SciHi Blog

Janos Bolyai and the Discovery of Non-Euclidian Geometry

Janos Bolyai and the Discovery of Non-Euclidian Geometry

On December 15, 1802, Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai was born. He is most famous for being one of the founders of non-euclidian geometry, a geometry that differs from Euclidean geometry in its definition of parallel lines. János Bolyai – Background Bolyai was born in the Transylvanian town of Kolozsvár (Klausenburg), then part of the Habsburg Empire (now Cluj-Napoca in Romania), the son of Zsuzsanna Benkő and the well-known mathematician Farkas Bolyai. Farkas…
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Hans von Ohain and the Invention of the Jet Engine

Hans von Ohain and the Invention of the Jet Engine

On December 14, 1911, German engineer Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain was born, who designed the first operational jet engine. Von Ohain independently developed the first jet engine during the same period that Frank Whittle was doing the same in the UK, their designs an example of simultaneous invention.[5] Hans Ohain – Early Years Born in Dessau, Germany, Hans Ohain earned a Ph.D. in Physics and Aerodynamics from the University of Göttingen, by…
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Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet and his Battle against Phylloxera

Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet and his Battle against Phylloxera

On December 13, 1838, French botanist Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet was born. He is best remembered for his work dealing with plant pests, especially in the vineyards of France that were infested by the destructive Phylloxera in the 1860s. Pierre Millardet – Background Millardet attended the Collège de l’Arc and later Besançon, he studied medicine as well as nature science at the University of Freiburg and Heidelberg before becoming professor of botany at the…
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My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

On December 12, 1955, English engineer Christopher Cockerell filed the patent for his new invention, the hovercraft, a craft capable of traveling over land, water, mud or ice and other surfaces both at speed and when stationary. “My hovercraft is full of eels”…”Ahh matches!”. Many of you may know these famous sentences by Monty Python’s Flying Circus in ‘the Hungarian Phrase Book’. However, today its not all about the comedy group, but…
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Annie Jump Cannon and the Catalogue of Stars

Annie Jump Cannon and the Catalogue of Stars

On December 11, 1863, American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon was born. Her cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C. Pickering, she is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify stars based on their temperatures. “A life spent in the routine of science need not destroy the attractive human element of a woman’s nature.” —…
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Carl Jacobi and the Elliptic Functions

On December 10, 1804, German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi was born. He made fundamental contributions to elliptic functions, dynamics, differential equations, and number theory. “Any progress in the theory of partial differential equations must also bring about a progress in Mechanics.” – Carl Jacobi, Vorlesungen über Dynamik [Lectures on Dynamics] (1842/3) Carl Jacobi – A Child Prodigy Carl Jacobi was the son of a banker and grew up in a rather…
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The Most Accurate Instruments of Gemma Frisius

The Most Accurate Instruments of Gemma Frisius

On December 9, 1508, physician, mathematician, cartographer, philosopher, and instrument maker Gemma Frisius was born. He created important globes, improved the mathematical instruments of his day and applied mathematics in new ways to surveying and navigation. Gemma Frisius – Youth and Education Gemma Frisius was born Jemma Reinierzoon in Dokkum, Friesland, a coastal province in northern Netherlands, of poor parents who died when he was young. His nom de plume Gemma Frisius is a…
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The Clifton Suspension Bridge – Iconic Landmark of the Industrial Age

The Clifton Suspension Bridge – Iconic Landmark of the Industrial Age

On December 8, 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel,[3] was opened for the public. Although Brunel was not able to see the bridge in operation anymore during his lifetime, the Clifton Suspension bridge was the first major commision of the famous engineer of the Great Western Railroad and the then largest steamships in the world. Bridges Across the Avon In…
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God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

On December 7, 1823, German mathematician Leopold Kronecker was born, who worked on number theory and algebra. He criticized Cantor’s work on set theory, and his most cited quote says, “Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk” (traditionally rendered: “God made natural numbers; all else is the work of man“.) Leopold Kronecker – Early Life Leopold Kronecker was born in Liegnitz, Prussia (now Legnica, Poland) in a wealthy Jewish…
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Nicolas Leblanc and the Leblanc Process

Nicolas Leblanc and the Leblanc Process

On December 6, 1742, French chemist and surgeon Nicolas Leblanc was born, who discovered how to manufacture soda from common salt. The eponymous Leblanc process became one of the most important industrial processes of the 19th century. Nicolas Leblanc – Early Life Nicolas Leblanc was born in Ivoy le Pré, Cher, France. Due to his early death of his father, a minor official at an iron works, Nicolas Leblanc was sent to the…
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