Yearly Archives: 2019

Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

On December 21, 1375, Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist Giovanni Boccaccio passed away. He is best known for his masterpiece ‘The Decameron‘ told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales. You haven’t heart about the ‘Decameron‘? You definitely should, simply because it is the masterpiece of European Renaissance literature. In its 100 stories it provides us with an intimate contemporary view into medieval and early Renaissance European…
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Experimental Breeder Reactor I – The World’s First Nuclear Power Plant

Experimental Breeder Reactor I – The World’s First Nuclear Power Plant

On December 20, 1951, Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I) became the world’s first electricity-generating nuclear power plant when it produced sufficient electricity to illuminate four 200-watt light bulbs. From Manhattan Project to Atomic Energy Commission The reactor is located in the the state of Idaho between the Idaho Falls and Arco. The construction was designed by Walter Zinn and Enrico Fermi at the Argonne National Laboratory.[5] The famous Italian physicist Fermi became next…
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Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

On December 19, 1742 (Gregorian Calendar), Swedish Pomeranian pharmaceutical chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born. Scheele is best known for his discovery of oxygen and other chemical elements. Early Years Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born in Stralsund, which was back then under the control of Sweden, but belongs to Germany on this day. During his childhood, friends of the family taught him reading prescriptions and equipped him with further chemical knowledge. At the…
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Konrad Zuse – The German Inventor of the Computer

Konrad Zuse – The German Inventor of the Computer

On December 18, 1995, German engineer and computer pioneer Konrad Zuse passed away. He is renowned to have constructed the very first functional program-controlled Turing-complete computer,which was freely programmable and provided binary floating point arithmetics: the Z3, which became operational in May 1941. “The belief in a certain idea gives to the researcher the support for his work. Without this belief he would be lost in a sea of doubts and insufficiently…
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A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

On December 17, 1706, French mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet was born. Her major achievement is considered to be her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton‘s work Principia Mathematica, which still is the standard French translation of Newton‘s work today. Philosopher and author Voltaire, one of her lovers, once declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of Prussia that du Châtelet…
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Arthur C. Clarke – Prophet of the Space Age

Arthur C. Clarke – Prophet of the Space Age

On December 16, 1917, British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host Sir Arthur C. Clarke was born. He is probably best known for co-authoring the screenplay of the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke’s science and science fiction writings earned him the moniker “Prophet of the Space Age” His science fiction earned him a…
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Trotula of Salerno and Women’s Health in the Middle Ages

Trotula of Salerno and Women’s Health in the Middle Ages

Although neither her birthday nor her date of death is known to us, today we want to point out a rather prominent woman in science of which you might never have heard of unless you know your way around in the history of medicine. Trotula of Salerno lived in the 11th or 12th century AD and was a female physician, alleged to have been the first female professor of medicine, teaching in…
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Nikolay Basov and the Principles of Maser and Laser

Nikolay Basov and the Principles of Maser and Laser

On December 14, 1922, Soviet physicist and Nobel Laureate Nikolay Basov was born. For his fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics that led to the development of laser and maser, Basov shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with Alexander Prokhorov and Charles Hard Townes. The maser is a device that produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification by stimulated emission, a principle originally proposed by Albert Einstein in 1917.[4] Nikolay Basov…
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Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition

Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition

On December 14, 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his expedition were the first to reach the geographic south pole, only five weeks ahead of a British party led by Robert Falcon Scott. Roald Amundsen Background Already during his childhood, Roald Amundsen was interested in the stories of discoverer and explorers. Especially travels to the polar regions fascinated him so much that he put himself into conditions like in polar areas as…
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Werner von Siemens – Inventor and International Entrepreneur

Werner von Siemens – Inventor and International Entrepreneur

On December 13, 1816, German inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens was born. He was the pioneer of the electro industry and brought about a great technological advancement with many of his important discoveries. Moreover, he was co-inventor of an electroplating process and alone developed an electric dynamo. He laid the first telegraph line and built the first electric railway in Germany and, with his brother Sir William Siemens, developed a widely…
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