Monthly Archives: January 2020

Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

In January 11,  1638, Danish Catholic bishop and scientist Nicolas Steno was born. He was both a pioneer in both anatomy and geology, and seriously questioned accepted knowledge of the natural world. Importantly he questioned explanations for tear production, the idea that fossils grew in the ground and explanations of rock formation. By some he is considered the founder of modern stratigraphy and modern geology. “Beautiful is what we see, More Beautiful is what we…
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The Ingenious Watches of Abraham-Louis Bréguet

The Ingenious Watches of Abraham-Louis Bréguet

On January 10, 1747, Swiss horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet was born. In his lifetime he was considered the leading watchmaker of his day because of his artistic as well as technical skill. His innovations included a self-winding or “perpétuelle” watch (1780), the gong spring which decreased the size of repeater watches, and the first anti-shock device or “pare-chute“, which improved the reliability of his watches while making them less fragile. Of course Swiss watches…
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Valentin Glushko and the Space Race

Valentin Glushko and the Space Race

On January 10, 1989, Soviet engineer Valentin Petrovich Glushko passed away. Gloshko was the principal Soviet designer of rocket engines during the Soviet/American Space Race. He worked with renowned rocket designer Sergey Korolyov. In Aug 1957, they successfully launched the first intercontinental ballistic missile and in October of the same year, sent the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, into orbit. Valentin Glushko – Youth and Education Glushko was born in the Russian…
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Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton Knight and the Study of Mosses

On January 9, 1858, American botanist, bryologist, and educator Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (née Elizabeth Gertrude Knight) was born. She and her husband, Nathaniel Lord Britton played a significant role in the fundraising and creation of the New York Botanical Garden. She is best known for her lasting contributions to bryology, the study of mosses. Elizabeth Gertrude Britton – Early Years Elizabeth Gertrude Knight was born in New York City, one of five daughters,…
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Giotto di Bondone – Making a Decisive Brake with the prevalent Style

Giotto di Bondone – Making a Decisive Brake with the prevalent Style

On January 8, 1337, Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone passed away. He is regarded as the decisive pioneer of the Italian Renaissance (Rinascimento). Geniuses are Born as such Sources indicate that Giotto grew up in Florence as the son of the blacksmith Bondone. Most experts believe that Giotto was his real name. Others think that it is a short form of Ambrogio (Ambrogiotto) or Angelo (Angiolotto). His life is attested…
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Johan Christian Fabricius and his Classification System for Insects

Johan Christian Fabricius and his Classification System for Insects

On January 7, 1745, Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius was born. He was a student of Carl Linnaeus [1], and is considered one of the most important entomologists of the 18th century, having named nearly 10,000 species of animal, and established the basis for modern insect classification. Johan Christian Fabricius – Early Years Johan Christian Fabricius was born in Tønder in the Duchy of Schleswig, where his father was a doctor. Already while still…
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The Vegetal Designs of Victor Horta, Pioneer of Art Nouveau

The Vegetal Designs of Victor Horta, Pioneer of Art Nouveau

On January 6, 1861, Belgian architect and designer Victor Horta was born. Horta is one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movement. The curving stylized vegetal forms that Horta used influenced many others, including architect Hector Guimard, who used it in the first house he designed in Paris and in the entrances he designed for the Paris Metro. He is also considered a precursor of modern architecture for his open floor…
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Francois Villon –  Rogue, Vagrant and Poet

Francois Villon – Rogue, Vagrant and Poet

On January 5, 1463, the Death sentence to Francois Villon, best known French poet of the late Middle Ages, was remitted by a pardon from King Charles VII into 10 years of banishment. Villon is best known as a ne’er-do-well who was involved in criminal behavior and got into numerous scrapes with authorities. Nevertheless, Villon wrote about some of these experiences in his poems and became famous. Through wind, hail or frost…
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Vivant Denon and the Science of Egyptology

Vivant Denon and the Science of Egyptology

On January 4, 1747, French artist, writer, diplomat, author, and archaeologist Dominique Vivant, Baron Denon was born. He was appointed as the first Director of the Louvre Museum by Napoleon. His two-volume Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (“Journey in Lower and Upper Egypt“, 1802), was the foundation of modern Egyptology. “Finally, I believe that, among all the monuments of Syracuse that have survived the centuries, this one of the catacombs…
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Marcus Tullius Cicero – Truly a Homo Novus

Marcus Tullius Cicero – Truly a Homo Novus

On January 3, 106 BC, Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist Marcus Tullius Cicero was born. Besides his work as politician, he is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists. His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or…
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