Nicolaas Witsen

Nicolaas Witsen, a Dutch naturalist, cartographer, and city father, was born May 8, 1641.  Witsen is remembered as an important civic figure because he served as mayor of Amsterdam no less than 13 times, but he also travelled to Russia in the 1660s, constructed the...

Gouverneur Warren

Gouverneur Kemble Warren, an American explorer and cartographer, was born Jan. 8, 1830. Warren was a topographical engineer, a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that was established in 1838 and was largely responsible for exploring and mapping the American...

Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp, an American cartographer and geologist, was born July 30, 1920. After acquiring degrees in English, geology, and math, she went searching for an interesting career. After several unpromising starts, she was hired in 1948 by…

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller, an American inventor, architect, and engineer, was born July 12, 1895. Fuller is best known for his geodesic dome, and for buckminsterfullerene, the carbon molecule that was named for its resemblance to Fuller’s hexagonal dome. But we are especially fond of two other Fuller inventions…

Martino Martini

Martino Martini, an Italian Jesuit, was born Sep. 20, 1614. Martini was one of many Jesuit missionaries of the 16th and 17th centuries who journeyed to China and, while waiting patiently for an opportunity to convert the Chinese to Christianity, tried to understand Chinese culture and history. Martini’s specialty was geography, and over the course of a 12-year stay in China, Martini compiled an atlas of the Far East, incorporating not only his own travels but also knowledge gained from studying Chinese maps…