Linda Hall Library
Science Engineering Technology

Willy Ley

Willy Ley, a German writer and rocket enthusiast, was born Oct. 2, 1906. As a young man, Ley read Hermann Oberth’s pioneering book, Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (By Rocket to Planetary Space, 1923) and was immediately empassioned with the possibilities of space flight. In 1927, Ley helped organize the world’s first amateur rocket society…

Michael Servetus

Michael Servetus, a Spanish physician and would-be religious reformer, was born (it is said) on Sep. 29, 1511, in Villenueva de Sigena in Aragon. While in the entourage of the Emperor Charles V, Servetus published an anti-Trinitarian pamphlet (1531), and religious denunciation was so strong–from both Protestants and Catholics–that he moved to France and assumed the name Michel de Villeneuve…

William Jones

William Jones, an English linguist and jurist, was born Sep. 28, 1746. Jones was a child prodigy in languages, speaking a dozen tongues fluently and having a reading knowledge of several dozen more. He was appointed a justice on the Supreme Court in Calcutta in 1783, which launched a fascination with all aspects of ancient India, including its language, Sanskrit…

Armand David

Father Armand David, a French missionary and zoologist, was born Sep. 27, 1826 (second image). David was sent to Beijing in 1862 by his Lazarist order, and he immediately began collecting plants and animals in China to send back to Paris. He also sent back travel narratives that were published serially in the Nouvelles archives du museum d’histoire naturelle. His most famous discovery (for the West) was the Giant Panda, a dead specimen of which David encountered in 1869.

Adam Wilhelm Hauch

Adam Wilhelm Hauch, a Danish military man, political figure and physicist, was born Sep. 26, 1755. Hauch is one of hundreds if not thousands of scientists who were prominent and respected in their own time, made significant contributions to scientific culture, and left important physical legacies, and yet have been almost completely written out of mainstream historical accounts…