Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 70

Cambridge Encyclopedia

Sir Thomas Elder

Entrepreneur, born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, E Scotland, UK. He emigrated to Adelaide, South Australia, in 1854. With his brother he financed copper mines in South Australia, then in partnership with Robert Barr Smith founded the firm of Elder, Smith & Co in 1863. This grew into one of the world's largest wool-broking firms, building up extensive pastoral holdings to maintain the supply of wool, stretch…

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Sir Thomas Elyot - Select list of Elyot's translations

Writer and diplomat, born in Wiltshire, S England, UK. In 1523 he became clerk of the king's council, was ambassador to Emperor Charles V in 1531–2, and became MP for Cambridge in 1542. His chief work, The Boke Named the Gouernour (1531), is the earliest English treatise on moral philosophy. He was a strong supporter of the use of English (as opposed to Latin and Greek) in scholarly work and adde…

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Sir Thomas Graham Jackson - Reference

British architect. He studied under Sir George Gilbert Scott, and was responsible for many restorations of and additions to libraries, public schools, and colleges. His work can be seen at Eton, Harrow, Rugby, the Inner Temple, the Bodleian Library, and the New Examination Schools at Oxford. He was educated at Brighton College and then Wadham College, Oxford, before being articled as a pupi…

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Sir Thomas Gresham - Family and Childhood, Agent in the Low Countries, Financial Wizard, Death

Financier, born in London, UK. He studied at Cambridge, passed into the Mercers' Company, and in 1551 was employed as ‘king's merchant’ at Antwerp. He was knighted in 1559, and was for a time ambassador at Brussels. An observation in economics is attributed to him (Gresham's law): if there are two coins of equal legal exchange value, and one is suspected to be of lower intrinsic value, the ‘bad…

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Sir Thomas Lewis

Cardiologist and clinical scientist, born in Cardiff, S Wales, UK. He trained at University College, Cardiff, and University College Hospital, London, where he remained as a teacher and consultant until his death. He was the first to completely master the use of electrocardiograms, establishing the basic parameters which still govern their interpretation. During his later years he turned his atten…

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Sir Thomas Lucy

Squire, member of parliament, and justice of the peace, born near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, C England, UK. He married an heiress at the age of 16, and was knighted in 1565. He inherited a great Warwickshire estate in 1552 and rebuilt his manor-house at Charlecote (1558–9). He is said to have prosecuted Shakespeare for stealing deer from Charlecote Park, and may have been caricatured as S…

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Sir Thomas Malory

Writer, known for his work Le Morte Darthur (The Death of Arthur). From Caxton's preface (1485), we are told that Malory was a knight, that he finished his work in the ninth year of the reign of Edward IV (1461–70), and that he ‘reduced’ it from some French book. Probably he was the Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel, Warwickshire, whose quarrels with a neighbouring priory and (probably) Lancas…

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Sir Thomas More - Early life, Early political career, Scholarly and literary work, Henry VIII's divorce, Chancellorship

English statesman and scholar, born in London, UK. He studied at Oxford, became a lawyer, then spent four years in a Carthusian monastery to test his vocation for the priesthood. He did not take holy orders, and under Henry VIII became Master of Requests (1514), Treasurer of the Exchequer (1521), and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1525). On the fall of Wolsey (1529), he was appointed Lord C…

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Sir Thomas North - Life, Translations, Reception, References and links

Translator, born in London, UK. He is known for his translation of Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans in 1579, from which Shakespeare drew his knowledge of ancient history for many of his plays. He was knighted in 1591. He is supposed to have been a student of Peterhouse, Cambridge, and was entered at Lincoln's Inn in 1557. He translated, in 1557, Guevara's Reloj …

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Sir Thomas Pride

English parliamentarian during the Civil War, born (possibly) near Glastonbury, Somerset, SW England, UK. Little is known of his early life. He commanded a regiment at Naseby (1645), and served in Scotland. When the House of Commons indicated it might effect a settlement with Charles I, he was appointed by the army (1648) to expel its Presbyterian Royalist members (Pride's Purge). He sat among the…

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Sir Thomas Urquhart - Life, Style, Trivia

Writer, born in Cromarty, Highland, N Scotland, UK. He studied at King's College, Aberdeen, and took up arms against the Covenanting party in the N, but was defeated and forced to flee to England. Becoming attached to the court, he was knighted in 1641. He was present at the Battle at Worcester (1651), where he was taken prisoner and put in the Tower. Through Cromwell's influence, he was allowed c…

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Sir Titus Salt

Manufacturer and benefactor, born in Morley, West Yorkshire, N England, UK. He was a wool stapler at Bradford, started wool-spinning in 1834, and was the first to manufacture alpaca fabrics in England. Around his factories near Bradford he built the model village of Saltaire (1853), now a world heritage site. He was Mayor of Bradford (1848), its Liberal MP (1859–61), and he was created a baronet …

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Sir Tom Jones

Singer, born in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, S Wales, UK. He began singing as a child, later performing in working-men's clubs, and became known following his hit single, ‘It's Not Unusual’ (1965), which made UK number 1 and US number 10. His version of ‘Green Green Grass of Home’ (1966) was his biggest selling single, other hits including ‘What's New Pussycat?’ (1965), ‘Delilah’ (1968)…

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Sir Tom Stoppard - Biography, Work for the theatre, Work for radio, film, and TV, Awards, Novel

Playwright, born in Zlín, SE Czech Republic of Czech parents. He lived in Singapore, moving with his family to England in 1946, where he was educated. In 1960 he went to London as a freelance journalist and theatre critic, and wrote radio plays. He made his name with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967, Tony). Other plays include the philosophical satire Jumpers (1972), Travesties (1974, …

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Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory - Early Life and Career, The Battle of Britain: 12 Group and the 'Big Wing'

British air force officer, born in Cheshire, NWC England, UK. He studied at Oxford, and served with the Royal Flying Corps in World War 1. In World War 2 he commanded groups in Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain. He was commander-in-chief of Fighter Command (1942–4), and of Allied expeditionary air forces for the Normandy landings (1944). He was killed in an aircraft accident en route to hi…

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Sir Trevor (Robert) Nunn - Quotes, Further discussion

Stage director, born in Ipswich, Suffolk, E England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, then joined the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, as a trainee director, and moved to the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1965. In 1968 he succeeded Peter Hall as the company's artistic director, being joined as co-artistic director by Terry Hands 10 years later. He directed many outstanding productions for the Royal Shakespe…

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Sir Trevor McDonald - Early life and career, ITN, Other Work, Trivia

Television journalist and newscaster, born in Trinidad. He worked in the media in Trinidad in the 1960s, joining the Caribbean section of the World Service in London in 1969. He became a reporter for ITN in 1973, then a sports correspondent (1978), diplomatic correspondent (1980), and diplomatic editor (1987). After doing some newscasting for ITN and Channel Four, he joined ITN's News at Ten (1990…

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Sir Victor Gollancz - Selected bibliography

