Yearly Archives: 2018

Henri Matisse in the Rush of Colors

Henri Matisse in the Rush of Colors

On December 31, 1869, Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse, French draughtsman, sculptor, writer and artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship, was born. “What I am after, above all, is expression. Sometimes it has been conceded that I have a certain technical ability but that, my ambition being limited, I am unable to proceed beyond a purely visual satisfaction such as can be procured from the mere sight of…
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Rudyard Kipling and his Tales of India

Rudyard Kipling and his Tales of India

On December 30, 1865, English short-story writer, poet, and novelist Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India. Kipling is best remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. “Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.” — Rudyard…
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The Assassination of Thomas Becket

The Assassination of Thomas Becket

On December 29, 1170 AD, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church, was assassinated by followers of the King in Canterbury Cathedral. The very last hours of Thomas Becket’s life are the reason why we remember him at all. If the four knights sent for his assassination had not completed their bloody work as he defied their…
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The Lumière Brothers invented the Cinema

The Lumière Brothers invented the Cinema

On December 28, 1895, the Lumière Brothers performed 10 movies for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema. Family Background and Family Business Louis and Auguste Lumière’s father Claude Antoine Lumière (1840-1911) learnt the profession of a type painter from the painter Auguste Constantin. 1860 he went into business for himself in Besançon. Soon he was attracted by the spreading new technology…
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Louis Pasteur – the Father of Medical Microbiology

Louis Pasteur – the Father of Medical Microbiology

On December 27, 1822, French chemist Louis Pasteurwas born, who is considered one of the most important founders of medical microbiology. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases. “I am utterly convinced that Science and Peace will triumph over Ignorance and War, that nations will eventually unite not to destroy but to edify, and that the future will belong to those who have done the…
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Heinrich Schliemann and his Dream of Troy

Heinrich Schliemann and his Dream of Troy

On December 26, 1890, Heinrich Schliemann, German businessman and amateur archaeologist, and livelong advocate of the historical reality of places mentioned in the works of ancient Greek poet Homerpassed away. His dreams came true when he succeeded in excavating Hissarlik, now presumed to be the site of Troy, along with the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. Without Schliemann, the world of ancient Greek history and the verses of Homer would have remained…
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Charlemagne and the Birth of the European Idea

Charlemagne and the Birth of the European Idea

On December 25, 800 AD, Charlemagne also known as Karl the Great was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III in Rome. Thereby, he was the very first emperor of western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Prelude Back in the 6th century, the West Germanic Franks had been christianized and Francia, ruled by the Merovingian dynasty, was the most powerful of the kingdoms that succeeded the…
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Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

On December 24, 1524, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, passed away. He was one of the most successful explorers in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. Background Vasco da Gama was born into a family of noblemen, his father belonged to the Order of Santiago and was occupied with several administrative tasks. Little is known about…
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Giovanni Domenico Cassini and the Moons of Saturn

Giovanni Domenico Cassini and the Moons of Saturn

On December 23, 1672, Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini discovered Rhea, the 2nd largest of the 62 Saturn moons that are known by today. Background and Education Giovanni Cassini Cassini was born in Perinaldo (Liguria). He married the rich Geneviève de Laistre, became a French citizen in 1673 and began to write his first name Jean-Dominique. Cassini studied at the Jesuit College in Genoa and Bologna. Through the influence of the former…
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The Birth of the Transistor, Key Component of Modern Electronics

The Birth of the Transistor, Key Component of Modern Electronics

On December 22, 1947, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley at ATT‘s Bell Labs developed the first transistor, the key active component in practically all modern electronics. Vacuum Tubes as Predecessor of Transistors The transistor is a three terminal, solid state electronic device. In a three terminal device one can control electric current or voltage between two of the terminals by applying an electric current or voltage to the third terminal.…
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