SciHi Blog

Giovanni Schiaparelli and the Martian Canals

Giovanni Schiaparelli and the Martian Canals

On March 14, 1835, Italian astronomer and science historian Giovanni Schiaparelli was born. He is remembered best for his observations of planet Mars, where he discovered a dense network of linear structures on the surface of Mars which he called “canali” in Italian, meaning “channels” but the term was mistranslated into English as “canals” indicating that the observed structures should be of artificial origin. Early Years Schiaparelli graduated in 1854 from the…
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Sir William Herschel and the Discovery of Uranus

Sir William Herschel and the Discovery of Uranus

On March 13, 1781, Sir William Herschel for the first time observed planet Uranus while in the garden of his house at 19 New King Street in the town of Bath, Somerset, England (now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy), but initially reported it (on April 26, 1781) as a “comet“. “A knowledge of the construction of the heavens has always been the ultimate object of my observations…” – William Herschel, Astronomical Observations relating…
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Gustav Kirchhoff and the Fundamentals of Electrical Circuits

Gustav Kirchhoff and the Fundamentals of Electrical Circuits

On March 12, 1824, German physicist Gustav Robert Kirchhoff was born. He is best known for his contribution to the fundamental understanding of electrical circuits, spectroscopy, and the emission of black-body radiation by heated objects. Education and Academic Career Gustav Robert Kirchhoff was born in Königsberg, East Prussia, to his father Friedrich Kirchhoff, a law councillor in Königsberg with a strong sense of duty to the Prussian state, and his mother Johanna…
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J.C.R. Licklider and Interactive Computing

J.C.R. Licklider and Interactive Computing

On March 11, 1915, American psychologist and computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider, known simply as J.C.R. or “Lick“, was born. He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and was one of the most distinguished Internet pioneers. “[…] we are entering a technological age in which we will be able to interact with the richness of living information – not merely in the passive way that…
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Freiherr von Eichendorff and the Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing

Freiherr von Eichendorff and the Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing

On March 10, 1788, German writer Joseph Karl Benedikt Freiherr von Eichendorff was born. He was an important poet and writer of German Romanticism. With around 5000 settings, he is one of the most widely acclaimed German-language lyricists and is still present today as a prose poet. “You good-for-nothing! there you sun yourself again and stretch and stretch your bones tiredly, and leave me to do all the work alone. I can no…
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Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

On March 9, 1931, German physicist Ernst Ruska together with his doctoral advisor Max Knoll presented the very first prototype electron microscope, capable of four-hundred-power magnification; the apparatus was the first demonstration of the principles of electron microscopy. “The light microscope opened the 1st gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the 2nd gate to microcosm.” What will we find opening the 3rd gate? (Ernst Ruska, 1985)[1] Youth and Education Ernst Ruska…
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Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

On March 8, 1931, media theorist, author, and cultural critic Neil Postman was born. He is best known for his works criticizing the increase of the role of technology in every human’s life not seeing the dangerous side effects. By the time I was an undergraduate student of computer science, his famous book Amusing Ourselves to Death was brand new and subject of our course “Computer and Society”. “Writing freezes speech and in so doing…
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Piet Mondrian – Reducing Art to Simple Geometry

Piet Mondrian – Reducing Art to Simple Geometry

On March 7, 1872, Dutch Painter Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan was born. Mondrian is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th century abstract art, as he changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements. “A form must be of…
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The Phantastic Life of Cyrano de Bergerac – Forerunner of Enlightenment

The Phantastic Life of Cyrano de Bergerac – Forerunner of Enlightenment

On March 6, 1619, French novelist, playwright, epistolarian and duelist Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was born. A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Today he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s most noted drama Cyrano de Bergerac, which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth. Cyrano – as he is…
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Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg and the Garden of Delights

Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th-century Alsatian nun and abbess of Hohenburg Abbey in the Vosges mountains. She is known as the author of the pictorial encyclopedia Hortus Deliciarum (The Garden of Delights). Abbess of Hohenburg Abbey It is assumed that Herrad of Landsberg was born around 1130. Hohenburg Abbey, also known as Mont St Odile, was run by Abbess Relinda, a nun sent from the Benedictine monastery of Bergen in Bavaria.…
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