baroque

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

On December 1, 1709, Abraham a Sancta Clara, Austrian divine, court preacher and author passed away. Born as Johann Ulrich Megerle, he has been described “a very eccentric but popular Augustinian monk” and had earned great reputation for pulpit eloquence, the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humor, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular.…
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Georg Ernst Stahl and the Phlogiston Theory

Georg Ernst Stahl and the Phlogiston Theory

On October 22, 1659, German chemist, physician and philosopher Georg Ernst Stahl was born. Stahl developed the phlogiston theory of combustion and of such related biological processes as respiration, fermentation, and decay. Combustible objects, he said, were rich in phlogiston, and during combustion is lost. The remaining ash, now having no phlogiston, could no longer burn. Until the late 18th century his works on phlogiston were accepted as an explanation for chemical…
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Giovanni Battista Morgagni and the Science of Anatomy

Giovanni Battista Morgagni and the Science of Anatomy

On February 25, 1682, Italian anatomist Giovanni Battista Morgagni was born. His works helped to make anatomy an exact science. Thus, he often is celebrated as the father of modern anatomical pathology. Giovanni Battista Morgagni was born at Forli, in the Romagna and received a decent scientific education from early years. Already at the age of 14, Morgagni managed to read verses of his compositions and take part in debating philosophical questions at the…
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Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

Nicolas Steno and the Principles of Modern Geology

In January, 1638, Danish Catholic bishop and scientist Nicolas Steno was born. He was both a pioneer in both anatomy and geology, and seriously questioned accepted knowledge of the natural world. Importantly he questioned explanations for tear production, the idea that fossils grew in the ground and explanations of rock formation. By some he is considered the founder of modern stratigraphy and modern geology. “Beautiful is what we see, More Beautiful is what…
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Vitus Bering and his Arctic Expeditions

Vitus Bering and his Arctic Expeditions

On December 19, 1741, (or December 8 according to the pre-Gregorian calendar), Danish explorer and officer in the Russian Navy Vitus Jonassen Bering passed away. He is known for his two explorations of the north-eastern coast of the Asian continent and from there the western coast on the North American continent. The Bering Strait, the Bering Sea, Bering Island, the Bering Glacier and the Bering Land Bridge have since all been (posthumously) named…
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John Ray and the Classification of Plants

John Ray and the Classification of Plants

On November 29, 1627, English naturalist John Ray was born. He published important works on botany, zoology, and natural theology. His classification of plants in his Historia Plantarum, was an important step towards modern taxonomy. He advanced scientific empiricism against the deductive rationalism of the scholastics and was the first to give a biological definition of the term species. During his childhood, John Ray enjoyed watching his father working in the forge…
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William Stukeley and the Mystery of Stonehenge

William Stukeley and the Mystery of Stonehenge

Stonehenge, photo: wikipedia On November 7, 1687, English antiquarian and Anglican clergyman William Stukeley was born. He pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as probably the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology. Stukeley was also one of the first biographers of Isaac Newton, of whom he was a friend. William Stukeley was born in Holbeach in Lincolnshire, as…
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Giovanni Maria Lancisi and his Medical Discoveries

Giovanni Maria Lancisi and his Medical Discoveries

Giovanni Maria Lancisi (1654-1720) On October 26, 1654, Italian physician, epidemiologist and anatomist Giovanni Maria Lancisi was born. A personal physician to three popes, he is considered the first modern hygienist. He made a correlation between the presence of mosquitoes and the prevalence of malaria. He was also known for his studies about cardiovascular diseases, and is remembered in the eponymous Lancisi’s sign. Giovanni Maria Lancisi, also often referred to under his…
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Bernard Siegfried Albinus and his Anatomic Works

Bernard Siegfried Albinus and his Anatomic Works

Bernhard Siegfried Albinus: Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani. London 1749. On September 9, 1770, German anatomist Bernard Siegfried Albinus passed away. He was the first to show the connection of the vascular systems of the mother and the fetus. He is best known for the excellent drawings in his Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani (1747; “Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body”). Bernard Siegfried Weiss was born in…
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Richard Mead and the Understanding of Transmissible Diseases

Richard Mead and the Understanding of Transmissible Diseases

On August 11, 1673, English physician Richard Mead was born. His work, A Short Discourse concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Method to be used to prevent it, was of historic importance in the understanding of transmissible diseases. Richard Mead was mostly educated at home by his father and a private tutor, who also lived with them. He moved to Leyden in 1692 in order to study at the local University and decided to…
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