Monthly Archives: February 2021

Herman Hollerith and the Mechanical Tabulator

Herman Hollerith and the Mechanical Tabulator

On February 29, 1860, American statistician and inventor Herman Hollerith was born. He is best known for his invention of the mechanical tabulator based on punchcards to rapidly tabulate statistics from millions of pieces of data. He was the founder of the Tabulating Machine Company that later merged to become IBM. Hollerith is widely regarded as the father of modern automatic computation. Herman Hollerith  and the Idea for the Punchcard Herman Hollerith…
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The Lyric Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Lyric Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On February 27, 1807, American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born. He was the first American to translate Dante Alighieri‘s Divine Comedy.[1] Longfellow wrote many lyric poems known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and had success overseas. “It was the schooner Hesperus, That sailed the wintry sea; And the skipper had taken his little…
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Scientist and Politician François Arago

Scientist and Politician François Arago

On February 26, 1786, French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer François Arago was born. Arago discovered the principle of the production of magnetism by rotation of a nonmagnetic conductor. He also devised an experiment that proved the wave theory of light and engaged with others in research that led to the discovery of the laws of light polarization. “Connaître, découvrir, communiquer—telle est, au fond, notre honorable destinée. To get to know, to discover, to…
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Entangled in his own Legend – Karl May’s Fantastic Adventures

Entangled in his own Legend – Karl May’s Fantastic Adventures

On February 25, 1842, German writer of adventure novels Karl May was born. He is probably best known for his novels set in the American Old West with their main protagonists Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. Likewise he wrote similar popular adventures set in the Orient and Middle East in which the main protagonists were Kara Ben Nemsi and Hadschi Halef Omar. Being an efficient author and salesman, he often staged himself as…
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Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

On February 24, 1856, Russian mathematician and geometer Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky passed away. He is known primarily for his work on hyperbolic geometry. Lobachevsky’s main achievement is the development (independently from János Bolyai) of a non-Euclidean geometry, also referred to as Lobachevskian geometry. Nikolai Lobachevsky – Early Years Nikolai Lobachevsky was born as one of three children either in or near the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia in 1792 to parents…
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Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

Andrea Cesalpino and the Classification of Plants

On February 23, 1603, Italian physician, philosopher and botanist Andrea Cesalpino passed away. He classified plants according to their fruits and seeds, rather than alphabetically or by medicinal properties. He helped establish botany as an independent science and also made contributions to medical science and physiology. Andrea Cesalpino – Early Years Andrea Cesalpino was probably born on June 5, 1525. However, some sources suggest also 1519 as his actual year of birth.…
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Luis Buñuel and his Cinema of the Absurd and Desire

Luis Buñuel and his Cinema of the Absurd and Desire

On February 22, 1900, Spanish, later naturalized Mexican, filmmaker Luis Buñuel was born. Often associated with the surrealist movement of the 1920s, Buñuel created films from the 1920s through the 1970s. Having worked in Europe and North America, and in French and Spanish, Buñuel also directed films spanning various genres. His first picture, Un Chien Andalou — made in the silent era — is still viewed regularly throughout the world and retains its…
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Harry Stack Sullivan and His Study of Interpersonal Relationships

Harry Stack Sullivan and His Study of Interpersonal Relationships

On February 21, 1892, American Neo-Freudian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Harry Stack Sullivan was born. Sullivan developed a theory of psychiatry based on interpersonal relationships. He believed that anxiety and psychotic behavior could be traced back to families who did not know how to relate to their children, who consequently did not feel accepted and loved. Sullivan‘s work on interpersonal relationships became the foundation of interpersonal psychoanalysis. “If you do not feel equal…
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Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

Johann Heinrich Voss’ Translations

On February 20, 1751, German poet and translator Johann Heinrich Voss was born. He is probably best known for his translation of Homer‘s Odyssey (1781) and Iliad (1793) into German. He also undertook, with his sons, a translation of Shakespeare which was completed in nine volumes in 1829, but this translation cannot stand a comparison with Schlegel‘s.[1] Being a native German, I know Homer‘s works only in the translation by Voss, and…
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Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

On February 19, 1846, French orientalist and archeologist Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau was born. Besides his archeological research and field work, he is best known for his exposition of several archaeological frauds with the British Museum, the Imperial Museum, Berlin, or the Louvre in Paris. Charles Clermont-Ganneau – Early Years Charles Clermont-Ganneau was born in Paris, France, the son of Simon Ganneau, a mystic and sculptor. After the death of his father in…
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