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Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

On June 5, 1756, French chemist, physician, agronomist, industrialist, statesman, educator and philanthropist Jean-Antoine Chaptal, comte de Chanteloup was born. Chaptal authored the first book on industrial chemistry and also coined the name “nitrogen. He was the first to produce sulphuric acid commercially in France at his factory at Montpellier and helped to organize the introduction of the metric system. Jean-Antoine Chaptal studied medicine at the medical school at the…
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on Top of Mount Everest

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on Top of Mount Everest

On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet, using the southeast ridge route. Tenzing had reached 8,595 m the previous year as a member of the 1952 Swiss expedition. Edmund Hillary grew up near Auckland, New Zealand. During a high school trip to Mount Ruapehu, Hillary’s interest…
Joseph-Ignace Guillotin’s Opposition to the Death Penalty

Joseph-Ignace Guillotin’s Opposition to the Death Penalty

On May 28, 1738, French physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was born. Guillotin is best known for his proposition of the use of a device to carry out death penalties in France, as a less painful method of execution. While he did not invent the guillotine, and in fact opposed the death penalty, his name became an eponym for it. The actual inventor of the prototype was Antoine Louis. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin received…
The Flying Serpent of Henham

The Flying Serpent of Henham

On May 27 and 28, a mystical dragon creature was allegedly seen in the village of Henham in Uttlesford, Essex. The dragon was described as some sort of a a winged snake, that attacked several people and then hid in the nearby woods. The first sighting is probably published in ‘The Flying Serpent or Strange News Out of Essex’ in 1669. The article described the following: “The place of his…
The Murder of August von Kotzebue and the Supression of the Liberal Press

The Murder of August von Kotzebue and the Supression of the Liberal Press

On May 3, 1761, German dramatist and writer August von Kotzebue was born. In 1817, one of Kotzebue‘s books was burned during the Wartburg festival. He was murdered in 1819 by Karl Ludwig Sand, a militant member of the Burschenschaften, which gave Metternich the pretext to issue the Carlsbad Decrees, which dissolved the Burschenschaften, cracked down on the liberal press, and seriously restricted academic freedom in the states of the…
Sir Leonard Woolley and the Excavations in Ur

Sir Leonard Woolley and the Excavations in Ur

On April 17, 1880, British archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley was born. Woolley was best known for his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia. He is considered to have been one of the first “modern” archaeologists, and was knighted in 1935 for his contributions to the discipline of archaeology. Leonard Woolley was educated at St John’s School, Leatherhead and New College, Oxford. He became assistant of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford in 1905. He later…
Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfires of Vanity

Girolamo Savonarola’s Bonfires of Vanity

On February 7, 1497, Florentine followers of Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola burned a bonfire of vanities. Supporters of Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects such as cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival. Other targets included books that were deemed to be immoral, such as works by Boccaccio, and manuscripts of secular songs, as well as artworks, including paintings of Sandro Boticelli. Fra…
Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

On January 21, 1609, French religious leader and scholar Joseph Justus Scaliger passed away. He is referred to as being on of the founders of the science of chronology, expanding the notion of classical history from Greek and ancient Roman history to include Persian, Babylonian, Jewish and ancient Egyptian history. Brief Biography Joseph Justus Scaliger was born on August 5, 1540 at Agen on the Garonne, France, the tenth child of…
Clara Barton and the American Red Cross

Clara Barton and the American Red Cross

On December 25, 1821, American pioneering nurse Clarissa “Clara” Harlowe Barton was born. Barton is noteworthy for doing humanitarian work at a time when relatively few women worked outside the home. She worked as a hospital nurse in the American Civil War and was instrumental in the founding of the American Red Cross. Clara Barton was sent to school along with her brother Stephen when she was only three years old. There,…
Averroes – The Commentator and Polymath

Averroes – The Commentator and Polymath

On December 10, 1198, medieval Andalusian polymath Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rušd, better known as Averroes, passed away. Averroes wrote on logic, Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy, theology, the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, psychology, political and Andalusian classical music theory, geography, mathematics, and the mediæval sciences of medicine, astronomy, physics, and celestial mechanics. Averroes had a greater impact on Christian Europe: he has been described as the “founding…
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