Thursday

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Classical Composer) 1756-1991


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Demographics:
  • Name - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Baptismal Name - Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.
  • Born - January 27, 1756 (Salzburg, then part of the Holy Roman Empire).
  • Died - December 5, 1791 (age 35 years).
  • Father - Leopold Mozart (deputy Kapellmeister to court orchestra of Archbishop of Salzburg).
  • Mother - Anna Maria Pertl Mozart
  • Sister - Maria Anna (17511829), called "Nannerl", also child prodigy.
  • Wife - Constanze Mozart (nee Weber), married on 4 August 1782.
  • Children - Raimund Leopold (17831783); Karl Thomas Mozart (17841858); Johann Thomas Leopold (17861786); Theresia Constanzia Adelheid Friedericke Maria Anna (17871788); Anna Maria (25 December, 1789); Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (17911844)
  • Lived - Salzburg (then part of the Holy Roman Empire).
  • Occupation - Classical Composer.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart General Information:
  • From December 1769 through to March 1771 Wolfgang & his father travelled in Italy.
  • Wolgang Mozart met G. B. Martini in Bologna (in 1770) & was made a member of the famous Accademia Filarmonica.
  • Once he returned from Italy (13 March 1773) to Salzburg, Mozart was employed as a court musician by Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo.
  • Mozart later resigned his Salzburg position (August 1777), and visited Augsburg, Mannheim, Paris, & Munich accompanied by his mother (as Leopold was not given leave to travel).
  • In 1781 Mozart decided to settle in Vienna as a freelance performer & composer.
  • Mozart is remembered as a prolific & influential composer of the Classical era, having composed over 600 works.
  • A Hollywood movie (1984) has been made of his life (see below).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Education:
  • When his sister Nannerl was 7 years old, she began keyboard lessons with her father, with 3-year-old Wolfgang looking on.
  • Mozart showed amazing ability (child prodigy) from early childhood in Salzburg.
  • He was proficient on the keyboard & violin by the age of 5 years.
  • Mozart was also composing from the age of five years and had the ability to learn avidly from others (genius).
  • His father Leopld also taught the children languages & academic subjects as well as music.
Amadeus (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) - 1984 Movie Trailer:



Tags:
Amadeus - Composer - Hollywood - Mozart - Prodigy - Salzburg - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


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The Sound Of Music (Film, 1965)

The Sound Of Music (Film, 1965) is a cinematic musical directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews in the lead role. The songs were written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The film is based on the Broadway musical The Sound of Music.

Trailer of the film is shown below:



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Lloyd Lillie (Sculptor, NA, NSS)

Lloyd Lillie Demographics:
  • Name - A. Lloyd Lillie Jr. (Sculptor; NA 1991; NSS 1993)
  • Born - 1932
  • Profession - Sculptor & art teacher
  • Lives - Newton, MA
Lloyd Lillie General Facts:
  • Excellent sculptor of many public historical bronze figures.
  • He is the recipient of sculpture awards at the National Sculpture Society and the National Academy.
  • Lloyd Lillie's website sadly seems to been taken down.
Lloyd Lillie Academics:
  • Lloyd Lillie holds a diploma from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School.
  • He studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, the Corcoran School of Art, and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence.
  • Has taught (now Emeritus Professor) at Boston University, School for the Arts.
  • Fellow of the National Sculpture Society.
  • Member of the Sculptors Guild.
Lloyd Lillie Recent exhibitions:
  • Dana Hall School, Wellesley, MA
  • St. Botolph Club, Boston
  • Falmouth Public Library
  • National Sculpture Society
  • Cambridge Art Association
  • Mirsky Gallery
  • Antheneum, Boston
  • Institute of Contemporary Art
  • Hirshhorm Museum
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art
  • Milton Academy

The Chess Players by Lloyd Lillie
[Photo by kimberlyfaye, Creative Commons]

References:
National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts - Lloyd Lillie
The Chess Players -kimberlyfaye on Flickr
DC Memorials Pieces by Lloyd Lillie
We Are Not Amused II
Chess Art - Outdoor Bronze Chess Sculpture by Lloyd Lillie - John Marshall Park Washington DC



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Raven

Information:
  • Raven is the common name given to several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus.
  • When "raven" alone is stated then the Common Raven is normally implied.
  • The smaller-bodied species within the genus Corvus include the crows, jackdaws & rook.
Species include:
  • Australian Raven
  • Brown-necked Raven
  • Chihuahuan Raven
  • Common Raven
  • Thick-billed Raven
This video from National Geographic demonstrates how intelligent these birds may be.






