SciHi Blog

William Hamilton and the Invention of Quaterions

William Hamilton and the Invention of Quaterions

On August 4, 1805, Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician William Rowan Hamilton was born. He made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra, but is perhaps best known as the inventor of quaternions, a number system that extends the complex numbers. ‘This young man, I do not say will be, but is, the first mathematician of his age.’ (Astronomer Bishop Dr. John Brinkley about 18-year-old Hamilton) At Age 13 Hamilton spoke…
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Joseph Paxton – from Gardens to Architecture

Joseph Paxton – from Gardens to Architecture

On August 3, 1803, English gardener, architect and Member of Parliament Sir Joseph Paxton was born. He is best known for designing The Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition in 1851. The Youth of a Gardener Joseph Paxton was born in Milton Bryne in Bedfordshire. His father William (1759-1810) and his mother Anne (1761-1823) were small farmers and had to raise their nine children with minimal financial means under the harsh conditions…
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Timing is Everything – Elisha Gray and the Telephone Patent

Timing is Everything – Elisha Gray and the Telephone Patent

On August 2, 1835, American electrical engineer Elisha Gray was born. Gray is best known for his development of a telephone prototype in 1876 and is considered by some to be the true inventor of the variable resistance telephone, despite losing out to Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone patent. But besides the telephone, Gray was a successful and prolific inventor. He is also considered to be the father of the modern…
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Jean-François de La Pérouse and his Voyage around the World

Jean-François de La Pérouse and his Voyage around the World

On August 1, 1785, French Navy officer Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse with 2 ships, the Astrolabe and the Boussole, and 200 men left Brest to lead an expedition around the world. The objectives of the journey were to complete the Pacific discoveries of James Cook (whom La Pérouse greatly admired), correct and complete maps of the area, establish trade contacts, open new maritime routes and enrich French science and scientific…
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J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon

J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon

It is the best selling book series ever in history. A fantastic story stretching over seven books of a boy, growing up in between the two worlds of ordinary people – the muggles – and the wizards and witches. It’s about the old story of fighting of good against evil. And as the books sold over 400 million copies world wide, almost nobody could escape the news and the story behind the…
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Giorgio Vasari and his Foundations of Art-Historical Writing

Giorgio Vasari and his Foundations of Art-Historical Writing

On July 30, 1511, Italian Renaissance painter, architect, writer and historian Giorgio Vasari was born. He is best known today for his Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing. One of the Lesser Known Renaissance Artists From all the great Renaissance artist, Giorgio Vasari might be one of the lesser known. The reason for this might be that although an artist of considerable…
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Alexis de Tocqueville and the Democracy in America

Alexis de Tocqueville and the Democracy in America

On July 29, 1805, French political thinker and historian Alexis de Tocqueville was born. He is best known for his Democracy in America, where he analyzed the rising living standards and social conditions of individuals and their relationship to the market and state in Western societies. Today, it is considered an early work of sociology and political science. “The best laws cannot make a constitution work in spite of morals; morals can…
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Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades – The Birth of Conceptual Art

Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades – The Birth of Conceptual Art

On July 28, 1887, French-American painter, sculptor and writer Marcel Duchamp was born. He is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as one of the artists responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Moreover, Duchamp is considered by many to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century. “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own tastes.” (Marcel…
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Every Set can be Well Ordered – Ernst Zermelo

Every Set can be Well Ordered – Ernst Zermelo

On July 27, 1871, German logician and mathematician Ernst Zermelo was born. Zermelo’s work had major implications for the foundations of mathematics. He is known for his role in developing Zermelo–Fraenkel axiomatic set theory and his proof of the well-ordering theorem. “…self-evidence … must not be confused with … provability.” – Ernst Zermelo The Son of a Grammar School Professor Zermelo was the son of a grammar school professor and attended the…
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Breaking New Grounds in Cinematography – Stanley Kubrick

Breaking New Grounds in Cinematography – Stanley Kubrick

On July 26, 1928, American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, and editor Stanley Kubrick was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His films, typically adaptations of novels or short stories, are noted for their unique cinematography, attention to details to achieve realism and an inspired use of music scores. Clockwork Orange, 2001, Full Metal Jacket, Lolita, The Shining, ‘I’m Spartacus’ or Dr. Strangelove – they…
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