SciHi Blog

Pierre Bayle – Forerunner of the Age of Enlightenment

Pierre Bayle – Forerunner of the Age of Enlightenment

On November 18, 1647, French philosopher and writer Pierre Bayle was born. As a forerunner of the Encyclopedists and an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment. He is probably best known for his seminal work the Historical and Critical Dictionary. “Reason is like a runner who doesn’t know that the race is over, or, like Penelope, constantly undoing what…
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Nicolas Lemery and the Acid-Base Chemistry

Nicolas Lemery and the Acid-Base Chemistry

On November 17, 1647, French chemist Nicolas Lémery was born. Lemery was one of the first to develop theories on acid-base chemistry in a time which was often referred to as “the dawn of scientific chemistry” . “Chemistry is the art which teaches the separation of different substances encountered in a mixture.” — Nicolas Lemery (1675), Course on Chemistry  Nicholas Lemery – Family Background and Education Nicolas Lemery was the fifth of seven…
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The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

The X-43A and the Scramjet Technology

On November 16, 2004, the unmanned experimental hypersonic aircraft NASA X-43A set a new speed record of 10,617 km/h or Mach 9.65. With this flight the X-43A became the fastest free flying air-breathing aircraft in the world. The X-43A was propelled by a so-called scramjet, is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. NASA’s Hyper X Programme After DARPA, in collaboration with Rockwell, unsuccessfully completed…
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Intel 4004 – The World’s First Microprocessor

Intel 4004 – The World’s First Microprocessor

On November 15, 1971, Intel presented the Intel 4004 microprocessor, the world’s very first commercially available 4-bit central processing unit (CPU). It was the first complete CPU on one chip. By the time, this revolutionary microprocessor, the size of a little fingernail, delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which filled an entire room. Subsequently, the successors to the 4004 should drive the digital revolution. A New…
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Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to Orbit another Planet

Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to Orbit another Planet

On November 14, 1971, U.S. spacecraft Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet – only narrowly beating the Soviets’s Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust storms it managed to send back clear pictures of Mars’ surface. The Exploration of Mars Many unmanned space probes have been sent to Mars, some of which were successful. About half of the missions ended…
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The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

On November 13, 1850, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stephenson is ranked the 26th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Oscar Wilde [1] and Edgar Allan Poe [2]. I don’t know how it is for you,…
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Jacques Charles and the First Hydrogen Balloon

Jacques Charles and the First Hydrogen Balloon

On November 12, 1746, French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist Jacques Alexandre César Charles was born.Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world‘s first (unmanned) hydrogen-filled balloon in August 1783. In December 1783, Charles and his co-pilot Nicolas-Louis Robert ascended to a height of about 500 metres in a manned balloon. Their pioneering use of hydrogen for lift led to this type of balloon being named a Charlière (as opposed to a Montgolfière…
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Ephraim McDowell – the Father of Abdominal Surgery

Ephraim McDowell – the Father of Abdominal Surgery

On Nov 11, 1771, American physician and pioneer surgeon Ephraim McDowell was born. The first person to successfully remove an ovarian tumor, he has been called “the father of ovariotomy” as well as founding father of abdominal surgery. Ephraim McDowell – Youth and Education Ephraim McDowell was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, the ninth child of Samuel and Mary McDowell. His father was a veteran of the French and Indian War and a…
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Fred Cohen and the first Computer Virus

Fred Cohen and the first Computer Virus

On November 10, 1983, U.S. student Fred Cohen at the University of Southern California‘s School of Engineering presented to a security seminar the results of his test, a program for a parasitic application that seized control of computer operations, one of the first computer viruses, created as an experiment in computer security. John von Neumann – the “Father of Computer Virology” But, the history of computer viruses dates back even further. The…
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Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

On November 9, 1885, German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher Hermann Weyl was born. Weyl was one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. His widely varied contributions in mathematics linked pure mathematics and theoretical physics. He made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. He attempted to incorporate electromagnetism into the geometric formalism of general relativity. “In these days the angel of topology and the devil of abstract…
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