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Kim Peek (Savant, Megasavant) R.I.P. 1951-2009


Kim Peek died on 19 December 2009 (R.I.P.)

Kim Peek Demographics:

  • Name - Kim Peek
  • Born - November 11, 1951.
  • Death - 19 December 2009 (Heart attack) age 58 years.
  • Father - Fran Peek
  • Profession - Megasavant (Savant)
  • Residence - Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kim Peek Important Facts:
  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of 73.
  • Photographic (eidetic) memory.
  • Kim has social developmental disabilities, possibly resulting from congenital brain abnormalities.
  • Kim was the inspiration for the character of Raymond Babbitt (played by Dustin Hoffman) in the 1988 movie "Rain Man".
  • Kim probably had the rare condition FG syndrome.
  • Kim did not have an autism spectrum disorder.
Kim Peek's Memory Abilities:
  • Peek was able to memorize things from the age of 16-20 months.
  • Kim could read a book in about an hour, & remembered almost everything he had read.
  • His reading technique consisted of reading the left page with his left eye & the right page with his right eye, i.e. reads 2 pages at a time.
  • His reading rate was estimated at about 8-10 seconds per page.
Kim's Medical Problems:
  • Possible FG syndrome
  • Macrocephaly
  • Cerebellum damage.
  • Agenesis of the corpus callosum.
  • Secondary connectors ie anterior commissure are also missing.
  • Muscle hypotonia.
Kim Peek The Real Rain Man Documentary:











Image Credit - by jwowens cropped, (cc)

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Stephen Wiltshire (Architectural Artist)

Stephen Wiltshire Demographics:
  • Name - Stephen Wiltshire MBE
  • Born - April 24, 1974
  • Birthplace - London, UK
  • Nationality - British
  • Occupation - Architectural artist
  • Heritage - West Indian
Stephen Wiltshire Important Facts:
  • Diagnosed with autism.
  • Father died of motorcycle accident when Stephen was 3 years old.
  • He is known for his ability to draw a landscape after seeing it just once.
Stephen Wiltshire Education:
  • Wiltshire was mute as a toddler, and at the age of three years was diagnosed as autistic.
  • From age of five years, Stephen was sent to Queensmill School in London.
  • He began to communicate through his drawings.
  • By the age of 8 years he was drawing imaginary post-earthquake cityscapes and cars.
  • Stephen slowly began to speak at the age of nine years.
  • At the age of 10 years Wiltshire drew a sequence of London landmarks, one for each letter of the alphabet - Stephen called the sequence "London Alphabet".
  • Between 1995-1998 Wiltshire attended the City and Guilds of London Art School in Lambeth.
Stephen Wiltshire's Public Life & His Art:
  • Stephen took part in a BBC programme - The Foolish Wise Ones (1987).
  • A collection of his works, named Drawings, was published also in 1987.
  • Wiltshire can, even after a single glance, draw accurate and detailed pictures.
  • He is also able to produce imaginery scenes.
  • Stephen's work has been the subject of many TV documentaries.
  • Oliver Sacks wrote about him (chapter "Prodigies") in his book "An Anthropologist on Mars".
Stephen Wiltshire Last 5 Years:
  • May 2005 Stephen produced a large panoramic memory drawing of Tokyo on a 10-meter long canvas, taking 7 days to complete.
  • Subsequently he has drawn Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem and London on giant canvasses.
  • Stephen was awarded an M.B.E. in 2006 for services to art.
  • Stephen now has a permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London.
Stephen Wiltshire Publications:
  • Drawings (1987)
  • Cities (1989)
  • Floating Cities (1991)
  • Stephen Wiltshire's American Dream (1993).

The video below shows Stephen drawing the huge Tokyo panorama (May 2005):




Stephen drawing Rome from memory:



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Genius

Genius refers to a person, a body of work, or a specific achievement of great excellence.

Some educational psychologists believe that a genius can be made with hard work and favourable circumstances.

The video below from My Brilliant Brain - Make Me A Genius (TV Program) shows how Susan Polgar was coached from an early age to become an exceptional chess player.




