Monthly Archives: March 2018

Modest Mussorgsky – Innovator of Russian Music

Modest Mussorgsky – Innovator of Russian Music

On March 21, 1831, Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky was born. Mussorgsky was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. “My music must be an artistic reproduction of human speech in all its finest shades. That is, the sounds of human speech, as the external manifestations of thought and feeling must,…
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Alessandro Volta and the Electricity

Alessandro Volta and the Electricity

On March 20, 1800, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta informed the British Royal Society in London about his newly invented electric power source, the Voltaic pile, the first energy source technology capable of producing a steady, continuous flow of electricity. Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was born on February 18, 1745, in in Como, Italy, into a noble family. Volta’s parents, Filippo Volta and Maria Maddalena dei Conti Inzaghi, however, had planned a…
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The Adventures of Sir Richard Francis Burton in Africa

The Adventures of Sir Richard Francis Burton in Africa

On March 19, 1821, Sir Richard Francis Burton, British geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat was born. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures, among them also his journey together with John Hanning Speke [4] as the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source…
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Rudolf Diesel and his famous Engine

Rudolf Diesel and his famous Engine

On March 18, 1858, German inventor and mechanical engineer Rudolf Diesel was born, who invented the eponymous Diesel engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel. Rudolf Diesel was born and grew up in Paris, known as an excellent student and awarded with a medal for his achievements at the age of only 12. Unfortunately, the Franco-Prussian War started in July 1870, wherefore all German citizens were…
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Carsten Niebuhr and the Decipherment of Cuneiform

Carsten Niebuhr and the Decipherment of Cuneiform

On March 17, 1733, German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer in the service of Denmark, Carsten Niebuhr was born. He is best known for his role in the decipherment of ancient cuneiform inscriptions, which up to Niebuhr‘s publications was considered to be merely decorations and embellishment. Nobody really expected that Carsten Niebuhr would travel to the Red Sea, to Yemen and Persepolis, making the findings of his life in later years. He grew…
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Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

On 16 March 1938, at about 22:00, two SA men arrived at the house of prominent Austrian philosopher, historian, journalist and critic Egon Friedell to arrest him. While they were still arguing with his housekeeper, Friedell committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Before leaping, he warned pedestrians walking on the sideway where he hit by shouting “Watch out! Get out of the way!“. This was the tragic end of a brilliant…
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H.P. Lovecraft and the Inconceivable Terror

H.P. Lovecraft and the Inconceivable Terror

On March 15, 1937, Howard Philips Lovecraft – better known as H.P. Lovecraft – author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction, passed away. He is reknown as the originator of the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional magical textbook of rites and forbidden lore. My first acquaintance with the weird literary fiction of H.P. Lovecraft dates back to my schooldays, when hanging…
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Albert Einstein revolutionized Physics

Albert Einstein revolutionized Physics

On March 14, 1879, German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein was born, who has become an iconic figure for physics as well as science of the 20th century. He is best known for his theories on special and general relativity, as well as for the discovery of the photoelectric effect – for which he received the Nobel Prize – and he developed what has been named the most famous equation in history, the mass energy…
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Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the Prussian City Scapes

Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the Prussian City Scapes

On March 13, 1781, Prussian architect, city planner, and painter Karl Friedrich Schinkel was born, who was one of the most prominent architects of Germany of the neoclassical and neogothic epoch. He shaped the city scapes of Berlin and Potsdam with his neoclassical buildings and palaces. Karl Friedrich Schinkel grew up in Berlin, showing early interests in drawing and music. Berlin’s most significant architect of these days was Friedrich Gilly, back then…
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William Buckland and the Dinosaurs

William Buckland and the Dinosaurs

On March 12, 1784, English theologian, geologist and eccentric palaeontologist William Buckland was born, who wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. Buckland grew up in Axminster, Devon, UK, and spent a lot his his childhood days together with his father, a rector, hiking and collecting ammonites and several other shells they found along the way. Buckland received most of his formal education at St Mary’s College…
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