SciHi Blog

Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

On January 13, 1908, German physician and obstetrician-gynecologis Wilhelm Weinberg delivered an exposition of his ideas on the principle of genetic equilibrium in a lecture before the Verein für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg. He developed the idea of genetic equilibrium independently of British mathematician G. H. Hardy. Scientific Background Wilhelm Weinberg studied medicine at the Universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Munich, Germany. He returned to his birth town, Stuttgart in 1889, where he…
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Deep Impact and the Comet 9P/Tempel

Deep Impact and the Comet 9P/Tempel

On January 12, 2005, NASA space probe Deep Impact was launched. It was designed to study the interior composition of the comet 9P/Tempel, by releasing an impactor into the comet, which successfully collided with the comet’s nucleus. Mission Background The main mission of Deep Impact was to explore the interior of Temple 1 by placing a 372 kg heavy projectile (impactor) into the trajectory of the comet, which hit it and left a…
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Carl David Anderson and the Positron

Carl David Anderson and the Positron

On January 11, 1991, American physicist Carl David Anderson passed away. He is best known for his discovery of the positron in 1932, an achievement for which he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics, and of the muon in 1936. “The atom can’t be seen, yet its existence can be proved. And it is simple to prove that it can’t ever be seen. It has to be studied by indirect evidence — and…
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Metropolis – A Cinematic Vision of Technology and Fear

Metropolis – A Cinematic Vision of Technology and Fear

On January 10 1927 German expressionist epic science-fiction film Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang  premiered in Berlin. Metropolis is regarded as a pioneer work of science fiction movies, being the first feature length movie of the genre and one of the most expensive movies of its time. The First SciFi Blockbuster If you like science fiction movies and you don’t know Metropolis, you have missed the very first blockbuster of this popular genre.…
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Ernest Shackleton and his South Pole Expeditions

Ernest Shackleton and his South Pole Expeditions

On 9 January 1909, British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and three companions reached a new Farthest South latitude of 88° 23′ S, a point only 180 km from the South Pole and were forced to return to McMurdo Sound in a race against starvation. “The outstanding feature of today’s march is that we have seen new land to the South never seen by human eyes before great snow clad heights [which] we did…
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The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

On January 8, 1687, French ballet dancer and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance of his Te Deum. Because he refused to treat the wound, it got infected and he died from gangrene soon after. Besides this inglourious way of death, Lully is considered the chief master of the French baroque style, who stripped of all Italian influences from French music of the period and…
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Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the Balloonomania

Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the Balloonomania

On January 7, 1785, French inventor, aviation pioneer and balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English channel in a balloon flying from Dover Castle to Guînes for the first time. After the first balloon flights of the Montgolfier brothers a veritable “baloonomania” evolved with all manner of objects decorated with images of balloons or styled au ballon, from ceramics to fans and hats. Balloonomania Just two years before, the two brothers and business partners, Joseph-Michel…
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Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

On January 6, 1329, German long-distance trader, factory owner and councillor of Nuremberg Ulman Stromer was born. Stromer established the very first permanent paper mill north of the Alpes, at the Pegnitz river not far from the city of Nuremberg. Paper Predecessors The story of paper as a writing material dates back to ancient times. Papyrus as its predecessor was introduced in Egypt most probably already in the 3rd millenium BCE. Papyrus differs from…
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Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

On January 5, 1932, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and successful novelist Umberto Eco was born. He is best known for his groundbreaking historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. I have read ‘The Name of the Rose‘, when I was just 20 years of age, and ever since I am a…
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William of Rubruck and his Adventurous Journey to Karakorum

William of Rubruck and his Adventurous Journey to Karakorum

On January 4, 1254, Flemish Franciscan missionary and explorer William of Rubruck was granted the privilege of an audience at the great Mongol Möngke Khan in his court in Karakorum. Background The Flemish William of Rubruck had joined the Franciscan Friars Minor at an early age, studied in Paris and in 1248 travelled to the Holy Land in the wake of King Louis IX and the seventh crusade, where he stayed for four…
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