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Carl Friedrich Gauss – The Prince of Mathematicians

Carl Friedrich Gauss – The Prince of Mathematicians

On April 30, 1777, German mathematician and physical scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss was born. He contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics. He is often referred to as Princeps mathematicorum (Latin, “the Prince of Mathematicians”) as well as “greatest mathematician since antiquity”. “Mathematics is the Queen of Science, and Arithmetic is the Queen of Mathematics” – handed down in Wolfgang Sartorius…
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Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

On April 28, 1947, Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the self-built raft Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia. With Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl sailed 8,000 km across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate culture. Thor Heyerdahl…
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The Triumph of the Game Boy

The Triumph of the Game Boy

On April 21, 1989, Nintendo presented the 8-bit handheld video game device called Game Boy, the first handheld console. The Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color, have been tremendous successful by combined selling 118.69 million units worldwide. Upon its release in the United States, it sold its entire shipment of one million units within weeks. I had a lot of fun with the device as well. I remember the…
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F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby

On April 10, 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s famous socially critical novel ‘The Great Gatsby‘ was published. The story takes place in 1922, during the Roaring Twenties, a time of prosperity in the United States after World War I. The book received critical acclaim and is generally considered Fitzgerald‘s best work. It is also widely regarded as a “Great American Novel” and a literary classic, although it didn’t sell very well during Fitzgerald‘s…
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John Napier and his Napier Bones

John Napier and his Napier Bones

On April 4, 1617, Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer and astrologer John Napier of Merchiston, the 8th Laird of Merchistoun passed away. John Napier is best known as the discoverer of logarithms. He was also the inventor of the so-called “Napier’s bones“, a kind of abacus for calculation of products and quotients of numbers. Napier also made common the use of the decimal point in arithmetic and mathematics. John Napier grew up in…
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Frederick the Great’s Cunning Plan to Introduce the Potato

Frederick the Great’s Cunning Plan to Introduce the Potato

On 24, March, 1756, Prussian king Frederick the Great passed the circular order that should ensure the cultivation and deployment of potatoes in his country. Actually, citizens received this only rather refusing, because this subterranean vegetable seemed rather suspicious to them. But there is the saying that the king used a clever trick to convince his subjects… Originally, wild potato species occur throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile…
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Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

On March 21, 1768, French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph du Fourier was born. He is probably best known for his work in thermodynamics, where he introduced the concept of the Fourier Analysis, named in honor after him. There, he claimed that every mathematical function of a variable can be expanded to a sum of sines of multiples of that variable. What people most likely don’t know is that Fourier also was the…
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Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

On March 10, 1709, German botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller was born. He joined the Russian explorer Vitus Bering on his second expedition to Kamchatka and Alaska, where he discovered numerous new species, as e.g. the Steller‘s sea cow that was named after him. Georg Wilhelm Stöller was born and grew up in Windsheim, Germany. Due to his father being a protestant church organist, Steller early decided to begin…
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Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

On March 3, 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] Ernst Ruska was born on…
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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. Neil Postman spent almost all of his lifetime in New York City and graduated at the State University of New York, receiving a master’s degree in 1955. A few years later, he began teaching at…
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