Switzerland

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

On November 11, 1493, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, aka Paracelsus, the famous Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist 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 an incomplete piece.” – Paracelsus – Collected Writings Vol. I (1926) edited by Bernhard Aschner, p. 110…
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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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How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

Scientists and explorers we are, to boldly go where no man has gone before. If there is one scientist, who might serve as the prototype of an bold explorer, then we have to consider Auguste Piccard, a Swiss professor of physics, who tried to explore the deepest depths of the sea as well as the extreme stratosphere of the earth. And he did this not only in theory, but by experiment (always…
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How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

The Swiss Bernoulli family is well known for their many offsprings who gained prominent merits in mathematics and physics in the 18th century. Jakob Bernoulli, born in 1654 (or 1655 according to the new Gregorian calendar), is best known for his work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture). In this work, published 8 years after his death in 1713 by his nephew Nicholas, Jakob Bernoulli described the known results in probability theory and in…
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Happy Bicycle Day

Happy Bicycle Day

On April 19, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann in the Sandoz (now Novartis) laboratories in Basel, Switzerland performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). While riding home on his bicycle, he experienced the very first LSD trip, now referred to as “Bicycle Day”, and proved…
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Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

On March 26, 1516, Swiss naturalist and bibliographer Conrad Gessner was born. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria is named after him. He is considered as one of the most important natural scientists of Switzerland and was sometimes referred to as the ‘German Pliny‘. The Godson and Protege of Zwingli Conrad Gessner was born and educated in Zürich, Switzerland as the…
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How Albert Einstein Revolutionized Physics

How Albert Einstein Revolutionized Physics

On March 14, 1879, German theoretical physicist Albert Einstein was born, who has become an iconic figure for physics as well as science of the 20th century. He is best known for his theories on special and general relativity, as well as for the discovery of the photoelectric effect – for which he received the Nobel Prize – and he developed what has been named the most famous equation in history, the mass energy…
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