Hugo Grotius

Hugo Grotius, a Dutch scholar, was born Apr. 10, 1583. In 1600, when only 17 years old, Grotius published his second book, an edition of an ancient astronomical treatise, the Phaenomena, by Aratus, with commentary by Germanicus. What makes this book special is the manuscript on which it is based. Grotius had somehow acquired an illuminated copy of Aratus’s text, produced around 816 AD. The manuscript had 35 “miniatures” of the constellations, which are in fact full-page paintings. Grotius had these illustrations copied as engravings by the great Dutch engraver, Jacobus de Gheyn and then printed in his book…

Lemuel Roscoe Cleveland

Lemuel Roscoe Cleveland, an American protozoologist, was born Nov. 14, 1892. Cleveland is known to historians of astronomy as an odd footnote; in 1924, when Edwin Hubble presented a paper at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), proving that the Andromeda nebula is in fact a galaxy just like our own Milky Way, he was awarded the AAAS Thousand Dollar Prize, a recently established award given for the best paper presented at the annual meeting…

Raphael Sanzio

Raphael Sanzio, the great Renaissance artist, was born Apr. 6, 1483. If you dispute this date (some do), we note that Raphael died on Apr. 6 (no dispute here), so one way or the other, this is the correct day to pay tribute. Sometime between 1509…

Orra White Hitchcock

Orra White Hitchcock, an American illustrator, was born Mar. 8, 1796.  Orra is the earliest accomplished American-born woman scientific artist, the equivalent, in many ways, of the more-famous European, Maria Sibylla Merian. Orra was married to Edward Hitchcock, one...

Emile-Antoine Bayard

Émile-Antoine Bayard, a French book illustrator, was born Nov. 2, 1837. Bayard did the original wood engravings for the sequel to Jules Verne’s De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865), which was called Autour de la lune (Around the Moon, 1870)....