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  • 2017 December 24: Silent Night

    December 19, 2017 15:37

    On December 24th 1818 then assistant priest Joseph Mohr at the newly established parish of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf gave the organist Franz Gruber (also school teacher in Arnsdorf) a poem, asking him to write a melody for two solo voices, choir and guitar. Later that day Gruber gave Mohr his composition. Mohr liked it, and included it in the Christmas mass that evening. Mohr sang tenor and provided accompaniment with guitar, while Gruber sang bass. According to Gruber, the song was met with "general approval by all" — mostly shipping laborers, boat builders and their families.

  • 2017 December 17: Huygens

    December 17, 2017 10:30

    Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) was an important mathematician (writing the first treatise on probability), physicist (proposing the wave theory of light) and astronomer (discovering Saturn's moon Titan). He also invented the pendulum clock — the most accurate timepiece for four centuries until the 1930s. Christiaan’s father was wealthy, which afforded him a lifetime of liberty to pursue scientific research, and Christiaan was also brilliant, which afforded him entré to other great minds of his day, including mathematicians Mersenne and Fermat, and the philosopher/mathematician Leibniz. Christiaan also played the harpsichord.(more )

  • 2017 December 10: William Herschel

    December 10, 2017 10:30

    William Herschel's father was oboist in the Hanover Military Band, and in due time his sons William and Jakob joined as well. At that time the crowns of Great Britain and Hanover were united under King George II, and the Hanover regiment found itself stationed in England. As the threat of war with France loomed, the Hanoverian Guards were recalled from England. After they were defeated at the Battle of Hastenbeck, Herschel's father sent his two sons to seek refuge in England. Although his older brother Jakob had received his dismissal from the Hanoverian Guards, Wilhelm was accused of desertion (for which he was pardoned by George III in 1782). Wilhelm, nineteen years old at this time, was a quick student of the English language. In England he went by the English rendition of his name, Frederick William Herschel.

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