Andy Warhol

Pop Artist Andy Warhol was Born August 6, 1928. He was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States of America dedicated to a single artist. Warhol’s artwork ranged in many forms of media that include hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death in 1987. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.

warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of fame”. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. Warhol’s works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold. he started his career as a commercial illustrator, producing drawings in “blotted-ink” style for advertisements and magazine articles. Best known of these early works are his drawings of shoes. Some of his personal drawings were self-published in small booklets, such as Yum, Yum, Yum (about food), Ho, Ho, Ho (about Christmas) and Shoes, Shoes, Shoes. His most artistically acclaimed book of drawings is probably A Gold Book, compiled of sensitive drawings of young men. A Gold Book is so named because of the gold leaf that decorates its pages. In April 2012 a sketch of 1930s singer Rudy Vallee thought to be drawn by Andy Warhol was found at a Las Vegas garage sale. By the beginning of the 1960s, Warhol had become a very successful commercial illustrator. His detailed and elegant drawings for I. Miller shoes were particularly popular. They consisted mainly of “blotted ink” drawings (or monoprints), a technique which he applied in much of his early art. Although many artists of this period worked in commercial art, most did so discreetly. Warhol was so successful, however, that his profile as an illustrator seemed to undermine his efforts to be taken seriously as an artist.

Pop art was an experimental form made popular by Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, who would become famous as the “Pope of Pop”. His early paintings feature images taken from cartoons and advertisements, hand-painted with paint drips. Those drips emulated the style of successful abstract expressionists (such as Willem de Kooning). Warhol’s first pop art paintings were displayed in April 1961, serving as the backdrop for New York Department Store Bronwit Teller’s window display. his Pop Art contemporaries Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg had also featured. Eventually, Warhol Images featured just brand names, celebrities, dollar signs. He loved celebrities, so he painted them as well, frequently using silk-screening. In 1979, Warhol was commissioned by BMW to paint a Group 4 race version of the BMW M1 for the BMW Art Car Project. Warhol produced both comic and serious works; his subject could be a soup can or an electric chair. Warhol used the same techniques — silkscreens, reproduced serially, and often painted with bright colors — whether he painted celebrities, everyday objects, or images of suicide, car crashes, and disasters, as in the 1962–1963 Death and Disaster series. The Death and Disaster paintings included Red Car Crash, Purple Jumping Man, and Orange Disaster.

Warhol’s was also a sculptor and his most famous sculpture is probably his Brillo Boxes, silkscreened ink on wood replicas of Brillo soap pad boxes (designed by James Harvey), part of a series of “grocery carton” sculptures that also included Heinz ketchup and Campbell’s tomato juice cases.Other famous works include the Silver Clouds — helium filled, silver mylar, pillow-shaped balloons. A Silver Cloud was included in the traveling exhibition Air Art (1968–1969) curated by Willoughby Sharp. Clouds was also adapted by Warhol for avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham’s dance piece RainForest (1968).Warhol also made two cable television shows, Andy Warhol’s TV in 1982 and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes (based on his famous “fifteen minutes of fame” quotation) for MTV in 1986. Besides his own shows he regularly made guest appearances on other programs, including The Love Boat wherein a Midwestern wife (Marion Ross) fears Andy Warhol will reveal to her husband (Tom Bosley, who starred alongside Ross in sitcom Happy Days) her secret past as a Warhol superstar named Marina del Rey. Warhol also produced a TV commercial for Schrafft’s Restaurants in New York City, for an ice cream dessert appropriately titled the “Underground Sundae”.

During the 1960s, Warhol adopted the band the Velvet Underground, making them a crucial element of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia performance art show. Warhol, with Paul Morrissey, acted as the band’s manager, introducing them to Nico (who would perform with the band at Warhol’s request). In 1966 he “produced” their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico, as well as providing its album art. His actual participation in the album’s production amounted to simply paying for the studio time. After the band’s first album, Warhol and band leader Lou Reed started to disagree more about the direction the band should take, and their artistic friendship ended, after Warhol’s death, Reed and John Cale re-united for the first time since 1972 to write, perform, record and release the concept album Songs for Drella, a tribute to Warhol.Warhol also designed many album covers for various artists starting with the photographic cover of John Wallowitch’s debut album, This Is John Wallowitch!!! (1964). He designed the cover art for the Rolling Stones albums Sticky Fingers (1971) and Love You Live (1977), and the John Cale albums The Academy in Peril (1972) and Honi Soit in 1981. In 1975, Warhol was commissioned to do several portraits of Mick Jagger, and in 1982 he designed the album cover for the Diana Ross album Silk Electric.

