England

The long tradition of the Annual Boat Race of Oxford and Cambridge

The long tradition of the Annual Boat Race of Oxford and Cambridge

On June 10th 1829 the very first of now legendary annual boat races of Oxford and Cambridge on the river Thames took place. The race came about because two friends from Harrow School, Charles Wordsworth (nephew of the poet William Wordsworth and later bishop of St Andrews), of Christ Church College, Oxford, and Charles Merrivale of St. John’s, Cambridge, met during the vacation in Cambridge, where Wordsworth’s father was master of Trinity. Wordsworth went…
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Thomas Savery and the Invention of Steam Power

Thomas Savery and the Invention of Steam Power

At about 1650, English inventor and engineer Thomas Savery was born. Savery invented the first commercially used steam powered powered device, a steam pump which is often referred to as an “engine“. Savery‘s “engine” was a revolutionary method of pumping water, which solved the problem of mine drainage and made widespread public water supply practical. Thomas Savery became a military engineer and was promoted to Captain in 1702. He used to spend his…
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Edward Gibbon and the Science of History

Edward Gibbon and the Science of History

On April 27, 1737, English historian and Member of Parliament Edward Gibbon was born. His most famous work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose as well as for its scientific historic accuracy, which made it a model for later historians. History is little more than the register…
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Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Brush Up Your Shakespeare

On April 26, 1564, English poet and playwright William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world‘s pre-eminent dramatist. Shakespeare‘s works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, two epitaphs, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other…
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The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

On April 17, 1761, English mathematician and Presbyterian minister Thomas Bayes passed away. He is best known as name giver of the Bayes’ theorem, of which he had developed a special case. It expresses (in the Bayesian interpretation) how a subjective degree of belief should rationally change to account for evidence, and finds application in in fields including science, engineering, economics (particularly microeconomics), game theory, medicine and law. “[My favourite fellow of the…
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Titanic – the Unsinkable Ship and the Iceberg

Titanic – the Unsinkable Ship and the Iceberg

On April 15, 1912, 2:20 AM, British passenger liner Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, US, causing more than 1,500 deaths. The Largest Vessel of the White Star Line The RMS Titanic was one of the largest vessels of the White Star Line with a length of 269.06m (882 feet) and a total weight of 46,328 gross…
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William Buckland’s Eccentricities and the Discovery of Megalosaurus

William Buckland’s Eccentricities and the Discovery of Megalosaurus

On March 12, 1784, English theologian, geologist and eccentric palaeontologist William Buckland was born, who wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. “Geology holds the keys of one of the kingdoms of nature; and it cannot be said that a science which extends our Knowledge, and by consequence our Power, over a third part of nature, holds a low place among intellectual employments.” — William Buckland, as…
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George Frideric Handel – A Prolific Musical Genius

George Frideric Handel – A Prolific Musical Genius

On March 5, 1685, German-born British Baroque composer George Frideric Handel was born, who is famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Interestingly, Händel is born in the very same year as Johann Sebastian Bach [4] or Domenico Scarlatti. Nevertheless, Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time with works like the Water Music or The Messiah that remain popular until today. “You have taken far too much trouble…
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Thomas Bodley and the Bodleian Library

Thomas Bodley and the Bodleian Library

On March 2, 1544, English diplomat and scholar Sir Thomas Bodley was born. His greatest achievement was the re-founding of the library at Oxford that was named in his honor. Moreover, he established new ideas and practices library of which also modern libraries still benefit today. The Roots of the Bodleian Library The Bodleian Library is the main research library of the University of Oxford and it is one of the oldest…
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Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

On February 26 (or maybe also 24), 1664, English inventor Thomas Newcomen was born, who created the first practical steam engine for pumping water, the Newcomen steam engine. Steam Engines As we know from a previous article on James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution [5], Watt was the one improving Newcomen‘s engine in the 18th and 19th century. Since the knowledge about the power of working with steam had been around for…
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