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Sunday, 31 August 2014


Their name refers to Dalmatia, a region now in Croatia, where the earliest written records of the breed in the early 18th century showed that it was used for a variety of functions.

The Dalmatian was seen as the height of carriage accessory fashion in Britain and France in the nineteenth century. They were used by aristocracy as a coach dog to trot beside carriages and protect them from highwaymen, but later used strictly as a companion dog.

Dalmatians have a natural affinity for horses, and were popularized as firefighter's dogs because they were used to calm and guard the horses that pulled the firefighters' carriages back in the day. The breed also cleared the way for firemen on the way to the scene of a fire.

The popular book 101 Dalmatians (1956) and subsequent Disney movie propelled the Dalmatian breed to fame.

Dalmatians are born spotless: at first pure white, their spots develop as they age.

In the film 101 Dalmatians, every Dalmatian puppy has precisely 32 spots.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.


The city of Dallas was founded in 1841 by John Neely Bryan.

Dallas is part of a much larger group of cities called the Metroplex, along with important cities like Arlington, Denton, Fort Worth, and Plano. The metropolitan area  ranks fourth in the United States.

The metroplex encompasses 9,286 square miles of total area, making it larger in area than the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.

The Praetorian Building of 14 stories, built in 1909, was the first skyscraper built west of the Mississippi.

The interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s reinforced and consolidated Dallas' prominence.  Four major interstate highways converge in the city, and a fifth interstate loops around it.

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Elm Street while his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas.

An aerial view of Dealey Plaza showing the route of President Kennedy's motorcade

Dallas Zoo started out with just two deer and two mountain lions. These animals went on display in 1888 at the zoo's original home in City Park.

The city is home to the Dallas Cowboys, a professional American football team, the Dallas Stars, a hockey team in the NHL, the Texas Rangers, a baseball team in the MLB, and the Dallas Mavericks, a basketball team in the NBA.

Dallas International Airport is larger than the island of Manhattan.

Dallas Children's hospital features the world's largest permanent model train displays in its lobby. Eight trains simultaneously traverse over 1,000 miles of track

44.4 percent of Dallas' population wasn't born in Texas.


Salvador Dalí

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born on May 11, 1904 in the town of Figueres close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain.

His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary. His mother, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, tempered her husband's strict disciplinary approach and encouraged her son's artistic endeavors.

Dali was born exactly nine months after the death of his older brother — also called Salvador.

Salvador Dalí, 29 November 1939

Dalí was terrified of grasshoppers. As a schoolboy, he threw such violent fits of hysteria that his teacher forbade them to be mentioned in class.

Salvador Dali did nine months of military service and was assigned the role of toilet cleaner. He pretended to have nervous fits to avoid night duty.

In the 1920s, Salvador Dalí read Freud, took up with other emerging Surrealists, and began actively seeking his subconscious mind so as to paint the visions there.

Dali produced what is perhaps his best-known work, The Persistence Of Memory, when he was just 27. Its melting clocks were believed to have been inspired by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, but Dali said they were based on a wheel of Camembert cheese that had melted in the sun.

It is said that Dalí himself adopted his signature curled mustache from classical painter, Diego Velázquez.

Portrait of Salvador Dali, taken in Hôtel Meurice, Paris Photo by Allan Warren
At the height of the Spanish Civil War, Dali worked in Hollywood with Harpo Marx on a film for the Marx Brothers called Giraffes On Horseback Salad — one scene required Harpo to use a butterfly net to collect the 18 smallest dwarfs in the city. The film was never made.

Salvador Dalí had a pet ocelot named Babou.

Salvador Dalí once arrived at an art exhibition in a limo filled with turnips.

Dalí once delivered a lecture wearing a full deep-sea diving suit.

Dalí in the 1960s sphotographed holding his pet ocelot

Dalí produced over 1,500 paintings in his career.

His most famous work was The Persistence of Memory (1931), which is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is a dream-like landscape with a soft, melted pocket-watch.

The Persistence of Memory. By Image taken from, Fair use, $3

Dali's most expensive painting sold is the $22.4 million Portrait de Paul Eluard, featuring his friend and Surrealist poet Paul Eluard. It is the most expensive Surrealist work of art in the world.

Salvador Dalí died of heart failure at Figueres at the age of 84 on January 23, 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played.

He is buried in the crypt below the stage of his Theatre and Museum in Figueres.

When Salvador Dali was exhumed in 2017 to determine whether a fortune teller is his biological daughter, his mustache was still perfectly intact.

The Dalí Theatre and Museum is a museum containing the works of Salvador Dalí in his home town of Figueres. The heart of the museum is the building that featured his first exhibition at the age of 14.


Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is a religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism. He is its highest spiritual teacher of the Gelugpa school.

"Dalai" is original from Mongolian which means "ocean" and "Lama" is original from Tibetan which means "the highest principle".

A new Dalai Lama is said to be the re-born old Dalai Lama. The line goes back to 1391.

Between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lama was the head of the Tibetan government.

The current Dalai Lama is His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso (b July 6, 1935). He was born Lhamo Dondup on July 6, 1935 on a straw mat in a cowshed to a farming and horse trading family.

He was formally enthroned on November 17, 1950, during the Chinese invasion of Tibet.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama had to flee from Tibet to Dharamsala, India. This is still his base today.

The Dalai Lama was on the CIA's payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $180,000 a year.

The Dalai Lama shook hands with Pope John Paul during a private audience in Vatican City on October 9, 1980.

The Dalai Lama was awarded the Noble Peace Prize on October 5, 1989, for his nonviolent campaign to end Chinese domination of Tibet.  He accepted it "on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace and the people of Tibet."

The Dalai Lama has a hobby of collecting and repairing watches and loves photography, and developing his own photographs.

Dalai Lama in 2012 by *christopher* - Flickr: Wikipedia Commons
Unlike most Buddhist monks, the Dalai Lama is a meat eater. In the 1960s, he tried being vegetarian for a bit but had to give it up after he got sick with hepatitis.

The Dalai Lama alternates between vegetarianism and meat eating. If he is in the company of meat-eaters, he is happy to eat meat. The White House once offered him a vegetarian menu and he declined.

