Wednesday, August 19, 2020

August 19th in stamps Blaise Pascal, Johann Balthasar Neumann, Orville Wright

Here are some events that happened on August 19th. It could be an event or a person that died or was born on that day

1662 Died: Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1623)

Blaise Pascal (19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences, where he made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalising the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defence of the scientific method.

In 1642, while still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines. After three years of effort and 50 prototypes, he built 20 finished machines (called Pascal's calculators and later Pascalines) over the following 10 years, establishing him as one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator.

Pascal was an important mathematician, helping create two major new areas of research: he wrote a significant treatise on the subject of projective geometry at the age of 16, and later corresponded with Pierre de Fermat on probability theory, strongly influencing the development of modern economics and social science. Following Galileo Galilei and Torricelli, in 1647, he rebutted Aristotle's followers who insisted that nature abhors a vacuum. Pascal's results caused many disputes before being accepted.

In 1646, he and his sister Jacqueline identified with the religious movement within Catholicism known by its detractors as Jansenism. Following a religious experience in late 1654, he began writing influential works on philosophy and theology. His two most famous works date from this period: the Lettres provinciales and the Pensées, the former set in the conflict between Jansenists and Jesuits. In that year, he also wrote an important treatise on the arithmetical triangle. Between 1658 and 1659, he wrote on the cycloid and its use in calculating the volume of solids.

Throughout his life, Pascal was in frail health, especially after the age of 18; he died just two months after his 39th birthday. 

Stamps from France and Monaco depicting Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal France 1944

Blaise Pascal France 1962

Blaise Pascal Monaco

1753 Died: Johann Balthasar Neumann, German engineer and architect, designed Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (b. 1687)

Johann Balthasar Neumann (27 January 1687 – 19 August 1753), usually known as Balthasar Neumann, was a German architect and military artillery engineer who developed a refined brand of Baroque architecture, fusing Austrian, Bohemian, Italian, and French elements to design some of the most impressive buildings of the period, including the Würzburg Residence and the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (called Vierzehnheiligen in German).

The Würzburg Residence is considered one of the most beautiful and well proportioned palaces in Europe and the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is considered by some as the crowning work of the period.

German stamps depicting Johann Balthasar Neumann

1962 Balthasar Neumann

Germany 1987 Balthasar Neumann Architect

1871 Born: Orville Wright, American engineer and pilot, co-founded the Wright Company (d. 1948)

The Wright brothers—Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912)—were two American aviation pioneers generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful motor-operated airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, 4 mi (6 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1904–05, the brothers developed their flying machine to make longer-running and more aerodynamic flights with the Wright Flyer II, followed by the first truly practical fixed-wing aircraft, the Wright Flyer III. The Wright brothers were also the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

The brothers' breakthrough was their creation of a three-axis control system, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This method remains standard on fixed-wing aircraft of all kinds.  From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on developing a reliable method of pilot control as the key to solving "the flying problem". This approach differed significantly from other experimenters of the time who put more emphasis on developing powerful engines. Using a small home-built wind tunnel, the Wrights also collected more accurate data than any before, enabling them to design more efficient wings and propellers.  Their first U.S. patent did not claim invention of a flying machine, but a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine's surfaces. 

The brothers gained the mechanical skills essential to their success by working for years in their Dayton, Ohio-based shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles, in particular, influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle such as a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice. From 1900 until their first powered flights in late 1903, they conducted extensive glider tests that also developed their skills as pilots. Their shop employee Charlie Taylor became an important part of the team, building their first airplane engine in close collaboration with the brothers.

The Wright brothers' status as inventors of the airplane has been subject to counter-claims by various parties. Much controversy persists over the many competing claims of early aviators. Edward Roach, historian for the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, argues that they were excellent self-taught engineers who could run a small company, but they did not have the business skills or temperament to dominate the growing aviation industry.

US stamps depicting the Wright brothers

Wilbur & Orville Wright Airmail U.s. Postage Stamp

Orville And Wilbur Wright  U.S. Postage Stamps Pair

Orville And Wilbur Wright  U.S. Postage Stamps Pair FDC

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