France

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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Georges Cuvier and the Fossils

Georges Cuvier and the Fossils

Georges Cuvier(1769 – 1832) On August 23, 1769, French naturalist and zoologist Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier aka Georges Cuvier was born. He was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century, and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils. The young Georges Cuvier was well educated and received additional classes by his mother frequently.…
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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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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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