The Dalai Lama is frightened of caterpillars.

Even though the Dalai Lama can’t swim, his greatest fear is being eaten by a shark.

Source Wikipedia


Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler and his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach developed in 1885 a precursor of the modern petrol (gasoline) engine. They were granted a German patent for their engine design on April 3, 1885.

Daimler and Maybach subsequently fitted their engine to a two-wheeler on August 29, 1885. The Reitwagen (riding car) was the first internal combustion motorcycle.

The Reitwagen  the world's first internal combustion motorcycle (1885). By Joachim Köhler - Eikipedia Commons

The next year they fitted their engine to a stagecoach and a boat.

Daimler called it the Grandfather Clock engine (Standuhr) because of its resemblance to an old pendulum clock.

Gottlieb Daimler

The Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft was founded 1890 in Cannstatt, near Stuttgart by Daimler and Maybach. They sold their first automobile two years later.

In 1894 a Daimler powered car won the first international car race: Paris to Rouen.

In 1924, the DMG management signed a long term co-operation agreement with Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and in 1926 the two companies merged to become Daimler-Benz AG,

Mercedes-Benz brought Chrysler for $40 billion in 2009 forming DaimlerChrysler. It was at the time the largest industrial merger in history.

Source Wikipedia

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was born to Norwegian immigrant parents, Harald and Sofie in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales on September 13, 1916. When Dahl was three, his father died of pneumonia at the age of 57 while on a fishing trip in the Antarctic.

Roald's first language during childhood was Norwegian.

Dahl was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, a national hero in Norway at the time.

When he was seven, Roald was sent to St Peter's boarding school St Peter's in Weston-super-Mare. In later accounts, he related the bullying and beatings he endured there.

Roald Dahl was a taster for the Cadbury chocolate company when he was a boy.

From 1929, Roald attended Repton School in Derbyshire where he excelled at sports, being made captain of the school fives and squash teams, and also playing for the football team.

Rather than go on to the university, Dahl opted to go to work for the Shell Petroleum Company in the hope, realized when he was sent to Africa, that he would get to travel.

Dahl joined the RAF at the outbreak of World War II, where he served as a fighter pilot, attaining the rank of wing commander..

He made a forced landing in the Libyan Desert and was severely injured,fracturing his skull, smashing his nose and temporarily blinded. As a result, Dahl spent sixteen weeks in the Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria.

Posted to America in 1942, to work at the British Embassy, Dahl was so popular among D.C. ladies that British intelligence came up with a whole new role for him: seducing powerful women and using them to promote Britain’s interests in America.

Dahl’s stint at the British Emassy also helped him realize his talent for writing. He discovered this skill while penning propaganda for American newspapers.

Dahl started work on his first children's book, The Gremlins in America.. Though he succeeded in getting a publishing deal, a proposed Disney film never materialized.

The story concerns mischievous mythical creatures, the Gremlins of the title, often invoked by Royal Air Force pilots as an explanation of mechanical troubles and mishaps. Dahl is credited with getting the gremlins known outside the air force.

Dahl was exceptionally tall, reaching 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) in adult life.

In 1953, Dahl married American actress Patricia Neal, and they went on to have five children. One daughter, Olivia, died of the complications of measles at age seven. Dahl subsequently became a proponent of immunization.

Patricia Neal suffered several major strokes and the marriage ended in divorce in 1983. Dahl went on to marry again.

Patricia Neal sometimes used nonsense words as a result of her strokes; Dahl devised a language, Gobblefunk, which was spoken by The BFG's enormous protagonist. It was based on some of the words his stricken wife came up with.

Patricia Neal and Roald Dahl

The only Dahl invented word in the Oxford English Dictionary itself is “Oompa Loompa”.

Roald Dahl wrote his books in a brick hut on the edge of his orchard. He wrote from 10.30am to midday and 4pm until 6pm  and always used yellow pencils with a rubber on the end and yellow legal pads.

Many of his books and stories have been made into films all over the world. However, the first movie adaptation of one of Dahl's books did not go well. After his screeplay for 1964's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was rewritten, Dahl disowned the film. It was released in 1971, as Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Family, starring Gene Wilder.

In 1960, Dahl’s baby son Theo damaged his skull after being struck by a car. The standard treatment was proving to be ineffective so Dahl together with his friend Stanley Wade, an expert in precision hydraulic engineering, and paediatric neurosurgeon Kenneth Till created the Wade-Dahl-Till (WDT) valve. By the time the device was perfected, Theo had healed to the point at which it was not necessary for him; however, many thousand other children worldwide benefited from the WDT valve before medicine technology progressed beyond it.

In 1961 Dahl fronted his own US TV show, Way Out, a forerunner of the British show, Tales of the Unexpected.

His short story collection Tales of the Unexpected was adapted to a successful 1980s TV series of the same name, beginning with "Man From the South." When the stock of Dahl's own original stories was exhausted, the series continued by adapting stories by authors that were written in Dahl's style.

Roald Dahl in 1982. By Hans van Dijk / Anefo - Derived from Nationaal Archief, Wikipedia

Dahl wrote screenplays for two books for his pal, Ian Fleming. You Only Live Twice was released in 1967, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  the following year.

Students from Leicester University showed that 2,425,907 seagulls would have been needed to lift a giant peach, not 501 as in Roald Dahl’s story.

Roald Dahl wrote a book, My Uncle Oswald, about a scheme to steal sperm from successful people and create the world’s most valuable sperm bank.

English author and former model Sophie Dahl is his granddaughter. Dahl was the inspiration for Sophie, the main character in her maternal grandfather's book The BFG.  In the earliest drafts of The BFG, the child was a boy called Jody. Roald turned him into a little girl called Sophie after her.

Dahl died on the morning of November 23, 1990 in Oxford, England from myelodysplastic syndrome, aged 74.

Dahl had a Viking-esque funeral, linked to his Norwegian descent. He was buried with his snooker cues, some good burgundy, chocolates, HB pencils and a powersaw.

There is a Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden which shows the work of Dahl.

Sources, Daily Mail,


In Ancient Greece, daffodils were a symbol of death.

