SciHi Blog

Ferdinand Magellan and the first Trip around the World

Ferdinand Magellan and the first Trip around the World

On 10 August 1519, five ships under Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan‘s command left Seville and descended the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the river. After further preparation 5 weeks later the ships set sail for the very first circumnavigation of the earth. Growing up in Lisbon Magellan was born Fernão de Magalhães (or Magalhãens) to an impoverished noble family in the northern Portuguese province of Trás-os-Montes. His…
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Jean Piaget and Genetic Epistemology

Jean Piaget and Genetic Epistemology

On August 9, 1896, Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher Jean Piaget was born. He is best known for his epistemological studies with children. In 1934, he declared that “…only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.” Piaget created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 and directed it until his death in 1980. The number of collaborations that its founding made possible, and…
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David Hilbert’s 23 Fundamental Problems

David Hilbert’s 23 Fundamental Problems

On August 8, 1900 David Hilbert, probably the greatest mathematician of his age,  gave a speech at the Paris conference of the International Congress of Mathematicians, at the Sorbonne, where he presented 10 mathematical Problems (out of a list of 23), all unsolved at the time, and several of them were very influential for 20th century mathematics. “Who of us would not be glad to lift the veil behind which the future…
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Road Trippin’ with Alice Ramsey

Road Trippin’ with Alice Ramsey

On August 7, 1909, Alice Ramsey together with her companions reached San Francisco, successfully finishing the first crossing of the USA with an automobile by a woman. She arrived at San Francisco 60 days after her start in New York. Alice Ramsey’s journey began on June 9, 1909 in New York City. The four women got ready for a last photo shoot and kissed their husbands good bye before they drove off in a…
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Jon Postel – Editor in Chief of the Internet

Jon Postel – Editor in Chief of the Internet

On August 6, 1943, American Computer Scientist and Internet pioneer Jonathan Postel was born. He is known principally for being the Editor of the Request for Comments (RFC) document series, and for administering the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) until his death in 1998. If you are familiar with the internet, sooner or later you will have to do with so-called RFCs. RFCs are Request for Comments and are the basic documents that…
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John Huston – Hollywood Titan, Rebel, and Renaissance Man

John Huston – Hollywood Titan, Rebel, and Renaissance Man

On August 5, 1906, American film director, screenwriter, and actor John Huston was born. Huston has been referred to as “a titan”, “a rebel”, and a “renaissance man” in the Hollywood film industry. He wrote the screenplays for most of the 37 feature films he directed, many of which are today considered classics. During his 46-year career, Huston received 15 Oscar nominations, winning twice, and directed both his father, Walter Huston, and…
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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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