SciHi Blog

Amelia Edwards’ remarkable Travels in Egypt

Amelia Edwards’ remarkable Travels in Egypt

On June 7, 1831, English novelist, journalist, traveller and Egyptologist Amelia B. Edwards was born. Her account of her travels in Egypt, A Thousand Miles Up the Nile (1877), was an immediate success. During the last two decades of her life, she became concerned by threats to Egyptian monuments and antiquities, raised funds for archaeological excavations and increased public awareness by lecturing at home and abroad. Born in London Amelia Edwards was…
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Govaert Wendelen – the Ptolemy of Renaissance

Govaert Wendelen – the Ptolemy of Renaissance

On June 6, 1580, Flemish astronomer Govaert Wendelin (Godefroy Wendelen), Latinized Godefridus Wendelinus was born. Wendelen also was known as the Ptolemy of his time. Despite going against the tenets of his Church, he was an audacious proponent of the Copernican theory that the planets orbit around the Sun. He made more accurate measurements of the distance to the sun as previously made by Aristachus (2,000 years earlier). Govaert Wendelen – Early…
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Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

On June 5, 1756, French chemist, physician, agronomist, industrialist, statesman, educator and philanthropist Jean-Antoine Chaptal, comte de Chanteloup was born. Chaptal authored the first book on industrial chemistry and also coined the name nitrogen. He was the first to produce sulphuric acid commercially in France at his factory at Montpellier and helped to organize the introduction of the metric system. Jean-Antoine Chaptal – Early Years Jean-Antoine Chaptal was born in Nojaret (Lozère) in…
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Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on Top of Mount Everest

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on Top of Mount Everest

On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet, using the southeast ridge route. Tenzing had reached 8,595 m the previous year as a member of the 1952 Swiss expedition. Edmund Hillary – Early Years Edmund Hillary grew up near Auckland, New Zealand. During a high school trip to Mount…
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The Flying Serpent of Henham

The Flying Serpent of Henham

On May 27 and 28, a mystical dragon creature was allegedly seen in the village of Henham in Uttlesford, Essex, ever since referred to as “The Flying Serpent of Henham“. The dragon was described as some sort of a a winged snake, that attacked several people and then hid in the nearby woods. First Sighting The first sighting is probably published in ‘The Flying Serpent or Strange News Out of Essex‘ in 1669.…
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Edward Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect

Edward Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect

On May 23, 1917, American mathematician, meteorologist, and a pioneer of chaos theory Edward Norton Lorenz was born. He is best known for pointing out the “butterfly effect” whereby chaos theory predicts that “slightly differing initial states can evolve into considerably different states.” In his 1963 paper in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, he cited the flapping of a seagull‘s wings as changing the state of the atmosphere in even such a…
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James Clerk Maxwell and the very first Colour Photograph

James Clerk Maxwell and the very first Colour Photograph

On May 17, 1861, Scottish physicist Sir James Clerk Maxwell presented the very first colour photograph at the Royal Institution. The photograph showed a tartan ribbon and was made by Thomas Sutton according to the three-colour method proposed by Maxwell already in 1855. „Die Menschen empfinden im Allgemeinen eine große Freude an der Farbe. Das Auge bedarf ihrer, wie es des Lichtes bedarf.“ (“People generally take great pleasure in color. The eye…
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Roy Kerr and Mysterious Rotating Black Holes

Roy Kerr and Mysterious Rotating Black Holes

On May 16, 1934, New Zealand mathematician Roy Kerr was born. Kerr is best known for discovering the Kerr geometry, an exact solution to the Einstein field equation of general relativity. His solution models the gravitational field outside an uncharged rotating massive object, including a rotating black hole. Roy Kerr – Early Years Roy Kerr was educated at the private school St Andrew’s College. His talent for mathematics was first recognized during…
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Étienne-Jules Marey and the Chronophotographic Gun

Étienne-Jules Marey and the Chronophotographic Gun

On May 15, 1904, French scientist, physiologist and chronophotographer Étienne-Jules Marey passed away. Marey’s work was significant in the development of cardiology, physical instrumentation, aviation, cinematography and the science of laboratory photography. He is widely considered to be a pioneer of photography and an influential pioneer of the history of cinema. Étienne-Jules Marey – Early Years Étienne-Jules Marey was born on March 5, 1830 in Beaune, Côte-d’Or, France. In 1838 he visited the…
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Gerbert of Aurillac and the Popularization of Science

Gerbert of Aurillac and the Popularization of Science

On May 12, 1003, Gerbert of Aurillac aka Pope Sylvester II passed away. A prolific scholar and teacher, he endorsed and promoted study of Arab and Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus and armillary sphere, which had been lost to Latin Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era. He is said to be the first to introduce in Europe the decimal numeral system using Arabic numerals. Gerbert…
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