Yearly Archives: 2018

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

On April 26, 1564, English poet and playwright William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world‘s pre-eminent dramatist. Shakespeare‘s works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, two epitaphs, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other…
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Kolmogorov and the Foundations of Probability Theory

Kolmogorov and the Foundations of Probability Theory

On April 25, 1903, Soviet mathematician Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov was born. He was one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, who advanced various scientific fields, among them probability theory, topology, intuitionistic logic, turbulence, classical mechanics, algorithmic information theory and computational complexity. “The epistemological value of probability theory is based on the fact that chance phenomena, considered collectively and on a grand scale, create non-random regularity.” – Andrey Kolmogorov, Limit Distributions…
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The Successful Salvage of the Unfortunate Vasa

The Successful Salvage of the Unfortunate Vasa

On the morning of 24 April, 1961, the Swedish warship Vasa was salvaged with a largely intact hull after it had sunk after sailing less than a nautical mile (ca 2 km) into its maiden voyage on 10 August 1628 at Stockholm harbour. A LArge Swedish Naval Presence in the Baltic While Sweden counted rather as a poor and small country before the 17th century, the government established one of the most…
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Max Planck and the Quantum Theory

Max Planck and the Quantum Theory

On April 23, 1858, German theoretical physicist Max Planck was born, who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” – Max Planck, Interview in ‘The Observer’ (25 January 1931), p.17, column 3 Childhood in Munich Max Karl…
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How Mosaic has Changed the World

How Mosaic has Changed the World

On April 22, 1993, version 1.0 of NCSA Mosaic, or simply Mosaic, was released, the web browser credited with popularizing the World Wide Web. It was the first Web browser as we know today with a graphical user interface enabling an interactive easy to use browsing experience. And without graphics the Web as we know it today would not exist. NCSA Mosaic was the web browser that led to the Internet boom…
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Max Weber – one of the Founders of Sociology

Max Weber – one of the Founders of Sociology

On April 21, 1864, German sociologist, philosopher, jurist, and political economist Max Weber was born. Max Weber‘s ideas profoundly influenced social theory and social research. Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founders of sociology. “The capacity to distinguish between empirical knowledge and value-judgments, and the fulfillment of the scientific duty to see the factual truth as well as the practical duty to stand up for…
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Jacques Cartier and the Discovery of Canada

Jacques Cartier and the Discovery of Canada

On April 20, 1534, French explorer of Breton origin Jacques Cartier set sail under a commission from the king, hoping to discover a western passage to the wealthy markets of Asia to discover Canada and Labrador. Actually, Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named “The Country of Canadas”, after the Iroquois names for…
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Happy Bicycle Day

Happy Bicycle Day

On April 19, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in the Sandoz (now Novartis) laboratories in Basel, Switzerland performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). While riding home on his bicycle, he experienced the very first LSD trip, now referred to as “Bicycle Day”, and proved…
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St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

On April 18, 1506, the foundation stone of the new St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome took place under the guidance of Pope Julius II. A succession of popes and architects followed in the next 120 years, their combined efforts resulting in the present building. Today, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. The Origins of St Peter It is…
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The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

On April 17, 1761, English mathematician and Presbyterian minister Thomas Bayes passed away. He is best known as name giver of the Bayes’ theorem, of which he had developed a special case. It expresses (in the Bayesian interpretation) how a subjective degree of belief should rationally change to account for evidence, and finds application in in fields including science, engineering, economics (particularly microeconomics), game theory, medicine and law. “[My favourite fellow of the…
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