…
Mary Jane Rathbun and the Crustacea

Mary Jane Rathbun and the Crustacea

On June 11, 1860, American zoologist Mary Jane Rathbun was born. Rathbun established the basic taxonomic information on Crustacea. For many years she was the Smithsonian’s complete department of marine invertebrates where she studied, cataloged, and preserved specimens. Through her basic studies and published works, she fixed the nomenclature of Crustacea and was the recognized, and the much sought after, authority in zoology and carcinology. Mary Jane Rathbun was a…
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