SciHi Blog

The Last German Lawsuit on Witchcraft

The Last German Lawsuit on Witchcraft

On April 4, 1775, Anna Schwegelin was the last woman to be tried for witchcraft in a German court. Although she was sentenced to death by decapitation, the judgement was never executed. The Witch Hunts The classical period of witch hunts in Europe and North America falls into the Early Modern period or about 1480 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty Years’ War, resulting in an estimated 40,000…
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The Chronometers of John Harrison and the Problem of Longitude

The Chronometers of John Harrison and the Problem of Longitude

On April 3, 1693, self-educated English carpenter and clockmaker John Harrison was born. Harrison invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought-after device for solving the problem of calculating longitude while at sea. However, it was not until toward the end of his life that he finally received recognition and a reward from the British Parliament. Early Life Little is known about John Harrison’s early years. He was the oldest of five children, born…
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Embedded in the Collective Consciousness of the West – The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

Embedded in the Collective Consciousness of the West – The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

On April 2, 1805, Danish author Hans Christian Andersen was born. Anderson was a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems. However, he is probably best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children: his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. “Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very…
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TIROS-1 and the First TV pictures of the Earth from Space

TIROS-1 and the First TV pictures of the Earth from Space

On April 1, 1960, U.S. weather satellite TIROS-1 sends the very first TV picture of the Earth from space. Today, we are used to satellite pictures from the earth in the daily weather report. But, there was a time some 50 years ago, when pictures of the earth from space were still something exciting. TIROS I (or TIROS-1, short for Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite) was the first successful low-Earth orbital weather…
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William Lawrence Bragg and X-Ray Crystallography

William Lawrence Bragg and X-Ray Crystallography

On March 31, 1890, British physicist and X-ray crystallographer William Lawrence Bragg was born. He discovered the Bragg law of X-ray diffraction, which is basic for the determination of crystal structure and was joint winner (with his father, Sir William Bragg) of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915.[4] “God runs electromagnetics on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday by the wave theory, and the devil runs it by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday,…
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Francisco de Goya, Herald of Modernity

Francisco de Goya, Herald of Modernity

On March 30, 1746, Spanish romantic painter and printmaker Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was born. He is regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint,…
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Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

Friedrich Accum and the Popularization of Chemistry

On March 29, 1769, German chemist Friedrich Christian Accum was born. Accum‘s most important achievements included advances in the field of gas lighting, efforts to keep processed foods free from dangerous additives, and the promotion of interest in the science of chemistry to the general populace. Youth and Education Accum was born in Bückeburg, Schaumburg-Lippe (near Hannover), where his father was in the service of Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe. Friedrich’ father died,…
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The Three Mile Island Accident

The Three Mile Island Accident

On March 28, 1979, a partial nuclear meltdown occurred in one of the two Three Mile Island nuclear reactors in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The so-called Three Mile Island Accident was the worst accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history. Three Miles Downriver from Middletown, Pennsylvania Three Mile Island has got its name because it is located three miles downriver from Middletown, Pennsylvania. The plant was originally built by General Public Utilities…
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Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris

Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris

On March 27, 1809, French politician and city planer Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann, was born. He was the Prefect of the Seine Department in France, who was chosen by the Emperor Napoleon III to carry out a massive program of new boulevards, parks and public works in Paris, commonly called Haussmann‘s renovation of Paris. Old Paris In the middle of the 19th century, the center of Paris had the…
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George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

George Smith and the Epic of Gilgamesh

On March 26, 1840, English Assyriologist George Smith was born. Besides his pioneering work in Assyriology, he first discovered and translated the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest-known written work of literature. Moreover, its description of a flood, strikingly similar to the account in Genesis, had a stunning effect on Smith’s generation. “Gilgamesh was called a god and a man; Enkidu was an animal and a man. It is the story of their…
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