Johann Rost

Johann Leonhard Rost, a German novelist and astronomer, was born Aug. 14, 1688. It is odd how regional fame can be. Rost has a seven-page biography on the German Wikipedia, but only…

Apollinaire Lebas

Jean-Baptiste Apollinaire Lebas, a French engineer, was born Aug. 13, 1797. In 1819, the Vice-Consul of Egypt gave an obelisk standing in Alexandria to France (it was one of a pair, the other going to England), but the French wanted a grander monolith, so…

John Frere

John Frere, an English antiquarian, was born Aug. 10, 1740. In 1797, Frere discovered the stone age. He visited a brick quarry a little south of the village of Hoxne, in Suffolk. There he found a number of flaked flint objects buried deep in the earth, about 12 feet down, and since the flints resembled axe heads, he surmised that these were human…

Dorothea Klumpke Roberts

Dorothea Klumpke Roberts was the first woman to earn an advanced degree in astronomy—a feat she accomplished in 1893, at the University of Paris, with a dissertation about the rings of Saturn. Born Aug. 9, 1861 in San Francisco, where her father had been lured by…

Benjamin Silliman

Benjamin Silliman, an American chemist and geologist, was born Aug. 8, 1779. Silliman graduated from Yale and was appointed professor of geology and natural history in 1802, before he had any training whatsoever in those two fields. To his credit, Silliman studied…