1. Arafat, Yasser
Born on 24 August 1929, Yasser Arafat was a prolific Palestinian leader and the chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization. He was also the leader of the political party, Fatah, which he founded in 1959. This group advocated for an armed struggle against Israel. Arafat along with the other members of the group believed that Israel had no right to exist let alone be declared an independent state. By the 1960s, Arafat was spearheading revolutionary attacks and raids aimed at Israel. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed.
This organization brought together a number of Arabic states and groups with the intention of realizing a free Palestinian state. In three years after its formation, the Six-Day war erupted and saw the defeat of the PLO by the Israeli army. After this defeat, the members of the PLO decided to elect Arafat as their chairperson in 1969. With Arafat at the helm of the PLO, violent raids and bombings against Israel was commonplace. It is believed that he organized the 1972 murder of athletes from Israel during the Munich Olympic Games. He also launched infitada protest movements that were violent demonstrations against Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (Agha and Khalidi, 2014).
It must have come as a complete shock to the Arab world and the rest of the planet when he declared that there could be peace between the PLO and Israel. From 1988, he sought to create peace in the region with constant deliberation between his side and the Israelis. His work culminated in the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, which allowed for self-rule in Palestine and democratic elections in the county. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his efforts to end the decade’s long conflict between Israel and the PLO in the 1993 Oslo Accords. However, peace between the two states proved to be elusive and he was confined by Israel in Ramallah. He died in 2004 following flulike symptoms and the true cause of death has never been established with some speculating that the Israelis had a hand in his death.
Archimedes is famed in the history books for both his great inventions and eccentric mannerisms. The inventor was born in 287 BC in the city of Syracuse. One of his greatest achievements was inventing a method for determining the volume of an irregularly shaped object. This method is known as the Archimedes principle that states that an object immersed in a liquid will experience a buoyant force equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces (O’Connor & Robertson, 1999).
Other inventions include the Archimedes’ screw and the claw of Archimedes. The screw was designed to remove any bilge water from a luxury ship that he had invented under the request from the King. The screw could be used to transfer water from a low level into the irrigation canals. The claw of Archimedes was a weapon that could sink Roman ships when it was dropped on the oncoming ships. He also created a heat ray to burn ships that were attacking his hometown.
A Roman soldier killed him during the Second Punic War for apparently refusing to go meet the Roman General until he had completed a mathematical problem that had completely engrossed him (O’Connor & Robertson, 1999).
3. Hitchcock, Alfred
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, born in 1899, is perhaps one of the most prolific movie directors of his time. He was nicknamed ‘the Master of Suspense’ due to his discovery of the use of suspense in films. He is credited for creating many of the elements in psychological thriller and suspense genres. He directed more than fifty films in a career that spanned more than half a century. In 2002, Moviemaker, an internationally acclaimed film magazine named him the most influential filmmaker in the history of filmmaking.
Many of his films contain twist endings and enticing plots usually about murder and other forms of violence. He is credited with the discovery of camera movement that mimics a person’s gaze, which makes the viewer engage in voyeurism. He was knighted for his contribution to the film industry in 1980. He died in April 1980 at the age of 80.
4. Faraday, Michael
Michael Faraday was a British physicist and chemist who contributed immensely to the study of electrochemistry and electromagnetism. He had received very little basic education because his parents were not well off to take him to school. He taught himself majority of the scientific principles from the age of 14 when he was an apprentice for a local bookkeeper.
Prior to his inventions, he worked at the Royal Institution as a chemical assistant. In 1821, he published a paper on electromagnetic rotation, the sole principle behind the electric motor. In 1831, he discovered electromagnetic induction, which is behind the workings of a generator and electric transformers. Other inventions included the principle of diamagnetism and electrolysis. He is also credited for coining some of the most easily recognizable physics words including ‘ion’ and ‘cathode’. He also gave his name to the ‘farad’, which is the unit for measuring electrical capacitance. He died in 1867 after struggling with health complications for more than 20 years.
5. Fahrenheit, Gabriel
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, born in 1686, was a German inventor, physicist, glass blower, and engineer. His best-known works were the invention of the mercury thermometer in 1714 and the development of a temperature scale, the Fahrenheit. He began his career as a merchant after his parents died from eating poisonous mushrooms in 1701. His interests in natural science led him on a path of constant experimentation and studies in the same field. In 1717, he moved to The Hague where he began work as a glass blower making chemical and physics instrumentation such as barometers, thermometers, and altimeters. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1724 after visiting England in the same year.
Other than the Fahrenheit scale and the mercury thermometer, Fahrenheit is also credited for the invention of the hydrometer and a thermo barometer. The hydrometer is used to measure the strength and gravity of a liquid while the thermo barometer is used in the estimation of barometric pressure using the boiling point of water. Right before his death in 1736, he had applied for a patent for a machine he had created to drain water from polders in the Netherlands. The inventor never married and he continued to work up until his death. He died at the age of 50 and was buried in the city of The Hague.
6. Eiffel, Gustave
Gustave Eiffel remains highly unknown despite his creations that are famed across the globe. The civil engineer and architect is the creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, one of France’s most iconic landmarks and one of her biggest tourism attractions. He was born in 1832 and trained to be an engineer, a profession that was looked down upon at the time. He published more than 30 books and treatises in his lifetime that explained his creations and experiments. He was an avid fencer and swimmer and continued to do these sports into his 80s.
He also contributed his engineering expertise to the construction of the Statute of Liberty in New York. The architect also designed numerous French bridges, most notably the Garabit viaduct. He also designed the dome for the Astronomical Observatory located in Nice, France. The dome was the biggest in the world when it was constructed and used a bearing device no one had previously thought of using. Instead of using the usual wheels or rollers to run it, the architect used a girder floating in a trough that had magnesium chloride in water. The architect patented this unusual bearing system in 1881.
His other prolific works include the Church of Notre Dame des Champs in 1867, the Synagogue in Rue de Pasarelles in 1867, and the Cathedral of San Pedro de Tacna in 1875. He is also credited with the designs of the Ornamenta Fountation of the Three Graces in Peru in 1877, the Paradis Latin in 1889, the Aerodynamique EIFFEL wind tower in 1911, and the Palacio de Hierro in Mexico.
Once he had retired from engineering, Eiffel began focusing on aerodynamics and meteorology. He made significant impacts in these fields building his first aerodynamic laboratory at the base of the Eiffel Tower. It is believed that the Tower directed Eiffel’s attention to the principles of aerodynamics as he used the building for several of his aerodynamic experiments. He wrote several books on aerodynamics including the prolific ‘Resistance of the Air and Aviation’, which was published in 1907. He died in 1923 after conducting several experiments on meteorology. His last years on the planet were spent trying to decipher the several mysteries that underlie meteorology as a science.
Agha, H., and Khalidi, A.S. (2014, Nov 13). Yasser Arafat: why he still matters. The Guardian. Retrieved n 1/2/2016 from http://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/nov/13/-sp-yasser-arafat-why-he-still-matters
O’Connor, J.J., & Robertson, E.F. (1999). Archimedes of Syracuse. University of St. Andrews.