" A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone. "
Charles Darwin

Back in the day


End of the Holy Roman Empire: Francis II Abdicates

Francis II, last of the Holy Roman Emperors, came to power shortly before the outbreak of war with Napoleon's France. His armies were defeated and he ceded the left bank of the Rhine to France; however, he was granted Venetia and Dalmatia. In 1798, he joined the Second Coalition against France, but he was again defeated. In the Treaty of Lunéville, he consented to the virtual dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. How was Francis related to Marie Antoinette?



Why the Necktie?

A necktie is a narrow fabric band of varying length worn around the neck and tied in a knot or bow close to the throat. The modern tie, ascot, and bowtie are descended from the 17th c. cravat. Originally, the four-in-hand necktie was cut on the square and had square ends. The bias-cut necktie, introduced in 1926, allowed the tie to fall evenly from the knot without twisting. Using mathematical modeling, researchers have discovered 85 possible necktie knots; how many are “aesthetically pleasing?”

Born on a day like today


Alexander Fleming

Motivated by the devastating infection he saw in battlefield hospitals during WWI, Fleming, an English bacteriologist, set about searching for an effective antiseptic. In 1922, he discovered lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme present in saliva, nasal secretions, and tears. In 1928, he isolated the antibiotic substance penicillin, which has forever changed modern medicine. This finding earned him a Nobel Prize. Both of Fleming's discoveries were accidental; how did they come about?

Last updated on Monday, 6th August 2007

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