enlightenment

Deodat de Dolomieu and the Love for Rocks

Deodat de Dolomieu and the Love for Rocks

On June 23, 1750, French geologist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu was born. He is best known for his field research in mineralogy. The mineral and the rock dolomite and the largest summital crater on the Piton de la Fournaise volcano were named after him. Déodat de Dolomieu, a Non-Actualistic Catastrophist Déodat de Dolomieu grew up in the Alps of southeastern France and showed early interest in his surrounding nature. However, he started a…
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Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

On May 10, 1746, French mathematician Gaspard Monge, Comte de Péluse was born. He is best known for being the inventor of descriptive geometry as the mathematical basis of technical drawing, and being the father of differential geometry. During the French Revolution Monge served as the Minister of the Marine, and was involved in the reform of the French educational system, helping to found the École Polytechnique. “Descriptive geometry has two objects: the first is…
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Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

Adolph von Knigge and the Art of Human Relations

On May 6, 1796, Freiherr Adolph Franz Friedrich Ludwig Knigge passed away. In Germany, Knigge is best remembered for his book ‘Über den Umgang mit Menschen‘ (On Human Relations), a treatise on the fundamental principles of human relations that has the reputation of being the authoritative guide to behaviour, politeness, and etiquette. “Without inspiration, which fills the soul with a healthy warmth, nothing great can ever be brought to pass.” — Adolph…
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Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

Samuel Johnson and his Famous Dictionary

On April 15, 1755, after nine years of intensive labor, Samuel Johnson publishes his “Dictionary of the English Language”, sometimes published as Johnson‘s Dictionary. It is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. I am not yet so lost in lexicography, as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of heaven. Language is only the instrument of science, and…
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Emanuel Swedenborg Visions of the Afterlife

Emanuel Swedenborg Visions of the Afterlife

On March 29, 1772, Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg passed away. He is best known for his book on the afterlife, Heaven and Hell (1758). From Swedenborg’s inventive and mechanical genius came his method of finding terrestrial longitude by the Moon, new methods of constructing docks and even tentative suggestions for the submarine and the airplane. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741, at…
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The Letters of Giambattista Bodoni

The Letters of Giambattista Bodoni

On February 16, 1749, Italian typographer Giambattista Bodoni was born. He also was a type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher. Bodoni designed many type-faces, each one in a large range of type sizes. He is even more admired as a compositor than as a type-designer, as the large range of sizes which he cut enabled him to compose his pages with the greatest possible subtlety of spacing. Early Work In his early working…
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Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

Immanuel Kant – Philosopher of the Enlightenment

On February 12, 1804, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant passed away. He is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that human concepts and categories structure our view of the world and its laws, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to hold a major influence in contemporary thought, especially in fields such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. The problem…
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Christian Wolff and the German Enlightenment

Christian Wolff and the German Enlightenment

On January 24, 1679, German philosopher Christian Wolff was born. One of the most important philosophers of the Enlightenment between Leibniz and Kant, he is one of the most important representatives of natural law and is regarded as the actual founder of 19th-century jurisprudence on concepts. German philosophy owes its terminological foundation to him; many of the terms he defined, such as consciousness, meaning, or attention, were later adopted into everyday language.…
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Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

Carl Wilhelm Scheele and the Discovery of Oxygen

On December 19, 1742 (Gregorian Calendar), Swedish Pomeranian pharmaceutical chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born. Scheele is best known for his discovery of oxygen and other chemical elements. Early Years Carl Wilhelm Scheele was born in Stralsund, which was back then under the control of Sweden, but belongs to Germany on this day. During his childhood, friends of the family taught him reading prescriptions and equipped him with further chemical knowledge. At the…
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A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

A great man whose only fault was being a woman – Émilie du Châtelet

On December 17, 1706, French mathematician, physicist, and author Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet was born. Her major achievement is considered to be her translation and commentary on Isaac Newton‘s work Principia Mathematica, which still is the standard French translation of Newton‘s work today. Philosopher and author Voltaire, one of her lovers, once declared in a letter to his friend King Frederick II of Prussia that du Châtelet…
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