Moses Hadas, Democratizing the Classics

Moses Hadas, a linguist and scholar of the classics who democratized the study of ancient books at Columbia University by emphasizing the value of studying them as literature, even in English translation, was born on this date in 1900. Ordained as a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary, Hadas was fluent in Yiddish, German, ancient Hebrew, […]

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Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg

Arthur Hertzberg, a champion of Jewish liberalism and independent thought who led the American Jewish Congress, stoked Jewish support for the civil rights movement, called for Palestinian statehood immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War, helped to found Peace Now, and wrote, edited, or collaborated on thirteen books, many of them about American Jewish history and […]

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August 30: Paul Lazarsfeld and the Art of Asking Why

Sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld, founder of Columbia University’s Bureau of Applied Social Research and of modern empirical sociology, died at 75 on this date in 1976. Lazarsfeld was a son of Vienna and received his doctorate in mathematics there (his dissertation dealt with the math of Einstein’s gravitational theory). He came to the U.S. in 1933 […]

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August 1: The Sidewalk Socrates

Philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser, who taught at Columbia University for four decades and was dubbed “the Sidewalk Socrates” by James Ryerson in the New York Times magazine, died of ALS at 82 on this date in 2004. Morgenbesser was a master of the hilarious, brainy quip (click here for some examples) and a beloved teacher. A […]

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September 23: Dr. Serotonin

Dr. Maurice M. Rapport, who helped to isolate, name, and determine the structure of the neurotransmitter serotonin (from “serum” and “tonic”), which led to the development of serotonin-uptake inhibitors and other drugs for mental health, was born in Atlantic City on this date in 1919. Rapport published his findings about the structure of serotonin in […]

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June 13: What’s Wrong with Wall Street

Louis Lowenstein, a corporate executive and founder of a major business law firm who in 1980 began publishing scathing critiques of how Wall Street operates, was born in New York on this date in 1925. Lowenstein headed Supermarkets General, which later became Pathmark, and was founder of Kramer, Lowenstein, Nessen & Kamin. In 1980 he […]

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November 25: The CAT-scan

Medical inventor Robert S. Ledley (Levy) was granted patent #3,922,522 for “diagnostic X-ray systems” known as the CAT-scan on this date in 1975. The equipment, which uses computer-processed x-rays to allow doctors to see inside tissue surgery, was a great advance on the diagnostic capacity of simple x-rays. Ledley (1926-2012) was a professor of physiology, […]

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