baroque

Joseph Sauveur and the Science of Acoustics

Joseph Sauveur and the Science of Acoustics

On March 24, 1653, French mathematician and physicist Joseph Sauveur was born. Sauveur is known principally for his detailed studies on acoustics, a term he also has coined for the first time. Joseph Sauveur was the son of a provincial notary in La Fléche, France. Despite a hearing and speech impairment that kept him totally mute until he was seven, Joseph benefited from a fine education at the Jesuit College of La…
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Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

Peter the Great and the Grand Embassy

On March 10, 1697, Russian Tsar Peter the Great began his diplomatic mission to Western Europe, referred to as the ‘Grand Embassy‘. The goal of this mission was to strengthen and broaden Russia‘s influence in Western Europe and to find allies against the Ottoman Empire. What makes the mission so special is that Peter the Great led the mission himself, but incognito under a wrong name. Becoming Russian Tsar At the age…
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The Rise and Fall of the British East India Company

The Rise and Fall of the British East India Company

On December 31, 1600, the British East India Company (EIC) received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies pursuing trade with the East Indies. The Foundation Already 12 years before, the Spanish Armada was defeated and merchants turned to the Queen, asking for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean, which was granted. Some smaller companies formed, but several ships got lost…
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Otto von Guericke and the Horror of Vacuum

Otto von Guericke and the Horror of Vacuum

Caspar Schott’s illustation of the vacuum experiment On November 30, 1602, German scientist, inventor, and politician Otto von Guericke was born. One of his major scientific achievements was the establishment of the physics of vacuums, which he gave proof of in a very famous public experiment. Otto von Guericke enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 1617 and continued his studies in law and engineering later on in Helmstedt, Jena, and Leiden.…
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The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge

Burlington House, where the Royal Society was based between 1873 and 1967 On November 28, 1660, at Gresham College, London, UK, 12 men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, a learned society for science, and possibly the oldest such society still in existence. It is said that everything started with…
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Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

On November 11, 1675, German mathematician and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x). Integral calculus is part of infinitesimal calculus, which in addition also comprises differential calculus. In general, infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding tangent lines to curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. Today, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz…
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The Peace of Westphalia and the End of the Thirty Year’s War

The Peace of Westphalia and the End of the Thirty Year’s War

The Ratification of the Treaty of Munster, Painting by Gerard Ter Borch (1648) On October 24, 1648, the signing of the Peace of Westphalia treaty in Osnabrück and Münster put an end to Europe’s Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War (1568 – 1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic. “In the name…
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Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) On October 11, 1616, German Baroque lyric poet and dramatist Andreas Gryphius was born. For his poems and tragedies Gryphius chose the topics of pain and moral decay during the times of the Thirty Years War as well as human restlessness, solitude and inner conflicts. Unless you have attended a German highschool or have a strong interest in baroque poetry, you might have never heard of Andreas Gryphius. Back…
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Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer at work On October 5, 1644 (or according to the old julian calendar September 25), Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer was born. He is best known for making the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light. Ole Rømer enrolled at the University of Copenhagen in the 1660s and learned from famous scientists like Rasmus Bartholin. Bartholin discovered double refraction of a light ray by Iceland spar and became famous…
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The Great Fire of London

The Great Fire of London

Illustration of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter From Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666, a major conflagration swept through the central parts of the English city of London, destroying the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall. The social and economic problems created by the disaster were overwhelming. Evacuation from London and resettlement elsewhere were strongly encouraged by Charles II, who feared a…
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