science

Nicolas Malebranche’s Dualism of Religion and Science

Nicolas Malebranche’s Dualism of Religion and Science

On August 6, 1638, French priest and rationalist philosopher Nicolas Malebranche was born. Malebranche sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world. Malebranche is best known for his doctrines of Vision in God, Occasionalism and Ontologism. Nicolas Malebranche joined the Collège de la Marche at the age of 16 to study philosophy and later studied…
Cardinal Richelieu and the Académie Francaise

Cardinal Richelieu and the Académie Francaise

On February 22, 1635, on the urging of Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of France, King Louis XIII of France, formally established the Académie française, the French academy. It is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie consists of forty members, known informally as les immortels (the immortals). The body has the task of acting as an official authority on the language; it is charged…
Thomas S. Kuhn and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Thomas S. Kuhn and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

On July 18, 1922, American physicist, historian, and philosopher of science Thomas Samuel Kuhn was born. He is most famous for his controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which was influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term “paradigm shift“, which has since become an English-language idiom. Kuhn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Samuel L. Kuhn, who was trained as a hydraulic engineer at Harvard…
Johann Beckmann invented “Technology”

Johann Beckmann invented “Technology”

On June 4, 1739, German chemist and economist Johann Beckmann was born. He established the science of agriculture and coined the word technology, to mean the science of trades. He was the first man to teach technology and write about it as an academic subject. Johann Beckmann was born at Hoya in Hannover. He attended the University of Göttingen where he studied theology, mathematics, physics, natural history, and public finance…
Camille Flammarion and his Balancing Act between Popular Science and Science Fiction

Camille Flammarion and his Balancing Act between Popular Science and Science Fiction

On February 26, 1848, French astronomer and author Nicolas Camille Flammarion was born. He maintained a private observatory, where he studied double and multiple stars, the moon and Mars. He is best known as a prolific author of more than fifty titles, including popular science works about astronomy, several notable early science fiction novels, and works on psychical research and related topics. Camille Flammarion was born in Montigny-le-Roi, Haute-Marne, France,…
Willy Ley – Founder of the German Rocket Society

Willy Ley – Founder of the German Rocket Society

Willy Ley (right), with Wernher von Braun (center), and Dr. Heinz Haber (left) On October 2, 1906, German-American engineer, science writer, spaceflight advocate, and historian of science Willy Ley was born. Ley is known for being the founder of the German Rocket Society, one of the first group of men to experiment with rockets. Fiercely anti-Nazi, unlike Wernher von Braun, in 1934, he emigrated to the U.S. rather than pursuing military applications of…
Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

Stephanie Kwolek and the Bullet-proof Vests

Stephanie Kwolek (1923 – 2014) Image: Chemical Heritage Foundation On July 31, 1923, American polymer chemist Stephanie Louise Kwolek was born. She is best known for her invention of poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – better known as Kevlar. Stephanie Kwolek inherited her love for fabrics and sewing from her mother. Before thinking about chemistry, Kwolek thought, she might become a fashion designer, but her mother warned her she would probably starve in that…
Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

Karl Popper and the Philosophy of Science

Karl Raimund Popper (1902–1994) On July 28, 1902, Austrian-British philosopher Sir Karl Raimund Popper was born. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. Popper is known for his rejection of the classical inductivist views on the scientific method, in favour of empirical falsification: A theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can…
Rube Goldberg’s complicated Machines

Rube Goldberg’s complicated Machines

Rube Goldberg (1883–1970) in 1916 On July 4, 1883, American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg was born. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948. Reuben Lucius Goldberg was born July 4, 1883, in San…
Pico della Mirandola and the 900 Theses

Pico della Mirandola and the 900 Theses

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494) On February 24, 1463, Italian Renaissance philosopher Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was born. He is famous for, when at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the famous Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the “Manifesto of the Renaissance“, and a key text…
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