Renaissance

Balboa and the Discovery of the Southern Ocean

Balboa and the Discovery of the Southern Ocean

Balboa taking possession of the South Sea On September 25, 1513, Spanish conquistador and explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa discovered the legendary Southern Ocean, having crossed the Isthmus of Panama facing the Pacific Ocean. Inspired by Christopher Columbus, Balboa embarked on a trip to the Americas as part of Rodrigo de Bastidas’ expedition. The young explorer started settling at Hispaniola in 1505 but was bankrupt shortly after. Balboa hid in a barrel…
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El Escorial – The World’s largest Renaissance Building

El Escorial – The World’s largest Renaissance Building

On September 13, 1584, the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of the Spanish capital, Madrid, is finished. El Escorial is the world largest Renaissance building. The Rubble Heap After Philip II of Spain defeated the French King Henry II in the Battle of Saint-Quentin on August 10, 1557, the feast of St. Lawrence (Spanish: San Lorenzo), he vowed to build a monastery in honor of…
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Jean Picard and his Love for Accuracy

Jean Picard and his Love for Accuracy

On July 21, 1620, French astronomer, cartographer and hydraulic engineer Jean-Félix Picard was born. He is regarded as the founder of modern astronomy in France. He introduced new methods, improved the old instruments, and added new devices, such as Huygens‘ pendulum clock to record times and time intervals. Background Jean Picard Jean-Félix Picard was born as a son of a bookseller and was allowed to study at the Jesuit Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand, which…
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Rembert Dodoens and the Love for Botanical Science

Rembert Dodoens and the Love for Botanical Science

On June 29, 1516, Flemish physician and botanist Rembert Dodoens (Dodonaeus) was born. His seminal work Stirpium historiae pemptades sex sive libri XXX (1583) is considered one of the foremost botanical works of the late 16th century. He divided plants into 26 groups and introduced many new families. Rembert Dodoens Background Rembert Dodoens was born under the name Rembert Van Joenckema in Mechelen, Spanish Netherlands, today Flanders, Belgium. Later, he changed it…
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Regiomontanus – Forerunner of Modern Astronomy

Regiomontanus – Forerunner of Modern Astronomy

On June 6, 1436, German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, translator, instrument maker and Catholic bishop Johannes Müller aus Königsberg was born, better known under the Latinized version of his name as Regiomontanus. His diligent and accurate observations, measurements and recordings paved the way for modern astronomers such as Tycho Brahe [4] and Nikolaus Copernicus.[5] Johannes Müller from Königsberg Johannes Müller from Königsberg, a small town in Lower Franconia, Germany, grew up in a well situated…
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Georg von Peuerbach – Astronomy at the Beginning of the Scientific Revolution in Early Modern Age

Georg von Peuerbach – Astronomy at the Beginning of the Scientific Revolution in Early Modern Age

On May 30, 1423, Austrian astronomer, mathematician and instrument maker Georg von Peuerbach was born. He is best known for his streamlined presentation of Ptolemaic Astronomy in the Theoricae Novae Planetarum. Furthermore, he promoted the use of Arabic numerals (introduced 250 years earlier in place of Roman numerals), especially in a table of sines he calculated with unprecedented accuracy. Not much is known about Peuerbach’s Early Life There is not much known about…
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William Gilbert  – The Father of Electrical Studies

William Gilbert – The Father of Electrical Studies

On May 24, 1544, English physician, physicist and natural philosopher William Gilbert was born. He passionately rejected both the prevailing Aristotelian philosophy and the Scholastic method of university teaching. He is remembered today largely for his book De Magnete (1600), and is credited as one of the originators of the term “electricity“. He is regarded by some as the father of electrical engineering or electricity and magnetism. “Lucid gems are made of…
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Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

On May 20, 1570, Belgian cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in Antwerp. It consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. Abraham Ortelius – Early Years Abraham Ortelius was born in Antwerp, but grew up with his uncle after his father passed away at young age. In…
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The Secrets of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript

The Secrets of the mysterious Voynich Manuscript

In 1912, Polish-born antiquarian and bibliophile Wilfrid Voynich bought a mysterious illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system that may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The eponymous Voynich manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, but no one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text. Therefore, it has become a famous case in the history of cryptography. A Strange Manuscript The manuscript counts about…
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The German Reinheitsgebot and the Secrets of Brewing Beer

The German Reinheitsgebot and the Secrets of Brewing Beer

On April 23, 1516, in the city of Ingolstadt in the duchy of Bavaria, Duke Wilhelm IV. and Duke Ludwig X of Bavaria publish a new law that contains regulations about the price and the ingredients of beer. These Regulations later are called the ‘Reinheitsgebot‘ ( German Beer Purity Law), which states that the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer are water, barley and hops. Augsburg, Nuremberg,…
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