France

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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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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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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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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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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