SciHi Blog

Giuseppe Verdi – Master of the Opera

Giuseppe Verdi – Master of the Opera

On October 9 or 10, 1813, famous Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was born. He is primarily known for his romantic operas, and together with Richard Wagner, Verdi is considered the most influential composer of operas of the nineteenth century. I wish that every young man when he begins to write music would not concern himself with being a melodist, a harmonist, a realist, an idealist or a futurist or any other such…
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Camille Saint-Saëns – a Musical Renaissance Man

Camille Saint-Saëns – a Musical Renaissance Man

On October 9, 1835, French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era Camille Saint-Saëns was born. He was something of an anomaly among French composers of the nineteenth century in that he wrote in virtually all genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, songs, sacred and secular choral music, solo piano, and chamber music. Moreover, his interests also exceeded the musical genre as being an expert in mathematics and maintaining strong interests in…
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Henry Fielding – the Father of the English Novel

Henry Fielding – the Father of the English Novel

On October 8, 1754, famous English novelist, journalist and dramatist Henry Fielding passed away. He is best known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones. Henry Fielding influenced the main tradition of the English novel through the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century. One of his major contribution to the English novel was a sense of structure to its development. With his…
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Niels Bohr and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

Niels Bohr and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

On October 7, 1885, Danish physicist and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr was born. Bohr made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. “Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account…
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The Days That Never Happened – The Gregorian Calendar

The Days That Never Happened – The Gregorian Calendar

By a papal decree signed on 24 February 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII the days from October 5, 1582 to October 14, 1582 never happened.[9] This was, because the actually used calendar was out of tune with the mechanics of the heavens. The Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar,[2] did not provide sufficient precision to keep in tune for more than 15 centuries with the effect that the most important liturgic festivals and…
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Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

On October 5, 1644 (or according to the old julian calendar September 25), Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer was born. He became known by the first proof published in 1676 that the speed of light is finite and not infinite, respectively by the guidance, how the speed of light can be calculated by observation of the Jupiter moons. Ole Rømer – Early Years Ole Rømer was born in Århus, Denmark, to merchant and skipper…
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John Vincent Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Vincent Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

On October 4, 1903, American physicist and inventor John Vincent Atanasoff was born. He is best known for being considered as one of the inventors of the electronic digital computer. Even computer scientists most probably haven’t heard anything of this computer pioneer. Of course you will have heard about Alan Turing [5] or John von Neumann,[6] who are traditionally referenced as being the fathers of modern computers. Maybe, in case you are German, then you might…
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Carl von Ossietzky and Political Reason

Carl von Ossietzky and Political Reason

On October 3, 1889, German pacifist and Nobel Laureate Carl von Ossietzky was born. He received the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in exposing the clandestine German re-armament. In the course of his publications of Germany‘s alleged violation of the Treaty of Versailles by rebuilding an air force he was convicted of high treason and espionage in 1931. “Germany is the only country where lack of political empowerment secures the…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Telescope History Even though scientists of the middle ages never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, they started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Before the invention of the telescope…
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Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the World’s First High Speed Train

Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the World’s First High Speed Train

On October 1, 1964, the world‘s first high speed train, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen started operation between Tokyo and Osaka. With more than 400,000 passengers per working day, it is considered to be the world’s busiest high-speed line. The Origin of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen Even though construction work started in 1959, the plans for the high speed train were made in the 1940s. It was planned to achieve a maximum speed of 150 km/h…
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