SciHi Blog

Archytas – The Founder of Mathematical Mechanics

Archytas – The Founder of Mathematical Mechanics

At about 428 BC, Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist Archytas of Tarentum was born. A scientist of the Pythagorean school he is famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato. “That tho’ a Man were admitted into Heaven to view the wonderful Fabrick of the World, and the Beauty of the stars, yet what would otherwise be Rapture and Extasie,…
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Gilbert White – England’s First Ecologist

Gilbert White – England’s First Ecologist

On July 18, 1720, pioneering English naturalist and ornithologist Gilbert White was born. He is best known for his work Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789), in which over the course of 20 years of his observations and two colleagues’ letters, he studied a wide range of flora and fauna seen around his hometown of Selborne, Hampshire. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne was adored by Charles Darwin, has been read by…
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The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

On July 17, 1975, the US-American Apollo Command/Service Module docked with the Soviet Soyuz 19 in the course of the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, the first joint U.S.–Soviet space flight, as a symbol of the policy of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time. Cold War – Automated vs Human Control Due to the tense relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, space cooperation between both countries was…
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The Marquise de Brinvilliers and the Affair of the Poisons

The Marquise de Brinvilliers and the Affair of the Poisons

On July 16, 1676, French aristocrat Marie-Madeleine Marguerite d’Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers was found guilty of murder, convicted on the strength of letters written by her dead lover and a confession obtained by torture. Her trial and the scandal which followed it launched the notourious Affair of the Poisons, which saw several French aristocrats charged with witchcraft and poisoning. We’ve already had a focus on Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, aka La Voisin, a midwife…
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Carl Woese and the Evolution of the Cell Organization

Carl Woese and the Evolution of the Cell Organization

On July 15, 1928, American microbiologist and biophysicist Carl Richard Woese was born. Woese is famous for recognizing the existence of the Archaea – a new domain or kingdom of life – in 1977 by phylogenetic taxonomy of 16S ribosomal RNA, a technique pioneered by Woese which revolutionized the discipline of microbiology. Archaea define a third domain of life, distinct from the previously recognized two domains of bacteria, and life other than…
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The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

On July 14, 1817, French woman of letters of Swiss origin Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, passed away. She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism. She was a remarkable woman, and not all men…
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June Etta Downey and the Individual Will-Temperament Test

June Etta Downey and the Individual Will-Temperament Test

On July 13, 1875, American psychologist June Etta Downey was born. Downey is best known for having developed the Individual Will-Temperament Test, which was one of the first tests to evaluate character traits separately from intellectual capacity and the first to use psychographic methods for interpretation. June Downey – Early Years June Downey was born in Laramie, Wyoming to Stephen Wheeler Downey and Evangeline (Owen) Downey as the second child in a…
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Josiah Wedgwood and his Pottery Company

Josiah Wedgwood and his Pottery Company

On July 12, 1730, English potter and founder of the eponymous company Josiah Wedgwood was born. Wedgwood is credited with the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery. Every new invention that Wedgwood produced – green glaze, creamware, black basalt and jasper – was quickly copied. Having once achieved perfection in production, he achieved perfection in sales and distribution. The Art of Making Porcelain We had already featured the (re-)discovery of the art…
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Jérôme Lalande – Astronomer in Times of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution

Jérôme Lalande – Astronomer in Times of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution

On July 11, 1732, French astronomer, freemason and writer Jérôme Lalande was born. Lalande is best known for having determined the Moon’s parallax from Berlin for the French Academy in 1751. His planetary tables, into which he introduced corrections for mutual perturbations, were the best available up to the end of the 18th century. Jérôme Lalande – Early Years Jérôme Lalande first studied at the Jesuit College in Lyon and later went…
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Roger Cotes and Newton’s Principia Mathematica

Roger Cotes and Newton’s Principia Mathematica

On July 10, 1682, English mathematician Roger Cotes was born. Cotes is well known for working closely with Isaac Newton by proofreading the second edition of his famous book, the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica,[4] before publication. He also invented the quadrature formulas known as Newton–Cotes formulas and first introduced what is known today as Euler’s formula. “If he had lived we would have known something.”, Remark of Issac Newton on the early…
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