Germany

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

On September 2, 1814, German archaeologist and historian Ernst Curtius was born, who directed the excavation of Olympia from 1875–1881, the most opulent and sacred religious shrine of ancient Greece and site of the original Olympic Games. “It is the relationship to the Eternal that gives us strength and endurance and self-denial; it teaches us in science to distinguish the essential from the unessential; it makes knowledge a virtue and research a…
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Werner Forssmann and the dangerous Self Experiment of Cardiac Catheterization

Werner Forssmann and the dangerous Self Experiment of Cardiac Catheterization

On August 29, 1904, German surgeon and Nobel Laureate Werner Forssmann was born. He is best known for the development of cardiac catheterization, which was developed by him in a dangerous self experiment. Werner Forssmann – Early Years Werner Forssmann was born in Berlin as the only child of the lawyer Julius Forßmann and his wife Emmy, née Hindenberg. His father’s family originally came from Finland, his mother’s family was Prussian. His father,…
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Paul Nipkow and the Picture Scanning Technology

Paul Nipkow and the Picture Scanning Technology

On August 22, 1860, German engineer Paul Gottlieb Nipkow was born. He is best known for having conceived the idea of using a spiral-perforated disk (the Nipkow disk), to divide a picture into a matrix of points, and became an early television pioneer. “Finally, on Christmas Eve 1883, when I was sitting in Philippstrasse in Berlin without a tree and without candles, everything was put down on paper[,] and somehow I managed…
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Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer – Philosopher and Salonnière

Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer – Philosopher and Salonnière

On August 10, 1770, German philosopher and salonnière Baroness Dorothea von Rodde-Schlözer was born. She belonged to the group of 18th century Göttingen scholar-daughters known as “university mamselles” and was the second women in Germany to officially earn a doctorate. Dorothea Schlözer – Youth and Education Dorothea Schlözer was the daughter of August Ludwig von Schlözer, a Göttingen professor of constitutional law and history, and Caroline Friederike von Schlözer (née Roederer), a painter…
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Emil Jannings and the Very First Academy Award

Emil Jannings and the Very First Academy Award

On July 23, 1884, German actor Emil Jannings was born. Jannings is best known for his collaborations with F. W. Murnau [2] and Josef von Sternberg, including 1930’s The Blue Angel, with Marlene Dietrich. He was the first Oscar recipient, honored with the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 1929 ceremony. Jannings is the only German ever to have won that award. “We can only realize the shadows of our dreams.” –…
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Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel and the Distances of Stars

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel and the Distances of Stars

On July 22, 1784, German mathematician and astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel was born. He is probably best known for his works in mathematics, where he discovered the eponymous Bessel-functions, which are critical for the solution of certain differential equations. Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel – Youth and Education Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel was born in Minden, Westfalia, as the second child of a large family with six daughters and three sons. His mother Friederike Ernestine…
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August Kekulé and the Carbon Ring Structure

August Kekulé and the Carbon Ring Structure

On July 13, 1896, German organic chemist Friedrich August Kekulé passed away. Being one of the world’s leading chemists of his time, he is best known for devising the ring structure of carbon atoms in organic molecules and became the principal founder of the theory of chemical structure. August Kekulé Background August Kekulé was born on September 7, 1829 in Darmstadt as son of a civil servant. After graduating from secondary school, in 1847…
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Lion Feuchtwanger and his Ardous Path of Knowledge

Lion Feuchtwanger and his Ardous Path of Knowledge

On July 7, 1884, German-Jewish novelist and playwright Lion Feuchtwanger was born. A prominent figure in the literary world of Weimar Germany, he is best known today for his novel Jud Süß and is considered one of the most widely read German-language authors of the 20th century, whose work influenced contemporary playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht.[1] “Thoughts about what you should have done and what you shouldn’t have done, they lead nowhere.” …
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Ignaz Semmelweis and the Importance of Washing Your Hands as a Doctor

Ignaz Semmelweis and the Importance of Washing Your Hands as a Doctor

On July 1, 1818, Hungarian physician of German extraction Ignaz Semmelweis was born. He is best known for his discovery of the cause of puerperal (“child bed”) fever and introduced antisepsis into medical practice by insisting on health workers rigorously handwashing between patients, and clean bed sheets. Ignaz Semmelweis – Youth and Education Ignaz Semmelweis was born in 1818 in the Tabán sub-district of Buda, Hungary,  in 1818 as the 5th child of the…
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Adolf Furtwängler and Photographic Archeology

Adolf Furtwängler and Photographic Archeology

On June 30, 1853, German archaeologist and historian Adolf Furtwängler was born. He revolutionized archeological science with his use of photography for documentation. His use of photography in research supplanted the use of drawings because a camera gives objective reproduction with more accuracy, which enabled fragments to be scrutinized, even when they were miles apart. Adolf Furtwängler Background Adolf Furtwängler grew up in a very educated family. His father was a classical…
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