Publisher, writer, and philanthropist, born in London, UK. He studied at Oxford, became a teacher, then entered publishing, founding his own firm in 1928. In 1936 he founded the Left Book Club, which had a great influence on the growth of the Labour Party, and after World War 2 founded the Jewish Society for Human Service, and War on Want (1951). He was knighted in 1965. Victor Gollancz (Ap…

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Sir Vincent (Brian) Wigglesworth

Entomologist, born in Kirkham, Lancashire, NW England, UK. He studied at Cambridge and St Thomas' Hospital, taught entomology at London (1926, 1936–44), then moved to Cambridge, where he became professor of biology (1952–66) and director of the Agricultural Research Unit of Insect Physiology (1943–67). He investigated the role of hormones in the growth of insects, and carried out detailed studi…

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Sir W(illiam) Arthur Lewis - His contributions

Economist, born in St Lucia, West Indies. He completed his formal education in England and accepted a professorship at Princeton in 1963. The thrust of his contribution examined the economics of developing countries and their ‘dual economies’, ie small, urban, industrialized economic sectors surrounded by vast, rural, traditional areas. His work also dealt with the supply of labour in developing…

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Sir Wally Herbert

Arctic explorer. Brought up in South Africa and trained at the School of Military Survey, he served with the army in Egypt (1953–4). He was surveyor with the Falkland Is Dependencies Survey (1955–8), and took part in expeditions to Lapland, Svalbard, and Greenland. He participated in the New Zealand Antarctic Expedition (1960–2), and commemorated the 50th anniversary of Amundsen's attainment of…

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Sir Walter (Alexander) Raleigh - Early Life, The New World, Ireland, Later life, Poetry, Raleigh in culture

Scholar, critic, and essayist, born in London, UK. He was professor of English literature at Liverpool (1889), Glasgow (1900), and Oxford (from 1904). Among his writings are The English Novel (1891), Milton (1900), Wordsworth (1903), and Shakespeare (1907). He was knighted in 1911. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 or 1554 – 29 October 1618) is a famed English writer, poet, courtier and explorer. …

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Sir Walter Besant

Novelist and social reformer, born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, S England, UK, the brother-in-law of Annie Besant. He studied at King's College, London, and at Cambridge. After a few years as a professor in Mauritius, he devoted himself to literature. In 1871 he entered into a literary partnership with James Rice (1843–82), writing several novels. His All Sorts and Conditions of Men (1882) and Child…

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Sir Walter Gilbey

Wine merchant, born in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, SE England, UK. He was founder of a well-known wine company, a horse-breeder, and an agriculturist. He was born at Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire to parents Henry and Elizabeth Gilbey. His father, the owner (and frequently the driver) of the daily coach between Bishop's Stortford and London, died when he was eleven years old…

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Sir Walter Nash - Early life, Early political career, Minister of Finance, Prime Minister, Later life

New Zealand politician and prime minister (1957–60), born in Kidderminster, Worcester, WC England, UK. From 1919 to 1960 he served on the national executive of the New Zealand Labour Party, encouraging the adoption of a moderate reform programme in the Christian Socialist tradition. An MP from 1929, he held numerous ministerial appointments from 1936 onwards, and in World War 2 was deputy prime m…

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Sir Walter Raleigh - Early Life, The New World, Ireland, Later life, Poetry, Raleigh in culture

Courtier, explorer, soldier, and writer, born in Hayes Barton, Devon, SW England, UK. He studied at Oxford before serving in the Huguenot army in France (1569). A rival of the Earl of Essex for the queen's favours, he served (1580) in Elizabeth's army in Ireland, distinguishing himself by his ruthlessness at the siege of Smerwick and by the plantation of English and Scots Protestants in Munster. E…

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Sir Walter Scott - Early days, Literary career launched, The novels, Financial woes, His home, Abbotsford House, Assessment, Works

Novelist and poet, born in Edinburgh, EC Scotland, UK. He studied in Edinburgh, trained as a lawyer (1792), and began to write ballads in 1796, though his first major publication did not appear until 1802: The Border Minstrelsy. His ballads made him the most popular author of the day, and were followed by other romances, such as The Lady of the Lake (1810). He then turned to historical novels, all…

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Sir Wilfred (Thomason) Grenfell - Medical education and mission work, International Grenfell Association, Historical Society, Literary inspiration, Awards

Physician and missionary, born in Parkgate, Cheshire, NWC England, UK. He studied at London University, became a surgeon on a hospital ship serving the North Sea fisheries, and was a member of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. In 1892 he went to Labrador and founded hospitals, orphanages, and other social services, as well as fitting out hospital ships for the fishing grounds. He was knighted in …

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Sir Wilfrid Laurier - Early career, Leadership, Prime Minister, Opposition and war, Supreme Court appointments

Canadian statesman and prime minister (1896–1911), born in St Lin, Quebec, SE Canada. He became a lawyer, a journalist, and a member of the Quebec Legislative Assembly. He entered federal politics in 1874, and became minister of inland revenue (1877), leader of the Liberal Party (1887–1919), and the first French-Canadian to be prime minister of Canada (1896). A firm supporter of self-government …

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Sir William (de Wiveleslie) Abney - Biography, Publications, Organizations and honors, Quotes

Chemist and educationist, born in Derby, Derbyshire, C England, UK. Assistant secretary (1899) and adviser (1903) to the Board of Education, he was known for his research in photographic chemistry and colour photography, and did important pioneer work in photographing the solar spectrum. Abney was born in Derby, England, to a clergyman father. Abney was a pioneer of several tech…

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Sir William (Gerald) Golding - Early life, Marriage, Military service, Writing success, Death, Fiction, Major works

Novelist, born near Newquay, Cornwall, SW England, UK. He studied at Oxford, became a teacher, served in the navy in World War 2, then returned to teaching until 1961. Poems (1934) was followed by his first novel, Lord of the Flies (1954), widely considered to be one of the greatest English-language novels of the 20th-c. Other books quickly followed, such as The Inheritors (1955), Pincher Martin (…

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Sir William (Godfrey Fothergill) Jackson

British soldier and historian. He studied at Shrewsbury School, the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and Cambridge, and was commissioned in the Royal Engineers (1937). After service in World War 2 he held several senior posts before becoming military historian in the cabinet office (1977–8, 1982–7), and was governor and commander-in-chief at Gibraltar (1978–82). His publications on military hi…

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Sir William (Henry) Bragg

Physicist, born in Wigton, Cumbria, NW England, UK. With his son, William Lawrence Bragg, he founded X-ray crystallography. After studying at Cambridge, he became professor of mathematics at Adelaide, Australia (1886), and professor at Leeds in 1909, where from 1912 he worked in conjunction with his son. They were awarded a joint Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915, the only father–son partnership to…

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Sir William (Patrick) Deane

Governor-general of Australia (1996–2001), born in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, SE Australia. He studied arts and law at the University of Sydney, Trinity College Dublin, and the Hague Academy of International Law. On his return to Australia, he was called to the Sydney bar, became a QC, and was made a judge in the Supreme Court of New South Wales (1977), the Federal Court Bench (1977), and the…

