Who is Florence Nightingale?

Florence Nightingale, (12 May 1820 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modernnursing.

Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during theCrimean War, where she organised the tending to wounded soldiers.She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.

While recent commentators have asserted Nightingale’s achievements in the Crimean War were exaggerated by the media at the time, critics agree on the decisive importance of her follow-up achievements in professionalising nursing roles for women.In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of hernursing schoolatSt Thomas’ Hospitalin London. It was thefirst secular nursing school in the world, now part ofKing’s College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, theNightingale Pledgetaken by new nurses, and theFlorence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annualInternational Nurses Dayis celebrated around the world on her birthday. Her social reforms include improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping toabolish prostitution lawsthat were over-harsh to women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in theworkforce.

Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written insimple Englishso that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was also a pioneer in the use ofinfographics, effectively using graphical presentations ofstatisticaldata.Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion andmysticism, has only been published posthumously.

Jawaharlal Nehru

JnehruPandit Jawaharlal Nehru (14 November 1889 – 27 May 1964) was an Indian independence activist, and subsequently, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence. He emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India. He was also known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while Indian children knew him as Chacha Nehru (Hindi, lit., “Uncle Nehru”).

The son of Motilal Nehru, a prominent lawyer and nationalist statesman and Swaroop Rani, Nehru was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge and the Inner Temple, where he trained to be a barrister. Upon his return to India, he enrolled at the Allahabad High Court and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, he became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s. He became the prominent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, and eventually of the entire Congress, with the tacit approval of his mentor, Gandhi. As Congress President in 1929, Nehru called for complete independence from the British Raj and instigated the Congress’s decisive shift towards the left.

Nehru and the Congress dominated Indian politics during the 1930s as the country moved towards independence. His idea of a secular nation-state was seemingly validated when the Congress swept the 1937 provincial elections and formed the government in several provinces; on the other hand, the separatist Muslim League fared much poorer. But these achievements were severely compromised in the aftermath of the Quit India Movement in 1942, which saw the British effectively crush the Congress as a political organisation. Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi’s call for immediate independence, for he had desired to support the Allied war effort during World War II, came out of a lengthy prison term to a much altered political landscape. The Muslim League under his old Congress colleague and now opponent, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had come to dominate Muslim politics in India. Negotiations between Congress and Muslim League for power sharing failed and gave way to the independence and bloody partition of India in 1947.

Nehru was elected by the Congress to assume office as independent India’s first Prime Minister, although the question of leadership had been settled as far back as 1941, when Gandhi acknowledged Nehru as his political heir and successor. As Prime Minister, he set out to realise his vision of India. The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic, social and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India’s transition from a colony to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party system. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia.

Under Nehru’s leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national and state-level politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, and 1962. He remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. In India, his birthday is celebrated as Bal Diwas (Children’s Day).

William Shakespeare

william-shakespeare-portrait-of-william-shakespeare-1564-1616-chromolithography-after-hombres-y-mujeres-celebres-1877-barcelona-spain-118154739-57d712c63df78c583373bb00William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “the Bard”). His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. Until about 1608, he wrote mainly tragedies, among them HamletOthelloKing Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of Shakespeare’s plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare’s, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare’s dramatic works that included all but two of his plays. The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as “not of an age, but for all time”.

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare’s works have been continually adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain popular and are studied, performed, and reinterpreted through various cultural and political contexts around the world.

Kunjunni Mash

KunhunnimashKunjunni (10 May 1927 – 26 March 2006), popularly known as Kunjunni Mash (Mash is the Malayalam equivalent of teacher), was an Indian poet of Malayalam literature. Known for his short poems with a philosophical overtone, his works were popular among the children as well as the grown-ups. He received several honours including three awards from the Kerala Sahitya Akademi viz. Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Children’s Literature, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Poetry and Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Overall Contributions.

Early life and career

Kunjunni was born on May 10, 1927 at Valapad, a village in Thrissur district in the south Indian state of Kerala to Njayapilly Illathu Neelakantan Moosath and Athiyarathu Narayani Amma. Kunjunni started his career as a teacher at the Chelari school. He joined Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama High School in Kozhikode in 1953. He was an inmate of the Ashrama and taught, looked after and interacted with the hostel boys there. He retired from teaching in 1982 but continued to live in the Ashrama, which he had found to be most suitable for his unpretentious life and writings known for their simplicity, till he retired to his district for health reasons. Kunjunni died in his ancestral house at Valapad on 26 March 2006.

He was known and admired for living a humble life with minimal needs, and few comforts or luxuries.


He was known for writing short poems which appeared to be childlike in form, but conveyed a message. Kunjunni handled the column for children in the Mathrubhumi weekly under the pseudonym “Kuttettan”. He initiated three or four generations of aspiring writers into writing. Kunjunni returned to his native village in 1987 and became involved in social and cultural activities in the Thrissur area. He appeared in Bhoomi Geetham, a 1993 film directed by Kamal. His autobiography, Enniloode, is noted for its candour, humour and simplicity. Oridathu Oridathu Oru Kunjunni Mash is a biography of the poet, written by Sippy Pallippuram.

Kalpana Chawla

800px-Kalpana_Chawla,_NASA_photo_portrait_in_orange_suitKalpana Chawla (March 17, 1962 – February 1, 2003) was an American astronaut, engineer, and the first woman of Indian descent to go to space.[2][3] She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997 as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator. In 2003, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities and institutions have been named in her honor. The late astronaut is recognized as a national hero in India. She was in space for 336 hrs during research mission.

