History: Ivan the Terrible

Ivan IV, “the Terrible”, 1530-1584. The 1st Tsar of Russia.

Original image: http://bit.ly/2bCMBIL
Original image: http://bit.ly/2bCMBIL

Ivan IV was born in 1530 in the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Russia. He would centralize the government and thus become the 1st official Tsar of Russia.


Ivan’s father, Basil III died when the boy was just three years-old. His mother, Elena Glinskaya took up the reigns for the next five years, however after she passed away, Ivan was left to himself, surrounded by the noblemen (boyars) who were engaged in constant intrigues and fight for power.

Somehow surviving that period the prince was crowned Ivan IV in 1547. In the next ten years, the new tsar sought to centralise the government and conquer adjacent to Russian independent provinces. As the result a new tax system was introduced and local governments were introduced to regions that were located far away from Moscow.

Ivan IV was also successful at conquering the cities of Kazan and Astrakhan from Tatars. At the same time, things did not go so well when the Russian army tried to conquer Lithuania to gain access to the Baltic Sea (a goal that would only be achieved over 100 years later by Peter the Great).

The “good” period of Ivan’s reign reached its peak when he commanded the construction of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. The building proved to be like no other at that time, and has stood in the square to this day. However, Ivan’s mental health seemed to have deteriorated after that. In the next 20 years he ruled guided by paranoia and installing terror in everyone. Towards the end, things got so bad, that Ivan would not spare anyone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time – his daughter-in-law had a miscarriage after the tsar beat her, the architect of the St. Basil’s Cathedral was blinded and at one point he even killed his own son.


*Following the “reign of terror”, Ivan has been given the nickname “The Terrible” by the historians. After his death in 1584, the country was left with no apparent ruler and chaos soon erupted…

Science: Emil Kocher

Emil Theodor Kocher, 1841-1917. A Swiss surgeon.

Original image: http://bit.ly/2bI1T2a
Original image: http://bit.ly/2bI1T2a

Emil Kocher was born in 1841 in Bern, Switzerland. He is considered to be one of the first pioneers of field surgery today.


Kocher received his medical degree from the University of Bern in 1865. He would later go on to study at various European capitals, including: Vienna, London, Paris and Berlin. In 1876, Kocher performed the first operation on the thyroid gland, as part of the treatment of goitre. In the next 36 years Kocher performed over 5,000 thyroid excisions!

Kocher made a number of other breakthrough discoveries in general surgery as well. Some of the instruments and methods still bare the scientist’s name (such as: Kocher’s forceps, Kocher’s point and Kocher manoeuvre).

*In 1909, Kocher received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work.

Science: Albert Claude

Albert Claude, 1899-1983. A Belgian biologist.

Original image: http://bit.ly/2bnxX9l
Original image: http://bit.ly/2bnxX9l

Albert Claude was born in 1899 in Neufchateau, Belgium. He is best known for creating new methods to analyse the structure of a cell.


Claude received his medical degree from the Liege University in Belgium in 1928. While working on the Raus sarcoma virus, Claude discovered a way to analyse the structure of the cells through centrifugal separation. The method permitted biochemical analysis of separated particles of the cell. To further his research into cell structure, Claude used an electron microscope, which had not been used in biology previously.

The scientist went on to discover the correlation between various functions of the cell and its components. In particular, Clade discovered the endoplasmic reticulum and the function ofmitochondria.


*For his research, Claude received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974.