For more than fifty years, Norbert Pearlroth sat in the reading room of the New York Public Library main branch every weekday from noon until 10pm. Unknown to almost everyone, he was researching one of the 20th century’s great sources of facts and trivia.
How do you solve Zeno’s paradoxes of motion? If you’re Diogenes the Cynic, you walk it off. [1 of 2]
In 1830, nearly half of the mathematics class at Yale was expelled for refusing to use a blackboard in their exams.
In 1896 Paul Otlet set up a bibliographic query service by mail: a 19th century search engine.
Some of the first public schools in North America were founded explicitly to counteract “that old deluder, Satan.”
Two German politicians resigned from office – in 2011 and 2013 – when their doctorates were revoked because of plagiarism.
“Gaudeamus igitur” is a solemn Latin song commonly sung at Western graduation ceremonies. Two hundred and fifty years ago, it was a bawdy student drinking song.
The Universal Decimal Classification aims to label all human knowledge, and it’s even more thorough than the Dewey Decimal system.
People who see our planet from outer space experience profound awe, humility, and a recognition of the fragility of life. They return to Earth changed.
Sarah Josepha Hale published “Mary had a Little Lamb” in 1830. Forty-six years later, Mary Tyler claimed to be the original Mary.
The famed philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was also an early pioneer of jet-engine propellers.
The 19th century Scottish author Emily Gerard collected local legends about a school of black magic high in the mountains of Transylvania.
19th century glass artists Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka provided natural history museums around the world with lifelike glass replicas of marine life.
In 1377 the Tunisian Arab historian Ibn Khaldun listed seven mistakes made by contemporary scholars, and then he made the same mistakes.
The Ship of Theseus is a classic philosophical thought experiment. L. Frank Baum’s Tin Woodman took it some place rather gruesome.
Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote a seminal text on education and raising children. He also abandoned five of his own children soon after their births.