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Sir William (Robert Wills) Wilde - Publications

Physician, born in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, WC Ireland. He studied at London, Berlin, and Vienna, and on his return to Dublin served as medical commissioner on the Irish Census (1841 and 1851), publishing a major medical report, The Epidemics of Ireland (1851). The same year he married Jane Elgee and, in 1854, she gave birth to their son Oscar. He wrote on ocular and aural surgery, pioneered the o…

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Sir William (Turner) Walton - Biography, Works, Further reading

Composer, born in Oldham, Lancashire, NW England, UK. He studied at Oxford, where he wrote his first compositions, and became known through his instrumental setting of poems by Edith Sitwell, Façade (1923). His works include two symphonies, concertos for violin, viola, and cello, the biblical cantata Belshazzar's Feast (1931), and the opera Troilus and Cressida (1954). He is also known for his fi…

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Sir William Allan - Works

Historical painter, born in Edinburgh, EC Scotland, UK. In 1805 he went to St Petersburg, then spent several years in Russia and Turkey, painting scenes of Russian life. In 1841 he was appointed Queen's Limner (painter) in Scotland. His Scottish historical paintings include scenes from the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Sir William Allan (1782 – 1850) was a distinguished Scottish historical …

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Sir William Arrol

Engineer, born in Houston, Renfrewshire, W Scotland, UK. He studied at night school, and started his own engineering business at the age of 29. His firm constructed the second Tay Railway Bridge (1882–7), the Forth Railway Bridge (1883–90), and Tower Bridge in London (1886–94). He was also an MP (1892–1906). William Arrol (1839 - 1913) was a Scottish civil engineer and bridge builder. I…

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Sir William Berkeley

Colonial governor, born in Somerset, SW England, UK. He became governor of Virginia (1642), led militia against the colony's remaining Indian tribes, organized a defence that prevented a Dutch landing on the Virginia coast (1665), and ruthlessly put down a settlers' rebellion (1676). Sir William Berkeley (pronounced "bark-lee") (1605-July 9, 1677) was a Governor of Virginia, appointed by Ki…

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Sir William Blackstone - Blackstone and Property Jurisprudence, Blackstone and anti-Catholicism, Trivia

Jurist, born in London, UK. He studied at Oxford, and in 1746 was called to the bar. He became the first holder of the Vinerian chair of common law at Oxford (1758), where he delivered the first lectures in English law ever given in a university. MP for Hindon, Wiltshire (1761–70), and Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford, he was made solicitor general to the Queen (1763) and a judge of the Court of…

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Sir William Boog Leishman

Bacteriologist, born in Glasgow, W Scotland, UK. He became professor of pathology in the Army Medical College, and director-general of the Army Medical Service (1923). He discovered an effective vaccine for inoculation against typhoid, and was the first to discover the parasite that causes kala-azar, a form of the disease leishmaniasis, which is named after him. In 1901, while examining pat…

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Sir William Bowman

Physician and ophthalmic surgeon, born in Nantwich, Cheshire, NWC England, UK. With Richard B Todd (1809–60) he published Physiological Anatomy and Physiology of Man (1845–56). He gained a high reputation for his work on the mechanism of kidney function, and also for his Lectures on Operations on the Eye (1849), describing the ciliary muscle. Sir William Bowman, 1st Baronet (July 20, 1816…

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Sir William Burrell

Ship-owner and art collector, born in Glasgow, W Scotland, UK. He entered his father's business at the age of 15, and gradually accumulated a collection of 8000 works of art from all over the world, which he gave in 1944 to the city of Glasgow, with provision for a gallery. The Burrell Collection was finally opened to the public in 1983. Sir William Burrell (July 9, 1861 - March 29, 1958) w…

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Sir William Coldstream - Biography, Method and works

Painter, and teacher of art, born in Belford, Northumberland, NE England, UK. He studied at the Slade School of Art, London, (1926–9), joined the London Group in 1933, and helped to found the Euston Road School (1937). From 1949 he was professor of fine art at University College London. A highly skilled administrator, he helped reshape British art education, especially through his work on the nat…

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Sir William Congreve - Biography, Famous Lines from The Mourning Bride (1697), Bibliography, Reference

Artillery officer and scientist, born in London, UK. He studied at Woolwich Academy, and in 1808 invented the Congreve rocket, first used in the Napoleonic wars. He became comptroller of the Royal Laboratory of Woolwich Arsenal in 1818, and served as MP for Plymouth, Devon, from 1818 until his death. William Congreve (January 24, 1670 – January 19, 1729) was an English playwright and poet…

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Sir William Crookes - Life, Legacy

Chemist and physicist, born in London, UK. He studied at London, then superintended the meteorological department of the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, and from 1855 lectured on chemistry at Chester. In 1859 he founded the Chemical News, and edited it until 1906. He was an authority on sanitation, discovered the metal thallium (1861), improved vacuum tubes and promoted electric lighting, and inven…

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Sir William Cubitt - Reference

Civil engineer, born in Dilham, Norfolk, E England, UK. Inventor of the patent windmill sails (1807) and the prison treadwheel (1818), he was a millwright until 1812, then engineer to Ransome and Son, Ipswich, until 1821. He moved to London in 1826. His constructions include the Bute Docks at Cardiff, the Severn Navigation, and the main lines of the South Eastern Railway and the Great Northern Rai…

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Sir William Dobell - Early years and training

Portrait painter, born in Newcastle, New South Wales, SE Australia. He studied at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney, and at the Slade School of Art, London. Returning to Sydney, he worked during World War 2 in a camouflage unit with other artists. His controversial portrait of Joshua Smith won the Archibald Prize in 1944. Later work included a portrait of the then prime minister of Australia,…

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Sir William Edward Parry

Arctic navigator, born in Bath, SW England, UK. He served in the navy, and was sent in 1810 to the Arctic regions to protect the whale fisheries. He took command in five expeditions to the Arctic regions (1818–27) which reached further N than anyone had done before. In 1829 he was knighted, and in 1837 was made controller of a department of the navy. He was subsequently superintendent of Haslar (…

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Sir William Empson - Education, Professional career, Critical Focus, Literary Criticism II: Milton's God, Poetry, Quotes, Bibliography

Poet and critic, born in Howden, near Hull, NE England, UK. He studied at Cambridge, and became professor of English literature at Tokyo (1931–4) and Beijing (1937–9, 1947–53), working in the interim with the BBC's Far Eastern Service. From 1953 to 1971 he was professor of English literature at Sheffield University. He wrote several major critical works, notably Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930),…

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Sir William Fairbairn - Works

Engineer, born in Kelso, Scottish Borders, SE Scotland, UK. He worked as a millwright in Manchester before opening a shipbuilding yard in London, pioneering the use of wrought iron for hulls. For Stephenson's bridges over the Menai Strait and at Conway, he designed the rectangular tubes ultimately adopted, and hydraulic rivetting machines that were partly used for their construction. He aided Joul…

