SciHi Blog

Franz Mesmer – From Animal Magnetism to Hypnosis

Franz Mesmer – From Animal Magnetism to Hypnosis

On May 23, 1734, German physician Franz Anton Mesmer was born. Mesmer theorised that there was a natural energetic transference that occurred between all animated and inanimate objects that he called animal magnetism, sometimes later referred to as mesmerism. This system of therapeutics was the forerunner of the modern practice of hypnotism. He spent his career offering this controversial therapy to wealthy aristocratic clients in several European capitals. “A responsive influence exists…
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Edward Lear and his Book of Nonsense

Edward Lear and his Book of Nonsense

On May 12, 1812, English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet Edward Lear was born. He is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, botanical drawings, recipes, and alphabets. Edward Lear – Childhood and Education Edward Lear was born as the penultimate of twenty-one…
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Jane Goodall and the True Nature of Chimpanzees

Jane Goodall and the True Nature of Chimpanzees

On April 3,1934, English primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace Dame Jane Morris Goodall, was born. Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. “The more we learn of the true nature of non-human animals, especially those with complex brains and corresponding complex social behavior, the more ethical…
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Jeremias Richter and the Law of Definite Proportions

Jeremias Richter and the Law of Definite Proportions

On March 10, 1762, German chemist Jeremias Benjamin Richter was born. He discovered the law of definite proportions and is best known for introducing the term stoichiometry, i.e. the calculation of relative quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions. Youth and Education Jeremias Benjamin Richter was born at Hirschberg in Silesia, today’s Jelenia Góra in Western Poland. He graduated from the Hirschberg Gymnasium, and in 1778 joined the engineering corps of…
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Gorillas in the Mist – The Life of Dian Fossey

Gorillas in the Mist – The Life of Dian Fossey

On December 26, 1985, American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist Dian Fossey was killed. She is best known for her extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years in they mountain forests of Rwanda. Her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the mountain gorilla at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what…
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Margaret Mead and Modern Anthropology

Margaret Mead and Modern Anthropology

On December 16, 1901, American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead was born. She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture and a respected, often controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. “Maggie was a short little lady with immense courage-a first of a kind-took nothing for granted and…
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Karen Horney’s Struggle with Neurosis

Karen Horney’s Struggle with Neurosis

On December 4, 1952, German Neo-Freudian psychoanalyst Karen Horney passed away. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views. This was particularly true of her theories of sexuality and of the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis. She is credited with founding feminist psychology in response to Freud’s theory of penis envy.[4] She disagreed with Freud about inherent differences in the psychology of men and women, and she traced such differences to society and culture rather…
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Cavalieri’s Principle

Cavalieri’s Principle

On November 30, 1648, Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri passed away. He is known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri’s principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus. “Rigor is the concern of philosophy not of geometry.” (Bonaventura Cavalieri) Bonaventura Cavalieri – The Youth of a Mathematician Born at Milan, Cavalieri was given the name Francesco…
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Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

On November 24, 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant Abel Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania, north of Macquarie Harbour. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Service in the Dutch East India Company Abel Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast in what is now the province of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received a sufficient education to enable him to express…
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Bernard Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees

Bernard Mandeville’s – The Fable of Bees On November 15, 1670, Dutch philosopher, political economist and satirist Bernard Mandeville was born. He became famous for The Fable of the Bees, a satire that suggests many key principles of economic thought, including division of labor and the “invisible hand“, seventy years before these concepts were more thoroughly elucidated by Adam Smith. Not very much is known about the life of Bernard Mandeville. He probably grew…
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