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Harald Sack

The Writings of Victor Hugo

The Writings of Victor Hugo

On May 22, 1854, French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement Victor Hugo passed away. Hugo is considered one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections. Victor Hugo was born in 1802 in Besançon in the eastern region of Franche-Comté, the…
Hans Berger and the Electroencephalogram

Hans Berger and the Electroencephalogram

On May 21, 1873, German psychiatrist Hans Berger was born. Berger is best known as the inventor of electroencephalography (EEG), coining the name, and the discoverer of the alpha wave rhythm known as “Berger’s wave”. Hans Berger was born in Neuses (today Coburg), Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Germany, the son of Paul Friedrich Berger,  chief physician of the regional asylum in Coburg [3], and his wife Anna Rückert. His maternal grandfather…
John Jacob Abel and the Endocrine Glands

John Jacob Abel and the Endocrine Glands

On May 19, 1857, American biochemist and pharmacologist John Jacob Abel was born. Abel made important contributions to a modern understanding of the ductless, or endocrine, glands. He extracted a derivative of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline and successfully purified and isolated crystalline insulin. His interest in kidney functions led to his invention of a primitive artificial kidney that was able to remove toxins from the blood of living animals,…
The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

On May 17, 1673, French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit priest and missionary Jacques Marquette departed from St. Ignace Michigan with two canoes and five other voyageurs to explore the Upper Mississippi. While Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its entrance in 1541 on his expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States…
Maria Reiche – Keeper of the Nazca Lines

Maria Reiche – Keeper of the Nazca Lines

On May 15, 1903, German-born Peruvian mathematician and archaeologist Maria Reiche was born. Reiche was the self-appointed keeper of the Nazca Lines, a series of desert ground drawings over 1,000 years old, near Nazcain in southern Peru. For 50 years the “Lady of the Lines” studied and protected these etchings of animals and geometric patterns in 60 km of desert. In 1995 the Nazca Lines were declared a UNESCO World…
Alexis Clairaut and the Figure of the Earth

Alexis Clairaut and the Figure of the Earth

On May 13, 1713, French mathematician, astronomer, and geophysicist Alexis Claude Clairaut was born. Clairaut was one of the key figures in the expedition to Lapland that helped to confirm Newton’s theory for the figure of the Earth. In that context, Clairaut worked out a mathematical result now known as “Clairaut’s theorem”. He also tackled the gravitational three-body problem, being the first to obtain a satisfactory result for the apsidal…
M – A City looks for a Murderer

M – A City looks for a Murderer

On May 11, 1931, German drama-thriller “M – A city looks for a murderer” directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre premiered in Berlin at the UFA-Palast am Zoo. Now considered a classic, the film was deemed by Fritz Lang to be his finest work. M was ranked at number thirty-three in Empire magazines’ “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010. The film concerns both the actions…
Howard Carter and the Tomb of Tutankhamun

Howard Carter and the Tomb of Tutankhamun

On May 9, 1874, English archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter was born. Carter became world-famous after discovering the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Tutankhamun in November 1922. We’ve had already featured Tutankhamun [1] as well as the discovery of the tomb [2] here at SciHi blog. Time to draw our attention to the egyptologist Howard Carter. Howard Carter was born in Kensington, London, UK, the son of Samuel…
Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

Hagia Sophia of Constantinople

On May 7, 558, the main dome of Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom and seat of the Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, collapsed completely during an earthquake. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Emperor Justinian I himself had overseen the completion of the greatest cathedral ever built up to that time, and it was to remain the largest cathedral for 1,000 years up…
Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen and the Silk Road

Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen and the Silk Road

On May 5, 1833, German traveller, geographer, and scientist Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen was born. Von Richthofen is noted for coining the terms “Seidenstraße” and “Seidenstraßen” = “Silk Road(s)” or “Silk Route(s)” in 1877. He also standardized the practices of chorography and chorology. Ferdinand von Richthofen was born in Carlsruhe, Prussian Silesia, to Karl Richthofen and his wife Ferdinande. He attended the Catholic Gymnasium in Breslau (today Wroclaw) to complete…
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