One of his last works was a portrait of Aretha Franklin for the cover of her 1986 gold album Aretha, which was done in the style of the Reigning Queens series he had completed the year before. Warhol strongly influenced the New Wave/punk rock band Devo, as well as David Bowie. Bowie recorded a song called “Andy Warhol” for his 1971 album Hunky Dory. Lou Reed wrote the song “Andy’s Chest”, about Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Warhol, in 1968. He recorded it with the Velvet Underground, and this version was released on the VU album in 1985. Warhol worked in fashion and met Edie Sedgwick. Warhol’s work in fashion includes silkscreened dresses, a short sub-career as a catwalk-model and books on fashion as well as paintings with fashion (shoes) as a subject. Warhol and his friends staged theatrical multimedia happenings at parties and public venues, combining music, film, slide projections and even Gerard Malanga in an S&M outfit cracking a whip. This culminated in The Exploding Plastic Inevitable in 1966.

Andy Warhol also worked in theatre and his production Pork played at LaMama theater in New York for a two-week run and was brought to the Roundhouse in London for a longer run in August 1971. Pork was based on tape-recorded conversations between Brigid Berlin and Andy during which Brigid would play for Andy tapes she had made of phone conversations between herself and her mother, socialite Honey Berlin. The play featured Jayne County as “Vulva” and Cherry Vanilla as “Amanda Pork”. In 1974, Andy Warhol also produced the stage musical Man On The Moon, which was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Warhol was an excellent photographer, whose pictures were mostly taken with a specific model of Polaroid camera that Polaroid kept in production especially for Warhol. This photographic approach to painting and his snapshot method of taking pictures has had a great effect on artistic photography. he took an enormous amount of photographs of Factory visitors, friends. Sadly though Warhol passed away on February 22nd, 1987 In New York City after making a good recovery from a routine gallbladder surgery at New York Hospital before dying in his sleep from a sudden post-operative cardiac arrhythmia

Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse The American contributor to the invention of a single-wire telegraph system and co-inventor of Morse code, was born 27th April in 1791 in Charlestown Massachusetts he attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, after which he went on to Yale College where he studied religious philosophy, mathematics and science of horses. While at Yale, he also attended lectures on electricity from Benjamin Silliman and Jeremiah Day, and In 1810, he graduated from Yale with Phi Beta Kappa honours.

Samuel Morse was also an accomplished painter and whilst at Yale He supported himself financially by painting. He expressed some of his beliefs in his painting “Landing of the Pilgrims”, through the depiction of simple clothing as well as the people’s austere facial features. His image captured the psychology of the Federalists; Calvinists from England brought to North America ideas of religion and government, thus linking the two countries. This work also attracted the attention of the notable artist Washington Allston. Later Morse accompanied Allstone on a three-year painting study in England, where he worked to perfect his painting techniques under Allston’s watchful eye. By the end of 1811, he gained admittance to the Royal Academy. He liked the Neo-classical art of the Renaissance particularly the works of Michelangelo and Raphael. After observing and practicing life drawing and absorbing its anatomical demands, the young artist produced his masterpiece, the Dying Hercules. Morse eventually left England on August 21, 1815, to return to the United States and begin his full-time career as a painter.

Between 1815–1825 Morse painted America’s culture and life, including the Federalist former President John Adams, hoping to become part of grander projects as the The Federalists and Anti-Federalists clashed over Dartmouth College. Morse painted portraits of Francis Brown — the college’s president — and Judge Woodward, who was involved in bringing the Dartmouth case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Morse moved to New Haven and was commissioned to paint the Hall of Congress and a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette, who was a leading French supporter of the American Revolution. From 1830 to 1832, Morse traveled and studied in Europe to improve his painting skills, visiting Italy, Switzerland and France, Some of Morse’s paintings and sculptures are on display at his Locust Grove estate in Poughkeepsie, New York. During his time in Paris, he developed a friendship with the writer James Fennimore Cooper, and On a subsequent visit he also met Louis Daguerre and became interested in the latter’s daguerreotype — the first practical means of photography. In 1825, the city of New York Morse was commissioned to paint a portrait of Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, in Washington.

