France

Xavier Bichat – the Father of Histology

Xavier Bichat – the Father of Histology

On November 14, 1771, French anatomist and pathologist Marie François Xavier Bichat was born. Bichat is known as the father of histology. Although working without the microscope, Bichat distinguished 21 types of elementary tissues from which the organs of human body are composed. “Life is that group of functions which resist death.” – Marie François Xavier Bichat Francois Xavier Bichat – Youth and Education François Xavier Bichat was born the son of the doctor…
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Alexandre Darracq – An Automotive Pioneer who Didn’t Like to Drive

Alexandre Darracq – An Automotive Pioneer who Didn’t Like to Drive

On November 10, 1855, French investor, engineer, cycle manufacturer and automobile manufacturer Alexandre Darracq was born. By 1904, Darracq was producing more than ten percent of all automobiles in France. Producing 1600 vehicles, he was even the most successful car manufacturer in the world. Alexandre Darracq – From Sewing Machines to Automobiles Born Pierre Alexandre Darracq in Bordeaux, France, of Basque parents, he trained as a draftsman at the Arsenal in Tarbes,…
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Raymond Loewy – the Father of Streamlining

Raymond Loewy – the Father of Streamlining

On November 5, 1893, French-born American industrial designer Raymond Loewy was born. Loewy achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. He is known as the “Father of Streamlining.” Among his designs were the Shell, Exxon, TWA and the former BP logos, the Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, Coca-Cola vending machines, the Lucky Strike package, Coldspot refrigerators, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion, and the Air Force One livery. Raymond…
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Jean Baptiste Perrin and the Brownian Motion

Jean Baptiste Perrin and the Brownian Motion

On September 30, 1870, French physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin was born. In his studies of the Brownian motion of minute particles suspended in liquids, Perrin verified Albert Einstein’s explanation of this phenomenon and thereby confirmed the atomic nature of matter. Jean Baptiste Perrin – Biographical Background Jean Baptiste Perrin was born in Lille, France, while his father, Captain Jean Baptiste Perrin, wounded at the battle of Saint-Privat, was locked up in Metz…
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The Comte de Caylus and the Birth of Archaeology

The Comte de Caylus and the Birth of Archaeology

On September 5, 1765, French antiquarian, proto-archaeologist and man of letters Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d’Esternay, baron de Bransac, was born. The Comte de Caylus is credited with being the first to conceive archaeology as a scientific discipline. Caylus was also a painter and an engraver, and he is also credited with finding a new process to inlay colors in marble. The Comte de…
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Maurice René Fréchet and the Theory of Abstract Spaces

Maurice René Fréchet and the Theory of Abstract Spaces

On September 2, 1878, French mathematician Maurice René Fréchet was born. Fréchet is known chiefly for his contribution to real analysis. He is credited with being the founder of the theory of abstract spaces, which generalized the traditional mathematical definition of space as a locus for the comparison of figures; in Fréchet‘s terms, space is defined as a set of points and the set of relations. He also made several important contributions…
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Charles Richet and his Work on Anaphylaxis

Charles Richet and his Work on Anaphylaxis

On August 26, 1850, French physiologist and Nobel Laureate Charles Robert Richet was born. Initially, he investigated a variety of subjects such as neurochemistry, digestion, thermoregulation in homeothermic animals, and breathing. He coined the term “anaphylaxis” meaning “against protection” to describe the subject of his research, when he found a second vaccinating dose of sea anemone toxin caused a dog’s death. Charles Richet won the Nobel Prize in recognition of his work on anaphylaxis in 1913. Charles…
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Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

When watching the total eclipse on August 18, 1868 in Madras, British India, French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered the new chemical element Helium. Janssen also is credited with discovering the gaseous nature of the solar chromosphere. Youth and Education Janssen was born in Paris in 1824. An accident when he was young left him extremely lame and it is for this reason that he was unable to go to school. He studied at…
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Alberto Santos-Dumont – the Brazilian Father of Aviation

Alberto Santos-Dumont – the Brazilian Father of Aviation

On July 20, 1873, Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont was born. Santos-Dumont designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, his rising fame in this field culminating in his winning of the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 on a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower. Santos-Dumont then constructed a heavier-than-air aircraft, the 14-bis, in which on 23 October 1906, he made the first powered heavier-than-air flight…
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The Marquise de Brinvilliers and the Affair of the Poisons

The Marquise de Brinvilliers and the Affair of the Poisons

On July 16, 1676, French aristocrat Marie-Madeleine Marguerite d’Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers was found guilty of murder, convicted on the strength of letters written by her dead lover and a confession obtained by torture. Her trial and the scandal which followed it launched the notourious Affair of the Poisons, which saw several French aristocrats charged with witchcraft and poisoning. We’ve already had a focus on Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, aka La Voisin, a midwife…
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