Alfred Dreyfus

The Dancers of Edgar Degas

The Dancers of Edgar Degas

On July 19, 1834, French artist Edgar Degas was born, famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. “An artist is a deception.. ..an artist is only an artist at certain times, by…
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J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

J’Accuse – Émile Zola and the Dreyfus Affaire

Title page with Émile Zola’s famous public letter ‘J’accuse…!’ On January 13, 1898, French novellist Émile Zola published an open letter in the newspaper L’Aurore entitled “J’accuse” (“I accuse”, or, in context, “I accuse you”). In the letter, Zola addressed the President of France Félix Faure, and accused the government of anti-Semitism and the unlawful jailing of Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer sentenced to penal servitude for life for espionage. The Suspicious Bordereau…
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Gustave le Bon and the Behaviour of the Crowd

Gustave le Bon and the Behaviour of the Crowd

On May 7, 1841, French social psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist, inventor, and amateur physicist Gustave le Bon was born. Le Bon is best known for his study of the psychological characteristics of crowds, The Crowd, Study of Popular Mind. His writings incorporate theories of national traits, racial and male superiority, herd behavior and crowd psychology. “Logical minds, accustomed to being convinced by a chain of somewhat close reasoning, cannot avoid having recourse to this mode of…
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Jacques Hadamard and the Description of Mathematical Thought

Jacques Hadamard and the Description of Mathematical Thought

  On December 8, 1865, French mathematician Jacques Salomon Hadamard was born. Hadamard made major contributions in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations. Moreover, he is also known for his description of the mathematical though process in his book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. “It is important for him who wants to discover not to confine himself to one chapter of science, but to keep…
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Alphonse Bertillon’s Anthropometric Identification System

Alphonse Bertillon’s Anthropometric Identification System

On April 23,1853, French police officer and biometrics researcher Alphonse Bertillon was born. Bertillon was the first who applied the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement creating an identification system based on physical measurements. Anthropometry was the first scientific system used by police to identify criminals. Before that time, criminals could only be identified by name or photograph. The method was eventually supplanted by fingerprinting. Born in a Family of Scientists…
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