Wild daffodils were introduced to Britain by the Romans, who praised them for their healing properties and used them to make plasters.

Poultry keepers once thought the daffodil unlucky and would not allow it in their homes as they believed it would stop hens laying or eggs hatching.

English poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came upon a "long belt" of daffodils on April 15, 1802, inspiring him to pen his most famous work, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

The UK produces half the world’s daffodil bulbs, exporting 10,000 tons a year.

The English county of Cornwall produces about a fifth of the world’s daffodils

Source Daily Mail 


Some dog experts believe that the early roots of the dachshund go back to ancient Egypt, where engravings were made featuring short-legged hunting dogs.

In its modern incarnation, the dachshund is a creation of German breeders. The name comes from one of its earliest uses - hunting badgers. In German, Dachs means "badger," Hund is "hound."

In World War I, it was patriotic in the UK to kick dachshunds.

In America during World War I, dachshunds became "liberty hounds."

Due to the association of the breed with Germany, the dachshund was chosen to be the first official mascot for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, with the name Waldi.

A wire-haired dachshund from New York called Chanel was the longest living dachshund ever recorded . It died at 21 in 2009.

In 2015, residents of Pancevo, Serbia erected a statue to honor a small dachshund named Leo, who died saving a 10-year-old child from a vicious dog attack.

A dachshund has a long, narrow body, so it is sometimes called a wiener dog or sausage dog.


On D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, June 6, 1944, the Allies succeed on landing in occupied France, a turning point in World War II.

Prior to the landings, a Scottish spiritualist and medium Helen Duncan was arrested as authorities that her alleged clairvoyant powers might betray the planned date of D-Day.

To plan for the operation the BBC ran a competition for pictures of French beaches. It was in fact a rouse to help gather intelligence on suitable beaches for an amphibious landing.

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, as commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, agonized on the date to launch the invasion. Several days of bad weather made aircraft reconnaissance impossible and seas too rough for the landing craft.

A break in the weather was forecast for June 6th. Early that morning, German defenders on bluffs overlooking the beaches were stunned to peer out over the English Channel and see nearly 5,000 ships.

It was the largest seaborne invasion in history: 7,000 ships took part.

156,000 Allied US, British, and Canadian troops landed on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944. The allied soldiers quickly broke through the Atlantic Wall and pushed inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history. Many felt the hand of God was involved in providing the crucial weather break needed to launch the invasion.

Men of the 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Infantry Division wade ashore on Omaha Beach

Combat photographer George Hjorth parachuted into France three nights before D-day with three film cameras. His mission was to hide in front of the German lines at Normandy and film whatever happened on the beach. He completed the mission successfully, but the film is lost in the archives.

As a wartime member of the Parachute Regiment, the actor Richard Todd was one of the first to be dropped into Normandy during D-Day. In The Longest Day, the 1962 film about the Allied invasion, he played Major John Howard, who led the D-Day assault of Pegasus Bridge.

Actor James Doohan, famous for his role as Scotty from the original Star Trek television series, fought in D-Day as a lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Artillery. He was shot six times that day and had his middle finger amputated. He went on to conceal it on screen throughout his acting career.

The film-maker and actor Mel Brooks was a combat engineer, Corporal Melvin Kaminsky in World War II, landing on the Normandy Beaches in June 1944. His main job was clearing land mines.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr,  the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was the only general to land on the beaches during D-Day. Although he was the oldest man on the beach and walked with a cane, he was the first man out of his landing craft. He recited poetry and joked with his men to keep them calm. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Although the landings turned out to be a resounding success, Eisenhower hedged his bets by keeping in his pocket a communiqué announcing the failure of the landings and accepting full responsibility.

Juan Pujol Garcia was a British double agent during WWII. He told Hitler D-Day would happen at the Strait of Dover, earning him the German Iron Cross. It was actually carried out at Normandy, earning him the British MBE.

During the initial airborne landings on D-Day, paratrooper John Steele got stuck on a church tower. He played dead for two hours dangling on the side of the church, was later captured and promptly escaped, fought for the entire day and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

The “D” in D-Day stands for “Day” to reiterate its military importance.

During the D-Day landings, British soldiers identified one another by calling the word "fish". The response, signifying an ally, was "chips".

4% of the sand in Normandy today is made up of metal particles from D-Day.

Source Good News Magazine

Czech Republic

The largest castle in early medieval Europe, Hradany Castle was built at Prague, Czechoslovakia in the ninth century. It was destroyed by fire in 1303.

The world’s first vernacular hymnbook was published in Prague in 1501 containing 89 hymns in Czech.

The population of the Czech Republic has traditionally been irreligious for a very long time. Ever since the 1600's, the Czech people have been described as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion".

Czechoslovakia proclaimed its independence from Austria-Hungary in 1918.

The Strahov Stadium in Prague was finished in 1934 for a gymnastics exhibition. When it was an active sports venue, it had a capacity of around 250,000, making it the largest stadium in the world.

After Czech resistance assassinated brutal Nazi Reinhard Heydrich during World War 2, the Czech town of Lidice was razed and nearly all of its citizens, pets and livestock were shot. In response to Hitler's desire to wipe Lidice off the map, Brazil, Venezuela, Panama and Mexico renamed towns to Lidice.

The Communist Party took control of the government in Czechoslovakia in 1948. Rather than sign the Ninth-of-May Constitution making his nation a Communist state, Edvard Beneš chose to resign as President of Czechoslovakia.

Student Jan Palach died on January 19, 1969 after setting himself on fire three days earlier in Prague's Wenceslas Square to protest about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. His funeral turned into a major protest.

Former child actress Shirley Temple was the US ambassador to Czechoslovakia between 1989 and 1992.

Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved on December 31, 1992, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic (see flag below) and Slovakia. It is sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the bloodless Velvet Revolution of 1989 that led to the end of the rule of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the formation of a democratic government.

In 1993 the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the name Czechia be used for the country outside of formal official documents. This has not caught on in English usage.

The local language is Czech language. The Czech language is a Slavic language. It is related to languages like Slovak and Polish.

Czech Republic has no sea.

Czech Republic has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004

The highest point in the country is Sněžka at 5,256 ft.