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Sir William George Gillies

Artist, born in Haddington, East Lothian, E Scotland, UK. He studied at the Edinburgh College of Art, in Italy, and in France. His finely organized interpretations of Scottish landscape (many in watercolour) are well known, and his work is represented in the Tate Gallery. He later became principal of Edinburgh College of Art (1961–6). Sir William George Gillies (1898 – 1973 was a renowne…

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Sir William Hamilton - North Americans, Europeans

Diplomat and archaeologist, born in Scotland, UK. He served in the army (1747–58), and married a Welsh heiress, inheriting her estate when she died (1782). He married Emily Lyon (Emma, Lady Hamilton) in 1791. He was ambassador at Naples (1764–1800), and while there contributed to the excavation of Pompeii, made observations of Vesuvius and Etna, published essays on volcanoes (1782), sold collect…

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Sir William Hamilton - North Americans, Europeans

Philosopher, born in Glasgow, W Scotland, UK. He studied at Oxford, and became professor of civil history in Edinburgh in 1821, and of logic and metaphysics in 1836. He published many important articles, mostly in the Edinburgh Review, which were collected in 1852 under the title Discussions on Philosophy and Literature, Education and University Reform. His articles on German philosophers introduc…

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Sir William Henry Preece - Biography, References and external articles

Electrical engineer, born in Bryn Helen, Gwynedd, NW Wales, UK. He studied at the Royal Institution, London, and was attached to the Post Office (1870), where he became engineer-in-chief and finally consulting engineer. A pioneer of wireless telegraphy and telephony, he also improved the system of railway signalling, and introduced the first telephones to Great Britain. Sir William Henry Pr…

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Sir William Howard Russell

War correspondent and writer, born near Tallaght, Co Dublin, E Ireland. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, joined The Times (1843), and was called to the bar in 1850, but never practised. From the Crimea (1854–5) he wrote the famous despatches (collected 1856) which opened the eyes of the British to the sufferings of the soldiers. Among his other assignments were the Indian Mutiny (1858), the…

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Sir William Huggins - Honours, Publications

Astronomer, born in London, England, UK. He built an observatory near London (1855), where he invented the stellar spectroscope, which had a major influence on the study of the physical constitution of stars, planets, comets, and nebulae. He discovered that comets emit the light of luminescent carbon gas (1868), and determined the amount of heat that reaches the Earth from some of the stars. He wa…

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Sir William Jackson Hooker - Biography, Other works

Botanist, born in Norwich, Norfolk, E England, UK. A chance discovery of a rare moss (1805) led him into a career in botany. He collected specimens in Scotland (1806) and Iceland (1809), and wrote his Recollections of Iceland (1811). He became professor at Glasgow (1820), and the first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (1841), which he developed into the leading botanical institute in t…

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Sir William Johnson

Merchant and colonial administrator, born in Co Meath, E Ireland. In 1737 he emigrated to America, and became a fur trader in the Mohawk Valley. By his fairness he acquired great influence with the Indians, married two Indian women, and in the Anglo-French Wars often led the Six Iroquois Nations against the French, notably at Lake George, NY (1755). He was appointed superintendent of Northern Indi…

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Sir William Jones - Academics and authors, Military figures, Political figures

Orientalist, born in London, UK. He studied at Oxford, was called to the bar (1774), became a judge in the Supreme Court in Bengal (1783), and was knighted. He devoted himself to Sanskrit, whose resemblance to Latin and Greek he pointed out in 1787, thus motivating the era of comparative philology. William Jones is a common name, especially in Wales, and there have been several well-known i…

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Sir William MacEwen

Neurosurgeon, born in Glasgow, W Scotland, UK. His interest in surgery was stimulated by Joseph Lister, then professor of surgery at Glasgow University. He adopted and extended Lister's antiseptic surgical techniques and pioneered operations on the brain for tumours, abscesses, and trauma. In addition, he operated on bones, introducing methods of implanting small grafts to replace missing portions…

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Sir William McMahon - Politics, Honours

Australian statesman and prime minister (1971–2), born in Sydney, New South Wales, SE Australia. He studied at the university there, and qualified and practised as a solicitor. After service in World War 2 he became active in the Liberal Party and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1949. He held a variety of posts in the administrations of Sir Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, and John Gor…

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Sir William Pepperrell - Book

Colonial leader, born in Kittery, Maine, USA. He was a successful merchant, a chief justice, and an amateur soldier. Following the Yankee capture of Fort Louisbourg under his leadership, he was made a baronet. Sir William Pepperrell, 1st Baronet (June 27, 1696 – July 6, 1759) was a merchant and soldier in Colonial Massachusetts. He is most remembered for organising, financing, and leading…

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Sir William Petty - Life influences, Economic works and theories: overview, Fiscal contributions, National Income Accounting

Economist, born in Romsey, Hampshire, S England, UK. He went to sea, then studied medicine at Leyden, Paris, and Oxford. He taught anatomy at Oxford, and music at Gresham College, London. Appointed physician to the army in Ireland (1652), he executed a fresh survey of the Irish lands forfeited in 1641, and started ironworks, lead-mines, sea-fisheries, and other industries on estates he bought in S…

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Sir William Phips - Military career, England, Salem witch trials, Death, References

Colonial governor, born in Pemmaquid, Maine, USA. He was successively shepherd, carpenter, and trader, and in 1687 recovered £300 000 from a wrecked Spanish ship off the Bahamas. This gained him a knighthood and the appointment as provost-marshal of New England. In 1690 he captured Port Royal (now Annapolis) in Nova Scotia, but failed in 1691 in a naval attack upon Quebec. In 1692 he became gove…

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Sir William Quiller Orchardson

Painter, born in Edinburgh, EC Scotland, UK. He studied at the Trustees' Academy, and went to London in 1862. He is best known for historical and social subject paintings. Particularly famous is the scene of Napoleon on board the Bellerophon (1880, London). Sir William Quiller Orchardson (1835 - April 13, 1910) was a Scottish painter. Orchardson was born in Edinburgh, where his father was e…

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Sir William Ramsay

Chemist, born in Glasgow, W Scotland, UK. He studied at Heidelberg, and became professor of chemistry at Bristol (1880–7) and University College London (1887–1912). In conjunction with Lord Rayleigh he discovered argon in 1894. Later he identified helium, neon, krypton, and xenon, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1904. Sir William Ramsay (October 2, 1852 – July 23, 1916)…

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Sir William Rothenstein

Artist, born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, N England, UK. He studied at the Slade School of Art, London, and in Paris, won fame as a portrait painter, and became principal of the Royal College of Art. He was an official war artist in both world wars. Sir William Rothenstein, (January 29, 1872 – February 14, 1945), was an English painter, draughtsman and writer on art. He was bo…

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Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Mathematician, the inventor of quaternions, born in Dublin, Ireland. At the age of nine he knew 13 languages, and at 15 he had read Newton's Principia, and begun original investigations. In 1827, while still an undergraduate, he was appointed professor of astronomy at Dublin and Irish Astronomer Royal; in 1835 he was knighted. His first published work was on optics, and he then developed a new app…

