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Victor Franz Hess and the Cosmic Radiation

Victor Franz Hess and the Cosmic Radiation

On August 7, 1912, Austrian physicist Victor Franz Hess provided evidence of a high-altitude radiation in one of his balloon rides, which later was called cosmic radiation. Together with Carl Anderson, he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of cosmic radiation. What causes Ionization of the Air? Victor Franz Hess was educated in Graz, Austria. There, he attended the grammar school and the University of Graz. At the Physical…
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Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Creation of the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Creation of the Pencil

On August 4, 1755, French painter, inventor, army officer and balloonist, Nicolas-Jacques Conté was born. Among others, he is credited with the invention of the modern pencil. Moreover, some consider him one of the greatest inventive minds of the eighteenth century. He distinguished himself for his mechanical genius which was of great avail to the French army in Egypt. Napoleon Bonaparte called him “a universal man with taste, understanding and genius capable of…
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Charles Green and his Record Balloon Flight

Charles Green and his Record Balloon Flight

On January 31, 1785, Charles Green was born, who was United Kingdom’s most famous balloonist of the 19th century. He experimented with coal gas as a cheaper and more readily available alternative to hydrogen for lifting power. In 1836, Green set a major long distance record in the balloon “Royal Vauxhall”, flying overnight from Vauxhall Gardens in London to Weilburg, Duchy of Nassau (Germany) a distance of 770 km. This record was not broken until…
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André-Jacques Garnerin and the First Parachutes

André-Jacques Garnerin and the First Parachutes

On October 22, 1797, French balloonist and inventor André Garnerin, made the first safe descent with a silk parachute from a ballon at Parc Monceau, Paris. Bold Garnerin went up  Which increased his Repute  And came safe to earth  In his Grand Parachute. André Garnerin was a student of Jaques Charles. Charles was a well known ballooning pioneer and launched along with the Robert brothers the very first unmanned hydrogen filled balloon…
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Around the World in a Balloon with Steve Fossett

Around the World in a Balloon with Steve Fossett

On June 19, 2002, American businessman, and a record-setting aviator, sailor, and adventurer Steve Fossett launched the 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom from Northam, Western Australia, for a journey around the world. Steve Fossett Background In his youth, Fossett’s career as an adventurer began when he joined the boy scouts. He began climbing his first mountains and through the years he seeked higher mountains, bigger adventures and longer distances. As an…
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Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the Balloonomania

Jean-Pierre Blanchard and the Balloonomania

On January 7, 1785, French inventor, aviation pioneer and balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English channel in a balloon flying from Dover Castle to Guînes for the first time. After the first balloon flights of the Montgolfier brothers a veritable “baloonomania” evolved with all manner of objects decorated with images of balloons or styled au ballon, from ceramics to fans and hats. Balloonomania Just two years before, the two brothers and business partners, Joseph-Michel…
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How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

Scientists and explorers we are, to boldly go where no man has gone before. If there is one scientist, who might serve as the prototype of an bold explorer, then we have to consider Auguste Piccard, a Swiss professor of physics, who tried to explore the deepest depths of the sea as well as the extreme stratosphere of the earth. And he did this not only in theory, but by experiment (always…
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More than just hot air – the Montgolfier-Balloons

More than just hot air – the Montgolfier-Balloons

The two brothers and business partners, Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier changed history on June 4, 1783, when they presented their hot air balloon for the first time to the public of Annonay, France. The Montgolfiers and the Invention of Aviation Joseph, Ètienne, and their 14 siblings were the children of paper manufacturer Pierre Montgolfier. After the death of the oldest brother Raymond in 1772, it was Ètienne’s turn to run the family…
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Aviatrix Wilhelmine Reichard

Aviatrix Wilhelmine Reichard

On April 16, 1811, Wilhelmine Reichard launched to her first solo flight in a gas balloon, thus becoming Germany`s very first female balloonist. You might remember that in 1783 the brothers Montgolfier already launched the very first balloon, as we reported in our recent blog post ‘More than just Hot Air…‘. [3] Actually, the first passengers were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck that were given the honor to take part…
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Nadar and How Photography became an Art

Nadar and How Photography became an Art

On April 5, 1820, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon better known under his pseudonym Nadar, was born. He is considered to be one of the first grand masters of photography, besides being a caricaturist, a journalist, a novelist, and also a renown balloonist. Early Years Tall, red-haired, with frightened eyes, whimsical to the vagrant youth, Felix Nadar defined himself as “a real daredevil, a jack-of-all-trades, ill-mannered to the point of calling things by their name, and…
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