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Stephen Hawking, the best known scientist on planet Earth will be mourned for his remarkable impact, not just on the field of cosmology but as a hugely successful science writer and a beacon of inspiration for how the limitations of the body can be overcome by the power of the mind.

The 29th of February, a Leap day, is coming up again. On this mysterious date 20- year- olds celebrate their fifth birthdays and so on. What has this got to do with this beautiful armilliary sphere , on display in The Science Museum, London?   Armiliary sphere by Sisson (credit: Science Museum) The sphere was made in 1731 for Prince Frederick , son of George II,  who died before his father, hence he never came to the throne. Both he and Princess Augusta were […]

My post on January 21st marked the anniversary of the execution of King Louis XVI. Clearly, January was a bad month for European monarchs historically, as the 30th marks the anniversary (the 362nd!) of the be-heading of another flamboyant ruler – Charles I of England – in 1649. The battered little heart-shaped jet pendant amulet above commemorates this particular royal execution. It would have been worn as a piece of mourning jewellery and, like other memento mori, a reminder of death […]