Monthly Archives: November 2019

Roman History by Theodor Mommsen

Roman History by Theodor Mommsen

On November 30, 1817, German classical scholar, historian, jurist, journalist, politician and archaeologist Theodor Mommsen was born. Mommsen was one of the greatest classicists of the 19th century. His work regarding Roman history is still of fundamental importance for contemporary research. Mommsen received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902 for being “the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A History of…
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C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia

On November 29, 1898, English novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist Clive Staples Lewis aka C.S. Lewis was born. He was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien and is best known for his fictional work, especially The Chronicles of Narnia. Actually, since his childhood days, was was usually referred to as ‘Jack’ and not ‘Clive’. “I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it…
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The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

On November 28, 1660, at Gresham College, London, UK, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, a learned society for science, and possibly the oldest such society still in existence. It all started with Roger Bacon It is said that everything started with Francis Bacon and his work “New…
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Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

On November 27, 1754, German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary Georg Forster was born. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook‘s second voyage to the Pacific.[3] His most famous work ‘A Voyage Round the World‘ is considered as the beginning of modern scientific travel literature, which also made him a member of the famous Royal Society. “Poor human race! What abysses have you…
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Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

On November 26, 1857, Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand de Saussure was born. His ideas laid the foundation for many significant developments both in linguistics and semiotics in the 20th century. Moreover, de Saussure is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics and together with Charles Sanders Peirceone of two major fathers of semiotics.[4] “Il est souvent plus aisé de découvrir une vérité que de lui assigner la place qui lui…
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Andrew Carnegie – Steel Tycoon and Philanthropist

Andrew Carnegie – Steel Tycoon and Philanthropist

On November 25, 1835, Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was born. He led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era. “Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.” — Andrew Carnegie, he Best Fields for Philanthropy, 1889 Early Life and Emigration…
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Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’

On November 24, 1859, famous biologist and founder of the science of evolution Charles Darwin published his seminal treaty ‘On the Origin of Species‘, which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. “And thus, the forms of life throughout the universe become divided into groups subordinate to groups.” – Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859) Evolution before Darwin In later editions of seminal book, Darwin traced evolutionary ideas back…
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Johannes van der Waals –  A Pioneer in the Molecular Sciences

Johannes van der Waals – A Pioneer in the Molecular Sciences

On November 23, 1837 Dutch theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Johannes Diderik van der Waals was born. He is best known for his work on an equation of state for gases and liquids. Johannes van der Waals Background Johannes Diderik van der Waals was the son of a carpenter and could only receive ‘advanced primary education’, which would later on not be enough to actually enroll at a university. When he was…
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Martin Frobisher and the Northwest Passage

Martin Frobisher and the Northwest Passage

On November 22, 1594, English seaman and explorer Sir Martin Frobisher passed away. He is best known for his three voyages to the New World in search for the Northwest Passage. Early Years Frobisher was born around 1535, the sixteenth child of his parents, came from an old Yorkshire family who had lived in the municipality of Normanton in the West Riding of Yorkshire since the mid-14th century. After the early death of his…
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Ceci n’est-ce pas une Pipe – Reality and Fraud with Rene Magritte

Ceci n’est-ce pas une Pipe – Reality and Fraud with Rene Magritte

On November 21, 1898, Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte was born. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fall under the umbrella of surrealism. His paintings have become student poster classics and his work challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. Personally, I really like the paintings of Rene Magritte and I always refer to that special one above in my lectures on semantics. Actually there is…
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