The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the world. According to the 2011 census, 34.2% of the population stated they had no religion and 45.2% of the population did not answer the question about religion.

People in the Czech Republic drink more beer per capita than any other country, an average of 262 pints a year.

Source Wikipedia


The island of Cyprus is the result of of the Anatolian tectonic plate and the African plate colliding.

The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sold her kingdom to Venice on March 14, 1489.  She ceded her rights as ruler of Cyprus to the Doge of Venice—and by extension the Venetian government as a whole—as she had no heir.

The Ottoman empire invaded Cyprus in 1570. The capital Nicosia and several other towns fell quickly to the considerably superior Ottoman army. Famagusta eventually fell in August 1571 after a siege of 11 months. In response the Republic of Venice and the Holy League, a coalition of Christian states formed under the auspices of the Pope, declared war.

The 1571 Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement between allied Christian forces and the Ottoman Turks.

A peace treaty signed on March 7, 1573 brought the Ottoman–Venetian War to an end with Venice ceding Cyprus to the Ottomans and paying a tribute of 300,000 ducats.

The United Kingdom granted Cyprus independence in 1959, which was then formally proclaimed on August 16, 1960. The flag of Cyprus came into use on the same day.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded on November 15, 1963.The self-declared state comprises the northeastern portion of the island of Cyprus, but is recognized only by Turkey. Northern Cyprus is considered by the international community to be part of the Republic of Cyprus.

The flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was adopted in 1983. It is based on the flag of Turkey with the colors reversed and two horizontal red stripes added at the top and bottom.

Flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Wikipedia

Geographically, Cyprus is part of Asia and in the Middle East, but for political reasons, it is sometimes counted as being part of Europe.

Cyprus is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean; Only Sicily and Sardinia are larger.

Cyprus is one of only two island nations in the Mediterranean (the other is Malta).

There are two states on the island: The Republic of Cyprus and The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognised by Turkey. These states are separated by a buffer zone, which is controlled by the United Nations.

Voting in European elections is compulsory in Cyprus.


Cymbals have been used since antiquity. Numerous visual and written records describe their role in religious and other ceremonial rituals and in dance and theatrical presentations.

The word cymbal comes from the Latin cymbalum, derived from the Greek word kumbalom, which means a 'small bowl'.

Cymbal giants Zildjian is one of the oldest companies in the world. The first Zildjian cymbals rolled off the production line in 1623, in what was then Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).

The Zildjian cymbal company started making cymbals for frightening the enemies of the Ottoman Empire.

Orchestral cymbals used today are usually from Turkey, where the Zildjian family has been making these instruments for nearly 400 years.

Source Encyclopedia Britannica


The first official cycling race on record took place at Hendon, England, in 1868.

Late 19th century doctors warned bicycling women that they would get "Bicycle Face"—a permanent "hard, clenched jaw and bulging eyes."

The first individual time trial for racing cyclists on public roads was held on a 50-mile course north of London on October 5, 1895. For many years in the UK, time trials were the main road-based cycling competitions, and remain popular today.

Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Tour de France, riding a time trial bicycle. By Denismenchov08 -Wikipedia

Fashion designer Sir Paul Smith (b July 5, 1946) wanted to be a professional racing cyclist but was forced to change tack when aged 17 he had a serious accident on his bike, while on his way to work at a clothing warehouse. Six months of recovery in hospital followed, during which Smith made friends with people from the local art college who would introduce him to the world of art and fashion.

Eddy Merckx gave the bicycles he used to win the men's road race at the 1974 UCI Road World Championships to Pope Paul VI.

In 1977 Pradyumna Kumar Mahanandia, a poor Indian artist, rode a second-hand bicycle for four weeks and three days from New Delhi to Gothenburg in Sweden to meet his love Charlotte Von Schedvin because he didn't have enough money. They married and have two children.

You can cycle at three times walking speed for the same expenditure of energy.

A cyclist uses one fiftieth of the oxygen of a car making the same journey.

Six percent of Americans don’t know how to ride a bike.

Georges Cuvier

Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) was born in Montbeliard, France on August 23, 1769 to Jean George Cuvier, a lieutenant in the Swiss Guards and Anne Clémence Chatel.

He was fascinated by natural history after he encountered at the age of 10 a copy of Gesner's Historiae Animalium.

While a student at the Carolinian Academy at Stuttgart, he read nearly all the scientific books in the library and learned how to dissect animals.

Cuvier was tutor with a family living in Normandy between 1788 and 1794. There he met the Abbe Tessier, a keen student of natural history, who urged the young man to go to Paris and seek greater opportunities.

From 1795 Cuvier taught in Paris, at the Museum of National History, then the largest scientific establishment in the world.

Georges Cuvier delivered his first paleontological lecture at École Centrale du Pantheon in Paris on April 4, 1796. His talk about living and fossil remains of elephants and related species, founded the science of Paleontology.

Cuvier was made assistant professor of comparative anatomy at the Jardin des Plantes in 1795 and full professor in 1802.

In 1811, working with Alexandre Brongniart on the Tertiary rocks of the Paris Basin, he became the first to classify fossil mammals and reptiles, thus founding vertebrate palaeontology.

Cuvier with a fish fossil. By Wikipedia Commons

In 1816 he issued his greatest book-- Règne animal distribué d'après son organisation (translated into English as The Animal Kingdom).

In 1819, he was created a peer for life in honor of his scientific contributions. Hereafter, he was known as Baron Cuvier.

Cuvier derided general theories. In long conflicts with Lamarck and E Geoffroy St-Hilaire (both precursors of Darwin) he attacked theories of evolution: he believed in catastrophes, with the Biblical flood as the most recent. After each catastrophe, life was created anew

He died in Paris on May 13, 1832, during an epidemic of cholera.

Source Encyclopedia of Britannica

Tuesday, 26 August 2014



Prehistoric man used flints to cut meat and dig for vegetables. The flint-maker utilised a rock to chip off the pieces of flint, or it was prepared by hitting it against a large stone set on the ground. Tree bark, seashells or tortoise shells were used as containers to collect, transport, preserve, cook and eat food. Spoons cut in a simple fashion out of wood, bone or shells were used both to prepare and eat the meal.

