Switzerland

The Ingenious Watches of Abraham-Louis Bréguet

The Ingenious Watches of Abraham-Louis Bréguet

On January 10, 1747, Swiss horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet was born. In his lifetime he was considered the leading watchmaker of his day because of his artistic as well as technical skill. His innovations included a self-winding or “perpétuelle” watch (1780), the gong spring which decreased the size of repeater watches, and the first anti-shock device or “pare-chute“, which improved the reliability of his watches while making them less fragile. Of course Swiss watches…
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Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

Ferdinand de Saussure and the Study of Language

On November 26, 1857, Swiss linguist and semiotician Ferdinand de Saussure was born. His ideas laid the foundation for many significant developments both in linguistics and semiotics in the 20th century. Moreover, de Saussure is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics and together with Charles Sanders Peirceone of two major fathers of semiotics.[4] “Il est souvent plus aisé de découvrir une vérité que de lui assigner la place qui lui…
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Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and the discovery of Petra

On August 22, 1812, Swiss traveler and orientalist Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in the disguise of an arab traveler discovered the ruins of the ancient city of Petra, one of the most compelling archaeological sites in existence, in today’s Jordan. Petra – Location and Meaning Petra is located east of the Arabah, half way between the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea at an altitude between 800 and 1350 m in a wide…
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Jean Piaget and Genetic Epistemology

Jean Piaget and Genetic Epistemology

On August 9, 1896, Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher Jean Piaget was born. He is best known for his epistemological studies with children. In 1934, he declared that “…only education is capable of saving our societies from possible collapse, whether violent, or gradual.” Piaget created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 and directed it until his death in 1980. The number of collaborations that its founding made possible, and…
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Hermann Hesse and his Quest for Self-Knowledge

Hermann Hesse and his Quest for Self-Knowledge

On July 2, 1877, German poet, novelist, painter, and Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse was born. He is best known for his novels ‘Steppenwolf‘, ‘Siddhartha‘, or ‘The Glass Bead Game‘, in which he explores the individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality. “In the beginning was the myth. God, in his search for self-expression, invested the souls of Hindus, Greeks, and Germans with poetic shapes and continues to invest each child’s soul with poetry…
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Henry Dunant and the Red Cross Project

Henry Dunant and the Red Cross Project

On May 8, 1828, Swiss businessman and social activist Henry Dunant was born. He is best known for the creation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1863. Also the 1864 Geneva Convention was based on Dunant‘s ideas. In 1901 he received the first Nobel Peace Prize together with Frédéric Passy. “In one of the Cremona hospitals, an Italian doctor had said: “We keep the good things for our friends…
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Edward Whymper and the First Ascend of the Matterhorn

Edward Whymper and the First Ascend of the Matterhorn

On April 27, 1840, English mountaineer, explorer, illustrator, and author Edward Whymper was born. He is best known for the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865; four members of his party were killed during the descent. From Wood Engraving to the Western Alpes Edward Whymper was born in London, England as the second of eleven children. He learned and practiced wood-engraving starting at very young age. In order to draw scenery…
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Jakob Steiner and Analytical Geometry

Jakob Steiner and Analytical Geometry

On March 18, 1796, Swiss mathematician Jakob Steiner was born. Steiner‘s work was mainly confined to geometry. Moreover, he has been considered the greatest pure geometer since Apollonius of Perga. “Calculating replaces, while geometry stimulates, thinking” -Jakob Steiner (1796-1863) Early Years Steiner was the son of a small farmer, attended the local village school, where he learned to write only at the age of fourteen, and at the age of seventeen went…
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Paracelsus – a Typical Renaissance Scientist?

Paracelsus – a Typical Renaissance Scientist?

Probably in 1493,  the famous Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist, who called himself Paracelsus — with all testified names that never all occur simultaneously he can also be referred to as Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombast von Hohenheim, was born. “All is interrelated. Heaven and earth, air and water. All are but one thing; not four, not two and not three, but one. Where they are not together, there is only…
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The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

On October 6, 1887, Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, and writer Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was born. Le Corbusier was one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier also was influential in urban planning. “Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light.” — Le Corbusier, Vers une…
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