Unfortunately whilst Morse was painting, he received a letter from his father that read one line, “Your dear wife is convalescent”. Morse immediately left Washington for his home at New Haven, leaving the portrait of Lafayette unfinished. By the time he arrived, his wife had already been buried. Heartbroken in the knowledge that for days he was unaware of his wife’s failing health and her lonely death, he moved on from painting to pursue a means of rapid long distance communication. On the sea voyage home in 1832, Morse encountered Charles Thomas Jackson of Boston, a man who was well schooled in electromagnetism. Witnessing various experiments with Jackson’s electromagnet, Morse developed the concept of a single-wire telegraph. However Morse encountered the problem of getting a telegraphic signal to carry over more than a few hundred yards of wire. His breakthrough came from the insights of Professor Leonard Gale, With Gale’s help, Morse introduced extra circuits or relays at frequent intervals and was soon able to send a message a distance of ten miles (16 km) of wire. Morse and Gale were soon joined by a young enthusiastic man, Alfred Vail, who had excellent skills, insights and money. At the Speedwell Ironworks in Morristown, New Jersey, Morse and Vail made the first public demonstration of the electric telegraph on January 11, 1838. and Today The original Morse telegraph, submitted with his patent application, is part of the collections of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution

Morse sadly passed away on 2 April 1872 aged 80, and is buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. However his legacy lives on. His valuable contributions to science and technology has enabled people to communicate long-distance and saved many lives.  Even today Morse code is still the primary language of telegraphy and is still the standard for rhythmic transmission of data.

Melissa auf der Maur

Canadian musician, singer-songwriter actress and photographer Melissa Auf der Maur born March 17, 1972. Born and raised in Montréal, Auf der Maur formed Tinker in 1993 and was later recruited as the bassist for the American alternative rock band Hole in 1994. Following her departure from Hole, Auf der Maur joined The Smashing Pumpkins in 2000 and later began a solo career. Her debut studio album, Auf der Maur, was released in 2004 and her second studio album, Out of Our Minds, was released in 2010. Auf der Maur got her musical break after becoming friends with Billy Corgan after apologizing for a friend who had thrown a beer bottle at the band during one of The Smashing Pumpkins’ first Canadian concert dates at Montreal nightclub Les Foufounes Électriques (which translates to “The Electric Buttocks”).Her band, Tinker, opened for The Smashing Pumpkins in Montreal in 1993. In 1994, when Hole was in need of a new bassist after the death of Kristen Pfaff, Corgan recommended Auf der Maur to Courtney Love. Auf der Maur at first turned the job down, but later reconsidered. She joined Hole two weeks before the Reading Festival and recorded the album Celebrity Skin with the band, ultimately leaving on October 20, 1999, after her 5-year contract with the band had come to an end. In June 2009, Love announced through an NME blog that Hole was re-forming, with Auf der Maur on bass and Micko Larkin, who is Love’s lead guitarist, on her upcoming album. Which came as a surprise to Auf der Maur.

 In 2012, Auf der Maur reunited for a one-time gig with Hole (comprising the 1990s lineup of herself, Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson and Patty Schemel) in New York during the promotion of Schemel’s newly released documentary “Hit So Hard”. Erlandson and Schemel performed with her initially until Love came to the stage for a spontaneous performance of “Over the Edge”. After D’arcy Wretzky left the Smashing Pumpkins in 2000, Auf der Maur joined the band as bassist. Lead singer Billy Corgan had known Auf der Maur since her days in her band Tinker (who opened for the Smashing Pumpkins on their Siamese Dream tour) and the pair were friends. Melissa did not play on Machina/The Machines of God, or Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music, but was a part of the band for the associated tour. The Smashing Pumpkins split later that year bringing her brief stay with the band to an end. In 2006, Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin signed a new contract as Smashing Pumpkins. However Auf der Maur did not rejoin the Smashing Pumpkins.

Auf der Maur briefly toured with former The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek in 1997, after contributing bass and background vocals to his 1997 solo album Troublizing. She collaborated with French group Indochine on their song “Le Grand Secret”, singing a duet in French with Nicola Sirkis, to great acclaim in France. Auf der Maur joined the band on stage to perform. She has also contributed bass and backing vocals to childhood friend Rufus Wainwright’s album Poses, and appears in his 1998 video for “April Fools”. In 2008, she collaborated with Canadian musician Daniel Victor, on his music collaboration project Neverending White Lights. They recorded the song “The World is Darker”. she has also contributed to albums by artists such as Ryan Adams, Ben Lee, Idaho, she also appeared on the Fountains of Wayne album Traffic and Weather singing backing on the track “Someone to Love”.

