Monthly Archives: January 2018

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell’s Opposition to Totalitarism

George Orwell (1903-1950) On January 21, 1950, British novelist and journalist Eric Arthur Blair, better known under his pen name George Orwell, passed away. The author of the famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and his works are well known for the awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. For sure you will have heart of George Orwell. Even a computer scientist like myself living in his personal “ivory tower” cannot…
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André-Marie Ampère and Electromagnetism

André-Marie Ampère and Electromagnetism

On January 20, 1775, French physicist and mathematician André-Marie Ampère was born, after whom the unit of measurement of electric current, the ampere, is named. He is generally considered as one of the main founders of the science of classical electromagnetism, which he referred to as “electrodynamics“. André-Maria Ampère was born into a well educated family and influenced by the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau early. He was home schooled by his father, who rejected…
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Paul Cézanne – Breaking all the Rules

Paul Cézanne – Breaking all the Rules

On January 19, 1839, French artist and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was born. He laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Thus, Cézanne can be said to bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s Cubism. “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing sensations.”, Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, –…
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Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

Montesquieu and the Separation of Powers

On January 18, 1698, French philosopher and political thinker Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally only referred to as Montesquieu, was baptized. He is best known for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. “If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin…
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Johannes Diodato opens Vienna’s first Coffeehouse

Johannes Diodato opens Vienna’s first Coffeehouse

On January 17, 1685, Armenian merchant Johannes Diodato (Johannes Theodat) was granted the privilege to serve coffee in the city of Vienna, the former capital of the Holy Roman empire. Thereby, Johannes Diodato opened the very first coffeehouse in Vienna and the habit of coffee drinking soon spread over Europe. Of course we all know coffee. But, not all of us really do love coffee. Before starting my work in the office every…
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Rembrandt and The Anatomy of Dr. Tulb

Rembrandt and The Anatomy of Dr. Tulb

On January 16, 1632, Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijn attends a public lecture of physician Nicolaes Tulp, where the body of the executed mugger Adriaan Adriaanszoon was disected. In the consequence of this experience Rembrandt painted his famous picture ‘ Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp‘. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history. His…
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Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

On January 15, 1908, Hungarian born US theoretical physicist Edward Teller, often referred to as ‘Father of the hydrogenic bomb‘, was born. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. Born in Budapest, Edward Teller grew up in a family of Hungarian and German speaking parents, but Teller himself “decided” not…
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Molière – Grandmaster of Comedy

Molière – Grandmaster of Comedy

(Probably) on January 14th, 1622, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, French playwright and actor who is known by his stage name Molière was born. He is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was baptized in Paris on January 15, 1622 as son of Jean Poquelin and Marie Cressé, the daughter of a prosperous bourgeois family. His father was one of eight valets de chambre tapissiers de…
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J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

Title page with Émile Zola’s famous public letter ‘J’accuse…!’ On January 13, 1898, French novellist Émile Zola published an open letter in the newspaper L’Aurore entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”, or, in context, “I accuse you”). In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France Félix Faure, and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. Alfred Dreyfus was…
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Pierre de Fermat and his Last Problem

Pierre de Fermat and his Last Problem

On January 12, 1665, French lawyer and amateur mathematician Pierre de Fermat, famous for his research in number theory, analytical geometry and probability theory, passed away. He is best known for Fermat’s Last Theorem, which he described in a note at the margin of a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.[4] Born on August 17, 1601, into a wealthy French family, Pierre de Fermat grew up in Beaumont de Lomagne and later attended the…
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