England

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. “I cannot but look upon the strange Instinct of this noisome and troublesome…
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Nicholas Culpeper and the Complete Herbs of England

Nicholas Culpeper and the Complete Herbs of England

On October 18, 1616, English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper was born. Culpeper spent the greater part of his life in the English outdoors cataloging hundreds of medicinal herbs. Thus, he is best known for his publication of Complete Herbal (1653), a comprehensive listing of English medicinal herbs and their uses, which still is in print today. “I cannot build my faith upon Author’s words, nor believe a thing because they…
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Peter Barlow and the Barlow Lenses

Peter Barlow and the Barlow Lenses

On October 13, 1776, British mathematician and physicist Peter Barlow was born. He is still reknown today for his development of two varieties of achromatic (non-colour-distorting) telescope lenses, the so-called Barlow lenses. Opinions derived from long experience are exceedingly valuable, and outweigh all others, while they are consistent with facts and with each other; but they are worse than useless when they lead, as in this instance, to directly opposite opinions. – Peter…
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Henry Cavendish and the Weight of the Earth

Henry Cavendish and the Weight of the Earth

On October 10, 1731, British natural philosopher Henry Cavendish was born. A scientist as well as an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist, Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called “inflammable air“. Most notably, he determined the mass and density of the Earth. Henry Cavendish Henry Cavendish was born in Nice and attended a private school near London. He enrolled the University of Cambridge, but left without…
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The Rarest in the World – The Blue Mauritius

The Rarest in the World – The Blue Mauritius

On September 21, 1847, the famous Mauritius “Post Office” stamps were issued by the British Colony Mauritius. They are among the rarest postage stamps in the world and a letter with both stamps on its cover is estimated to be worth more than 4 Million US$. Mauritius Postal Service The first official postal service on Mauritius existed already in 1772.  Since 1810 the island was a British colony, before that it was…
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John Goodricke and the Variable Star of Beta Persei

John Goodricke and the Variable Star of Beta Persei

On September 17, 1764, English amateur astronomer John Goodricke was born. He is best known for his observations of the variable star Algol (Beta Persei) in 1782. He was also first to correctly propose that the distant sun is periodically occulted by a dark body. John Goodricke Background Not much is known about John Goodricke. Clear is only that the astronomer was deaf and passed away very early at the age of…
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John Dalton and the Origins of the Atomic Theory

John Dalton and the Origins of the Atomic Theory

On September 6, 1766, English chemist, meteorologist and physicist John Dalton was born. He is best known for his pioneering work in the development of modern atomic theory, and his research into colour blindness. He also recognised that the aurora borealis was an electrical phenomenon. “Philosophers are generally persuaded, that the sensations of heat and cold are occasioned by the presence or absence, in degree, of certain principle or quality denominated fire or…
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William Dampier – The Buccanneer who became Explorer of Australia

William Dampier – The Buccanneer who became Explorer of Australia

On September 5, 1651, British explorer and natural historian William Dampier was probably born. He was the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. He has also been described as Australia‘s first natural historian. William Dampier – From Buccaneer to Explorer William Dampier was the son of a farmer and took part in two voyages to Newfoundland and Java before joining…
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Sir Bernard Lovell and the Radioastronomy

Sir Bernard Lovell and the Radioastronomy

On August 31, 1913, English physicist and radio astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell was born. He was a pioneer in radar and radio telescopes and especially renowned for creating the Jodrell Bank radio telescope, the only antenna that could track rockets in space in the early years of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. “Out of all possible universes, the only one which can exist, in the sense that…
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Brook Taylor – Forerunner of Differential Calculus

Brook Taylor – Forerunner of Differential Calculus

On August 18, 1685, EnglishmathematicianBrook Taylor was born. He is best known for Taylor’s theorem and the Taylor series, a method for expanding functions into infinite series. “It is generally thought very ridiculous to pretend to write an Heroic Poem, or a fine Discourse upon any Subject, without understanding the Propriety of the Language wrote in; and to me it seems no less ridiculous for one to pretend to make a good Picture without…
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