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2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

On April 2, 1968, Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiered at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C. Thematically, the film deals with elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is notable for its scientific accuracy, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue. Despite initially receiving mixed reactions from critics and audiences alike, today 2001: A…
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Charles Elton and  the beginning of Modern Animal Ecology

Charles Elton and the beginning of Modern Animal Ecology

On March 29, 1900, English zoologist and animal ecologist Charles Sutherland Elton was born. Elton‘s name is associated with the establishment of modern population and community ecology, including studies of invasive organisms. In 1927, Elton published his now classic book Animal Ecology, in which he took up the concept of food chains that had been originally introduced by the African-Arab scientist and philosopher Al-Jahiz in the 9th century. “Food is the burning…
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Robert Bosch – Inventor for Life

Robert Bosch – Inventor for Life

On March 12 1942, Robert Bosch passed away. Robert Bosch was a German industrialist, engineer and inventor, and founder of Robert Bosch GmbH. “I do not pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.” — Robert Bosch Early Years Robert Bosch was born among twelve siblings on September 23, 1861 near the city of Ulm, Germany. His parents Servatius…
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Richard Hamming and the Hamming Code

Richard Hamming and the Hamming Code

On February 11, 1915, American mathematician Richard Wesley Hamming was born. Hamming’s work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications. His contributions include the Hamming code (which makes use of a Hamming matrix), the Hamming window, Hamming numbers, sphere-packing (or Hamming bound), and the Hamming distance. “The purpose of computation is insight, not numbers.” – Richard Wesley Hamming (1962) as quoted in [2] Richard Hamming – Youth and Education Richard Wesley…
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Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

On February 5, 1880. French aircraft and automobile designer Gabriel Voisin was born. Voisin was the creator of Europe’s first manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained (1 km), circular, controlled flight. During World War I the company founded by Voisin became a major producer of military aircraft. Subsequently, he switched to the design and production of luxury automobiles under the name Avions Voisin. Gabriel Voisin Gabriel Voisin was born at Belleville-sur-Saône, France. The…
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The National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society

On January 27, 1888, the National Geographic Society, one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world, is founded in the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. You might not be aware of it, but several of our past articles already are related to the National Geographic Society, as the society always has supported and funded research projects as well as prominent…
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Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-Age System

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-Age System

On December 29, 1788, Danish antiquarian Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was born. He is best known for the development of early archaeological techniques and methods. He also introduced the Three-age system, i.e. the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective tool-making technologies, the Stone Ages, Iron Ages and Bronze Ages. “…nothing is more important than to point out that hitherto we have not paid enough attention to what was…
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Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours and Poitiers

Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours and Poitiers

On October 25, 732 AD, the Battle of Tours and Poitiers between the united Frankish and Burgundian forces under Austrasian Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel, against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, Governor-General of al-Andalus, ended the Islamic expansion era in Europe. It is argued among historians that Charles Martel’s victory was one of the most important events in European or even world history. The…
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How James Lind, a Pioneer of Clinical Trials, Developed a Cure for Scurvy

How James Lind, a Pioneer of Clinical Trials, Developed a Cure for Scurvy

On October 4, 1714, Scottish physician James Lind was born. He was a pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. By conducting the first ever clinical trial, he developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy. His work advanced the practice of preventive medicine and improved nutrition. James Lind – Early Years James Lind was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Margaret (Smelum) and James Lind, a prosperous merchant whose wife had medical…
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Mungo Park and the Waters of the Niger

Mungo Park and the Waters of the Niger

On September 11, 1771, Scottish explorer of the African continent Mungo Park was born. He is best known for being the first Westerner to encounter the central portion of the Niger River. Moreover, Mungo Park’s adventures on the Niger are the subject matter of Water Music, a richly detailed comic adventure novel published by T.C. Boyle. Mungo Park – Early Influences and Education Mungo Park grew up in a religious home and…
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