Napoleon Bonaparte

The Instruments of Jean-Charles de Borda

The Instruments of Jean-Charles de Borda

On May 4, 1733, French mathematician, physicist, political scientist, and sailor Jean-Charles de Borda was born. De Borda is noted for his studies of fluid mechanics and his development of instruments for navigation and geodesy, the study of the size and shape of the Earth. He is one of 72 scientists commemorated by plaques on the Eiffel tower. From Latin and Greek to Mathematics and Physics Jean-Charles de Borda grew up in Dax, France,…
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Sir William Jenner and the Distinction of Typhus and Typhoid

Sir William Jenner and the Distinction of Typhus and Typhoid

On January 30, 1815, English physician Sir William Jenner was born. Jenner is primarily known for having discovered the distinction between typhus and typhoid. While “typhoid” means “typhus-like”, typhus and typhoid fever are distinct diseases caused by different genera of bacteria. “How often have I seen in past days, in the single narrow chamber of the day-labourer’s cottage, the father in the coffin, the mother in the sick-bed in muttering delirium, and…
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Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

Jean-Antoine Chaptal and the Industrial Chemistry

On June 5, 1756, French chemist, physician, agronomist, industrialist, statesman, educator and philanthropist Jean-Antoine Chaptal, comte de Chanteloup was born. Chaptal authored the first book on industrial chemistry and also coined the name nitrogen. He was the first to produce sulphuric acid commercially in France at his factory at Montpellier and helped to organize the introduction of the metric system. Jean-Antoine Chaptal – Early Years Jean-Antoine Chaptal was born in Nojaret (Lozère) in…
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Leonardo Da Vinci – the Prototype of a Renaissance Man

Leonardo Da Vinci – the Prototype of a Renaissance Man

On May 2, 1519, Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci passed away. Leonardo’s areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. “Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting…
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Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

On December 6, 1778, French chemist and physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was born. He is known mostly for two laws related to gases, and for his work on alcohol-water mixtures, which led to the degrees Gay-Lussac used to measure alcoholic beverages in many countries. “I have not chosen a career that will lead me to a great fortune, but not my principal ambition. In fact, later in life he enjoyed comfortable income…
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Austerlitz – The Battle of the Three Emperors

Austerlitz – The Battle of the Three Emperors

On December 2, 1805, the Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, took place. It was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. Widely regarded as the greatest victory achieved by Napoleon, the Grande Armée of France annihilated a larger Russian and Austrian army led by Tsar Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The battle occurred near the village of…
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Leopold Auenbrugger discovered Diagnosis by Percussion

Leopold Auenbrugger discovered Diagnosis by Percussion

On November 19, 1722, Austrian physician Leopold Auenbrugger was born. Auenbrugger invented percussion – the art of striking a surface part of the body with short, sharp taps to diagnose the condition of the parts beneath the sound – as a diagnostic technique. On the strength of this discovery, he is considered one of the founders of modern medicine. Auenbrugger invented the method of auscultating the patient‘s chest in 1754, while the…
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Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot and the Automobile

Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot and the Automobile

On September 25, 1725, French inventor Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot was born. He is known to have built the first working self-propelled mechanical vehicle, the world’s first automobile. Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot’s Self Driving Vehicle Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot was born in Void-Vacon, Lorraine in 1725 and was trained as a military engineer. Cugnot was commissioned by the French War Ministry to develop a means of transport for the artillery. The steam engine based transport car developed by…
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Jacques-Louis Davids History Paintings

Jacques-Louis Davids History Paintings

On August 30, 1748, influential French painter in the Neoclassical style Jacques-Louis David was born. He is considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward a classical austerity and severity. Early years David was born in the year when new excavations at the ash-buried ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum were beginning to…
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Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Suez Canal

Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Suez Canal

On November 19, 1805, French diplomat and later developer of the Suez Canal Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps was born. The Suez Canal that was constructed under de Lessep’s supervision in 1869 joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas, substantially reducing sailing distances and times between the West and the East. “Since 1849 I have studied incessantly, under all its aspects, a question which was already in my mind [since 1832. I confess that my scheme is still…
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