Yearly Archives: 2018

“I shall be heard!” – The Case of the La Amistad

“I shall be heard!” – The Case of the La Amistad

On July 2, 1839, Sengbe Pieh (later known as Joseph Cinqué) led 53 fellow Africans being transported as captives aboard the Spanish schooner ‘La Amistad‘ from Havana in a revolt against their captors. The captives had been taken in Africa by a Portuguese slaving ship and then smuggled into Havana under cover of nightfall, because this was a violation of an already existing treaty between Britain and Spain, which forbade trading in…
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Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

On July 1, 1646, one of the last universally interdisciplinary academics, active in the fields of mathematics, physics, history, politics, philosophy, and librarianship was born. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz counts as one of the most influential scientists of the late 17th and early 18th century and impersonates a meaningful representative of the Age of Enlightenment. Moreover, he is also the namesake of the association to which the institute I am working for is a…
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The Annus Mirabilis in Physics – Albert Einstein and the Year 1905

The Annus Mirabilis in Physics – Albert Einstein and the Year 1905

Have you ever heard of the “Annus Mirabilis” (in German “Wunderjahr“) of physics? 1905 was this Annus Mirabilis, this year of wonders or extraordinary year. History considers 1905 as the year with the most outstanding and influential papers ever published by famous physicist Albert Einstein in the   the Annalen der Physik scientific journal. These four articles contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed views on space, time, and matter.…
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“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712. The writer, philosopher, composer, and pioneer of the Age of Enlightenment had a great influence in educational and political matters throughout the French Revolution and beyond. “It is ordinary people who have to be educated, and their education alone can serve as a pattern for the education of their fellows. The others find their way alone.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, 1762 Rousseau was born in…
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Have you played your Atari today?

Have you played your Atari today?

On June 27, 1972, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded a company named Atari Inc. that should become a pioneer in arcade computer games, video game consoles, and home computers. The year before in 1971, they had designed and built the world‘s very first arcade video game – Computer Space for Nutting Associates. You might wonder, where the name of the company might come from. Actually, Bushnell wrote down several words from the Japanese strategy…
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The Universal Product Code (UPC)

The Universal Product Code (UPC)

On June 26, 1974, the Universal Product Code barcode was introduced to the public. A supermarket in Troy, Ohio scanned the first product, which was a pack of Wrigley‘s gum. The first impulse to creating barcodes was made by Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland. A food chain store owner turned to the Drexel Institute of Technology, which the two graduate students were attending. He asked for a system to automatically read…
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Audacity and Singularity in Design – Antoni Gaudi

Audacity and Singularity in Design – Antoni Gaudi

If you are going to Barcelona, Spain, it is rather unlikely that you will leave without having visited one of the fascinating architectural creations of famous architect and designer Antoni Gaudí, the frontfigure of the so-called Catalan Modernism, who was born on June 25, 1852. Architecture, nature, religion, and the love to his home country Catalonia were the driving forces of Gaudí‘s work. His work transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style inspired by…
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Nothing Really Mattered to Ambrose ‘Bitter’ Bierce

Nothing Really Mattered to Ambrose ‘Bitter’ Bierce

Author, journalist, satirist, and critic Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was born on June 24, 1842. He had a great influence in the literature of the 20th century through his works, most of them dealing with the American Civil War. A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. “Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.” — The Devil’s Dictionary,…
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Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

On June 23, 1912, English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst,Alan Mathison Turing was born. Outside the world of computer science or mathematics the name of probably the most influential figure and in some sense the father of all computing technology Alan Turing is hardly known. But it was him, who laid the foundations of the theory of computing. Already in the 1930s, when no digital electronic computer had ever been built,…
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