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December 11 in German History

December 11, 1748

Death of Ewald von Kleist. On 11 October 1745 he independently invented the Kleistian jar which could store electricity in large quantities. He communicated this discovery to a group of Berlin scientists in late 1745, and the news was transferred in a confused form to Leyden University where it was further investigated. This became more commonly known as the Leyden jar after Gravesande’s graduate student Pieter van Musschenbroek of Leyden.

December 11, 1796

Death of Johann Daniel Titius in Wittenberg, Germany. Titius was an early astronomer who was educated at the University of Leipzig and became a professor at the University of Wittenberg (1756). His calculations expressing the distance between the planets and the sun were confirmed by J. E. Bode in 1772 and became know as the “Titius-Bode law”.

December 11, 1801

Birth of Christian Dietrich Grabbe in Detmold, Germany. Grabbe was a dramatist. Among his plays are, Napoleon oder die Hundert Tage (1831), Don Juan und Faust (1829), Scherz, satire, ironie und tiefere Bedeutung (1827) and Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa (1829).

December 11, 1838

Birth of Emil Rathenau in Berlin, Germany. Rathenau bought European rights to Thomas Edison’s patents and founded the Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft. In 1887 the company was renamed the Allgemeine-Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft. In 1903 he joined with Werner von Siemens in founding the Telefunken Gesellschaft. Rathenau was the first German industrialist to produce aluminum.

December 11, 1843

Birth of Robert Koch (1843-1910) in Clausthal, Germany. Koch discovered the anthrax life cycle in 1876. He discovered the tubercle bacillus (the cause of tuberculosis) in 1882 and the cholera bacillus in 1883. He won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1905.

December 11, 1882

Birth of Max Born (1882-1970) in Breslau, Germany (now in Poland). Born won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1954 for his statistical formulation of the behavior of subatomic particles. Born was a professor of physics at the University of Göttingen. One of his students there was Werner Heisenberg. He developed the “Born approximation” describing the scattering of atomic particles. In 1933 he fled the Nazi regime and became a professor at the University of Cambridge.

December 11, 1895

Birth of Ruth Fischer in Leipzig, Germany. She was a German Communist, a co-founder of the Austrian Communist Party in 1918. According to secret information declassified in 2010, she was a key agent of the American intelligence service known as “The Pond”. She later became a staunch anti-Communist activist.

December 11, 1909

Death of Ludwig Mond in Kassel, Germany. Mond completed his studies in chemistry at the university of Heidelberg and then immigrated to England having accepted a position in industry. Mond achieved his first notable success by inventing a system for extracting sulfur for the by-products of the Leblanc alkali process. In 1873 he founded his own company with John Tomlinson, the firm of Brunner, Mond and Company. The company produced sodium carbonate with an improved processed which Mond developed. His continued success came with a method of extracting nickel from ore. This led to the founding of the Mond Nickel Company.

December 11, 1941

Germany and Italy declare war on the United States. (World War II).

December 11, 1964

Death of Alma Maria Schneider in New York (born in Vienna, Austria). She was a composer and wife of Gustav Mahler (1902), Walther Gropius (1915) and Franz Werfel (1929). She was a close friend of Arnold Schoenberg, Gerhart Hauptmann and Enrico Caruso. Alban Berg dedicated his opera Wozzeck to her.

December 11, 1991

At their meeting in Maastricht, the heads of government of the European Community agree to a common European currency with an independent central bank by 1999 at the latest.

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