England

The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

The Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson

On November 13, 1850, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer Robert Louis Stevenson was born. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stephenson is ranked the 26th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Oscar Wilde [1] and Edgar Allan Poe [2]. I don’t know how it is for you,…
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William Stukeley and the Mystery of Stonehenge

William Stukeley and the Mystery of Stonehenge

On November 7, 1687, English antiquarian and Anglican clergyman William Stukeley was born. He pioneered the archaeological investigation of the prehistoric monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, work for which he has been remembered as probably the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology. Stukeley was also one of the first biographers of Isaac Newton, of whom he was a friend. William Stukeley – Early Years William Stukeley was born in Holbeach in…
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Sir Edward Sabine and the Earth’s Magnetic Field

Sir Edward Sabine and the Earth’s Magnetic Field

On October 14, 1788, Irish astronomer, geophysicist, ornithologist, explorer, soldier and the 30th President of the Royal Society Sir Edward Sabine was born. His aim was to study the shape of the Earth and its magnetic field. He led the effort to establish a system of magnetic observatories in various parts of British territory all over the globe, and much of his life was devoted to their direction, and to analyzing their…
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The Origins of the Greenwich Prime Meridian

The Origins of the Greenwich Prime Meridian

On October 13, 1884, Greenwich was adopted as the universal meridian, dividing the Earth into the Eastern and the Western hemisphere. At the International Meridian Conference held in Washington, D.C., 22 countries voted to adopt the Greenwich meridian as the prime meridian of the world. The French argued for a neutral line, mentioning the Azores and the Bering Strait but eventually abstained and continued to use the Paris meridian until 1911. The British Meridian Before…
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Karl Nessler and the Invention of Permanent Waves

Karl Nessler and the Invention of Permanent Waves

On October 8, 1906, German inventor Karl Ludwig Nessler presented his newly invented apparatus to produce permanent waves in his hairdresser salon in Oxford Street, London. Karl Nessler Education and Training Karl Nessler was the son of the shoemaker Bartholomäus Nessler and his wife Rosina (née Laitner) from the Black Forest town of Todtnau below the Feldberg. The idea for the permanent wave allegedly came to him already in his youth. It…
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The Waterways of James Brindley

The Waterways of James Brindley

On September 30, 1772, English engineer and pioneer canal builder James Brindley probably passed away. One of the most notable engineers of the 18th century, he is best known for the construction of the first English canal of major economic importance. James Brindley – Early Years James Brindley, was born in 1716 in Tunstead, Derbyshire, the son of a wealthy farming and artisan family. He grew up in the then undeveloped region of…
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Horace Walpole and the Rise of the Gothic Novel

Horace Walpole and the Rise of the Gothic Novel

On September 24, 1717, English art historian, man of letters, antiquarian, connoisseur, and collector as well as Whig politician Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford was born. Walpole built Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, south-west London, reviving the Gothic style some decades before his Victorian successors. Moreover, he was famous in his day for his medieval horror tale The Castle of Otranto, which initiated the vogue for Gothic romances. He is remembered…
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Charles Thomas Newton and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Charles Thomas Newton and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

On September 16, 1816, British archeologist Sir Charles Thomas Newton was born. Newton excavated sites in southwestern Turkey and disinterred the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (at present-day Bodrum, Turkey). Newton also helped to establish systematic methods for archaeology. Charles Thomas Newton – A Career in Archaeology Charles Thomas Newton was born the second son of Newton Dickinson Hand Newton, vicar of Clungunford, Shropshire. He was…
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Thomas Sydenham – the English Hipocrates

Thomas Sydenham – the English Hipocrates

On September 10, 1624, English physician Thomas Sydenham was born. He was the author of Observationes Medicae which became a standard textbook of medicine for two centuries so that he became known as ‘The English Hippocrates’. Among his many achievements was the discovery of a disease, Sydenham’s Chorea, also known as St Vitus Dance. Thomas Sydenham’s struggles with the medical degree Thomas Sydenham was born at Wynford Eagle in Dorset, the son…
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Edward Appleton and the Discovery of the Ionosphere

Edward Appleton and the Discovery of the Ionosphere

On September 6, 1892, English physicist Sir Edward Victor Appleton was born. Appleton won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1947 for his seminal work proving the existence of the ionosphere during experiments carried out in 1924. “I am only a physicist with nothing material to show for my labours. I have never even seen the ionosphere, although I have worked on the subject for thirty years. That does show how lucky people can…
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