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February 14: The Billionaire Mayor

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York from 2002-13 and the eighth wealthiest person in the world (according to Forbes in 2015) thanks to his creation of Bloomberg L.P., a financial data company, was born in Boston on this date in 1942. With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Bloomberg became a partner at Salomon […]

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January 11: Death of an Internet Activist

Aaron Swartz, 26, an activist for the free flow of information on the Internet, died a suicide on this date in 2013. At the time he was facing federal charges of computer fraud for hacking into JSTOR, the academic journal subscription service, from which he had downloaded and made available for free at least twenty […]

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December 24: Alexander Leaf and Cancer Prevention

A physician and researcher best known for advocating heart disease prevention through exercise and diet, Alexander Leaf (Livshiz) died at 92 on this date in 2012. Chief of medical services at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1966 to 1981, head of the department of preventive medicine at Harvard Medical School from 1981 to 1990, and a […]

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May 25: Jamaica Kincaid

Antiguan-American novelist Jamaica Kincaid (Elaine Potter Richardson), a convert to Judaism in 1993 and a professor of African and African-American Studies at Harvard since 1992, was born in St. John’s, Antigua, a land colonized by Great Britain, on this date in 1949. Kincaid was sent to the U.S. by her mother as an au pair […]

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May 6: Martha Nussbaum and Moral Psychology

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum, a pioneering woman in academia and a convert to Judaism in the early 1970s, was born into what she describes as an “East Coast WASP elite” family in New York on this date in 1947. A professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago and a widely published writer on […]

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April 23: George Steiner

Novelist, critic, and Renaissance man Francis George Steiner, author of the controversial novella The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. (1981), was born in Paris on this date in 1929. His parents were Viennese Jews who moved to France as soon as Nazism showed its face as a rising movement in Germany and Austria, then […]

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March 1: The First History-of-Science Ph.D

I. Bernard Cohen, the first American to receive a doctorate in the history of science — from Harvard, in 1947 — was born in Far Rockaway, New York on this date in 1914. Cohen was an internationally known Isaac Newton scholar who taught at Harvard until his death in 2003. He published twenty books and […]

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January 1: Pasteurization

Milton J. Rosenau, who established the standards for the pasteurization of milk and became a prominent epidemiologist at Harvard School of Medicine and at Chapel Hill, NC, was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1869. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1889, then served as a quarantine officer with […]

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December 14: Walter Lippman

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and political columnist Walter Lippman died at 85 on this date in 1974. He was a founding editor of The New Republic, an advisor to several presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Lyndon Johnson (with whom he sharply feuded over the Vietnam War, which Lippman opposed), and originated the term “Cold War” (in […]

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January 14: Judah Folkman and Angiogenesis

Moses Judah Folkman, who became the youngest full professor at Harvard Medical School in history when he was appointed there in 1968, age 35, died at 74 on this date in 2008. Folkman founded the field of angiogenesis research, which investigates how tumors attracts blood vessels to nourish themselves. While still a student at Harvard […]

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