Frank Zappa was an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and bandleader. Widely regarded as one of the most stylistically diverse and innovative rock musicians of his generation, Zappa was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list in 2004. Zappa's works have influenced other musicians like Alice Cooper, Jimi Hendrix, Simon Phillips, Steve Vai, and Warren DeMartini.
Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher. Widely regarded as the co-founder of modern political philosophy, Hobbes is best known for his influential book Leviathan. Apart from political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes also contributed immensely to various other fields, such as ethics, theology, geometry, history, and jurisprudence.
Omar Khayyam was a Persian polymath, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and poet. In the field of mathematics, he is best known for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations. As an astronomer, he designed a solar calendar known as the Jalali calendar. His philosophical attitude towards life had elements of pessimism, nihilism, Epicureanism, and fatalism.
Fred Hampton was considered an activist and a revolutionary socialist working for social change. He was the deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. He founded the Rainbow Coalition, aiming to help the Chicago street gangs to end infighting. The FBI considered him as a major threat and he was shot and killed in December 1969 during a raid.
Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent political thinkers, Hannah Arendt's articles and books have had a significant influence on philosophy and political theory. Her life and work inspired the 2012 biographical drama film, Hannah Arendt. Her work has also inspired several biographies written by popular authors.
Path-breaking British composer, pianist, and conductor Benjamin Britten was known for his fine operas such as Peter Grimes and the War Requiem. He also created countless orchestral works and is known for his long professional partnership with tenor Peter Pears, a collaboration that led to the formation of the Britten-Pears Foundation.
Cardinal Richelieu was a French clergyman and statesman who was active in the early 17th century. He held powerful positions in both the Catholic Church and French government and served as the chief minister to Louis XIII of France in 1624. He helped the French maintain their dominance in the Thirty Years' War that engulfed Europe.
Remembered for her pioneering work on feminist psychology, Karen Horney studied medicine at a time when women weren’t allowed in universities. Going against Sigmund Freud’s concept of penis envy, she suggested the idea of womb envy. She believed psychological differences weren’t rooted in gender but rather depended on the socio-cultural influences.
Thomas Hunt Morgan was an evolutionary biologist, geneticist, and embryologist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1933. He worked extensively on the role that the chromosome plays in heredity and demonstrated that genes are carried on chromosomes. In his later career, he established the division of biology at the California Institute of Technology.
Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician, biologist, physicist, and philosopher. He is credited with the discovery of animal electricity and is considered a pioneer of bioelectromagnetics. He and his wife made one of the first forays into the study of bioelectricity when they discovered that the muscles of dead frogs' legs twitched when struck by an electrical spark.
John of Damascus was a Christian apologist, priest, and monk. A polymath, John contributed to various fields, such as philosophy, theology, law, and music. He also wrote several works explaining the Christian faith. The hymns which he composed are still used in Eastern Christian practice as well as in western Lutheranism.
Born into a poor Protestant family, Irish physicist John Tyndall was a self-made man who funded his own doctoral education. His contributions include his research on the greenhouse effect and the discovery of the Tyndall effect. Not known to many, he was also an avid mountaineer and glaciologist.
Best known as the author of The Truth About The Titanic (currently Titanic: A Survivor's Story), Archibald Gracie IV was one of the few who survived the sinking of RMS Titanic. Beginning his career as colonel of the 7th New York Militia, he later became a real estate agent, concurrently carrying out researches on history, particularly the Battle of Chickamauga.
Norval Morrisseau was a Canadian artist best remembered for creating works that portrayed the legends of his Indigenous people, the tensions between native European and Canadian traditions, and his deep mysticism and spirituality. Nicknamed the Picasso of the North, Norval Morrisseau is credited with founding the Woodlands School of Art and was part of the Indian Group of Seven.
Pope John XXII was the head of the Catholic Church from August 1316 to his death in 1334. Elected by the Conclave of Cardinals, he was the second and longest-reigning Avignon Pope. He centralized power and income in the Papacy and lived a lavish life. He was considered an excellent administrator who efficiently reorganized the church.
Frank Sturgis was an American spy who worked as an undercover agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. He was counted among the five Watergate burglars whose arrest led to the end of Richard Nixon's presidency. Frank Sturgis served in multiple branches of the US military. He also served in the Cuban Revolution of 1958.
South African psychiatrist Joseph Wolpe, a leading figure in behaviour therapy, is noted for his reciprocal inhibition methods, especially for developing systematic desensitization. He also developed Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale and created Fear Survey Plan and Subjective Anxiety Scale. He was ranked as the 53rd most-cited psychologist of the twentieth-century in a 2002 survey of Review of General Psychology.
William Sturgeon was an English physicist and inventor. He invented the first practical English electric motor and made the first electromagnets. A self-taught genius, he became a lecturer at the East India Company's Military Seminary at Addiscombe, Surrey. Along with John Peter Gassiot and Charles Vincent Walker, he was instrumental in founding the London Electrical Society in 1837.
Vyacheslav Tikhonov was a Soviet and Russian actor best remembered for his portrayal of Max Otto von Stierlitz in the popular Soviet television series, Seventeen Moments of Spring. Vyacheslav Tikhonov was a recipient of many state awards. In 1974, he was named People's Artist of the USSR. In 1982, he was honored with the Hero of Socialist Labour title.
Lyric poet Stefan George was a significant part of the 19th-century German Aestheticism. While studying in Paris, he was influenced by Symbolists. He established the George-Kreis school of literature and launched its popular journal, Blätter für die Kunst. He also exhibited homosexual tendencies in his love poems dedicated to Maximin.
Charles Richet was a French physiologist remembered for his pioneering work in immunology. He is acclaimed for his work on anaphylaxis, which earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1913. He was also interested in the study of the paranormal. A proponent of eugenics, Richet was in charge of the French Eugenics Society for six years.
Austrian author, novelist, dramatist, translator, and banker, Gustav Meyer, who used the pseudonym Gustav Meyrink, is best-known for his novel The Golem. Gustav established his own bank but was eventually charged with fraud and jailed for two months. He depicted his jailhouse experiences in The Golem. A prolific translator, Gustav’s translation works include translating fifteen-volumes of Charles Dickens into German.
Legendary Norwegian violinist, composer, and conductor Johan Halvorsen had been a music professor, initially. He was also associated with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and later served as the director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He had also conducted operas, while Bojarenes Inntogsmarsj and Bergensiana remain two of his best orchestral works.
Stephen Toulmin was a British author and philosopher. He is remembered for his efforts to develop practical arguments, which have been proved useful to evaluate the ethics behind morality. Toulmin's works were applied effectively in the field of rhetoric. The Toulmin model of argumentation, which was published in his book The Uses of Argument, is considered his most important work.
Known as the Lion of the Andes, Cipriano Castro went from being a cowboy to a soldier and then the president of Venezuela. His 9 years of presidency were marred by corruption, as he embezzled a huge amount of money. The first president from the Andes was eventually deposed by Juan Vicente Gómez.
Austrian Roman Catholic priest and writer Josephus Mohr is best-known for writing lyrics of the popular Christmas carol Stille Nacht (Silent Night), which was composed by Austrian primary school teacher, church organist, and composer Franz Xaver Gruber. A manuscript in Mohr's handwriting discovered in 1995 states that Mohr penned the poem in 1816 and Gruber composed its music in 1818.
Known widely as The People’s Judge, V. R. Krishna Iyer had been a Supreme Court judge for almost 8 years. A champion for human rights, he pioneered the practice of offering legal aid to underprivileged people. The Padma Vibhushan winner was also a sports lover.