By 4000 BC the first two pronged forks were being used in Turkey.

Around 1700BC chopsticks made of ivory, bone or wood, were being prepared in China. With tables virtually unknown one hand had to be free to hold the bowl and they proved to be a practical solution. The replacement of chopsticks over knives for eating at the table indicated the increased respect for the scholar over the warrior in Chinese society.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used two pronged kitchen forks to assist in the carving and serving of meat. The fork's teeth prevented meat from moving during carving and allowed food to slide off more easily than it would with a knife. However the Romans and Greeks did not use forks whilst eating, instead they washed their fingers between every course.

The Romans used two different types of spoons made of bronze or silver. One with a pointed oval bowl and a handle ending in a decorative design was used for soups and pottages. The second was a small spoon with a round bowl and a pointed, narrow handle for eating shellfish and eggs. The poor would use spoons made of bone.

Knives of all sizes were used by the Romans, made of iron, with bone, wood or bronze handles.

When the food was ready, the Romans served it on a discus, a large circular silver, or bronze or pewter plate. The Romans also moulded them from glass paste. The poor would use wood plates.

By the end of the first century Porcelain had been perfected in China and some culinary utensils were being made with it.

In medieval Europe, a meat based Viking dish was served on wooden plates and eaten with a personal knife. Soups and pottages were served in wooden bowls and eaten with wooden or horn spoons.

The Normans developed the saucer. The small plate contained sauce each diner having an individual saucer in which they dipped their food to enhance the flavour.

In the late 11th century small two pronged eating forks began to appear on mainland Europe, in Tuscany. Forks had been introduced into Venice by a Byzantine princess and were now spreading throughout Italy.

Thomas Beckett was one of the few Englishmen to use a fork when eating. He introduced a two-pronged fork to England after his exile in Italy but when he tried to explain that one of the advantages of the fork was it could be washed, Henry II replied “But, so can your hands”.

In medieval times broth was usually served in bowls made of a thick slice of stale bread that soaked up the juice. When they become too impregnated with broth or sauce they were changed or sometimes at the end of the meal and were given to the poor. These trenchers were shared by two people, the lesser helping the more important, the younger the older, the man the woman. The former in each case broke the bread, cut the meat, and passed the cup. The liquid was sipped directly from the bowl.

Medieval diners used their right hands to pull out chunks of meat or vegetables from shared bowls. The more finicky used knives to spear the solids and convey them to the mouth.

By the beginning of the 13th century cutlery manufacture had began to settle in London and Sheffield in England and in places on the continent where craft guilds existed. Craftsmen produced elaborately ornamented blades and fashioned handles of such fine materials as amber, ebony, gold, ivory, marble and silver. England’s King Edward 1st’s 1307 royal inventory showed 7 forks- 6 silver and 1 gold and thousands of knives.

By the end of the 13th century in the homes of wealthy Western Europeans it was becoming usual to provide knives for guests, though most men carried their own. These knives were narrow and their sharply pointed ends were used to spear food and then lift it to one's mouth. Dinner hosts also usually supplied spoons, generally made of wood or horn.

Forks were still rarely used at the end of the 13th century apart from in Italy as clergymen condemned their use, arguing that only human fingers, created by God, should touch God’s provisions. Also the use of the fork by men was considered effeminate.

In the second half of the 15th century a change in the design of spoons was required once men and women started wearing large, stiff-laced collars called ruffs. Originally those wearing ruffs around their necks couldn’t easily drink soup from bowls, as the early spoons with their short stems, were not able to transport the soup past the ruffs without spilling. So spoon handles lengthened and the spoon's bowl became larger permitting more liquid to be transported to the mouth with less chance of dribbling the contents on the ruffs.

In the 1570s Henry III of France, during a visit to the court at Venice, noted that a two-pronged table forks were being used. He brought some back to France and some of the French nobility started using them.

In Elizabethan England very little cutlery was used, even Queen Elizabeth 1st would pick up her chicken bone deftly in her long fingers rather than use cutlery. The few plates there were would be made of wood or pewter and the spoons of wood, silver or tin.

In 1608 an Englishman named Thomas Coryate brought some forks back to England after seeing them in Italy during his travels there. But by the 1650s forks were still rarely used, apart from in the kitchen or at the serving table to hold meat when it was being cut. Indeed at European banquets hands were still being used to serve much of the food, even though the servants were only using their fingertips.

 It wasn't until the 1670s that the fork began to achieve general popularity as an eating implement. Once their efficiency for spearing food was noted there was no longer any need for a pointed tip at the end of a dagger which were used as toothpicks and to cut meat.

In France King Louis XIV ordered rounded knives, which Cardinal Richelieu had introduced 35 years earlier so that the diners couldn’t stab each other. Further, he decreed all pointed daggers on the street or the dinner table illegal, and all knife points were ground down in order to reduce violence.

18th century Americans would either use their fingers to eat or spoons with which they steadied the food as they cut it and then passed the spoon to the other hand in order to scoop the food up.

Four pronged forks were used by the 18th century French nobility at separate place settings to distinguish themselves from the lower classes who still shared bowls and glasses. The additional prongs made diners less likely to drop food and the curves in the prongs served as a scoop so people did not have to constantly switch to a spoon while eating.

By the early 19th Century, these four pronged forks had also been developed in England and were spreading to America. At first they were used mainly in restaurants or to hold meat while cutting it. Many were still suspicious, an irate American Preacher told his congregation that to eat meat with a fork is to declare irreverently that God’s creatures are not worthy of being touched by human hand.

In 1840 the Englishman Elkington and the Frenchman Ruolz simultaneously invented electroplating. With the mass production of silverplating elegant dining utensils became widely available to American and British households with moderate incomes. Rather than using their fingers to eat many Americans were now using forks for everyday meals. Meanwhile in Britain the wealthy would show their wealth and status by collecting as many silver services as they could afford- the bigger, the better.

In 1912 Stainless Steel, steel that was very resistant to corrosion and couldn’t be hardened by cooling, was invented in England. The development of stainless steel cutlery made a cutlery set affordable for most households.

By the middle of the 20th century all meals in western households were being eaten with either a knife and fork or spoon.

