Monthly Archives: February 2021

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. Francois Arago – Early Years Dominique-François-Jean Arago was born in Estagel, Roussillon, France. His father was…
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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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Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

On February 18, 1832, French-born American railway engineer and aviation pioneer Octave A. Chanute was born. He provided many budding enthusiasts, including the Wright brothers [6] with help and advice, and helped to publicize their flying experiments. At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine. “Let us hope that the advent of a successful flying machine, now only dimly foreseen and nevertheless thought to be…
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Von Knobelsdorff and the Sanssouci Palace

Von Knobelsdorff and the Sanssouci Palace

On February 17, 1699, Prussian painter and architect Hans Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff was born. Influenced as an architect by French Baroque Classicism and by Palladian architecture, with his interior design and the backing of king Frederick the Great, he created the basis for the Frederician Rococo style. Von Knobelsdorff is best known as architect of Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam just outside Berlin for Frederick the Great. Actually, I lived in the direct…
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