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Sir William Smith - United States politicians, Other politicians, Other persons

Businessman, and founder of the Boys' Brigade, born near Thurso, Highland, N Scotland, UK. An active worker in the Free College Church, Glasgow, and a member of the Lanarkshire Volunteers from 1874, he was well embarked on a successful career in commerce when he began his movement for ‘the advancement of Christ's Kingdom among Boys’ in 1883. The organization instilled habits of discipline, provi…

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Sir William Stephenson - Early life, Between the Wars, World War II, Recognition and honours, Sources

Secret intelligence chief, born in Point Douglas, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, C Canada, of Scottish descent. Educated in Winnipeg, he became involved in British secret intelligence through visits to Germany to buy steel in the early 1930s. His information on Enigma, the German cipher machine, led to MI6's acquisition of a prototype in 1939. In 1940 he was appointed British intelligence chief in North…

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Sir William Sterndale Bennett - External links

Pianist and composer, born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, N England, UK. He studied at the Royal Academy, London, and at Leipzig, became professor of music at Cambridge (1856), and in 1868 was appointed principal of the Royal Academy of Music. His compositions include piano pieces, songs, and the cantatas The May Queen (1858) and The Women of Samaria (1867). Sir William Sterndale Bennett (A…

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Sir William Temple

Diplomat and essayist, born in London, UK. He studied at Cambridge, became a diplomat in 1655, was made ambassador at The Hague, and negotiated the Triple Alliance (1668) against France. He was made a baronet, and in 1677 helped to bring about the marriage of the Prince of Orange to the Princess Mary, daughter of James, Duke of York (later James II). After the 1688 revolution he declined a politic…

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Sir William Wallace - Uncertain Origins, Scotland in Wallace's time, Military career, Portrayal in fiction

Scottish knight and champion of the independence of Scotland, probably born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, W Scotland, UK. He routed the English army at Stirling Bridge (1297), and was knighted. He was given control of the government of Scotland as ‘Guardian’ in the name of the Scottish king imprisoned by Edward I of England, but was defeated by Edward at Falkirk (1298). He was eventually captured …

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Sir William Waller - Election to Parliament and early military career, The New Model Army and later career

English soldier, born in Knole, Kent, SE England, UK. A member of the Long Parliament, he fought in the West Country (1643), Oxford and Newbury (1644), and Taunton (1645). He suggested reforms on which the New Model Army was to be based, but resigned command in 1645. By 1647 he was levying troops against the army, and was imprisoned for Royalist sympathies (1648–51). In 1659 he plotted for a roya…

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Sir Winston (Leonard Spencer) Churchill - Early life, The Army, Parliament, Ministerial office, Career between the wars, Role as wartime Prime Minister

British statesman, prime minister (1940–5, 1951–5), and author, born in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, SC England, UK, the eldest son of Randolph Churchill. He trained at Sandhurst Military Academy, and was gazetted to the 4th Hussars in 1895. His army career included fighting at Omdurman (1898) with the Nile Expeditionary Force. During the second Boer War he acted as a London newspaper correspon…

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siren - Appearance, Encounters with the Sirens, In popular culture

A salamander native to SE North America; dark, eel-like body; length, up to 90 cm/36 in; no hind legs; tiny front legs; feathery gills; spends life in muddy pools; burrows in mud during drought; covering of slime becomes dry and paper-like; can rest like this for two months. (Family: Sirenidae, 3 species.) In Greek mythology the Sirens or Seirenes (Greek Σειρῆνας) were Naiads (se…

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Sirimavo (Ratwatte Dias) Bandaranaike - Political background, Style of functioning, Decline

Sri Lankan (Ceylonese) prime minister (1960–5, 1970–7, 1994–2000), born in Ratnapura, S Sri Lanka. Following the assassination of her husband, S W R D Bandaranaike, in 1959, she became leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, won the Ceylon general election (1960), and became the world's first woman prime minister. She held the position for a second time following independence, and again in 1994.…

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Sirius - Etymology, History, System, Mysteries, Sirius in popular culture

The brightest star in our sky, and ninth nearest, at 2·6 parsec; also known as the dog star. It has a faint companion star, which was the first white dwarf star to be recognized as such. Sirius was known as Sothis to the ancient Egyptians, who associated it with the annual flooding of the Nile. Among the ancient Romans, the hottest part of the year was associated with the rising, just before sunr…

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siskin

A finch, found worldwide; eats seeds and insects. (Genus: Carduelis, 16 species, or Serinus, 2 species. Family: Fringillidae.) A number of small birds in the finch family Fringillidae are named as siskins. …

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Sister Parish

Interior decorator, born in Morristown, New Jersey, USA. When the stock-market crash (1929) brought an end to her early life of privilege, she began her own decorating firm (1933), creating an unpretentious aura of upper-class comfort for wealthy clients. For her 1962 commission to redecorate the White House for the Kennedy's she brought in Albert Hadley as a partner. Sister Parish (born Do…

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Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Trivia

Gospel musician, born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, USA. She began singing and playing guitar in church, and by 1938 was a featured soloist in Cotton Club revues backed by Cab Calloway and Lucky Millinder. Beginning in 1944, she developed a huge following in the burgeoning Gospel market, which she maintained for the rest of her life. "Sister" Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973)…

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Sistine Chapel - Architecture, Frescoes, Conclave, Quotes

A chapel in the Vatican, built in 1475–81 for Pope Sixtus IV. It is remarkable for a series of frescoes executed on its ceiling and altar wall by Michelangelo. It is the scene of papal elections, and is also the home of the Sistine Choir. The Sistine Chapel (Italian: Cappella Sistina) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in the Vatican City. Its fame res…

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Sisyphus - Biography, "Sisyphean task" or "Sisyphean challenge"

In Greek mythology, a Corinthian king who was a famous trickster; in one story he catches and binds Thanatos (Death). In the Underworld he was condemned to roll a large stone up a hill from which it always rolled down again. Sisyphus was the son of Aeolus and Enarete, husband of Merope, and King/Founder of Ephyra (Corinth), but some later sources say Sisyphus was the father of Odysseus by A…

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sitar - Etymology and history, Playing, Notable sitar players

A large Indian lute, with a gourd resonator and a long fretted neck. It originated in Persia in the Middle Ages. The modern concert sitar, used in Indian classical music, is about 122 cm/4 ft long, with usually seven strings plucked with a wire plectrum. In addition, about 12 sympathetic strings vibrate freely when the main strings are sounded. The name sitar comes from the Persian سی

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Sitiveni Rabuka - The 1987 coups, Prime Minister of Fiji, The 2000 coup and Queen Elizabeth Barracks mutiny

Fijian soldier, politician, and prime minister (1992–9), born near Suva, Fiji. He trained at Sandhurst Military Academy, served with the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, and returned to Fiji with the rank of colonel. After the 1987 elections, which resulted in an Indian-dominated coalition government, he staged a coup and set up his own provisional government. The country was declared a republic…