In 1948 Dick and Maurice McDonald replaced the trained cooks in their San Bernardino, California restaurant with low-paid teenagers who simply flipped burgers and dunked fries in oil. The menu was reduced to a few items and cutlery and china were discarded. Customers had to queue for their food and eat out of a cardboard carton with their hands. Prices were reduced, people piled in and the fast food restaurant was born.

This initial move towards eating without cutlery is gathering steam, as in these busy times, many a meal is eaten on the move. As burgers, kebabs, fish and chips, sandwiches and other food eaten with hands become an increasingly popular alternative to a sit down meal, it makes me wonder if our descendants will look back at the household cutlery set as a 20th century fad?


In the White House, there are 13,092 knives, forks and spoons.

An oyster fork has only three tines. It's also the only fork traditionally placed on the right side of the plate.

It takes 120 drops of water to fill a teaspoon.

According to a study, 80% of office kitchen teaspoons disappear within five months.

Your reflection in a spoon is upside-down because the photons bounce off the concave surface differently than a flat one.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Sunday, 24 August 2014

George Armstrong Custer

George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) was born in New Rumley, Harrison County, Ohio on December 5, 1839.

His father, Emmanuel, was a farmer and a blacksmith.

His younger brother Thomas Custer was the only soldier to win two congressional medals of honour during the American Civil War. He joined his older brother’s regiment and also died at Little Big Horn.

Custer was ranked 34th out of 34 in his West Point United States military Academy graduating class.

        Cadet George Armstrong "Autie" Custer, ca. 1859 Wikipedia Commons
During the American Civil War Custer fought in the Battle of Bull Run and the Gettysburg and Virginia campaigns.

In 1864 he was given command of General Phillip Sheridan's Third Cavalry Division as a Major General. The 23-year-old George Custer was the youngest US army officer ever to become a general. When the American Civil War ended he returned to his regular rank of captain and never rose to the rank of general again.

In 1866 Custer was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and assigned to Kansas to engage in wars against the native Indians.

A redhead with a big moustache. Custer was nicknamed by the Sioux "Yellow Hair the Woman Killer" and "Long Hair."

Elizabeth “Libbie” Bacon was his childhood sweetheart. They married in 1864.

A cavalier cavalry hero of huge popularity amongst the American populace, Custer would be called today a "media personality" who understood the value of good public relations. He frequently invited correspondents to accompany him on his campaigns, and their favourable reportage contributed to his high reputation that lasted well into the 20th century.

Libbie accompanied her husband in many of his frontier expeditions. She did much to advance the popular view of him with the publication of several books about her late husband: Boots and Saddles, Life with General Custer in Dakota (1885), Tenting on the Plains (1887) and Following the Guidon (1891).

General Custer himself wrote about the Indian wars in My Life on the Plains (1874).

Custer's numerous beagles, wolfhounds and foxhounds shared his food tent and bed to the annoyance of his wife. His two favorite pets were Turk, a white bulldog and Byron, a greyhound.

Custer was ordered in 1873 to Dakota territory to protect settlers and miners against the Sioux.

Custer took out a $5,000 life insurance policy shortly before the Battle of Little Big Horn.

As George Custer and his 7th Cavalry left Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory for the Little Big Horn, the band played "The Girl I Left Behind Me."

On June 25, 1876 Custer's regiment located a Sioux village on Little Big Horn. Underestimating its size and against orders he attacked the Indian community. Having sighted the encampment he had cried "hurrah boys, we've got them." 2,500 Sioux warriors counter attacked and defeated Custer's 655 men.

The Custer Fight by Charles Maeion Russell

Several individuals claimed personal responsibility for the killing of Custer. In 2005 at a public meeting, the Northern Cheyenne broke more than 100 years of silence about the battle. Storytellers said that according to their oral tradition, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a Northern Cheyenne heroine of the Battle of the Rosebud, struck the final blow against Custer, which knocked him off his horse before he died.

If Custer had placed more confidence in the Gattling machine guns he possessed instead of deliberately leaving them behind at HQ, Custer's last stand might been Custer's successful stand.

The only living thing that the U.S. cavalry got back from the Battle of Little Big Horn was a horse named Comanche. The equine survivor lived until 1890 and became a celebrity. The public assumed that he had been Custer's horse (he hadn't) and that he was the Battle's only survivor (he wasn't).

Although wounded only once in his battle career, Custer had 11 horses killed under him.

The Custer Battlefield National Monument marks the size of the Battle of Little Big Horn. There are 200 markers to indicate where his cavalrymen fell after being overwhelmed by the Sioux.

In 1960 Custer's last stand was immortalized in song, with the whimsical "Mr Custer" which gave Larry Verne a #1 hit.

Sources Book of Lists 3, Wikipedia


Platina's De Honesta Voluptate (On Right Pleasure and Good Health), an Italian cookery book published in 1475, stated that custard-type dishes were considered to be particularly healthy food. According to the author they particularly benefited the kidneys and liver, they also relieved chest pains, increased fertility and removed urinary tract problems.

A Birmingham pharmacist called Alfred Bird loved his egg-intolerant wife so much that he devoted himself to inventing an egg-free custard. one evening, The Birds served their egg-free custard to dinner guests. The dessert was so well received by the other diners that Alfred Bird put the recipe into wider production. By 1844, Alfred Bird and Sons Ltd was promoting their custard powder nationally.

Custard Wikipedia

The World Custard Pie Championship has been held each year since 1967 in Coxheath, Kent.

The earliest known reference to the slapstick act of slapping a custard pie in someone’s face was in 1915. This was first called “pieing” in 1975.

During the filming of Weezer's "Troublemaker" music video in 1978, five different world records were broken.  One of them was The Most People in a Custard Pie Fight- 120 people took part in a custard pie fight during the filming of the clip.


Dishes of highly spiced meat are thought to have originated in pre-historic times among the inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization. Archaeological evidence dating to 2600 BC suggests the use of mortar and pestle to pound spices including mustard, fennel, cumin, and tamarind pods with which they flavoured food.

An older word “cury” was used for any cooked food. It came from the French “cuire” meaning “to cook”. A 1390 cook book was called Form Of Cury.

