Category: Biography vs Memoirs

Sam Williams – Free As In Freedom

I fear the Greeks. Even when they bring gifts. —Virgil The Aeneid The new printer was jammed, again. Richard M. Stallman, a staff software programmer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab), discovered the malfunction the hard way. An hour after sending off a 50-page file to the office laser printer, […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers William Rowan Hamilton

WILLIAM ROWAN HAMILTON was born at midnight between the 3rd and 4th of August, 1805, at Dublin, in the house which was then 29, but subsequently 36, Dominick Street. His father, Archibald Hamilton, was a solicitor, and William was the fourth of a family of nine. With reference to his descent, it may be sufficient […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers William Parsons (3rd Earl of Rosse)

THE subject of our present sketch occupies quite a distinct position in scientific history. Unlike many others who have risen by their scientific discoveries from obscurity to fame, the great Earl of Rosse was himself born in the purple. [1] His father, who, under the title of Sir Lawrence Parsons, had occupied a distinguished position […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers William Herschel

WILLIAM HERSCHEL, one of the greatest astronomers that has ever lived, was born at Hanover, on the 15th November, 1738. His father, Isaac Herschel, was a man evidently of considerable ability, whose life was devoted to the study and practice of music, by which he earned a somewhat precarious maintenance. He had but few worldly […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Tycho Brahe

The most picturesque figure in the history of astronomy is undoubtedly that of the famous old Danish astronomer whose name stands at the head of this chapter. Tycho Brahe was alike notable for his astronomical genius and for the extraordinary vehemence of a character which was by no means perfect. His romantic career as a […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Pierre-Simon Laplace

THE author of the “Mecanique Celeste” was born at Beaumont-en-Auge, near Honfleur, in 1749, just thirteen years later than his renowned friend Lagrange. His father was a farmer, but appears to have been in a position to provide a good education for a son who seemed promising. Considering the unorthodoxy in religious matters which is […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers John Flamsteed

AMONG the manuscripts preserved at Greenwich Observatory are certain documents in which Flamsteed gives an account of his own life. We may commence our sketch by quoting the following passage from this autobiography : ” To keep myself from idleness, and to recreate myself, I have intended here to give some account of my life, […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Edmond Halley

ISAAC NEWTON was just fourteen years of age when the birth of Edmund Halley, who was destined in after years to become Newton’s warmly attached friend, and one of his most illustrious scientific contemporaries, took place. There can be little doubt that the fame as an astronomer which Halley ultimately acquired, great as it certainly […]

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