politics

The Case of the Chief of the General Staff Alfred Redl

The Case of the Chief of the General Staff Alfred Redl

On May 25, 1913, officer of the Imperial Austrian army Alfred Redl passed away. Redl, who rose to head the counter-intelligence efforts of Austria-Hungary, was one of the leading figures of pre-World War I espionage. His term in office was marked by innovation, and he used advanced technology, for the time, to ensnare foreign intelligence agents. But he was himself a paid spy for the Russians. Claims that Redl also…
Nuclear Physicist Edward Condon

Nuclear Physicist Edward Condon

On March 2, 1902, American nuclear physicist Edward Uhler Condon was born. Condon was a pioneer in quantum mechanics and a participant in the development of radar and nuclear weapons during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. The Franck–Condon principle and the Slater–Condon rules are co-named after him. Edward Condon initially attended the College of Chemistry at the University of California and later switched his major to…
The Almanachs of Benjamin Banneker

The Almanachs of Benjamin Banneker

On November 9, 1731, American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer Benjamin Banneker was born. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery…
Mary Putnam Jacobi – Physician and Suffragist

Mary Putnam Jacobi – Physician and Suffragist

On August 31, 1842, American physician, writer and suffragist Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi was born. Putnam Jacobi crusaded for the integration of clinical and laboratory studies. Disparaging anecdotal evidence and traditional approaches, she demanded scientific research on every question of the day. As a leading feminist, she rejected the traditional wisdom about the weaknesses of women. Her work with reformers and suffragists made her a leading spokesperson for women’s health. Mary…
Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc aka the Maid of Orleans was burnt at the stake. Joan of Arc is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan of Arc was probably born around 1412. She did not lean to read and write, but her mother sparked the young girl’s interest…
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 chromosphere of the sun, and made accurate estimates of the diameters of the planets. Arago entered politics in 1848 as Minister of War and Marine and was responsible for abolishing slavery in the French colonies. Dominique-françois-jean Arago was born in Estagel, Roussillon. His father was the small town’s mayor and his family was involved…
Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

Herman Kahn and the Consequences of Nuclear War

On February 15, 1922, American physicist, futurist and system theorist Herman Kahn was born. He became known for analyzing the likely consequences of nuclear war and recommending ways to improve survivability, making him one of three historical inspirations for the title character of Stanley Kubrick’s classic black comedy film satire Dr. Strangelove. Herman Kahn was born in Bayonne, New Jersey and was raised in the Bronx, later Los Angeles. Kahn…
Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

Robert Malthus and the Principle of Population

On February 13, 1766, English cleric and scholar Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus was born. His An Essay on the Principle of Population observed that sooner or later population will be checked by famine and disease, leading to what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe. He thought that the dangers of population growth precluded progress towards a utopian society. Malthus placed the longer-term stability of the economy above short-term expediency. His…
Felix Wankel and the Rotary Engine

Felix Wankel and the Rotary Engine

On August 13, 1902, German mechanical engineer and inventor Felix Wankel was born. He is best known for his invention of the first rotary internal combustion engine. Instead of moving pistons, the Wankel engine uses an orbiting rotor shaped as a curved equilateral triangle. Thus it needs few moving parts, is lightweight and compact. Felix Wankel was born in Baden, the upper Rhine Valley and was educated in Heidelberg where he…
The Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937

The Degenerate Art Exhibition of 1937

On July 19, 1937, the Degenerate Art Exhibition (German: Die Ausstellung “Entartete Kunst”) was opened in the Institute of Archeology in the Munich Hofgarten. The exhibition presented 650 works of art, confiscated from German museums, and was staged in counterpoint to the concurrent Great German Art Exhibition. The exhibition included works of Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, and Emil Nolde. As Adolf Hitler gained…
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