England

William Morris – Decorative Artist and Socialist Activist

William Morris – Decorative Artist and Socialist Activist

On March 24, 1834, British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator, and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement William Morris was born. He was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he played a significant role proliferating the early socialist movement in Britain. “If you want a golden rule that…
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John Snow – Tracing the Source of the London Cholera Outbreak

John Snow – Tracing the Source of the London Cholera Outbreak

On March 15, 1813, English physician and a leader in the adoption of anaesthesia and medical hygiene John Snow was born. He is considered one of the fathers of modern epidemiology, in part because of his work in tracing the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, in 1854. Growing Up in a Poor Neighborhood John Snow was born on 15 March 1813 in York, England, the first of nine children born to William…
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Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

Michael Polanyi’s Criticism on Positivism

On March 11, 1891, Hungarian-British polymath Michael Polanyi was born. Polanyi made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy. He argued that positivism supplies a false account of knowing, which if taken seriously undermines humanity’s highest achievements. “When order is achieved among human beings by allowing them to interact with each other on their own initiative — subject only to the laws which uniformly apply to all of them —…
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John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

John Mercer and the Cotton Mercerisation

On February 21, 1791, English dye and fabric chemist John Mercer was born. He invented the mercerisation process for treating cotton which is still in use today and was a pioneer in colour photography. Background John Mercer John Mercer grew up in Lancashire, England. He entered the textile industry as a bobbin-winder when he was still a boy. His father died in 1802, and the family were left very poor. John moved about…
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Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots

On February 18, (or February 8 according to the old Julian calendar), 1587,  Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed after having found guilty of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. In the Western world, we all might have heard about the rivalry of Queen Elizabeth I [5] and Mary, Queen of Scots. I have learned about the story back at high school in my German lessons, when we were reading Friedrich Schillers ‘Maria…
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Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

Isaac Casaubon – The Most Learned Man in Europe

On February 15, 1559, French classical scholar and philologist Isaac Casaubon was born. Casaubon is known among philologists and historians of philosophy today above all for his proof in De rebus sacris et ecclesiasticis exercitationes XVI (1614, London) that the so-called Corpus Hermeticum could not have been created earlier than the first century AD. He was regarded by many of his time as the most learned man in Europe. Isaac Causaubon –…
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John Lindley and his Attempts to Formulate a Natural System of Plant Classification

John Lindley and his Attempts to Formulate a Natural System of Plant Classification

On February 5, 1799, English botanist, gardener and orchidologist John Lindley was born. His attempts to formulate a natural system of plant classification greatly aided the transition from the artificial (considering the characters of single parts) to the natural system (considering all characters of a plant). He made the first definitive orchid classification in 1830. John Lindley Background John Lindley was born in Catton, near Norwich, England, as one of four children…
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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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Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method

Sir Francis Bacon and the Scientific Method

On January 22, 1561, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author Sir Francis Bacon was born. Bacon has been called the creator of empiricism. His works established and popularized inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry. “Knowledge, that tendeth but to satisfaction, is but as a courtesan, which is for pleasure, and not for fruit or generation.” — Francis Bacon, as quoted in Valerius Terminus: Of the Interpretation of Nature (ca. 1603) Scholasticism…
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Sir Henry Bessemer and the Secret of Steel

Sir Henry Bessemer and the Secret of Steel

On January 19, 1813, English engineer, inventor, and businessman Sir Henry Bessemer was born. Bessemer’s name is chiefly known in connection with the Bessemer process, the first process for manufacturing steel inexpensively (1856), leading to the development of the Bessemer converter. Henry Bessemer’s Background Henry Bessemer was born on January 19, 1813 in Charlton, Hertfordshire, England. He was the son of an engineer and typefounder and he showed a great interest in making…
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