All posts filed under: Notes on reading

The Orrery Joseph Wright

John Michell, dark star

Listening to an episode of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time radio programme recently, I learned that the first person to postulate the existence of black holes was not, as I’d always assumed, some twentieth-century genius like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, but an eighteenth-century scientist called John Michell.

Walt Disney and Wernher von Braun

Wernher and Walt

Anybody interested in the history of space exploration will be familiar with the name of Wernher Von Braun and with the main points of his biography. They will know that Von Braun was a German aristocrat, SS officer, and scientist, who led the Nazi’s rocket development programme.

Lost movies

In his history of France in the 1930s, The Hollow Years, Eugen Weber mentions, almost in passing, ‘Of two thousand French films shot between 1930 and 1950 only a quarter survive, and most of those that we still view are more or less glum.’