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Sitting Bull - Early life, Tribal Leader, Victory at Little Big Horn and the aftermath, Surrender, Fame, Death

Hunkpapa Sioux leader and medicine man, born on the Grand River in South Dakota, USA. Even as a youth he was known among the Sioux as a warrior, and by 1856 he headed the Strong Heart warrior society and became chief of the northern hunting Sioux (1866). Bitterly opposed to white encroachment, he made peace with the US government (1868) when it guaranteed him a large reservation free of white sett…

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Sizewell - Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear power station in Suffolk, E England; gas-cooled, graphite-moderated reactors came into operation in 1966; site of the first UK pressurized light-water-moderated and cooled reactor (Sizewell B). Coordinates: 52°12′49″N, 1°37′06″E Sizewell is a small fishing village with a few holiday homes in the county of Suffolk, England. The village itself is over…

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ska - Origins, 2 Tone, Third wave ska

The Jamaican popular music of the early 1960s, drawing on American rhythm and blues and ‘jump’ music, and Jamaica's own ‘mento’, a form of calypso. Ska records were first produced by such sound-system operators as Clement ‘Sir Coxone’ Dodd and Duke Reid, and featured artists including Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, and Prince Buster and the Skatalites. Ska with a slower beat became ‘rocksteady…

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Skagerrak - Name, Geography, Biology, History

Arm of the Atlantic Ocean linking the North Sea with the Baltic Sea by way of the Kattegat; bounded (N) by Norway and (S) by Denmark; main arm, Oslo Fjord; 240 km/150 mi long and 135 km/84 mi wide. The Skagerrak strait runs between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Kattegat strait, which leads to the Bal…

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skaldic poetry

Poetry composed and recited by recognized individuals in Iceland and the Scandinavian countries between 800 and 1100. After this time, written versions made the skaldr redundant. Its complex verse-forms, diction, and imagery are described by Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda. Skaldic poetry (Icelandic: dróttkvæði, "court poetry") is Old Norse poetry composed by known skalds, as opposed …

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Skanderbeg - Biography, Descendants, Seal of Skanderbeg, Name, Legacy, Skanderbeg in literature, Miscellaneous

Albanian patriot, the son of a prince of Emathia. Carried away by Ottoman Turks at the age of seven, he was brought up a Muslim, and became a favourite commander of Sultan Murad II (ruled 1421–51), who gave him his nickname, a combination of Iskander (‘Alexander’) and the rank of Bey. In 1443 he changed sides, renounced Islam, and drove the Turks from Albania. For 20 years he maintained Albania…

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Skara Brae - History, Skara Brae in popular culture

An exceptionally preserved Neolithic village of c.3100–2500 BC on the Bay of Skaill, Orkney, NE Scotland, UK, exposed below sand dunes by storms in 1850. It supported a population of c.30–40, and comprises a tight cluster of nine squarish stone huts, turf-roofed, and with alleys between, furnished internally with stone-slabbed dressers, cupboards, box beds, hearths, water tanks, and latrines. A …

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skate

Any of several bottom-living rays of the family Rajidae; includes the large European species, Raja batis, found in deeper offshore waters from the Arctic to the Mediterranean; length up to 2·5 m/8 ft; upper surface greenish-brown with lighter patches; fished commercially along with other species such as the smaller thornback ray Raja clavata, length up to 85 cm/34 in. …

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skateboarding - History, Trick skating, Culture, Skate shops, Skateboard ban

Riding on land on a single flexible board, longer and wider than the foot, fixed with four small wheels on the underside. It is possible to achieve speeds of over 100 kph/60 mph. It developed as an alternative to surfing, and became very popular in the USA during the 1960s and in the UK during the 1970s and late 1980s. Skateboarding is the act of rolling on or interacting with a skateboar…

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Skegness - History, Skegness today, Education, Media

53°10N 0°21E, pop (2000e) 19 000. Resort town in E Lincolnshire, EC England, UK; on the North Sea coast, 30 km/19 mi NE of Boston; railway; engineering, tourism; bird reserve just S of the town. Skegness is a seaside resort town in Lincolnshire, England, with a permanent population of 16,806 (20,694 including Ingoldmells). The name indicates that Skegness has its origin in…

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skeleton - Types and classification

The hardened tissues forming the supporting framework of plants and animals. In vertebrates it usually refers to the assembly and arrangement of bones. The appendicular skeleton comprises the bones of the limbs and the pelvic and pectoral girdles, while the axial skeleton comprises the bones of the vertebral column, skull, ribs, and sternum. A total of 208 bones are usually recognized in the skele…

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Skeleton Coast - Wildlife

area 16 390 km²/6326 sq mi. National park in NW Namibia; established in 1971; runs along the Atlantic Ocean coast between Walvis Bay and the Angolan frontier. The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia, from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although it is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast. On the co…

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sketch

In art, a term with two meanings: 1 A rough preliminary drawing in which the artist tries out his ideas. 2 A drawing (in any medium, including paint) of a deliberately spontaneous and ‘unfinished’ appearance, but considered as an end in itself. Sketches of the first sort were normally destroyed by the artist on completion of the picture; but with the rise of collecting in the 16th-c they were so…

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Skiathos - Transportation, Historical population

area 48 km²/18 sq mi. Island of the N Dodecanese, Greece, in the W Aegean Sea, 4 km/2½ mi from the mainland; chief town, Skiathos; a popular holiday resort. Coordinates: 39°10′N 23°29′E Skiathos (Greek: Σκιάθος), Latin forms: Sciathos and Sciathus is a city and a small island in the Aegean Sea belonging to Greece. Skiathos is the westernmost island in the …

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Skiddaw

54°40N 3°08W. Mountain in the Lake District of Cumbria, NW England, UK; rises to 928 m/3045 ft E of Bassenthwaite. Skiddaw is a mountain in the Lake District National Park in the United Kingdom. The mountain lends its name to the surrounding areas of "Skiddaw Forest", and "Back o' Skidda'" and to the isolated "Skiddaw House", situated to the east, formerly a shooting lodge a…

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Skien

59°14N 9°37E, pop (2000e) 50 000. Ancient town and river-port capital of Telemark county, SE Norway; on the Skiensalv (river); railway; copper, iron ore, heavy industry. Coordinates: 59°12′N 9°33′E Skien is a town and municipality in the county of Telemark, Norway. The conurbation of Skien is the seventh largest city in Norway and straddles an area of three…

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skiffle - Revival in the United Kingdom, Skiffle bands

A type of popular music of the 1950s in which the washboard provided a distinctive timbre. It emanated from the USA, but the best-known singer was the Scot, Lonnie Donegan. Skiffle first became popular in the early 1900s in the United States, starting in New Orleans. Originally, skiffle groups were referred to as spasm bands. Skiffle's roots are also found in the jazz bands of t…

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skiing - History, Types of skiing, Skiing for people with disabilities, Skiing and society, Ski trail ratings

