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‘Eripuit caelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis’ (He snatched the thunderbolt from heaven and the sceptre from tyrants) is an epigram about Benjamin Franklin, coined by the French economist and minister Anne-Robert Jacques Turgot (Möhring 2010, p. 253). It shows that Franklin achieved fame in the eighteenth century not only as co-author and signatory of the American Declaration of Independence but also as researcher into electricity and inventor of the lightning conductor. Read more
Commercial air travel for tourists began in Europe after the First World War in 1919. In Switzerland, Walter Mittelholzer and Alfred Comte, the driving forces behind the Swiss airline company Ad Astra Aero AG, started conducting tourist flights to the Alps in the early 1920s. As these ceased in the winter months, two tourist flights to Africa in 1929/30 and 1930/31 were just what the doctor ordered for Mittelholzer. Not only Read more
When the title of a book is ‘Anticopernicus catholicus’, it is not necessary to explain that its author Giorgio Polacco pits himself against the heliocentric world view and it is likewise clear that the arguments of the Roman Catholic church must be anticipated. That his own condemnation and adjuration – printed in full – also had to be used as an argument would not have pleased Galileo Galilei at all. Read more
Today is the 20th anniversary of Marcello Mastroianni’s death. On this occasion we present some recently digitised photographs of the shooting of Vie privée (A Very Private Affair, 1962) by Louis Malle in Geneva. Mastroianni embodies a man who travels between Geneva, Paris and Spoleto and has an affair with the model and movie star ‘Jill’ (Brigitte Bardot). Jill is being pursued by the press and the paparazzi and finally Read more