The word "curry" was adopted and anglicized from the Tamil word kari meaning 'sauce', which is usually understood to mean vegetables and/or meat cooked with spices with or without a gravy. Kari was first encountered in the mid-17th century by members of the British East India Company trading with Tamil (Indian) merchants along the Coromandel Coast of southeast India.

The first curry recipe in English “To make a Currey the India way”, appeared in Hannah Glasse's The Art Of Cookery in 1747.

The Norris Street Coffee House in London’s Haymarket became the first eatery in Britain to serve curry in 1773.

Commercial curry powder first appeared in Britain in 1780 and was sold at Sorlie’s Perfumery Warehouse, No.23 Piccadilly, London.

The first specialized Indian restaurant in England was opened by Sake Dean Mahomed in 1810.

In 1846, William Makepeace Thackeray wrote A Poem To Curry, as part of his Kitchen Melodies. It is a recipe for veal curry prepared by ‘my darling girl’ described as ‘a dish for Emperors’.

The first reference to a “Curry-House” in English was in 1883.

Balti is a type of curry served in a thin, pressed-steel wok called a "balti bowl." Balti food had been unknown outside North East Pakistan until 1977 when an immigrant opened up a restaurant called Aldi's in Birmingham for the benefit of other immigrants.

Since the 1970s, the spread of Balti and other curry houses in England has been remarkable. There are about 10,000 Indian restaurants serving curry in the UK, the vast majority of which are run by people from Bangladesh, not India.

A curry weighing a record 15.34 tonnes was made in Singapore in August 2015.

There are more curry houses in London than in Mumbai.

Sources Daily Express, Wikipedia


The early Romans probably used cattle as a form of currency.

The Romans later established a uniform currency across their empire so that the same coins could be accepted at Hadrian's Wall as in Carthage or Athens.

The original Chinese character for money is based on Snail Shells which were once used as currency.

Cacao beans were used throughout Mesoamerica as currency during the Classic Maya Civilization. Ten beans would buy a rabbit and for 100 you could get a slave.

The British pound - created in the 8th century - is the oldest currency still in use.

In the Saxon Kingdoms of Britain, 240 "sterlings" were minted from a pound of silver, hence the currency "Pound Sterling."

The groat, which was in circulation in all the countries of the Holy Roman Empire, was issued for the last time in 1662.

The dollar was unanimously chosen as the monetary unit for the United States in 1785.

The yen was officially adopted by the Meiji government in an Act signed on June 27, 1871. The Yen's name comes from the Japanese word "えん (en)," which literally means "round."

Early 1-yen banknote (1873), 

Before 1929, the U.S. Mint produced currency that was 50% bigger than today's bills—they were known as "horse blankets" due to their size.

In the 18th and 19th century, blocks of salt were used as currency in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).

In the 19th century, currency had to be printed on walrus skin in Alaska to survive the harsh climate.

The American Secret Service was created on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency.

Until the Second World War, bricks of tea were used as a form of currency in Siberia.

Financial calculations using the old currency of the UK were complicated, as one pound was made up of 240 pence or 20 shillings, a shilling was equal to 12 pence, and the half-crown was worth two shillings and sixpence.

The UK Parliament passed the Decimal Currency Act in 1969. No longer would there be 240 pennies in a pound, but instead it was divided into 100 "new pence." A massive publicity campaign was launched in the weeks leading up to Decimal Day on February 15, 1971.

An introductory pack of the new currency. Wikipedia Commons

The euro was introduced to world financial markets in non-physical form (traveller's cheques, electronic transfers, banking, etc.) at midnight on January 1, 1999, when the national currencies of the 11 participating countries (members of the European Union with the exception of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece and Sweden) ceased to exist independently. The notes and coins for the old currencies, however, continued to be used as legal tender until new euro notes and coins were introduced three years later.

“E Pluribus Unum,” the Latin expression that appears on US currency, means “one out of many.”

By law, only dead people can appear on U.S. currency.

Silver and gold are used as currency because they are durable and rare enough to be desired, while other metals are too volatile or common.

There are 180 currencies recognized as legal tender around the world.

The average piece of currency changes hands about 55 times a year.

The Peruvian currency is called the “sol”, reflecting the Sun worship of the Incas.


James IV (1473-1513) was the first Scottish king linked with curling. Tradition relates that he ordered a silver curling stone for which men were to play annually.

The oldest curling stones hail from the Scottish regions of Stirling and Perth, dating back to 1511.

The first written evidence of the sport was recorded in 1540 by a Scottish notary, according to the World Curling Federation. .

Curling, which The Netherlands also claims to have originated, was introduced in the United States and Canada in the early 19th century.

The Grand Curling Club was established as the first modern governing body of the sport in 1838.

The Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia, served as a temporary morgue for recovered bodies in the aftermath of the Titanic shipwreck.

Canadian politician Robert Pow was a member of the winning curling team at the 1932 Winter Olympics.

The first men's world championship in the sport of curling was held as the "Scotch Cup" in Falkirk and Edinburgh, Scotland in 1959.

The first ever world title was won by the Canadian team from Regina, Saskatchewan skipped by Ernie Richardson who went through the tournament undefeated.

The largest curling club is in St. Paul, Minnesota, and has over 700 members.

The curling “sheet” of ice measures between 146 and 150 feet long and is between 14.5 and 16.5 feet wide.

Curling stones weigh between 38 and 44 pounds. They are made from two types of granite mostly found only on the small uninhabited Scottish island, Ailsa Craig. The only other source of the stones is a quarry in Wales.

Approximately 1.5 million people across 33 countries participate in curling.

Curling first appeared at the Olympics in 1924 in Chamonix, France, during the inaugural Winter Games – although it was considered just an exhibition until 2006, when the International Olympic Committee considered it official – and was only a men’s sport.

All Olympic curling stones are made of a rare type of granite that is only found on a tiny island in Scotland.


Marie Curie

Marie Curie was born Marya Sklodowska on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, in the Russian partition of Poland. Her birthplace is now home to the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum.
Birthplace on ulica Freta in Warsaw's "New Town" –By Memorino - Wikipedia 

Marie was the fifth and last child of a Warsaw professor, Wladimir. He had a good teaching post in a secondary school but his career was frustrated by the Russian authorities who ruled Poland at the time and determined that prestigious posts went to Russians.

