Switzerland

Jean Senebier and the Discovery of Photosynthesis

Jean Senebier and the Discovery of 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. How do the Plants gain their Mass? Before Jean Senebier researched in the field of photosynthesis, other scientists had engaged in the field including Flemish chemist, physiologist,…
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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. “A recognized fact which goes back to the earliest times is that every living organism is not the sum of a multitude of unitary processes, but is, by…
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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. Early Years Robert Maillart went to grammar school in Bern, Switzerland, where he was born, until 1889. He attended the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was not known…
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Marie-Louise von Franz and the Psychology of Fairy Tales

Marie-Louise von Franz and the Psychology of 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. “The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. “ —…
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Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

Felix Bloch and the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Method

On October 23, 1905, Swiss-born American physicist Felix Bloch was born. He is best known for his investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. He was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method of measuring the magnetic field of atomic nuclei. “While I am certainly not asking you to close your eyes to the experiences of earlier generations,…
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Arnold Böcklin – Swiss Symbolism and Décadence

Arnold Böcklin – Swiss Symbolism and Décadence

On October 16, 1827, Swiss symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin was born. He is considered one of the most important visual artists of the 19th century in Europe. Böcklin was one of the main representatives of German Symbolism, which broke with the dominant academic painting and the prevailing naturalism of the second half of the 19th century. “Portraiture is the most miserable genre of painting, because in it the artist is most bound.” –…
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Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and the Mount Blanc

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and the Mount Blanc

On August 3, 1787, Swiss physicist and Alpine traveller Horace-Bénédict de Saussure made the third ascent of the Mount Blanc and determined via scientific measurement Mont Blanc to be the highest mountain in Europe. Horace-Benédict de Saussure – Growing Up in the Alps Horace Bénédicte de Saussure was born on February 17, 1740 near Geneva, Switzerland. Saussure received encouragement from his father, Nicolas de Saussure, his uncle Charles Bonnet, the naturalist and poet Albrecht von Haller and…
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Rudolf Wolf and the Discovery of the Sunspot Cycle

Rudolf Wolf and the Discovery of the Sunspot Cycle

On July 7, 1816, Swiss astronomer and astronomical historian Rudolf Wolf was born. Wolf’s main contribution was the discovery of the 11 year sunspot cycle and he was the co-discoverer of its connection with geomagnetic activity on Earth. Rudolf Wolf – Early Years and Academic Career Johann Rudolf Wolf was born in Fällanden, near Zurich, to Regula Gossweiler and Johannes Wolf, who was a minister in the Church. After studying at the Zurich Industrieschule,…
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The Case of the Last Condemned Witch – Anna Göldi

The Case of the Last Condemned Witch – Anna Göldi

On June 13th 1782, the maidservant Anna Göldi from the tiny Swiss canton Glarus was executed by the sword as being one of the very last women in Europe condemned for witchcraft. Concerning her case also for the very first time the term ‘judicial murder’ has been coined. Anna Göldi – Background Anna Göldi came from a poor background and worked as a maid. She gave birth to two children. The first died shortly…
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Johann Heinrich Füssli and the Rise of Romanticism

Johann Heinrich Füssli and the Rise of Romanticism

On February 7, 1741, Swiss-English painter and publicist Johann Heinrich Füssli – in the UK better known as Henry Fuseli – was born. Many of his works, such as The Nightmare, deal with supernatural subject-matter. He painted works for John Boydell‘s Shakespeare Gallery, and created his own “Milton Gallery”. His style had a considerable influence on many younger British artists, including William Blake. “Life is rapid, art is slow, occasion coy, practice…
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