Chawla was born on March 17, 1962, in Karnal, Haryana, India, but her official date of birth was altered to July 1, 1961, to allow her to become eligible for the matriculation exam. As a child, Kalpana always wanted to fly high, she liked to draw pictures of airplanes. She went to local flying clubs and watched planes with her father. Chawla said “Every once in a while we’d ask my dad if we could get a ride in one of these planes. And, he did take us to the flying club and we had a joyride in the Pushpak and a glider that the flying club had.”

In 1976, Chawla graduated from the Tagore School, where she was a high-performing student. After getting a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, India, she moved to the United States in 1982 and obtained a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984. Chawla went on to earn a second Masters in 1986 and a PhD in aerospace engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado Boulder.

In 1988, she began working at NASA Ames Research Center, where she did computational fluid dynamics(CFD) research on vertical and/or short take-off and landing(V/STOL) concepts. Much of Chawla’s research is included in technical journals and conference papers. In 1993, she joined Overset Methods, Inc. as Vice President and Research Scientist specializing in simulation of moving multiple body problems. Chawla held a Certificated Flight Instructor rating for airplanes, gliders and Commercial Pilot licenses for single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and gliders). After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 1991, Chawla applied for the NASA Astronaut Corps. She joined the corps in March 1995 and was selected for her first flight in 1996.

First space mission

Her first space mission began on November 19, 1997, as part of the six-astronaut crew that flew the Space Shuttle Columbia flight STS-87. Chawla was the first Indian woman to fly in space. She spoke the following words while traveling in the weightlessness of space, “You are just your intelligence.” On her first mission, Chawla traveled over 10.4 million miles (16737177.6 km) in 252 orbits of the earth, logging more than 372 hours (15 Days and 12 Hours) in space. During STS-87, she was responsible for deploying the Spartan satellite which malfunctioned, necessitating a spacewalk by Winston Scott and Takao Doi to capture the satellite. A five-month NASA investigation fully exonerated[citation needed] Chawla by identifying errors in software interfaces and the defined procedures of flight crew and ground control. After the completion of STS-87 post-flight activities, Chawla was assigned to technical positions in the astronaut office to work on the space station.

Second space mission

In 2001, Chawla was selected for her second flight as part of the crew of STS-107. This mission was repeatedly delayed due to scheduling conflicts and technical problems such as the July 2002 discovery of cracks in the shuttle engine flow liners. On January 16, 2003, Chawla finally returned to space aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on the ill-fated STS-107 mission. The crew performed nearly 80 experiments studying Earth and space science, advanced technology development, and astronaut health and safety. During the launch of STS-107, Columbias 28th mission, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the Space Shuttle external tank and struck the left wing of the orbiter. Previous shuttle launches had seen minor damage from foam shedding, but some engineers suspected that the damage to Columbia was more serious. NASA managers limited the investigation, reasoning that the crew could not have fixed the problem if it had been confirmed. When Columbia re-entered the atmosphere of Earth, the damage allowed hot atmospheric gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, which caused the spacecraft to become unstable and break apart. After the disaster, Space Shuttle flight operations were suspended for more than two years, similar to the aftermath of the Challenger disaster. Construction of the International Space Station (ISS) was put on hold; the station relied entirely on the Russian Roscosmos State Corporation for resupply for 29 months until Shuttle flights resumed with STS-114 and 41 months for crew rotation.


The crew of STS-107 in October 2001. From left to right: Brown, Husband, Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Anderson, McCool, Ramon

Chawla died on February 1, 2003, in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, along with the other six crew members, when the Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107. Chawla’s remains were identified along with those of the rest of the crew members and were cremated and scattered at Zion National Park in Utah in accordance with her wishes.

Srinivasa Ramanujan

He was an Indian mathematician who lived during the British Rule in India. Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, he made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions, including solutions to mathematical problems then considered unsolvable. Ramanujan initially developed his own mathematical research in isolation: “He tried to interest the leading professional mathematicians in his work, but failed for the most part. What he had to show them was too novel, too unfamiliar, and additionally presented in unusual ways; they could not be bothered”. Seeking mathematicians who could better understand his work, in 1913 he began a postal partnership with the English mathematician G. H. Hardy at the University of Cambridge, England. Recognizing Ramanujan’s work as extraordinary, Hardy arranged for him to travel to Cambridge. In his notes, Ramanujan had produced groundbreaking new theorems, including some that Hardy said had “defeated him and his colleagues completely”, in addition to rediscovering recently proven but highly advanced results.

During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations). Many were completely novel; his original and highly unconventional results, such as the Ramanujan prime, the Ramanujan theta function, partition formulae and mock theta functions, have opened entire new areas of work and inspired a vast amount of further research. Nearly all his claims have now been proven correct. The Ramanujan Journal, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, was established to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by Ramanujan, and his notebooks—containing summaries of his published and unpublished results—have been analyzed and studied for decades since his death as a source of new mathematical ideas. As late as 2011 and again in 2012, researchers continued to discover that mere comments in his writings about “simple properties” and “similar outputs” for certain findings were themselves profound and subtle number theory results that remained unsuspected until nearly a century after his death. He became one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society and only the second Indian member, and the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Of his original letters, Hardy stated that a single look was enough to show they could only have been written by a mathematician of the highest calibre, comparing Ramanujan to mathematical geniuses such as Euler and Jacobi.

In 1919, ill health—now believed to have been hepatic amoebiasis (a complication from episodes of dysentery many years previously)—compelled Ramanujan’s return to India, where he died in 1920 at the age of 32. His last letters to Hardy, written in January 1920, show that he was still continuing to produce new mathematical ideas and theorems. His “lost notebook”, containing discoveries from the last year of his life, caused great excitement among mathematicians when it was rediscovered in 1976.

A deeply religious Hindu, Ramanujan credited his substantial mathematical capacities to divinity, and said the mathematical knowledge he displayed was revealed to him by his family goddess. “An equation for me has no meaning,” he once said, “unless it expresses a thought of God.”