• Famous Personalities

    Leonardo da Vinci

    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci ( 15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519), more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance, whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and tank, he epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal. Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance Man”, an individual of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”, and he is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were…

  • Famous Personalities

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    Geoffrey Chaucer ( c. 1343 – 25 October 1400), known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. He was the first poet to be buried in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. While he achieved fame during his lifetime as an author, philosopher, and astronomer, composing a scientific treatise on the astrolabe for his ten-year-old son Lewis, Chaucer also maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Among his many works are The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, The Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde. He is best known today for The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s work was crucial in legitimising the literary use of the Middle English vernacular at a time when the…

  • Famous Personalities

    Galileo Galilei

    Galileo Galilei ( 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath. Galileo has been called the “father of observational astronomy“, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of the scientific method“, and the “father of modern science“. Galileo studied speed and velocity, gravity and free fall, the principle of relativity, inertia, projectile motion and also worked in applied science and technology, describing the properties of pendulums and “hydrostatic balances”, inventing the thermoscope and various military compasses, and using the telescope for scientific observations of celestial objects. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the observation of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, the observation of Saturn and the analysis of sunspots. Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism and Copernicanism was controversial during his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism…

  • Famous Personalities

    Florence Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale, ( 12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. Recent commentators have asserted Nightingale’s Crimean War achievements were exaggerated by media at the time, but critics agree on the importance of her later work in professionalising nursing roles for women. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of…

  • Famous Personalities

    Emily Dickinson

    Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts into a prominent family with strong ties to its community. After studying at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she briefly attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family’s house in Amherst. Dickinson lived much of her life in reclusive isolation. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a noted penchant for white clothing and became known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence. She was a recluse for the later…