in 2002, Auf der Maur fronted a Black Sabbath cover band called Hand of Doom, in which she performed lead vocals. In the same year, she and drummer Samantha Maloney (another Hole alumnus and also formerly of Mötley Crüe, and Peaches), Paz Lenchantin (of A Perfect Circle, and Zwan), and Radio Sloan (of Peaches, The Need) got together to play a show in Los Angeles, performing original songs and some covers. Courtney Love later adopted the band as her backing band while touring for her first solo album, America’s Sweetheart. Only Samantha Maloney and Radio Sloan remained of the original line-up, and the band was later renamed to The Courtney Love Band. In 2004, Auf der Maur released her first solo album Auf der Maur, containing the singles “Followed the Waves,” “Real a Lie” and “Taste You.”Auf der Maur was part of the November 2004 “Love Metal” tour also featuring HIM and 2004’s Curiosa. She was also the opening act for Matthew Good’s “Put Out Your Lights” tour in 2004, as well as for The Offspring’s Splinter tour in 2004.In 2006, Auf der Maur was included in Blender magazine’s hottest women of rock alongside Joan Jett, Liz Phair, and Courtney Love.

Auf der Maur released her second album in 2009 under the name of MAdM, together with comic, film and album entitled Out of Our Minds, or OOOM for short. a movie trailer for which can be found at xMAdMx.com. Glenn Danzig recorded a duet with Auf der Maur in 2008, titled “Father’s Grave. In 2008 the songs “This Would Be Paradise” “The Key” and “Willing Enabler.” Were released and in 2009 Auf der Maur released the single “Out of Our Minds” from her new album, which was also accompanied by a short film.In July 2010, she was a part of the major two-day, heavy metal and hard rock festival Heavy MTL at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal. On October 4, 2010, Auf der Maur premiered her music video “Meet Me On The Dark Side” online.In January 2011, Auf der Maur won the Independent Music Awards in the Indie/Alt/Hard Rock category for Out of Our Minds. She also played Alice Longfellow in the 2011 film “Collaborator”.

Auf der Maur is also a published photographer. She was a photography major specializing in self-portraiture at Concordia University when she was invited to join Hole in 1994. Her photos have been published in Nylon, Bust, Mastermind, and American Photo, among other magazines. Her photos were also in the exhibition The Kids are Alright at Sotheby’s in New York City along with photos by Yelena Yemchuk. She put together a solo exhibition in 2001, under the name of Channels. It mostly featured shots of Auf der Maur’s life on the road, with a recurring TV theme and shots of hotel TV screens, hence the name Channels. The exhibition opened September 9, 2001, at Brooklyn’s Secret Gallery, but was shut down after the September 11 attacks. In 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced a television series called The Greatest Canadian which saw 100 Canadian figures nominated for the title of ‘the Greatest Canadian’. The list of 100 was narrowed to a group of 10 finalists, and a program was dedicated to relating the story of and case for each nominee was aired on the network. Each nominee was promoted by a Canadian celebrity ‘advocate’ and Auf der Maur appeared as the advocate for environmentalist David Suzuki (who finished 5th of 10).

John Herschel

English Polymath, Mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor and experimental photographer Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet KH FRS was born 7 March 1792 in Slough Buckinghamshire. He was the son of Mary Baldwin and astronomer William Herschel, nephew of astronomer Caroline Herschel and the father of twelve children. He studied shortly at Eton College and St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating as Senior Wrangler in 1813. It was during his time as an undergraduate that he became friends with Charles Babbage and George Peacock. He left Cambridge in 1816 and started working with his father. He took up astronomy in 1816, building a reflecting telescope with a mirror 18 inches (460 mm) in diameter and with a 20-foot (6.1 m) focal length. Between 1821 and 1823 he re-examined, with James South, the double stars catalogued by his father. He was one of the founders of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1820.[5] For his work with his father, he was presented with the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1826 (which he won again in 1836), and with the Lalande Medal of the French Academy of Sciences in 1825, while in 1821 the Royal Society bestowed upon him the Copley Medal for his mathematical contributions to their Transactions. Herschel was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order in 1831. He served as President of the Royal Astronomical Society three times: 1827–29, 1839–41 and 1847–49.

