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Harald Sack

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

Jakob Bernoulli (1655-1705) on a Swiss stamp The Swiss Bernoulli family is well known for their many offsprings who gained prominent merits in mathematics and physics in the 18th century. Jakob Bernoulli, born in 1654 (or 1655 according to the new Gregorian calendar), is best known for his work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture). In this work, published 8 years after his death in 1713 by his nephew Nicholas, Jakob…
The Opening of the Panama Canal

The Opening of the Panama Canal

On August 15, 1914, the very first ship, the cargo ship SS Ancon passed the newly built Panama Canal. Unfortunately, in the same month, World War I started fighting in Europe and the official opening ceremony had to be postponed until 1920. The Panama Canal is an 82 km long ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean and therefore also…
The Tragedy of MacBeth

The Tragedy of MacBeth

On August 14, 1040 AD, Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, Mormaer of Moray, today better known as Macbeth, killed the Scottish King Duncan I. to become the new King of Scotland. But, he has to commit further murder to maintain his power. So far the story goes. Most of the rest we know from Shakespeare‘s adaptation of the historical events is merely pure fiction. Macbeth’s life, like that of his predecessor…
H. G. Wells and the Shape of Thing to Come

H. G. Wells and the Shape of Thing to Come

Cover of one of the many editions of H.G. Wells ‘The Time Machine’ For sure you have seen the classic movie ‘The Time Machine‘, where the Victorian epoch time traveller went to a future far, far away into the world of the future where the old struggle of good against evil continues. Then, you also might have heard about the story, where aliens from Mars started war against earth, but…
IBM and the Personal Computer

IBM and the Personal Computer

‘The IBM Personal Computer and me”, vintage IBM advertisement (1980s) It all started on August 12, 1981. IBM presented the IBM 5150, the very first IBM personal computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It was created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Philip Donald Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division…
It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

Alonzo Church (1903-1995) @ University of Berkeley You know, the fact that you can read your email on a cell phone as well as on your desktop computer or almost any other computer connected to the internet, in principle is possible thanks to mathematician Alonzo Church, who gave the proof (together with Alan Turing) that everything that is computable on the simple model of a Turing Machine, also is computable with…
Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

Henry Moseley and the Atomic Numbers

Henry Moseley (1887-1915) For sure you do remember that poster from your classroom with all the chemical elements ordered in the so-called periodic table. But, certainly only a few of you will have heard about Henry Moseley and his concept of the atomic numbers. In chemistry and physics, the existence of a periodic table creates an ordering for the elements, and was first proposed by Russian chemist and inventor Dimitri…
David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert (1862-1943) On August 8, 1900 David Hilbert, probably the greatest mathematician of his age,  gave a speech at the Paris conference of the International Congress of Mathematicians, at the Sorbonne, where he presented 10 mathematical Problems (out of a list of 23), all unsolved at the time, and several of them were very influential for 20th century mathematics. “Who of us would not be glad to lift the…
The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

The Legend of Elizabeth Báthory, the Blood Countess

Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess (1560-1614) How far would you go to maintain your youth and your beauty? While today most people have become a victim of the cosmetic industry and (fortunately) only a few really dare to undergo cosmetic surgery, eternal youth and beauty is not only a subject of today’s affluent society. No, it’s a prominent topic throughout history dating also back into mythology, such as the…
Victorian Poetry with Alfred Lord Tennyson

Victorian Poetry with Alfred Lord Tennyson

On August 6, 1809, one of the most important English poets of the Victorian era was born, Alfred Lord Tennyson. The works of Alfred Lord Tennyson are best known for their close affinity with the English mythology and English history, they influenced the movement of the 19th century’s Victorian Art as well as the Arts and Crafts Movement, which was to join art and handcraft using simple forms applied to…
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