Switzerland

The Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife

On June 12, 1897, the original Swiss Army knife was registered with the patent office as The Officer’s and Sports Knife. This knife featured a second smaller cutting blade, corkscrew, and wood fiber grips. Everybody knows the famous “Swiss Army knife”. But, what’s the history behind? The term “Swiss Army knife” was coined by American soldiers after World War II due to the difficulty they had in pronouncing “Offiziersmesser”, the…
Jean Senebier and the Photosynthesis

Jean Senebier and the Photosynthesis

On May 6, 1742, Swiss pastor and naturalist Jean Senebier was born. Senebier wrote extensively on plant physiology and was one of the major early pioneers of photosynthesis research. He was the first who demonstrated that green plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen under the influence of light. Before Jean Senebier researched in the field of photosynthesis, other scientists had engaged in the field including Jan van Helmont, who measured…
Walter Hess and his Mapping of the Brain

Walter Hess and his Mapping of the Brain

On March 17, 1881, Swiss physiologist Walter Rudolf Hess was born. Hess shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1949 with Antonio Egas Moniz for his discovery of the functional organization of the interbrain as a coordinator of the activities of the internal organs. In his early years, Walter Hess was supported by his father who was a physics teacher and allowed him to perform experiments in his laboratory. In…
Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

On January 27, 1888, Swiss-Norwegian geochemist, mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt was born. Goldschmidt is considered (together with Vladimir Vernadsky) to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry, as well as the developer of the Goldschmidt Classification of elements. Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland, into a family of Jewish parents, Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt, a distinguished physical chemist, who held professorships at Amsterdam, Heidelberg, and Oslo, and…
Paul Müller and the Use of DDT

Paul Müller and the Use of DDT

On January 12, 1899, Swiss chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Hermann Müller was born. Müller received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Already during his later school years Paul Müller had a small laboratory where he was able to develop photographic plates or build radio equipment. Müller…
Marie-Louise von Franz and her Love for Fairy Tales

Marie-Louise von Franz and her Love for Fairy Tales

On January 4, 1915, Swiss Jungian psychologist and scholar Marie-Louise von Franz was born. Von Franz is renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts. Her research showed common themes in tales from many cultures, which she linked with experiences in daily life. Marie-Louise von Franz attended a high school in Zurich , specializing in languages and literature. Around the age of 18, she and a few…
Christian Friedrich Schönbein – Ozone and Explosives

Christian Friedrich Schönbein – Ozone and Explosives

On August 29, 1868, German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein passed away. Schönbein is best known for inventing the fuel cell (1838) at the same time as William Robert Grove and his discoveries of guncotton and ozone, of which he also coined its name. Christian Friedrich Schönbein was apprenticed to a chemical and pharmaceutical firm at Böblingen when he was 13 years old. Due to his hard work and the sufficient…
Johann Heinrich Lambert – A Swiss Polymath

Johann Heinrich Lambert – A Swiss Polymath

On August 26, 1728, Swiss polymath Johann Heinrich Lambert was born. Lambert provided the first rigorous proof that pi is irrational (i.e. it cannot be expressed as the quotient of two integers). He also was the first to introduce hyperbolic functions into trigonometry as well as the first mathematician to address the general properties of map projections. He also made significant contributions to physics, philosophy, and logic. Lambert was born in…
Eugen Bleuler’s Research on Schizophrenia

Eugen Bleuler’s Research on Schizophrenia

On July 15, 1939, Swiss psychiatrist and eugenicist Paul Eugen Bleuler passed away. Bleuler is best known for his contributions to the understanding of mental illness and for coining the terms “schizophrenia”, “schizoid”, “autism”, and what Sigmund Freud called “Bleuler’s happily chosen term ambivalence”. He was one of the first psychiatrists to apply psychoanalytical methods in his research, and was an early proponent of the theories of Sigmund Freud. Eugen…
Robert Maillart and Structural Reinforced Concrete

Robert Maillart and Structural Reinforced Concrete

On February 6, 1872, Swiss civil engineer Robert Maillart was born. Maillart revolutionized the use of structural reinforced concrete with such designs as the three-hinged arch and the deck-stiffened arch for bridges, and the beamless floor slab and mushroom ceiling for industrial buildings. Robert Maillart attended the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was not known to excel in academix theories and the overuse of math. Maillart preferred the…
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