He wrote a discourse on the study of natural philosophy, published early in 1831 as part of Dionysius Lardner’s Cabinet cyclopædia, using methods of scientific investigation to create an orderly relationship between observation and theorising. He described nature as being governed by laws which were difficult to discern or to state mathematically, and the highest aim of natural philosophy was understanding these laws through inductive reasoning, finding a single unifying explanation for a phenomenon. This became an authoritative statement with wide influence on science, particularly at the University of Cambridge where it inspired the student Charles Darwin with “a burning zeal” to contribute to this work. Herschel also published a catalogue of his astronomical observations in 1864, as the General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters, a compilation of his own work and that of his father’s, expanding on the senior Hershel’s Catalogue of Nebulae. A further complementary volume was published posthumously, as the General Catalogue of 10,300 Multiple and Double Stars.

Herschel correctly considered astigmatism to be due to irregularity of the cornea and theorised that vision could be improved by the application of some animal jelly contained in a capsule of glass against the cornea. His views were published in an article entitled Light in 1828 and the Encyclopædia Metropolitana in 1845.

Declining an offer from the Duke of Sussex to travel to South Africa on a Navy ship, Herschel and his wife paid £500 for passage on the S.S. Mountstuart Elphinstone, which departed from Portsmouth on 13 November 1833 in order to catalogue the stars, nebulae, and other objects of the southern skies and complete the survey of the northern heavens started by his father William Herschel. He arrived in Cape Town on 15 January 1834 and set up a private 21 ft (6.4 m) telescope at Feldhausen at Claremont, a suburb of Cape Town. Amongst his other observations during this time was that of the return of Comet Halley. Herschel also collaborated with Thomas Maclear, the Astronomer Royal at the Cape of Good Hope and also witnessed the Great Eruption of Eta Carinae (December, 1837). While in southern Africa, he engaged in a broad variety of scientific pursuits free from a sense of strong obligations to a larger scientific community.

Herschel also collaborated with his wife, Margaret, and between 1834 and 1838 they produced 131 accurate botanical illustrations showing the Cape flora. Herschel used a camera lucida to obtain accurate outlines of the specimens and left the details to his wife. Even though their portfolio had been intended as a personal record, and despite the lack of floral dissections in the paintings, their accurate rendition makes them more valuable than many contemporary collections. Some 112 of the 132 known flower studies were collected and published as Flora Herscheliana in 1996. As their home during their stay in the Cape, the Herschels had selected ‘Feldhausen’ (“Field Houses”), an old estate on the south-eastern side of Table Mountain. Here John set up his reflector to begin his survey of the southern skies. Herschel, meanwhile, read widely. Intrigued by the ideas of gradual formation of landscapes set out in Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, he speculated about evolution and the replacement of extinct species by others. Herschel himself thought catastrophic extinction and renewal inadequate and by analogy with other intermediate causes, considered the origination of fresh species, through extinction and evolution. The document was circulated, and Charles Babbage incorporated extracts in his ninth and unofficial Bridgewater Treatise, which postulated laws set up by a divine programmer. When HMS Beagle called at Cape Town, Captain Robert FitzRoy and the young naturalist Charles Darwin visited Herschel on 3 June 1836. Later on, Darwin would be influenced by Herschel’s writings in developing his theory advanced in The Origin of Species.

Herschel returned to England and published Results of Astronomical Observations made at the Cape of Good Hope in 1847. In this publication he proposed the names still used today for the seven then-known satellites of Saturn: Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, and Iapetus and In 1835, the New York Sun newspaper wrote a series of satiric articles that came to be known as the Great Moon Hoax, with statements falsely attributed to Herschel about his supposed discoveries of animals living on the Moon, including batlike winged humanoids. In 1847, Herschel received his second Copley Medal from the Royal Society for this work. A few years later, in 1852, he proposed the names still used today for the four then-known satellites of Uranus: Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon.

Herschel also made numerous important contributions to photography. He made improvements in photographic processes, particularly in inventing the cyanotype process and variations (such as the chrysotype), the precursors of the modern blueprint process. In 1839, he made a photograph on glass, which still exists, and experimented with some color reproduction, noting that rays of different parts of the spectrum tended to impart their own color to a photographic paper. Herschel made experiments using photosensitive emulsions of vegetable juices, called phytotypes and published his discoveries in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1842. He collaborated in the early 1840s with Henry Collen, portrait painter to Queen Victoria.

Herschel originally discovered the platinum process on the basis of the light sensitivity of platinum salts, later developed by William Willis and coined the term photography in 1839. He may however have been preceded by Brazilian Hércules Florence, who used the French equivalent, photographie, to describe his own experiments in private notes in 1834, although as Florence was not in communication with the European scientific community, Herschel has historically been credited with coining and popularising the term. Herschel was also the first to apply the terms negative and positive to photography. He discovered sodium thiosulfate to be a solvent of silver halides in 1819, and informed Talbot and Daguerre of his discovery that this “hyposulphite of soda” (“hypo”) could be used as a photographic fixer, to “fix” pictures and make them permanent, after experimentally applying it thus in early 1839. His ground-breaking research on the subject was read at the Royal Society in London in March 1839 and January 1840.

