England

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

Sir Hans Sloane and his famous Collection

On January 11, 1753, Irish born British physician, naturalist and collector Sir Hans Sloane passed away. Sloane is foremost known for bequeathing his collection to the nation, thus providing the foundation of the British Museum. “The knowledge of Natural-History, being Observation of Matters of Fact, is more certain than most others, and in my slender Opinion, less subject to Mistakes than Reasonings, Hypotheses, and Deductions are;. . . These are things we…
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William Hedley – Puffing Billy and the Rise of Railway Transportation

William Hedley – Puffing Billy and the Rise of Railway Transportation

On January 9, 1843, British coal-mine official and inventor William Hedley passed away. Hedley was probably the first to build a commercially useful steam locomotive dependent on friction between wheels and rails as opposed to using a geared track. In 1813, he constructed the famous Puffing Billy, the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive. Early Railways There have been ruts to guide carts on roads since prehistoric times. The development that led to the railway, however,…
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Alfred Russel Wallace and the Natural Selection

Alfred Russel Wallace and the Natural Selection

On January 8, 1823, British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist Alfred Russel Wallace was born. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection; his paper on the subject was jointly published with some of Charles Darwin‘s writings in 1858. This prompted Darwin to publish his own ideas in On the Origin of Species [5,6]. “Every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time…
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Sir Percivall Pott and his Efforts in Early Cancer Research

Sir Percivall Pott and his Efforts in Early Cancer Research

On January 6, 1714, English surgeon Sir Percivall Pott was born. Pott is considered one of the founders of orthopedy, and the first scientist to demonstrate that a cancer may be caused by an environmental carcinogen. Percivall Pott – Early Years Percivall Pott was raised by his mother and Joseph Wilcocks, the bishop of Rochester, since his father died when he was still young. Pott attended a private school in Kent and…
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Samuel Morland and his Calculator Machine

Samuel Morland and his Calculator Machine

On December 30, 1695, English academic, diplomat, spy, inventor and mathematician Samuel Morland passed away. Morland was a polymath credited with early developments in relation to computing, hydraulics and steam power. He is probably best known for his designs of early calculator machines. Youth and Education Samuel Morland was born in Sulhamstead Bannister, Berkshire, England, the son of Thomas Morland, the rector of Sulhamstead Bannister parish church in Berkshire. Morland entered Winchester…
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The second Voyage of the HMS Beagle

The second Voyage of the HMS Beagle

On December 27, 1831, the HMS. Beagle set sail from Plymouth Sound under captain Robert FitzRoy [4] with the young graduate Charles Darwin on board for her 5 years voyage. By the end of the expedition Charles Darwin had already made his name as a geologist and fossil collector, and the publication of his journal which became known as The Voyage of the Beagle gave him wide renown as a writer.[5,6] The HM.S.…
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James Prescott Joule and the True Nature of Heat

James Prescott Joule and the True Nature of Heat

On December 24, 1818, English physicist and brewer, James Prescott Joule was born. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work. This led to the law of conservation of energy, which led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics. The SI derived unit of energy, the joule, is named after James Joule. “My object has been, first to discover correct principles and then to suggest their practical…
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Sir William Hamilton and the Volcanoes

Sir William Hamilton and the Volcanoes

On December 13, 1730, Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist Sir William Hamilton was born. Hamilton served as British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples from 1764 to 1800, where he studied the volcanoes Vesuvius and also Etna on Sicily. William Hamilton – Early Years Hamilton was born in either London or at Park Place, Berkshire, the fourth son of Lord Archibald Hamilton, governor of Jamaica, and Lady Jane Hamilton. His mother…
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William Blake – Poet, Painter, Visionary

William Blake – Poet, Painter, Visionary

On November 28, 1757, English poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake was born. Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual art of the Romantic Age. Both his artistic and literary works were largely rejected by his contemporaries. It was not until the mid-19th century that his very innovative works were discovered by the Pre-Raphaelites, gained general recognition, and later became popular in pop culture.…
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Marc Aurel Stein and the Dunhuang Caves

Marc Aurel Stein and the Dunhuang Caves

On November 26, 1862, Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein was born. Stein is primarily known for his explorations and archaeological discoveries in Central Asia. Stein was also an ethnographer, geographer, linguist and surveyor. His collection of books and manuscripts taken from Dunhuang caves is important for the study of the history of Central Asia and the art and literature of Buddhism. When the Dunhuang Caves, China, closed for centuries, were reopened,…
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