Austria

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

On February 20, 1844, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann was born. His greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms determine the physical properties of matter. “Who sees the future? Let us have free scope for all directions of research; away with dogmatism, either atomistic or anti-atomistic!” — Ludwig Boltzmann, “Lectures on Gas Theory”, translated by Stephen George Brush (1971), p.…
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Christian Doppler and the Doppler Effect

Christian Doppler and the Doppler Effect

On November 29, 1803, Christian Johann Doppler, Austrian Physicist and mathematician was born in Salzburg. Doppler is widely known for his principle, the Doppler effect, that the observed frequency of a wave depends on the relative speed of the source and the observer. He used this concept to explain the color of binary stars. “There have been applied sciences throughout the ages. … However this so-called practice was not much more than paper…
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Konrad Lorenz and the Study of Instinctive Behaviour of Animals

Konrad Lorenz and the Study of Instinctive Behaviour of Animals

On November 7, 1903, Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist Konrad Lorenz was born. Lorenz is regarded as one of the main representatives of classical comparative behavioural research (ethology). He himself called this field of research “animal psychology” until 1949. “The competition between human beings destroys with cold and diabolic brutality…. Under the pressure of this competitive fury we have not only forgotten what is useful to humanity as a whole, but even…
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Erich von Stroheim – Always a man of his own Invention

Erich von Stroheim – Always a man of his own Invention

On September 22, 1885, Austrian-American director, actor and producer Erich von Stroheim was born. He is most noted as a film star and avant garde, visionary director of the silent era. His masterpiece adaptation of Frank Norris’s McTeague entitled Greed is considered one of the finest and most important films ever made. After clashes with Hollywood studio bosses over budget and workers’ rights issues, von Stroheim was banned for life as a…
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Mozart Got Married

Mozart Got Married

On August 4, 1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the finest composers the world has ever known, finally married Constanze Weber, a 20 years old singer. “Dance is communication, and so the great challenge is to speak clearly, beautifully, and with inevitability. Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made. Dancing is like dreaming with your feet!” – Contanze Mozart Mozart and the…
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Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

Egon Friedell’s Fascinating Cutural Histories

On 16 March 1938, at about 22:00, two SA men arrived at the house of prominent Austrian philosopher, historian, journalist and critic Egon Friedell to arrest him. While they were still arguing with his housekeeper, Friedell committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Before leaping, he warned pedestrians walking on the sideway where he hit by shouting “Watch out! Get out of the way!“. This was the tragic end of a brilliant…
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Ernst Mach and the eponymous Mach Number

Ernst Mach and the eponymous Mach Number

On February 18, 1838, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach was born. Mach is noted for his contributions to physics such as study of shock waves. The ratio of one’s speed to that of sound is named the Mach number in his honor. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism and American pragmatism. “There is no problem in all mathematics that cannot be solved by direct…
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Robert Musil and the Man without Qualities

Robert Musil and the Man without Qualities

On November 6, 1880, Austrian philosophical writer Robert Musil was born. Musil‘s unfinished novel The Man Without Qualities (German: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften) is generally considered to be one of the most important and influential modernist novels. “We do not have too much intellect and too little soul, but too little intellect in matters of the soul.”, Robert Musil, Helpless Europe (1922) Youth and Education Robert Mathias Musil was born in Klagenfurt, Carinthia,…
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Carl Auer von Welsbach enlightened the Streets of Europe

Carl Auer von Welsbach enlightened the Streets of Europe

On September 1, 1858, Austrian inventor Carl Auer von Welsbach was born. Von Welsbach is particularly well known for his work on rare earth elements, which led to the development of the flint used in modern lighters, the gas mantle which brought light to the streets of Europe in the late 19th century, and for the development of the metal filament light bulb. Family, Youth, and Education Carl Auer von Welsbach’s father Alois Auer…
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Eduard Suess and the Study of Tectonics

Eduard Suess and the Study of Tectonics

On August 20, 1831, Austrian geologist Eduard Suess was born. Suess was an expert on the geography of the Alps and helped lay the basis for paleogeography and tectonics, i.e. the study of the architecture and evolution of the Earth‘s outer rocky shell. He is responsible for hypothesising two major former geographical features, the supercontinent Gondwana (proposed in 1861) and the Tethys Ocean. Eduard Suess was born in London into the large family…
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