Herschel also wrote many papers and articles, including entries on meteorology, physical geography and the telescope for the eighth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. He also translated the Iliad of Homer and invented the actinometer in 1825 to measure the direct heating power of the sun’s rays, his work with the instrument is of great importance in the early history of photochemistry. He proposed a correction to the Gregorian calendar, making years that are multiples of 4000 not leap years, thus reducing the average length of the calendar year from 365.2425 days to 365.24225. Although this is closer to the mean tropical year of 365.24219 days, his proposal has never been adopted because the Gregorian calendar is based on the mean time between vernal equinoxes (currently 365.242374 days).

Sadly Herschel died 11 May 1871, however he received many honours during his lifetime. He was created a baronet, of Slough in the County of Buckingham, in 1838 and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1832, and in 1836, he was made a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The village of Herschel in western Saskatchewan (Canada), Mount Herschel (Antarctica), the crater J. Herschel on the Moon, and the Herschel Girls’ School in Cape Town (South Africa), are all named after him. While it is commonly accepted that Herschel Island (in the Arctic Ocean, part of the Yukon Territory) was named after him, the entries in the expedition journal of Sir John Franklin state that the latter wished to honour the Herschel name, about which John Herschel’s father (Sir William Herschel) and his aunt (Caroline Herschel) are two other notable members of this family.

Lewis Carroll

Author, mathematician, Logician, Anglican Deacon and Photographer Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) sadly died 14 January 1897. Born 27 January 1832, he is best remembered for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky”. From a young age, Dodgson wrote poetry and short stories, which he contributed to the family magazine Mischmasch and also sent them to various magazines. Between 1854 and 1856, his work appeared in The Comic Times and The Train, the Whitby Gazette and the Oxford Critic. Most of this output was humorous, sometimes satirical, he also wrote puppet plays Such as La Guida di Bragia.

In 1856 he published A romantic poem called “Solitude” in The Train as “Lewis Carroll”. This pseudonym was a play on his real name; Lewis was the anglicised form of Ludovicus, which was the Latin for Lutwidge, and Carroll an Irish surname similar to the Latin name Carolus, from which comes the name Charles. In 1856, a new dean, Henry Liddell, arrived at Christ Church, bringing with him his young family, all of whom would figure largely in Dodgson’s life and, over the following years, greatly influence his writing career. Dodgson became close friends with Liddell’s wife, Lorina, and their children, particularly the three sisters: Lorina, Edith and Alice Liddell. He was for many years widely assumed to have derived his own “Alice” from Alice Liddell. This was given some apparent substance by the fact the acrostic poem at the end of Through the Looking Glass spells out her name and also that there are many superficial references to her hidden in the text of both books. It has been noted that Dodgson himself repeatedly denied in later life that his “little heroine” was based on any real child, and frequently dedicated his works to girls of his acquaintance, adding their names in acrostic poems at the beginning of the text. Gertrude Chataway’s name appears in this form at the beginning of The Hunting of the Snark and it is not suggested that this means any of the characters in the narrative are based on her.

Carroll’s friendship with the Liddell family was an important part of his life in the late 1850s and he took the children on rowing trips accompanied by an adult friend.to nearby Nuneham Courtenay or Godstow.it was on one such expedition, on 4 July 1862, that Dodgson invented the outline for Alice in Wonderland after Alice Liddell persuaded him to write it down, Dodgson presented her with a handwritten, illustrated manuscript entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in November 1864 Before this, the family of friend and mentor George MacDonald read Dodgson’s incomplete manuscript, and the enthusiasm of the MacDonald children encouraged Dodgson to seek publication. In 1863, he had taken the unfinished manuscript to Macmillan the publisher, who liked it immediately. After the possible alternative titles Alice Among the Fairies and Alice’s Golden Hour were rejected, the work was finally published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 under the Lewis Carroll pen-name, which Dodgson had first used some nine years earlier. The illustrations this time were by Sir John Tenniel; Dodgson evidently thought that a published book would need the skills of a professional artist.