Władysław Skłodowski with daughters (from left) Maria, Bronisława, Helena, 1890

Curie's mother, a principal of a school for girls, died in 1877 of tuberculosis aged 42.

As a teenager Curie was sensitive and idealistic. She wanted to overthrow the Tsarist regime in Poland single-handed. She was bitter about speaking in Polish and being forced to study in Russian.

Marie Curie displayed a powerful intelligence and unusually good memory in her education. She left school in 1883 with many honours but her father still corresponded with her on advanced maths problems.

Curie had to study science secretly in Poland with a group of other interested women in the mid 1880s as the Russians wouldn't let the Poles study it especially females.

Whilst working as a children's governess for a wealthy country family between 1885-91, Curie prepared for university by studying English, French and Russian science text books late into the night.

Curie left her position as governess after the country family refused to let her marry the son.

Marie Curie joined her sister Bronia in Paris in 1891 studying at the Sorbonne. She had to go there as Warsaw University didn't admit women.

As a student in Paris, young Marie was so poor and absorbed in her studies that she found herself fainting through lack of food. Often her meals consisted of buttered bread and tea.

She studied chemistry and physics at the Sorbonne, gaining two masters degrees.

Curie became a research scientist in 1895 starting off with a small grant to research magnetism.

She first met Pierre Curie in spring 1894. One of his first gifts to Marie was a copy of his 1894 paper on Symmetry in Physical Phenomena.

Tall, modest, shy, erudite Pierre was the son of a doctor who had been educated at home and became a bachelor of science aged 16. In 1880 he discovered piezoelectricity which was electricity resulting from the compression of certain types of crystal.

At first Marie hesitated before agreeing to marry Pierre. They eventually wed in a civil ceremony in Sceaux, France on July 26, 1895 as "Pierre belonged to no religion and I did not practice any" (she later wrote). Instead of a bridal gown, Marie chose a dark blue dress.

The Curies spent their honeymoon taking a bicycle tour around the French countryside.

Madame Curie had a Catholic upbringing in her native Poland but by the age of 15 she had abandoned all belief in God. She claims scientists should be interested in things not persons.

Throughout their marriage, the Curies were very much in love and had equal partnership in the laboratory. Like Marie, Pierre was obsessed with science and hard work.

The Curies liked to relax by going for cycle rides in the countryside.

Their first daughter  was born in 1897. The beautiful communist Irene won a Chemistry Nobel Prize for her invention of artificial radioactivity which led the way to the discovery of the neutron particle. Marie and Irene are the only mother-daughter pair to have won Nobel Prizes.

Eve was born in 1904. She distinguished herself as concert pianist and writer including work as a war correspondent.

In her early years Pierre and Marie were extremely poor. She didn't receive any payment for her work or had a proper lab for her research until 1904.

Curie named the first chemical element that she discovered – polonium, which she first isolated in 1898 – after her native country.

Marie Curie taught Physics at Ecole Normale Sevres, the highest woman's college in France in the early 1900s.

Radium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie on December 21, 1898, in a uraninite sample. The Curies announced their discovery to the French Academy of Sciences five days later.

Curie refused to take out a patent on the process of isolating radium as radium belonged to the world and they had no right to it. Marie and her husband could have made a fortune by patenting their method for isolating radium which fast became an industry but instead they freely gave the patentable information to any person or company who reinvested it.

Marie Curie along with her husband, Pierre, won the Nobel prize for physics for their discovery of radioactivity in 1903. Originally Marie's name was left off the winners’ list but Pierre insisted she be included. She thus became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Marie and Pierre Curie experimenting with radium, a drawing by André Castaigne

The pair shunned fame, Marie and her husband did not even attend the 1903 Nobel Prize ceremony, instead they sent a letter to the organisers in Stockholm saying they had too much teaching to do.

Pierre was notoriously absent minded which maybe contributed to his death on April 19, 1906. He was crossing the Rue Dauphine in Paris where it turns into the Quai Conti. It was very wet, the street was slippery and his umbrella was hiding his view. As he left the pavement to cross the street a cab/long load pulled by two  Percherons came trotting smartly around the corner. In attempting to get out of the way he slipped on the roadway and fell under the wheels of a heavy van coming in the opposite direction. The wheels of the van passed over his head. He was killed instantly. Marie went into a deep mourning and took a long time to recover.

Pierre Curie

In 1906 Marie Curie succeeded her late husband as Director of Physics at Sorbonne, becoming the first woman to teach there.

In 1911 Marie had an alleged relationship with a married man called Paul Langevin (1872-1946) that hit the headlines. They rented a flat near the Sorbonne where they met in secret. A former student of Pierre it may well be Marie was only trying to maternally encourage him in his work and encourage him over personal problems.

It is a strange coincidence that Paul Langevin's grandson Michel later married her granddaughter Hélène Langevin-Joliot.

Marie Curie won a Nobel Prize for the second time in 1911 when she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She used part of the prize money from her second Nobel Prize to re-wallpaper and install a modern bathroom into her Paris home.

Marie Curie was the first person to win a Nobel Prize twice.

Marie Curie

During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres.

By 1920 Curie was receiving the centre of adulation no scientist had ever received before  and possibly the most famous woman in the world but fame bewildered her. Her struggle to secure that tiny glowing sample of radium and her gender made a media figure paralleled only by Einstein.

Einstein: "Madame Curie is very intelligent but she has the soul of a herring."

In 1921 she was presented with a gram of radium worth $100,000 by the White House. It had been subscribed for by American women.

Curie died on July 4, 1934 at the sanatorium of Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation. The damaging effects of ionising radiation were not known at the time of her work, which had been carried out without the safety measures later developed.

Marie Curie was interred at the cemetery in Sceaux, alongside her husband Pierre. In 1995, in honour of their achievements, the remains of both Curies were transferred to the Panthéon, Paris. Marie Curie was the first woman to be honored with interment in the Panthéon on her own merits.

Marie Curie's notebooks are still radioactive. Researchers hoping to view them must sign a disclaimer.