Nikolaus of Cusa

The Days That Never Happened – The Gregorian Calendar

The Days That Never Happened – The Gregorian Calendar

By a papal decree signed on 24 February 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII the days from October 5, 1582 to October 14, 1582 never happened.[9] This was, because the actually used calendar was out of tune with the mechanics of the heavens. The Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar,[2] did not provide sufficient precision to keep in tune for more than 15 centuries with the effect that the most important liturgic festivals and…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Telescope History Even though scientists of the middle ages never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, they started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Before the invention of the telescope…
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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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Jan Baptiste van Helmont – The Founder of Pneumatic Chemistry

Jan Baptiste van Helmont – The Founder of Pneumatic Chemistry

On January 12, 1580, Flemish chemist, physiologist, and physician Jan Baptist van Helmont was born. Can Helmont worked during the years just after Paracelsus and is sometimes considered to be “the founder of pneumatic chemistry“. Van Helmont is remembered today largely for his ideas on spontaneous generation and his introduction of the word “gas” (from the Greek word chaos) into the vocabulary of scientists. Jan Baptiste van Helmont was born in Brussels…
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