Alfred Hitchcock – In Search of Suspense

The_Birds_original_posterDue to his double statute of director and film producer, Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) impresses posterity with fierce labour and remarkable talent transposed into over 50 films directed. He was born in London, where he carried out his astonishing cinematographic activity for a long time, and then he developed his directing skills in 1939, in the United States of America. He became accustomed to the field of cinematography when he was part of the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, being in charge of creating subtitles for silent movies. This experience infused various feelings inside of him, which determined him to make a first attempt to produce the film Number thirteen, which he has however never finished.

Thus, The Pleasure Garden (1925) genuinely represents his first film. Subsequently, his style and preferred themes come to life in thrillers such as The Lodger (1926) and Blackmail (1929), works that have a great impact on the audience and on the critics, due to a variety of suspenseful scenes, a feature which undeniably strengthens his reputation.

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Aby Warburg – The Law of the Good Neighbor

Have you ever walked straight to your bookshelves, knowing exactly what book you were going to pick for your next read? And is it true that you ventured into reading another book, the one next to the book you wanted to read in the first place? Confusing, right? No need to worry, there is a perfectly logic explanation to it and it even has a name: the law of the good neighbor. Continue reading “Aby Warburg – The Law of the Good Neighbor”

LIMELIGHT – Chaplin’s Light

The vivid eyes glimpsing at the world from under a bowler hat, the cane on which is unlikely to rely on, patched trousers worn with a matching jacket and vest, the funny way of walking that we all tried to impersonate at least once, in other words, Charlie Chaplin.  At the 128th anniversary of his birth, what is there more to say about this fascinating man who continues to live through his everlasting films?

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Paul Kalanithi – Portrait of the Doctor as a Patient

We always think of doctors as some kind of superheroes, they can never be wrong, they must know everything about our pains and illnesses, but most of all, doctors never get sick. Or do they? What if what we think of them is not at all true? What if the white robes aren’t the capes worn by superheroes, but proofs that the doctors are blank canvases on which the patients are writing their own stories? Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, was such a canvas until he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Totally aware of the inevitable ending, he decided to write a book. When Breath becomes Air is a story of life, death and how to fight an illness – the doctor’s way.

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The Work of Brâncuși, Symbols of Ascension

Constantin Brâncuși was without doubt one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century.  A few of his creations contain this motif of ascension, represented by aerial symbols, as well as the concept of infinity.

L’Oiseau dans l’espace (Bird in Space) represents a series of sculptures in which Brâncuși concentrated on the harmonious movement of the bird, instead of the physical attributes. The artist’s spiritual aspirations, his need for transcendence of the material world and its limitations, are verbalized in his description of the sculpture as a project before being enlarged to fill the vault of the sky.

Just by gazing at the delicate yet dynamic shape of the bird, we are immersed into the mind of Brâncuși and are able to learn about his interior conflict. The elimination of the wings and the feathers suggest the escape from the human body (representing the material world) and the remaining shape symbolizes the soul trying to free itself.

The way he conveyed this profound message – through such a simple sculpture – is one of the reasons why Constantin Brâncuși is considered the patriarch of modern sculpture.

Personally, I admire works of art that communicate a whole lot more than what they appear to be, so Bird in space is a creation I think highly of because of this reason.

The Infinity Column

Praised as one of the greatest works of 20th century sculpture, The Infinity Column by Constantin Brâncuși was commissioned by the National League of Gorj Women to honor the soldiers who defended Târgu-Jiu against a German force during World War I. The meaning behind the sculpture refers to the concept of infinity and the infinite sacrifice of the Romanian soldiers. It is considered by Sydnei Geist as the top of the modern art. Also, Geist’s construction of Brâncuși included the sculptor among the important artists of modern art.

The motif of ascension is approached through the vertical orientation of the column, whose repetitive and identical elements create the illusion of infinity. It is considered that the idea of endlessness is expressed through the incomplete top unit. The sculpture could be thought of as one of the most inspiring works regarding this concept, especially because of its simplicity.

Ascension is also a widely used notion, probably because humans are the kind of beings that wouldn’t settle for what they already have, they feel the need to evolve constantly, which is why artists often use the motif of ascension in their artworks. Unfortunately, the need to evolve doesn’t refer to the spirit most of the time, but to money and status. In this superficial rush, we forget what we should really focus on, and I believe that the true artist will always be there to remind us through their art to take care of our soul and to evade from this material world from time to time.

Agata Asofroniei

Nicolae Ceauşescu – The Symbol of Romanian Communism

Nicolae_Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceauşescu – Click here for the original image!

Nicolae Ceauşescu was a Romanian Communist politician who lived between 26 January 1918 and 25 december 1989.

During his life he occupied the position of General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and was also the country’s second and last Communist leader.

Nicolae Ceauşescu was the head of state between 1967 and 1989. when he and his wife were shot by a fire arm squad on 25th of December 1989.