The art of propelling oneself along on snow while standing on skis, and with the aid of poles, named from the Norwegian word ski, ‘snow shoe’. Very popular as a pastime and as a sport, the earliest reference to skiing dates from c.2500 BC. Competitive skiing takes two forms. Alpine skiing consists of the downhill and slaloms (zig-zag courses through markers), which are races against the clock. N…

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Skikda - History, Modern Skikda

36º53N 6º45E, pop (2001e) 170 000. Seaport and chief town of Skikda department, NE Algeria, N Africa; on the Mediterranean Sea, 80 km/50 mi W of Annaba; originally an ancient Phoenecian trading centre, then a Roman settlement; modern town founded by French (1838); railway; museum of Punic and Roman antiquities; oil and gas terminal for pipelines from the Sahara; petrochemicals, plastics, iro…

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skin - Hygiene, Aging and disease

The tough, pliable, waterproof covering of the body, blending with the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, eyelids, and urogenital and anal openings. It is the largest single organ in the body - approximately 1·8 sq m/19·4 sq ft in the adult human and 1–2 mm/0·04–0·08 in thick. As well as a surface covering, it is also a sensory organ providing sensitivity to touch, pressure, changes …

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skin effect

For alternating current, an effect whereby the bulk of the current is carried along the outer edge of the conductor; contrasts with direct current, where the current is spread evenly across the diameter of the conductor. It is caused by induced eddy currents in the core of the conductor, which oppose the applied current primarily in the interior. The skin effect is more noticeable at high frequenc…

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skink

A lizard of the family Scincidae (1275 species), worldwide in tropical and temperate regions; usually with a long thin body and short legs (some species without legs); head often with large flat scales; tongue broad, rounded; many species burrow; most eat invertebrates; large species eat plants. Skinks are the most diverse group of lizards. Family Scincidae …

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skipper

A butterfly with relatively short wings and a large head and body; antennae often club-shaped, and widely separated at base; caterpillars commonly feed on grasses. (Order: Lepidoptera. Family: Hesperiidae, c.3100 species.) Skipper can also refer to: Other uses: …

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Skopje - Name, History, Demographics, Tourist attractions, Gallery, Famous people born in Skopje, Sister cities

42°00N 21°28E, pop (2000e) 587 000. Industrial capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on R Vardar, 320 km/200 mi SE of Belgrade; capital of Serbia, 14th-c; largely destroyed by earthquake, 1963; airport; railway; university (1949); flour, brewing, tobacco, cement, carpets; old town and bazaar, ethnographic museum, Daut Pasha Hammam (Turkish bath-house, 1489), Mustapha Pasha mo…

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skua - Species, Reference

A large, gull-like seabird; widespread; usually dark plumage, fleshy band (cere) at base of bill; central tail feathers longest; chases other seabirds until they disgorge food; undertakes long migrations; also known as the jaeger or bonxie. (Family: Stercorariidae, 7 species.) The skuas are seabirds in the family Stercorariidae. In the three smaller species (all Holarctic), breeding adults …

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skull - Animal skulls, Human skulls

The skeleton of the head and face, composed of many individual bones closely fitted together. It consists of a large cranium, the cavity of which encloses the brain; and the facial skeleton, the bones of the face, which complete the walls of the orbits (eye sockets), nasal cavity, and roof of the mouth. The lower jaw (mandible) may also be included as part of the skull. At birth and in the young c…

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skunk - Description, Anal scent glands, Behavior, Feeding, Skunk Control, Domestication, Classification

A mammal of family Mustelidae, native to the New World; long black and white coat; squirts foul-smelling fluid as defence; eats insects, vegetation, small vertebrates; nine species in genera Mephitis (striped and hooded skunks, or (in USA) polecats, wood-pussies, essence pedlars, pikets, or PKs), Spilogale (spotted skunks), and Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks). Skunks are moderately small mamma…

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Skye terrier - Coat, Grooming, Health

A small terrier developed in Britain; long body with very short legs and long tail; long straight coat reaching the ground; long hair on head (covering eyes), ears, and tail; may be aggressive to strangers. The Skye Terrier is a long, low terrier that is both hardy and dignified. The Skye is double coated, with a short, soft undercoat and a hard, straight topcoat, which must be …

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skyscraper - Future

A multi-storey building of great height, typically using a steel frame and curtain wall construction, the floors being accessed via high-speed lifts. It was William Le Baron Jenney's 10-storey Home Insurance Company Building in Chicago (1885) that first made use of steel-girder construction, the term ‘skyscraper’ being introduced at the end of the 19th-c. At 451·9 m/1483 ft, the Petronas Twin…

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slate - Chemical composition, Uses of slate, Slate extraction

A fine-grained metamorphic rock having a perfect cleavage because of the parallel alignment of mica crystals. This is the result of directed stress during the low-grade regional metamorphism of shale or mudstone. Split into thin sheets it is used for roofing, being durable and light. Well-known occurrences are in N Wales and the Vosges, France. Slate is mainly composed of quartz and muscovi…

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Slava Polunin

Mime artist and clown, born in Orel, W Russia. At age 17 he studied mime at St Petersburg and in the early 1980s he founded the Theatre of the Art of Modern Clowning. He has travelled around the world performing Snowshow (1993), a popular family entertainment which has received several awards. Vyacheslav Ivanovich (Slava) Polunin (Russian: Вячеслав Иванович (Слава) По…

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slavery - Etymology, Definitions, History of slavery, How people become slaves, Most common types of work

A system of social inequality in which some people are treated as items of property belonging to other individuals or social groups. There have been different types and conditions of slavery. At one extreme, slaves might be worked to death, as in the Greek mining camps of the 5th-c and 4th-c BC. At the other, slaves were used less as chattels and more as servants, working in households, and to an …

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sleep - Optimal sleep amount, Sleep physiology, Theories regarding the function of sleep, Anthropology of sleep

An unconscious state where the subject shows little responsiveness to the external world. There are two phases of sleep which alternate throughout the night. In deep sleep, the brain activity (EEG) shows slow delta waves (slow wave sleep, or SWS). This is interrupted every 90 minutes or so by 30 minutes of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Here the muscles are completely relaxed, but the closed eyes…

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sleet

A form of precipitation found in near-freezing surface air. In the UK the term is used for partially melted snow which reaches the ground, or a mixture of snow and rain. In the USA it describes raindrops which have frozen into ice pellets, and then partially thawed before reaching the ground. Sleet can refer to at least two different forms of precipitation. In Britain and other …

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slide

A still picture transparency mounted for projection. Large slides 82·5 mm/3¼ in square, often hand-drawn, were used in magic lanterns, but the modern form is a colour photograph 36 × 24 mm in a standard mount 50 mm/2 in square. One of the most popular formats for photography, slides are widely used as illustrations in educational and commercial presentations, in audio-visual shows, and a…

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slide projector - Types of projector

A projector which shows an enlarged image of a slide transparency on a screen. Up to 80 standard slides loaded in straight or circular feed trays can be automatically selected one at a time by remote control or signals from a magnetic tape. To avoid the brief dark interval between successive pictures, slide projectors are often used in pairs so that one image dissolves smoothly into the next; seve…

