France

Making Photography Really Operational – Louis Daguerre

Making Photography Really Operational – Louis Daguerre

Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) On August 19, 1839, French artist and physicist Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, after announcing his invention to the French Academy of Sciences, went public with his newly developed photographic process called Daguerrotype, the wold’s first practicable photographic process. Actually, Louis Daguerre did not invent photography, but, in 1829, he partnered with Nicéphore Niépce, an inventor who had produced the world’s first heliograph in 1822 and the first permanent camera…
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The Affair of the Diamond Necklace – Harbinger of the French Revolution

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace – Harbinger of the French Revolution

On August 15, 1785, the Cardinal de Rohan was arrested and the ‘Affair of the Diamond Necklace‘, an extraordinary expensive piece of jewelry intended for Madame du Barry,[5] the maitresse of King Louis XV of France, became a public scandal that led to the French populace’s disillusionment with the monarchy, which, among other causes, eventually culminated in the French Revolution. Actually, the reputation of the Queen, which was already tarnished by gossip,…
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Jean-François de La Pérouse and his Voyage around the World

Jean-François de La Pérouse and his Voyage around the World

Jean-François de La Pérouse(1741 – ca. 1788) On August 1, 1785, French Navy officer Jean-François de La Pérouse with 2 ships, the Astrolabe and the Boussole, and 200 men left Brest to lead an expedition around the world. The objectives of the journey were to complete the Pacific discoveries of James Cook (whom La Pérouse greatly admired), correct and complete maps of the area, establish trade contacts, open new maritime routes and…
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Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

Jeanne Baret (1740 – 1807) On July 27, 1740, French natural scientist Jeanne Baret was born. She was probably the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, but with certainty she was the first woman who achieved this disguised as a man. Jeanne Baret grew up in a very poor region of France with rather uneducated people. It is assumed that her father has been illiterate in contrast to Jeanne. However, it is…
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Adventure Time with Alexandre Dumas

Adventure Time with Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-1870) On July 24, 1802, French writer Alexandre Dumas, also known as Alexandre Dumas, père, was born. He is best known for his historical novels of high adventure. Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in history. Definitely, Alexandre Dumas’ stories have become a popular icon. Think of his ‘Three Musketeers‘, I really don’t know how many versions I…
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Eugene Vidocq – The Father of Criminology

Eugene Vidocq – The Father of Criminology

Eugène François Vidocq(1775 – 1857) During the night of 23 to 24 July 1775, French criminal and criminalist Eugene Vidocq was born. Vidocq is considered the world’s first private detective and father of modern criminology. His life story inspired several writers, including Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. Surprisingly, the later criminalist had a pretty turbulent childhood and youth. He stole his parent’s silverware at the age of 13 and was sent…
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Jean de la Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

Jean de la Fontaine and the Moral of the Story

Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695) On July 8, 1621, Jean de la Fontaine, the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century, was born. He is best known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists all across Europe. The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine were issued in several volumes from 1668 to 1694 and are classics of…
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Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard and the Programmable Loom

Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) On July 7, 1752, French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard was born. He is best known for his invention of the programmable loom, the “Jacquard loom”, which in turn played an important role in the development of the computer. Back in the 18th century, literally nobody – maybe with the exception people like Leibniz or Pascal – thought about a programmable computer. But, it was the time, the…
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Charles Messier and the Nebulae

Charles Messier and the Nebulae

Charles Messier(1730 – 1817) On June 26, 1730, French astronomer Charles Messier was born. He is best known for his publication of an astronomical catalogue consisting of nebulae and star clusters that came to be known as the 110 “Messier objects”. The purpose of the catalogue was to help astronomical observers, in particular comet hunters such as himself, distinguish between permanent and transient visually diffuse objects in the sky. Charles Messier was…
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Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

On March 21, 1768, French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph du Fourier was born. He is probably best known for his work in thermodynamics, where he introduced the concept of the Fourier Analysis, named in honor after him. There, he claimed that every mathematical function of a variable can be expanded to a sum of sines of multiples of that variable. What people most likely don’t know is that Fourier also was the…
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