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My Brilliant Brain - Make Me A Genius (TV Program)

My Brilliant Brain - Make Me A Genius:

"At 38 years old, Susan Polgar has reached heights that few women have ever equalled in the chess world. Despite the common assumption that men’s brains are better at understanding spatial relationships, giving them an advantage in games such as chess, Susan went on to become the world’s first grandmaster. Susan’s remarkable abilities have earned her the label of ‘genius’, but her psychologist father, László Polgar, believed that genius was “not born, but made”. Noting that even Mozart received tutelage from his father at a very early age, Polgar set about teaching chess to the five-year-old Susan after she happened upon a chess set in their home. “My father believed that the potential of children was not used optimally,” says Susan."

An interesting documentary about the making of a genius from childhood. The importance of chess position chunking is emphasized.





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The Real Hustle (TV Program UK)

The Real Hustle is a BBC television series which began as a spin-off of the previous BBC show Hustle.

Presenters:
Alexis Conran is a professional actor, magician & gambler.
Jessica-Jane Clement is a model, actress, and television presenter.
Paul Wilson is a world expert on conjuring, cheating, & con games.

Links:
Mark Foster scammed with a proposition bet (here).
Casino Blackjack Techniques - The Real Hustle (UK)


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James Randi

Demographics:
  • Name - James Randi
  • Birth Name - Randall James Hamilton Zwinge
  • Born - August 7, 1928
  • Place of Birth - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Profession - Stage magician (The Amazing Randi) & scientific skeptic.
Important Facts:
  • Best known now as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience.
  • Randi became world known in 1972 when he publicly challenged the claims of Uri Geller.
  • Randi began his career as a magician, but when he retired at age 60, he switched to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims.
  • Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)
  • The JREF sponsors the famous million dollar challenge (prize of US $1,000,000).
  • This challenge is to anyone who can demonstrate evidence of any "paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event", under test conditions agreed to by both parties.
  • Randi was a longterm friend of Richard Feynman.
This video shows James Randi talking about his friend Richard Feynman, with some interesting anecdotes.




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Bongo Drum

Important Facts:
  • Bongos are a Cuban percussion instrument
  • They consist of a pair of single-headed, open-ended drums attached to each other.
  • The 2 drums are of different size.
  • The larger drum is called the hembra (female) in Spanish, and the smaller the macho (male).
  • The drums are most often played by hand.
  • The drums are particularly associated with Cuban music.
This video shows Richard Feynman playing the bongo drums.






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Alexander Kronrod (Russian Mathematician and Computer Scientist) 1921-1986

Alexander Kronrod Demographics:
  • Name - Aleksandr (Alexander) Semenovich Kronrod
  • Russian Name - Александр Семёнович Кронрод
  • Born - October 22, 1921
  • Died – October 6, 1986
  • Nationality - Russian
  • Profession - Mathematician and computer scientist.
  • An image of Alexander Kronrod is available on wikipedia (here).
Alexander Kronrod Important Facts:
  • Kronrod studied with the famous Nikolai Luzin in his last undergraduate year.
  • He is best known for the Gauss-Kronrod quadrature formula (published in 1964).
  • He also made contributions to economics - proposing corrections and calculating price formation for the USSR.
  • Kronrod developed a profound interest in artificial intelligence (known in the USSR as heuristic programming).
  • The famous quote "chess is the Drosophila of artificial intelligence." is attributed to Kronrod (here).
  • He was reprimanded by the Communist Party in 1968 for cosigning a letter in defense of the mathematician and logician Alexander Esenin-Volpin (son of the poet Sergei Esenin).
  • Consequences of the reprimand included being fired from his professorship at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute, and being ousted from the Moscow Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics; effectively ending his career.
  • Kronrod went on to apply his skills to helping others, most importantly the terminally ill.
  • He developed a sour milk extract, called milil, for cancer patients.
  • Kronrod died after his 3rd stroke in 1986.


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Social Sciences

The social sciences are the fields of scientific knowledge and academic scholarship that study social groups and human society.

The social sciences include:
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Communication studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Demography
  • Economics
  • Human geography
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Media studies
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Social work
Richard Feynman was not a fan of the social sciences - thinking of them as practicing pseudoscience. The video below shows an interview with Richard Feynman where he discusses the social sciences.



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Feynman Diagrams

Important Facts:
  • Pertains to quantum field theory.
  • A Feynman diagram is graphical representation of a contribution to the transition amplitude or correlation function of a quantum mechanical or statistical field theory.
  • Feynman diagrams were developed by Richard Feynman, and bear is name.
A useful video describing Feynman Diagrams is shown below.




Tags: Correlation Function - Feynman Diagrams - Graphical Representation - Quantum Field Theory - Quantum Mechanics - Richard Feynman - Statistical Field Theory - Transition Amplitude - Video

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