enlightenment

Francesco Scipione, Marchese di Maffei – Writer, Antiquarian, and Art Critic

Francesco Scipione, Marchese di Maffei – Writer, Antiquarian, and Art Critic

On June 1, 1675, Italian writer and art critic, author, antiquarian and humanist Francesco Scipione, marchese di Maffei was born. His publications on Etruscan antiquities stand as incunabula of Etruscology, he engaged in running skirmishes in print with his rival in the field of antiquities, Antonio Francesco Gori. “The subject of a Tragedy is like that of a Chart, which gives rise to infinite different thoughts” – Francesco Scipione, marchese di Maffei Marchese…
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Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and the White Gold

On April 10, 1719, German mathematician, physicist, physician, and philosopher Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus was born. Among others, he is credited being the first European to discover the secret of the creation of porcelain in 1708. Certainly, the Meissen factory, established 1710 with its director Johann Friedrich Böttger, was the first to produce porcelain in Europe in large quantities and since the recipe was kept a trade secret by Böttger for his company, experiments…
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Jethro Tull and the Agricultural Revolution

Jethro Tull and the Agricultural Revolution

On March 30, 1674, English agricultural pioneer Jethro Tull was baptized. He perfected a horse-drawn seed drill in 1701 that economically sowed the seeds in neat rows. He later developed a horse-drawn hoe. Tull’s methods were adopted by many great land owners and helped to provide the basis for modern agriculture. This revolutionized the future of agricultural success. “All sorts of dung and compost contain some matter which, when mixed with the soil, ferments…
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Nicolas de Condorcet and the Condorcet method

Nicolas de Condorcet and the Condorcet method

On March 28, 1794, French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist Nicolas de Condorcet died a mysterious death in prison after a period of flight from French Revolutionary authorities. He is probably best known for the Condorcet method, which in voting tally selects the candidate who would beat each of the other candidates in a run-off election. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he advocated a liberal economy, free and equal public instruction, constitutionalism,…
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The Idea of Tolerance in the Theatre and Essays of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

The Idea of Tolerance in the Theatre and Essays of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

On January 22, 1708, German author of the enlightenment Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was born. With his dramas and his theoretical writings, which are above all committed to the idea of tolerance, this enlightener showed the further development of the theater a significant path and had a lasting influence on the public impact of literature. Lessing is the first German dramatist whose work is still being performed in theaters without interruption. “The true…
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John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

Probably on December 25, 1724, English natural philosopher and geologist John Michell was born. He is best known as both a theorist and an experimenter, who was the first to propose the effects of gravity on light, later resulting in the physics of general relativity and black holes. John Michell – Background John Michell was born in Eakring, Nottinghamshire, UK, the son of Gilbert Michell, a priest, and Obedience Gerrard. However, his exact…
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Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Probably on November 11, 1729, French admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born. A contemporary of James Cook,[5] he gained fame for his expeditions, the first recorded settlement on the Falkland Islands and his voyages into the Pacific Ocean. The largest of the Solomon Islands is named after him, as is the colorful tropical climbing plant bougainvillaea. Louis Antoine de Bougainville – Early Years Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born in Paris on Rue Barre-du-Bec. His parents were…
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Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

On October 27, 1708, French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born. He is best known for his many stone arch bridges, among them his most popular work, the Paris Pont de la Concorde. “Great bridges being monuments which serve to make known the grandeur and genius of a nation, we cannot pay too much attention to means for perfecting their architecture; this may be varied in treatment, but there must…
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Heinrich Olbers and the Olbers’ Paradox

Heinrich Olbers and the Olbers’ Paradox

On October 11, 1758, German physician and astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers was born. Besides his discovery of coments and minor planets, Olbers is best known for his new method to calculate the velocity of falling stars. Maybe you have also heard of the famous Olbers’ paradox, which asks “why is the night sky dark if there are so many bright stars all around to light it?” Heinrich Olbers Background Heinrich Olbers was born…
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How James Lind, a Pioneer of Clinical Trials, Developed a Cure for Scurvy

How James Lind, a Pioneer of Clinical Trials, Developed a Cure for Scurvy

On October 4, 1714, Scottish physician James Lind was born. He was a pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. By conducting the first ever clinical trial, he developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy. His work advanced the practice of preventive medicine and improved nutrition. James Lind – Early Years James Lind was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to Margaret (Smelum) and James Lind, a prosperous merchant whose wife had medical…
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