Switzerland

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 came from a Pietist family, his father was a dyer, postman and accountant. He was apprenticed to a chemical and pharmaceutical firm at Böblingen when he was…
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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. “We would wish to discover the…
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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.[4,5] Eugen Bleuler grew…
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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, where he was born, until 1889. He attended the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He was not known to…
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Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘The Physicists’

On January 5, 1921, Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt was born. Dürrenmatt was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author‘s work included avant-garde dramas, philosophical crime novels, and macabre satire. Especially his play “The Physicists” (1961) deals with questions of scientific ethics and humanity‘s ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities. “A story is not finished, until it has taken…
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Christian Friedrich Schönbein and the Ozone

Christian Friedrich Schönbein and the Ozone

On October 18, 1799, German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein was born. Schönbein is best known for inventing the fuel cell (1838) and his discoveries of guncotton (nitrocellulose) and ozone. Christian Friedrich Schönbein was apprenticed at a pharmaceutical factory in Böblingen and was adviced to begin studying at the university. Schönbein enrolled at the University of Erlangen in 1820 were he got to know Justus Liebig Friedrich Schelling, who later helped Schönbein to finance…
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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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The Medical Breakthroughs of Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch

The Medical Breakthroughs of Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch

On July 3, 1875, German surgeon Ernst Ferdinand Sauerbruch was born. He is considered as one of the most important and influential surgeons of the 20th century. He developed the Sauerbruch chamber, a pressure chamber for operating on the open thorax. Ferdinand Sauerbruch – Early Years Since his father, technical director of a cloth weaving mill, died early, Sauerbruch grew up with his grandfather, master shoemaker Friedrich Hammerschmidt. 1895 he passed the…
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Gaspard Bauhin and the Classification of Plants

Gaspard Bauhin and the Classification of Plants

On January 17, 1560, Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin was born. He is best known for his contributions to the field of botany, and especially for his classification of plants. He was a disciple of the famous Italian physician Girolamo Mercuriale and he also worked on human anatomical nomenclature. Early Years Caspar Bauhin came from the Bauhin medical family, which had fled to Basel as Huguenots from Paris and Amsterdam; his father was…
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Hermann ‘Klecks’ Rorschach and his Eponymous Test

Hermann ‘Klecks’ Rorschach and his Eponymous Test

On November 8, 1884, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach was born. He is best known for developing a projective test known as the Rorschach inkblot test. This test was reportedly designed to reflect unconscious parts of the personality that “project” onto the stimuli. Hermann Rorschach was born in Zurich, Switzerland and it is known was he was encouraged by his father, an art teacher, to express himself creatively. The young Rorschach became fascinated with making pictures out of…
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