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Zile de nastere - Birthdays

With an extraordinarily broad education, Lomonosov became a prominent figure of 18th-century Russia in many capacities. He was a poet, a language reformer, a chemistry professor, and founder of Moscow State University. He created the first colored-glass mosaics in Russia. He designed a telescope and hypothesized the presence of an atmosphere on Venus. He cataloged more than 3,000 minerals and explained the origin of icebergs. His experiments in physics contradicted what commonly accepted theory? Discuss
Considered one of the most important botanists in American history, Gray laid the foundation for the study of plants in North America. He made botanical expeditions to the western US, established Harvard University's botany department, and wrote prodigiously on the subject of plants, producing several classic, still-valued textbooks. Charles Darwin was such an admirer of Gray's work that he shared his theory of natural selection with Gray before publishing it. What toxin was named for Gray? Discuss
Strasberg was an American theatrical director, teacher, and actor. Expanding upon the teachings of Konstantin Stanislavsky, Strasberg developed the practice of "method acting," in which actors use their own emotional memories as dramatic motivation. As director of the elite Actors Studio in New York City, he trained actors such as Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, and Dustin Hoffman. He had a profound influence on American theater and film. What news did he receive on the day before he died? Discuss
Kaufman was an American dramatist and humorist who co-wrote more than 40 plays, many of which became tremendously successful. His collaboration with Moss Hart produced such plays as Once in a Lifetime and You Can't Take It With You, and he also worked on the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera. Kaufman was also an influential drama critic for New York newspapers and was known for his caustic wit. What did he once suggest as a way to avoid crowds during a flu epidemic? Discuss
Jérôme Bonaparte was the youngest brother of Napoleon. The two men became estranged after Jérôme married an American in 1803 without Napoleon's consent. Napoleon personally had the marriage annulled and arranged Jérôme's wedding to Princess Catherine of Württemberg instead. Jérôme was made king of Westphalia, but his kingdom collapsed and became part of Prussia in 1815, after which he returned to France. Which one of his grandsons founded the precursor of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation? Discuss
A man remarkable for his many talents and inventions, Fulton is popularly considered the inventor of the steamboat. Originally a gunsmith and portraitist, he became fascinated by canal engineering while living in Europe. After sinking one prototype steamboat in the Seine River and failing to secure European support, he returned to his native US. There, he launched the first commercially viable steamboat in the Hudson River in 1807. What invention did Napoleon commission from Fulton? Discuss
Augustine was bishop of Hippo, a Roman city that is now Annaba, Algeria. In his early 30s, he converted to Christianity, gave up his position as professor of rhetoric, became a bishop, and turned his home into a monastery. He served for more than 40 years. While he lay dying, Vandals destroyed his city but spared his library. His writings, which include Confessions and De Civitate Dei, deeply influenced Western Christianity. What now-extinct religion did he originally practice? Discuss
Today considered one of the greatest lyric poets of colonial Mexico, Sor Juana abandoned her life as a favorite at the viceroy's court to join a convent at the age of 16. There, she immersed herself in learning. Criticized by her superiors, she penned a passionate defense of women's education that became a classic. Despite having earned wide acclaim as a poet, she ceased writing publicly under pressure from church officials. Devoted to spirituality in her final years, she died doing what? Discuss
An influential American writer, Vonnegut used wry, black humor to highlight the horrors of 20th-century civilization. His novels, which include Breakfast of Champions and Player Piano, are frequently satirical and pessimistic, yet morally urgent. The best-selling Slaughterhouse-Five was based on Vonnegut's experience of surviving the firebombing of Dresden. Which of Vonnegut's novels was accepted by the University of Chicago as his thesis for an anthropology degree? Discuss
Lindsay was an American poet who, in an attempt to revive poetry as an oral art form of the common people, traveled the country reciting his poems in return for food and shelter. He first received wider recognition for 1913's "General William Booth Enters into Heaven," about the founder of the Salvation Army. His works are known for their strong, musical rhythms and vivid imagery. Despite his popularity, he was crushed by personal and financial worries and committed suicide by drinking what? Discuss
