SciHi Blog

Mozart’s Don Giovanni – Birth of an Archetype

Mozart’s Don Giovanni – Birth of an Archetype

On October 29, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni with the libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte premiered in Prague. Being one of the most perfomed operas worldwide, it proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. Besides the beautiful Requiem, this is my personal favorite in the works of Mozart. I’ve seen it performed many times live on stage,…
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Peter Stumpp – the Werewolf of Bedburg

Peter Stumpp – the Werewolf of Bedburg

On October 28, 1589, Rhenish farmer Peter Stumpp was declared guilty of having practiced black magic, being a serial killer, a cannibal, and most of all being a Werewolf. It was one of the most lurid and famous werewolf trials of history. A Farmer with a Disability The sources in Peter Stumpp vary, and around 1590 a pamphlet of 16 pages has been published in London as a translation of a German print, however,…
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Jean-Charles-Athanase-Peltier and the Peltier Effect

Jean-Charles-Athanase-Peltier and the Peltier Effect

On October 27, 1845, French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier passed away. Peltier is best known today for the introduction of the eponymous Peltier effect, a thermoelectrical effect, i.e. the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors, as well as for the electrostatic induction. Jean Charles Athanase Peltier – Early Years as Clockmaker Peltier was born to a poor family; his father earned a living as a…
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Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

Gaetano Crocco – Italian Aerospace Pioneer

On October 26, 1877, Italian aviation pioneer Gaetano Arturo Crocco was born. He was the founder of the Italian Rocket Society, and went on to become Italy’s leading space scientist. As head of the School of Aeronautics of the University of Rome, he performed research on flight mechanics, structural design, and high altitude flight in addition to his work in rocket propulsion. Gaetano Crocco – Early Years Crocco was the son of a…
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William Higinbotham and The Birth of Video Games

William Higinbotham and The Birth of Video Games

On October 25, 1910, US-american physicist William “Willy” A. Higinbotham was born. A member of the Manhattan Project, he later became a leader in the nonproliferation movement of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he is also known for his development of ‘Tennis for Two‘, the first interactive analog computer game and one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display. William Higinbotham – Biographical Background William Alfred Higinbotham was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and grew…
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William Lassell and the Discovery of the Uranus Moons Ariel and Umbriel

William Lassell and the Discovery of the Uranus Moons Ariel and Umbriel

On October 24, 1851, English merchant and astronomer William Lassell discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two moons of planet Uranus. Besides, he also discovered the Neptune moon Triton and the Saturn moon Hyperion. William Lassell – Early Years William Lassell was born in Bolton, Lancashire, UK,  and educated in Rochdale Academy. He was apprenticed to a merchant in Liverpool and later became a beer brewer and hobby astronomer. Lassell built himself an observatory…
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Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

On October 23, 1905, Swiss-born American physicist Felix Bloch was born. He is best known for his investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method of measuring the magnetic field of atomic nuclei. “While I am certainly not asking you to close your eyes to the experiences of earlier generations,…
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Sarah Bernhardt – the First World Star

Sarah Bernhardt – the First World Star

On October 22 (or 23), 1844, French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt was born. She is considered the most famous actress of her time and was one of the first world stars. “Once the curtain is raised, the actor ceases to belong to himself. He belongs to his character, to his author, to his public.” – Sarah Bernhardt, as quoted in The Art of the Theatre (1925), p. 171 Sarah Bernhardt – Early Years…
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Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos – the Father of Botany

Theophrastus of Eresos, who studied in Plato‘s philosopher’s school, is most famous for his groundbreaking work on plants. Thus, he is often referred to as the ‘father of botany‘. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. “Surely, then, if the life in animals does not need explanation or is to be explained only in this way,…
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Vannoccio Biringuccio and the Art of Metalworking

Vannoccio Biringuccio and the Art of Metalworking

Probably on October 20, 1480, Italian matallurgist Vannoccio Biringuccio was born. He is best known for his manual on metalworking, De la pirotechnia, published posthumously in 1540. Biringuccio is considered by some as the father of the foundry industry. Vannoccio Biringuccio – Early Years Biringuccio was born in Siena to Paolo Biringuccio, thought to have been an architect and public servant, and his mother was Lucrezia di Bartolommeo Biringuccio. He was baptised…
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