France

Scientist and Politician François Arago

Scientist and Politician François Arago

On February 26, 1786, French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer François Arago was born. Arago discovered the principle of the production of magnetism by rotation of a nonmagnetic conductor. He also devised an experiment that proved the wave theory of light and engaged with others in research that led to the discovery of the laws of light polarization. “Connaître, découvrir, communiquer—telle est, au fond, notre honorable destinée. To get to know, to discover, to…
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Luis Buñuel and his Cinema of the Absurd and Desire

Luis Buñuel and his Cinema of the Absurd and Desire

On February 22, 1900, Spanish, later naturalized Mexican, filmmaker Luis Buñuel was born. Often associated with the surrealist movement of the 1920s, Buñuel created films from the 1920s through the 1970s. Having worked in Europe and North America, and in French and Spanish, Buñuel also directed films spanning various genres. His first picture, Un Chien Andalou — made in the silent era — is still viewed regularly throughout the world and retains its…
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Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

Charles Clermont-Ganneau’s Crusade against Archeological Forgeries

On February 19, 1846, French orientalist and archeologist Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau was born. Besides his archeological research and field work, he is best known for his exposition of several archaeological frauds with the British Museum, the Imperial Museum, Berlin, or the Louvre in Paris. Charles Clermont-Ganneau – Early Years Charles Clermont-Ganneau was born in Paris, France, the son of Simon Ganneau, a mystic and sculptor. After the death of his father in…
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Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

Octave Chanute – One of the Fathers of Aviation

On February 18, 1832, French-born American railway engineer and aviation pioneer Octave A. Chanute was born. He provided many budding enthusiasts, including the Wright brothers [6] with help and advice, and helped to publicize their flying experiments. At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine. “Let us hope that the advent of a successful flying machine, now only dimly foreseen and nevertheless thought to be…
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Henri Giffard and the Giffard Dirigible

Henri Giffard and the Giffard Dirigible

On February 8, 1825, French engineer and aviation pioneer Baptiste  Henri Jacques Giffard was born. He is best known for being the first who succeeded to build a steam powered and steerable aircraft, the Giffard dirigible. Henri Giffard – From Locomotives to Balloons Henri Giffard was born in Paris. The tinkerer was enthusiastic about steam engines. After studying at the Collège royal de Bourbon, he began working as a technical draftsman for the…
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Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

Gabriel Voisin – From Aviation to Luxury Cars

On February 5, 1880. French aircraft and automobile designer Gabriel Voisin was born. Voisin was the creator of Europe’s first manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained (1 km), circular, controlled flight. During World War I the company founded by Voisin became a major producer of military aircraft. Subsequently, he switched to the design and production of luxury automobiles under the name Avions Voisin. Gabriel Voisin Gabriel Voisin was born at Belleville-sur-Saône, France. The…
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Gertrude Stein – A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Gertrude Stein – A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose

On February 3, 1874, American writer, publisher, and art collector Gertrude Stein was born. Gertrude Stein, like Virginia Woolf,[1] is one of the first women of classical literary modernism. She wrote experimental novels, novellas, essays, poems, literary portraits, and stage works in which she defied linguistic and literary conventions, so that many critics and readers found her work too difficult, were amused by it, or ignored it. “I am writing for myself and…
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The Marquis de L’Hôpital and the Analysis of the Infinitely Small

The Marquis de L’Hôpital and the Analysis of the Infinitely Small

On February 2, 1704, French mathematician Guillaume François Antoine, Marquis de L’Hospital or L’Hôpital passed away. L’Hôpital wrote the first textbook on calculus Analyse des infiniment petits pour l’intelligence des lignes courbes (Analysis of the infinitely small for the intelligence of curved lines, 1st ed., 1696, 2nd ed. 1715), which consisted of the lectures of his teacher Johann Bernoulli.[2] Guillaume de L’Hôpital – Early Years Hôpital came from a distinguished noble family.…
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Ètienne Lenoir and the Internal Combustion Engine

Ètienne Lenoir and the Internal Combustion Engine

On January 24, 1860, Belgian engineer Étienne Lenoir was granted a patent on his newly developed internal combustion engine. Lenoir’s engine design was the first commercially successful internal combustion engine. Étienne Lenoir – Early Years Étienne Lenoir was born the third of eight children in the 800-strong community of Mussy-la-Ville near Virton. He seems to have chosen a technical profession at an early age, but his family could not afford a corresponding education.…
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Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

Scaliger and the Science of Chronology

On January 21, 1609, French religious leader and scholar Joseph Justus Scaliger passed away. He is referred to as being one of the founders of the science of chronology, expanding the notion of classical history from Greek and ancient Roman history to include Persian, Babylonian, Jewish and ancient Egyptian history. “All divisions in religion arise from ignorance of grammar.” ― Joseph Justus Scaliger [8] Justus Scaliger – Early Years Joseph Justus Scaliger was born…
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