Considered one of the foremost Russian novelists and dramatists, Turgenev became known for his realistic, affectionate portrayals of Russian peasantry as well as for his penetrating studies of the intelligentsia. His works, which include the controversial masterpiece Fathers and Sons, are thought to have influenced the end of serfdom in Russia. His rocky friendship with Leo Tolstoy included a 17-year period during which the men did not speak to each other after Tolstoy did what? Discuss
Day was an American journalist, Christian anarchist, and social reformer. She originally wrote for the New York socialist journals The Call and The Masses. After the birth of her daughter in 1927, she converted to Catholicism, cofounded The Catholic Worker, and started a movement to aid the urban poor. Although her outspoken pacifist views were criticized by Catholic conservatives, she influenced Catholic liberals. What honor did she receive 20 years after her death? Discuss
An eminent Austrian physicist, Meitner fled Nazi Germany for Sweden in 1938. There, she formulated the concept of nuclear fission and proposed the term for the process. Though the Nobel Prize for the discovery went to physicist Otto Hahn, the element meitnerium was named in her honor. She was critical of scientists who remained in Germany during the Nazi era yet staunchly refused to participate in the atomic bomb research that resulted from her work. Why did Hahn once give her a diamond ring? Discuss
Joanna was the first queen regnant of both Castile and Aragon, which would become modern Spain. Though Joanna likely suffered from depression, the extent of her mental illness may have been exaggerated for political reasons. Throughout much of Joanna's reign, her father, husband, and son vied for power, each ruling on her behalf by attesting to her insanity. Joanna remained confined for much of her life. How old was she when she died? Discuss
One of the most prominent Mongol leaders of Persia, Ghazan was raised Buddhist but converted to Islam in 1295 before inheriting his father's throne. Well educated and fluent in several languages, he tasked his vizier with composing a history of the Mongols. In Syria, he successfully fought his family's enemy, the Mamluks, but they reoccupied the area upon his departure. What European nation became so fascinated with Mongol culture in the 13th century that many children were named for Ghazan? Discuss
After graduating from law school, Garcia became a schoolteacher, poet, and public official in his native Philippines. Elected vice president in 1953, he became president upon his predecessor's unexpected death in 1957. Though he maintained ties with the US, he was known for his "Filipino First" policy, which emphasized the sovereignty and economic interests of the Filipino people over those of outsiders. He retired from public life in 1961. However, in 1971, he died just days after doing what? Discuss
Austin was the founder of the first legal colony of English-speaking people in Mexican Texas. Following the death of his father, who had conceived the plan, Austin led 300 families to settle on the Brazos River in 1822. As his colony prospered, US immigrants poured into Mexico. Initially opposed to Texan independence, Austin tried to organize Texas as a Mexican state. He was instead imprisoned by the government for treason, after which he supported the Texas Revolution. What were his last words? Discuss
A native southerner and friend of Andrew Jackson, Polk was elected president of the US in 1845. During his administration, the US made large territorial gains. Polk peacefully negotiated the Oregon border dispute with Britain, while the US victory in the Mexican War secured much of the West. Though an efficient and competent president, Polk was exhausted by the time he left office, and he died three months later. Despite his happy marriage, he had no children. What likely rendered him sterile? Discuss
Born in Tennessee, Rice began his career as a reporter with the Nashville News in 1901 before moving to New York. There, he became known as the "Dean of American Sportswriters." For decades, he was in charge of selecting the All-American football team for Collier's magazine. In his widely syndicated column, "The Sportlight," Rice coined some of sports' most memorable phrases. What famous quote about winning and losing is derived from one of Rice's poems? Discuss
From 1631 until his death in 1706, Evelyn kept a diary that is today an invaluable source of information on 17th-century British social, cultural, and political life. He corresponded frequently with Samuel Pepys, another now-famous diarist of the time. Living as a wealthy country gentleman in Deptford, he wrote about 30 books on various subjects including reforestation, vegetarianism, and numismatics. In 1661, he wrote the Fumifugium, believed to be the first book written on what topic? Discuss
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