politics

Andrei Sakharov and the Soviet Thermonuclear Bomb

Andrei Sakharov and the Soviet Thermonuclear Bomb

On May 21, 1921, Russian nuclear physicist, Soviet dissident, an activist for disarmament, peace and human rights Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was born.Sakharov became renowned as the designer of the Soviet Union‘s thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov later became an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union, for which he faced state persecution; these efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. “We regard as “scientific” a method based on…
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The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

On April 22, 1904, American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was born. Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer‘s achievements in physics included the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wave functions, work on the theory of electrons…
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Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

Georg Büchner – Forerunner of Naturalism and Expressionism

On February 19, 1837, German dramatist, revolutionary, natural scientist, and writer Georg Büchner passed away at age 23. His literary achievements, though few in number, are generally held in great esteem in Germany and it is widely believed that, had it not been for his early death, he might have joined such central German literary figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [5] and Friedrich Schiller [6] at the summit of their profession. I admit, I…
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Sir Percivall Pott and his Efforts in Early Cancer Research

Sir Percivall Pott and his Efforts in Early Cancer Research

On January 6, 1714, English surgeon Sir Percivall Pott was born. Pott is considered one of the founders of orthopedy, and the first scientist to demonstrate that a cancer may be caused by an environmental carcinogen. Percivall Pott – Early Years Percivall Pott was raised by his mother and Joseph Wilcocks, the bishop of Rochester, since his father died when he was still young. Pott attended a private school in Kent and…
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Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

Abraham a Sancta Clara – “Very Eccentric but Popular”

On December 1, 1709, Abraham a Sancta Clara, Austrian divine, court preacher and author passed away. Born as Johann Ulrich Megerle, he has been described “a very eccentric but popular Augustinian monk” and had earned great reputation for pulpit eloquence, the force and homeliness of his language, the grotesqueness of his humor, and the impartial severity with which he lashed the follies of all classes of society and of the court in particular.…
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From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world – The Battle of Valmy

From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world – The Battle of Valmy

On September 20, 1792, the Battle of Valmy was fought. It was the first major victory by the army of France during the Revolutionary Wars that followed the French Revolution. Although being a small and localized victory, Valmy became a huge psychological victory for the Revolution at large. Overall, it permitted the development of the French Revolution and all its resultant ripple effects, and for that it is regarded as one of…
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Harry Johnston and the “Scramble for Africa”

Harry Johnston and the “Scramble for Africa”

On June 12, 1858, British explorer, botanist, linguist and colonial administrator Sir Harry Johnston was born. His interest in zoological specimens gave him a lucrative part-time income, illustrating books for the new sciences of biology, geography and anthropology. Moreover, he is probably best known for being one of the key players in the “Scramble for Africa” that occurred at the end of the 19th century. “In our land the educated poor, who…
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Scientist and Politician François Arago

Scientist and Politician François Arago

On February 26, 1786, French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer François Arago was born. Arago discovered the principle of the production of magnetism by rotation of a nonmagnetic conductor. He also devised an experiment that proved the wave theory of light and engaged with others in research that led to the discovery of the laws of light polarization. “Connaître, découvrir, communiquer—telle est, au fond, notre honorable destinée. To get to know, to discover, to…
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George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

George Bernard Shaw – Playwright, Critic, Polemicist and Political Activist.

On July 26, 1856, Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw was born. As a writer, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. He is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize in Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to…
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Vilfredo Pareto and the Law of the Vital Few

Vilfredo Pareto and the Law of the Vital Few

On July 15, 1848, Italian engineer, sociologist, economist, political scientist and philosopher Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto was born. He made several important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals’ choices. The Pareto principle was named after him and built on observations of his such as that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. “The assertion that men are…
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