France

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

Émilie du Châtelet (1706-1749) 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…
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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – A Giant in Art

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – A Giant in Art

On November 24, 1864, French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was born. Toulouse-Lautrec – along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin – is among the most well-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. Although you might not be interested in art, for sure you will have heard about Henri Toulouse-Lautrec or you might have seen one of his paintings or famous posters. His artwork about the Fin de Siècle Paris and…
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Ceci n’est-ce pas une Pipe

Ceci n’est-ce pas une Pipe

Rene Magritte: La trahison des images (1928/29), source: wikipedia On November 21, 1898, Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte was born. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fall under the umbrella of surrealism. His paintings have become student poster classics and his work challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. I really like the paintings of Rene Magritte and I always refer to that special one above…
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Claude Monet and Impressionism

Claude Monet and Impressionism

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) photo by Nadar On November 14, 1840, French painter Claude Monet was born. He is considered the founder of French impressionist painting as well as the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature. At the age of 5, Claude Monet’s father announced that he would have to go into the family’s grocery business, but Claude thought otherwise. The young boy…
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Albert Camus – the James Dean of Philosophy

Albert Camus – the James Dean of Philosophy

Albert Camus (1913-1960) On November 7, 1913, French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher Albert Camus was born. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism in opposition to Nietzsche‘s nihilism and Sartre‘s existentialism. In was somehow a miracle that Albert Camus became one of the finest writers of the 20th century and a Nobel laureate. Albert Camus was born in extreme poverty in a remote corner of…
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Alphonse Laveran’s Discovery and the Fight against Malaria

Alphonse Laveran’s Discovery and the Fight against Malaria

Alphonse Laveran (1845 – 1922) On November 6, 1880, while working in the military hospital in Constantine, Algeria, French military surgeon Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran discovered that the cause of malaria is a parasite. For this work and later discoveries of protozoan diseases Laveran was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran enrolled at the school for general medicine in Strasbourg in 1863. Three years later, he…
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André-Jacques Garnerin and the First Parachutes

André-Jacques Garnerin and the First Parachutes

Garnerin releases the balloon & descends with the help of a parachute, 1797. Illustration from the late 19th century. On October 22, 1797, French balloonist and inventor André Garnerin, made the first safe descent with a silk parachute from a ballon at Parc Monceau, Paris. Bold Garnerin went up Which increased his Repute And came safe to earth In his Grand Parachute. André Garnerin was a student of Jaques Charles. Charles was a well known…
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Camille Saint-Saëns – a Musical Renaissance Man

Camille Saint-Saëns – a Musical Renaissance Man

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921) On October 9, 1835, French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era Camille Saint-Saëns was born. He was something of an anomaly among French composers of the nineteenth century in that he wrote in virtually all genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, songs, sacred and secular choral music, solo piano, and chamber music. Moreover, his interests also exceeded the musical genre as being an expert in…
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Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

On August 21, 1789, French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was born. He is considered one of the greatest mathematicians during the nineteenth century. There are 16 concepts and theorems named for Cauchy, more than for any other mathematician. Cauchy was one of the most prolific mathematicians of all times. Cauchy wrote 789 papers, a quantity exceeded only by Euler and Cayley, which brought precision and rigor to mathematics. Actually, Cauchy was one of…
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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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