The overwhelming commercial success of the first Alice book changed Dodgson’s life in many ways. The fame of his alter ego “Lewis Carroll” soon spread around the world. He was inundated with fan mail and with sometimes unwanted attention. Indeed, according to one popular story, Queen Victoria herself enjoyed Alice In Wonderland so much that she suggested he dedicate his next book to her, and was accordingly presented with his next work, a scholarly mathematical volume entitled An Elementary Treatise on Determinants. Dodgson himself vehemently denied this story, commenting “…It is utterly false in every particular: nothing even resembling it has occurred”; and it is unlikely for other reasons: as T.B. Strong comments in aTimes article, “It would have been clean contrary to all his practice to identify [the] author of Alice with the author of his mathematical works”. He also began earning quite substantial sums of money but continued with his seemingly disliked post at Christ Church. Late in 1871, a sequel – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – was published. It is somewhat darker and the mood possibly reflects the changes in Dodgson’s life. His father had recently died (1868), plunging him into a depression that lasted some years. In 1876, Dodgson produced his last great work, The Hunting of the Snark, a fantastical “nonsense” poem, exploring the adventures of a bizarre crew of tradesmen, and one beaver, who set off to find the eponymous creature. The painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti reputedly became convinced the poem was about him. In 1895, Carroll published a two-volume tale of the eponymous fairy siblings. Carroll entwines two plots, set in two alternate worlds, one the fairytale kingdom of Elfland, the other a realm called Outland, which satirizes English society, and more specifically, the world of academia.

In 1856, Dodgson took up photography, first under the influence of his uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, and later his Oxford friend Reginald Southey and soon became a well-known gentleman-photographer. Dodgson also made many studies of men, women, male children and landscapes; his subjects also include skeletons, dolls, dogs, statues and paintings, and trees. His pictures of children were taken with a parent in attendance and many of the pictures were taken in the Liddell garden, because natural sunlight was required for good exposures, Unfortunately this led to great controversy and unsavory rumors concerning his relationship with Alice and Lorina Liddell and he parted company with them under dubious circumstances. He found photography to be a useful entrée into higher social circles. During the most productive part of his career, he made portraits of notable sitters such as John Everett Millais, Ellen Terry, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Julia Margaret Cameron, Michael Faraday, Lord Salisbury, andAlfred, Lord Tennyson. Dodgson abruptly ceased photography in 1880. Over 24 years, he had completely mastered the medium, set up his own studio on the roof of Tom Quad, and created around 3,000 images. Fewer than 1,000 have survived time and deliberate destruction. He reported that he stopped taking photographs because keeping his studio working was difficult (he used the wet collodion process) and commercial photographers (who used the dry-plate process) took pictures more quickly.

Dodgson also worked in mathematics, in the fields of geometry, linear and matrix algebra,mathematical logic and recreational mathematics, producing nearly a dozen books under his real name. Dodgson also developed new ideas in linear algebra (e.g. the first printed proof of the Kronecker-Capelli theorem),probability, and the study of elections (e.g.,Dodgson’s method) and committees; some of this work was not published until well after his death. He worked as the Mathematical Lecturer at Christ Church, an occupation that gave him some financial security. His mathematical work attracted renewed interest in the late 20th century. Martin Gardner’s book on logic machines and diagrams, and William Warren Bartley’s posthumous publication of the second part of Carroll’s symbolic logic book have sparked a reevaluation of Carroll’s contributions to symbolic logic. Robbins’ and Rumsey’s investigation of Dodgson condensation, a method of evaluating determinants, led them to the Alternating Sign Matrix conjecture, now a theorem. The discovery in the 1990s of additional ciphers that Carroll had constructed, in addition to his “Memoria Technica”, showed that he had employed sophisticated mathematical ideas to their creation

Dodgson invented many things including the Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case in 1889. This was a cloth-backed folder with twelve slots, two marked for inserting the then most commonly used penny stamp, and one each for the other current denominations to one shilling. The folder was then put into a slip case decorated with a picture of Alice on the front and the Cheshire Cat on the back. All could be conveniently carried in a pocket or purse. When issued it also included a copy of Carroll’s pamphletted lecture, Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing. Another invention is a writing tablet called the nyctograph for use at night that allowed for note-taking in the dark; thus eliminating the trouble of getting out of bed and striking a light when one wakes with an idea. The device consisted of a gridded card with sixteen squares and system of symbols representing an alphabet of Dodgson’s design, using letter shapes similar to the Graffiti writing system on a Palm device.