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George Enescu – Romania’s Visiting Card

George-EnescuGeorge Enescu (born on the 19 th of August 1881 – Varnav, Botosani, Romania – deceased on the 4th of May 1955 – Paris, France) is considered to be Romania’s visiting card, for as much as regardless of nationality, every pianist has heard at least once of the great Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, and bandmaster. Ever since his childhood his vocation was established, being the only child, from the eight of their parents Costache and Maria Enescu, who beat death.

The Jurac child, as his parents endeared him, manifested since his childhood an extraordinary affinity for the world of music. At the early age of four he learned to handle the violin, and at the age of five he participated in his first concert. His music trajectory was filled with the basic notions by her parents and by the fiddler Nicolae Chioru. The brilliance which he earned ever since his childhood can be easily approved in his own lines which he invokes at the age of maturity:

“At the age of four I could read, write, multiply, and substract. It wasn’t my merit though, ’cause I loved learning, and had the fright of almost all games, especially the brutal ones; I was finding them useless, feeling I was wasting time; I was running from noise and vulgarity, and more than anything I was feeling some sort of inborn fear in front of life. Strange child, isn’t it so?”

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Grace Murray Hopper – a Pioneer in Computer Science

The rear admiral Grace Murray Hopper (born with the name of Grace Brewster Murray in New York City on the 9th of December 1006 – d. The 1st of January 1992), the first of the three children of the family, was a pioneer in computer science, and an officer in the military marine of the United States of America during the Second World War.

Grace Murray Hopper was among the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and she developed the first compiler for programming language which was the precursor of COBOL language.

Grace Murray Hopper
Grace Murray Hopper

Grace Murray Hopper took the passion for mathematics from her mother, Maria Van Horne. Both her mother and her father, Walter Murray (insurance broker), considered that their daughters must receive the same quality education as their brother.

Grace Hopper studied mathematics and physics at Vassar College, and graduated in 1928, whereupon in 1930 received a master degree in mathematics at Yale University. The same year she married Vincent Foster Hopper, name she kept even after their divorce in 1945.

In 1931, Grace Hopper started to teach at Vassar College, but continued to study at Yale, where she obtained a PhD in mathematics in 1934, becoming the first woman who ever received such a title.

After the war, Grace Hopper remained in the Marine as a reserve officer, but she was also researcher at Harvard where she worked with the computer Mark II and Mark III. She was present at Harvard in the moment when there was proved that a moth has supposedly short-circuited Mark II. Although Grace Hopper is not the inventor if the phrase “computer bug”, she popularised it very much.

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Sister Mary Kenneth Keller – the First Woman in the US to Obtain a PhD in CS

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (born in Ohio 1914 – the 10th of January 1985) was the first woman in the United States to obtain a PhD in Computer Science on the Inductive Interference on models generated by the computer, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mary Kenneth Keller, who was also a nun, contributed to the development of BASIC, a programming language widely spread in the first ages of the information technology.

Mary Kenneth Keller
Mary Kenneth Keller

Sister Mary Kenneth joined the Sister of Charity Congregation in 1932, continuing to study at the DePaul University, where she received a bachelor in mathematics, and a master degree in mathematics and physics.

In 1958, Mary Kenneth Keller started to work at the Informatics Centre of Dartmouth College, an institution where, at the respective moment, only worked men, where she participated at development of the BASIC programming language.

In 1965, after obtaining her diploma of doctor in informatics, Mary Kenneth Keller founded the Informatics Department at the Clarke College in Iowa, which she led for 20 years. The Clark College owns now the Clark Computer Centre, which comes to help the students, the members of the faculty, and the staff.

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller was passionate about ensuring the access to information for everyone, not only for the computer scientists, imagining a world where computers make people more intelligent, and able to think on their own. Thus, Sister Mary Kenneth Keller declared “For the first time, we can mechanically stimulate the cognitive process. We can make studies on artificial intelligence. Besides, this mechanism [computer] can be used to help people in the learning process. This way we will have more mature students in greater numbers, in time this way of teaching becoming more and more important.”

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Ada Lovelace – the First World’s Programmer

Ada Lovelace (born with the name of Augusta Ada Byron, on the 10th of December 1815), considered to be the first world’s programmer, was the daughter that the romantic poet George Gordon Byron, or shortly, Lord Byron, had with Anne Isabella Milbanke inside their short marriage, and she was herself an expert mathematician in a time when women did not have such practices.

Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace never got to know her famous father, for her parents broke up immediately after her bith, and Lord Byron passed away when she was 8 years old in Greece, year 1923. Her entire life was a continuous struggle between feeling and reason, subjectivity and objectivity, poetry and mathematics, health and disease.

Ada Lovelace showed her passion for mathematics and logic ever since she was a child, her mother being the one who guided her towards these disciplines, attempting to counteract the dangerous poetic tendencies she inherited from her father. However, her skills were perfected by Augustus De Morgan, her first teacher of mathematical sciences at the University of London, and one of the people who can be held responsible for the development of the modern algebra.

At the age of 17, Ada Lovelace met Mary Somerville, a remarkable woman who translated the works of LaPlace into English, and who also encouraged her to study mathematics, but tried to place both mathematics and technology into a suitable human context.

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