Napoleon Bonaparte

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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Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté (1755-1805) On August 4, 1755, French painter, inventor, army officer and balloonist, Nicolas-Jacques Conté was born. Among others, he is credited with the invention of the modern pencil. Moreover, some consider him one of the greatest inventive minds of the eighteenth century. He distinguished himself for his mechanical genius which was of great avail to the French army in Egypt. Napoleon Bonaparte called him “a universal man with taste, understanding…
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The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

The Conversational Eloquence of Madame de Staël

Madame de Staël (1766-1817) On July 14, 1817, French woman of letters of Swiss origin Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, commonly known as Madame de Staël, passed away. She was one of Napoleon’s principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism. She was a remarkable woman,…
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Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

On May 10, 1746, French mathematician Gaspard Monge, Comte de Péluse was born. He is best known for being the inventor of descriptive geometry as the mathematical basis of technical drawing, and being the father of differential geometry. During the French Revolution Monge served as the Minister of the Marine, and was involved in the reform of the French educational system, helping to found the École Polytechnique. “Descriptive geometry has two objects: the first is…
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The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

The Misfortune of Virtue – Marquis de Sade and his Writings

On March 6, 1801, French novelist Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, was arrested for being the author of the anonymously published book ‘Justine or the Misfortune of Virtue‘ by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Sades were an old, albeit no longer rich noble family of Provence, which originally had the count’s title (French comte). Grandfather Gaspard-François de Sade was the first family member to use the…
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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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