Among the games he devised outside of logic there are a number of word games, including an early version of Scrabble, “doublet” a form of brain-teaser which involves changing one word into another by altering one letter at a time, each successive change always resulting in a genuine word. For instance, CAT is transformed into DOG by the following steps: CAT, COT, DOT, DOG. Other items he invented include a rule for finding the day of the week for any date; a means for justifying right margins on a typewriter; a steering device for a velociam (a type of tricycle); new systems of parliamentary representation; more nearly fair elimination rules for tennis tournaments; a new sort of postal money order; rules for reckoning postage; rules for a win in betting; rules for dividing a number by various divisors; a cardboard scale for the college common room he worked in later in life, which, held next to a glass, ensured the right amount of liqueur for the price paid; a double-sided adhesive strip for things like the fastening of envelopes or mounting things in books; a device for helping a bedridden invalid to read from a book placed sideways; and at least two ciphers for cryptography.

Dodgson continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, and remained in residence there until his death. The two volumes of his last novel, Sylvie and Bruno, were published in 1889 and 1893. He also travelled to Russia in 1867 as an ecclesiastical together with the Reverend Henry Liddon. He recounts the travel in his “Russian Journal”, published in 1935. On his way to Russia and back he also saw different cities in Belgium, Germany, the partitioned Poland, and France. He died at his sisters’ home, “The Chestnuts” in Guildford, of pneumonia following influenza, two weeks before turning 66. He is buried in Guildford at the Mount Cemetery.

Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground)

Velvet_Underground_and_NicoLou Reed, the founder of The Velvet Underground passed away at the age of 71 on 27 October 2013. Born Lewis Allan Reed in Brooklyn, New York in 1942, Lou Reed developed an ear for rhythm and blues, forming several bands while still in high school after teaching himself to play guitar simply by listening to the radio.Reed introduced avant garde rock to mainstream music and has been credited as having a significant impact on American culture.His collaboration with famed pop artist and mentor Andy Warhol is legendary and perhaps one of the most important pairings of this centuryBest known as the founder, guitarist and lead singer/songwriter of 1960s band The Velvet Underground, the star went on to have an illustrious solo career, with hits such as ‘Walk On the Wild side ‘. He was married to Laurie Anderson

The Velvet Underground were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996 and have long been recognised as a major musical influence on punk and art rock, as reflected in a quote often attributed to musician Brian Eno: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”After making his name with the Velvet Underground and becoming part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene in New York, Although the Velvet Underground never achieved great commercial success, their idosyncratic combination of harsh guitars and smooth melodies sung by Reed or the German model Nico proved enduring and have garnered a cult following. Warhol incorporated the Velvet Underground’s music into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events, with Reed revealing that Andy As a songwriter, Reed broke new ground by writing songs about taboo subjects as S&M, transvestites and transsexuals, prostitution, and drug addiction.

Following his departure from The Velvet Underground in 1970, ‘Reed began a successful solo career spanning several decades and went on to record a series of seminal and sometimes challenging solo albums including Transformer, Berlin and Metal Machine Music and collaborated with many artists over the course of his career, including David Bowie, Antony and the Johnsons and Kate McGarrigle. Throughout his life He also remained an avid and interesting artist, branching out into photography and released two books of his work, ‘Emotions in Action’ and ‘Lou Reed’s New York.’

Tawny Owl (Strix Aluco)

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Tawny Owl (Strix Aluco)

Recently I was lucky enough to see some visiting owls from a nearby Owl Sanctuary, including a Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Little Owl. This is The Tawny Owl or brown owl (Strix aluco), a stocky, medium-sized owl which is commonly found in woodlands across much of Eurasia. Its underparts are pale with dark streaks, and the upperparts are either brown or grey. Several of the eleven recognised subspecies have both variants. The nest is typically in a tree hole where it can protect its eggs and young against potential predators. This owl is non-migratory and highly territorial. Many young birds starve if they cannot find a vacant territory once parental care ceases.

This nocturnal bird of prey hunts mainly rodents, usually by dropping from a perch to seize its prey, which it swallows whole; in more urban areas its diet includes a higher proportion of birds. Vision and hearing adaptations and silent flight aid its night hunting. The tawny owl is capable of catching smaller owls, but is itself vulnerable to the eagle owl or Northern goshawk. Although many people believe this owl has exceptional night vision, its retina is no more sensitive than a human’s. Rather, it is its asymmetrically placed ears that are key to its hunting because they give the tawny owl excellent directional hearing. Its nocturnal habits and eerie, easily imitated call, have led to a mythical association of the tawny owl with bad luck and death (which in the case of rodents is usually well founded ).