Germany

The Cologne Cathedral – More than 600 Years of Construction

The Cologne Cathedral – More than 600 Years of Construction

On August 14, 1880, after more than 600 years the construction of the Cologne Cathedral, the most famous landmark in Cologne, Germany, was completed. The World Heritage Site is Germany‘s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires and largest facade of any church in the world. The Relics of the Three Kings The…
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David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

On August 13, 1596, German theologian and astronomer David Fabricius discovered the first known periodic variable star, which he called Mira Ceti (The ‘Wonder’ in the stellar constellation ‘Whale’). David Fabricius – Early Years David Fabricius was born in Esens, Lower Saxony and received a pretty good education, learning mostly Latin. In Braunschweig, he first gained a few experiences in astronomy. His teacher introduced him to astronomy as well as mathematics before…
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Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

On August 11, 1464, German philosopher, theologian, jurist, and astronomer Nikolaus of Cusa (in latin: Nicolaus Cusanus) passed away. He is considered as one of the first German proponents of Renaissance humanism. His best known work is entiteled ‘De Docta Ignorantia‘ (Of the Learned Ignorance), where also most of his mathematical ideas were developed, as e.g. the trial of squaring the circle or calculating the circumference of a circle from its radius. “In…
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Franz Kafka – A struggle between “Bureau” and literary vocation

Franz Kafka – A struggle between “Bureau” and literary vocation

On July 3, 1883, German-speaking Bohemian Jewish novelist and short-story writer Franz Kafka was born. Kafka’s works are counted among the canons of world literature. For the description of his unusual way of portrayal a separate word has developed: “kafkaesque“. Most of Kafka’s works were published after his death and against his last will and testament by Max Brod, a close friend and confidant whom Kafka had appointed as executor. “As Gregor…
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Hermann Hesse and his Quest for Self-Knowledge

Hermann Hesse and his Quest for Self-Knowledge

On July 2, 1877, German poet, novelist, painter, and Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse was born. He is best known for his novels ‘Steppenwolf‘, ‘Siddhartha‘, or ‘The Glass Bead Game‘, in which he explores the individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. “In the beginning was the myth. God, in his search for self-expression, invested the souls of Hindus, Greeks, and Germans with poetic shapes and continues to invest each child’s soul with poetry…
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Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – The Responsibility of Science in the Atomic Age

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – The Responsibility of Science in the Atomic Age

On June 28, 1912, German physicist at philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker was born. Being a member of the team of physicists, who under Werner Heisenberg‘s lead performed nuclear research in Germany during World War 2, Weizsäcker later made important theoretical discoveries regarding energy production in stars from nuclear fusion processes. He also did influential theoretical work on planetary formation in the early Solar System. “It’s useful when we learn to wonder…
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Peter Lorre – A Stranger in Paradise

Peter Lorre – A Stranger in Paradise

On June 26, 1904, Hungarian-born American character actor of Jewish descent Peter Lorre was born. He went down in film history in 1931 with his portrayal of the uncanny child murderer in Fritz Lang‘s classic M.[1] After his emigration he worked as a successful character actor of often shady characters in Hollywood, among others in The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and Arsenic and Old Lace. “You know I can get away with murder.…
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Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

On June 22, 1767, Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt was born. He was a Prussian philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Prussian education system which was used as a…
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At the Beginning was a Bet – Georg Friedrich Grotefend and the Cuneiform

At the Beginning was a Bet – Georg Friedrich Grotefend and the Cuneiform

On June 9, 1775, German epigraphist and philologist Georg Friedrich Grotefend was born. Although most of you will probably never heard of him, he is well known for his contributions toward the decipherment of cuneiform. Do you know Cuneiform? Do you know cuneiform? It is the name of the old writing of Mesopotamia and its roots date back to the time of the origins of civilization, when also Egyptian hieroglyphs were invented. But,…
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Carl Bechstein and his famous Pianos

Carl Bechstein and his famous Pianos

On June 1, 1826, Carl Bechstein was born, who became widely known for his German piano manufacture. His pianos met the demands mostly of Romantic Era musicians such as Franz Liszt or Hans von Bülow at first, which made the company famous globally. Bechstein Background Carl Bechstein was the stepson of the teacher, cantor and plant breeder Johann Michael Aght. At the age of 14, Carl Bechstein was apprenticed at a piano…
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