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Sliema - The effect of the British, Politics, History, Population and Notable Residents, Churches, Feasts, Band Clubs

35°55N 14°31E, pop (2000e) 14 500. Residential and resort town on N coast of main island of Malta, across Marsamxett Harbour from Valletta; largest town in Malta; casino, water-sports facilities, yacht repair yard; boat to Comino. Sliema (or Tas-Sliema) is a town located on the northeast coast of Malta. Sliema, which means 'peace, comfort', was once a quiet fishing town on the peninsula…

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Sligo (county) - History, Transport, Twin cities, Other items of interest

pop (2000e) 55 000; area 1795 km²/693 sq mi. County in Connacht province, W Ireland; bounded N by the Atlantic Ocean; watered by R Moy; Ox Mts to the W; capital, Sligo; cattle, dairy farming, coal; associated with W B Yeats. Sligo (Irish: Sligeach) is the county town of County Sligo in the Republic of Ireland. Sligo is not a city, although there is a campaign to incorporate it as such…

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Sligo (town) - History, Transport, Twin cities, Other items of interest

54°17N 8°28W, pop (2000e) 18 000. Seaport capital of Sligo county, Connacht, W Ireland; at head of Sligo Bay where it meets R Garrogue; railway; technical college; fishing, textiles, food processing; megalithic stones at nearby Carrowmore; Yeats international summer school and language school; Gaelic cultural activities (summer). Sligo (Irish: Sligeach) is the county town of County Slig…

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Slim Gaillard - Quotation

Singer, songwriter, and musician, born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. As part of the duo Slim & Slam (with Slam Stewart on bass), he had several hits, the biggest of which was the novelty song ‘Flat Foot Floogie’ (1938). A light, humorous performer, he claimed to have invented his own ‘scat’ singing language, which he called Vout. Bulee "Slim" Gaillard (January 4, 1911 or 1916 – February …

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slime mould - Popular culture

A primitive micro-organism resembling a fungus, but with an amoeba-like colony stage in its life-cycle; some are cellular, some plasmodial (lacking walls between cells). (Class: Myxomycota.) Slime moulds (or Slime molds in American English) are peculiar protists that normally take the form of amoebae, but under certain conditions transform into slug like beings and then travel to a hi…

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slippery elm

A species of elm (Ulmus rubra) native to North America. The slippery inner bark contains a sticky juice used in medicines. (Family: Ulmaceae.) …

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sloop - Rationale behind the sloop rig, Sails carried

A single-masted, fore-and-aft rigged sailing vessel with only one headsail. In the 18th-c, the term was also used for any small naval vessel. In World War 2, it referred to an anti-submarine vessel superior to a corvette in speed and equipment. A sloop (From Dutch sloep) in sailing, is a vessel with a Fore-and-aft rig. A sloop carries a single mast stepped farther forward than that of a cut…

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sloth - Physiology, Extinct species, Classifications

A South American mammal of family Megalonychidae (two-toed sloths, 2 species) or of family Bradypodidae (three-toed sloths, 3 species); two-toed sloths actually have two fingers (all sloths have three toes); an edentate; eats leaves; hangs upside down in trees using huge claws; round head, shaggy coat (which hides ears), no tail; grooves on hairs may contain blue-green algae which assist camouflag…

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Slough - History, Economy, Cultural, Ethnic and Faith Communities, Heart of Slough, Transport, Criticism Trivia

51°31N 0°36W, pop (2001e) 119 100. Town and unitary authority (from 1998) in S England, UK; NE of Windsor, 30 km/18½ mi W of C London; railway; paints, pharmaceuticals, electronics, plastics, aircraft parts, vehicle parts, foodstuffs; London Heathrow airport nearby. Slough (pronounced [slaʊ]) is a town and unitary authority (Borough of Slough) in Berkshire in the South East England …

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Slovak Republic - Name, History, Demographics, Politics, Administrative divisions, Economy, Tourism, Culture, Miscellaneous topics, Further reading

Local name Slovenská republiká Slovakia (Slovak: Slovensko) is a landlocked republic in Central Europe with a population of over five million. The longer form of the name Slovakia is Slovak Republic (Slovak: Slovenská republika). From around 450 BC, the territory of modern-day Slovakia was settled by Celts, who built powerful oppida in Bratislava and Liptov. …

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Slovenia - Administrative divisions, Economy, Demographics, Biodiversity

Local name Slovenija Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovenian: Republika Slovenija), is a coastal Alpine country in southern Central Europe bordering Italy to the west, the Adriatic Sea to the southwest, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north. Throughout Slovenia's history, the country has been part of the Roman Em…

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slug (zoology) - Ecology and behaviour

A terrestrial snail with an elongate body and usually a small external shell, or no shell at all; typically two pairs of tentacles on its head, the upper pair bearing the eyes; common in moist environments. (Class: Gastropoda. Subclass: Pulmonata.) Slugs are gastropod molluscs without shells or with very small internal shells, in contrast to snails, which have a prominent coiled shell. …

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smallpox - Vaccine, Infection

An ancient and highly infectious viral disease. It gives rise to characteristic blister-like skin lesions and carries a high mortality. As a result of a World Health Organization programme including vaccination, smallpox was declared in 1979 to have been completely eradicated. The virus is kept under laboratory conditions in two centres, one in Russia, the other in the USA. Smallpox (also k…

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Smalltalk - History, Object-oriented programming, Reflection, Syntax, Control structures, Classes, Hello World example

The first object-oriented computer programming language, developed at Xerox PARC. Smalltalk is an object-oriented, dynamically typed, reflective programming language. Smalltalk was invented by a group of researchers led by Alan Kay at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC); After significant revisions which froze some aspects of executional semantics to gain performa…

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smart card

A plastic card, similar to a credit card, which has a micro-computer embedded in the card rather than a magnetic strip. The micro-computer has contacts which can be used for input and output, and the card can be used to process information held in the memory. Current uses for the card include identification, holding medical data in case of emergency, building up credits in reward schemes, and stor…

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smart material

A substance which responds in a specific mechanical way to a given trigger, such as a change in pressure, temperature, electric field, or magnetic field. The response can be a change in size, shape, rigidity, transparency, colour, or electric potential. Shape memory alloys (SMA) are metals which return to their manufactured shape when they are heated. Spacecraft aerials, for example, have been mad…

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smelting - Smelting Basics, First smelting: campfires, Copper smelting: kilns, Bronze smelting, Early iron smelting

Obtaining a metal from its ore by heating, using fuel which will simultaneously remove other components of the ore (such as the oxygen of oxides), and a flux to promote the removal of impurities. Copper was probably the first metal to be obtained from an ore, and tin, lead, and silver were also smelted in early times. Charcoal was the universal fuel and reducing agent until the use of coke in the …

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smew

A small bird, a species of merganser (Mergus albellus) native to the N Old World; untidy crest on back of head; male white with black back and tail, black patch below eye and on back of head; female mainly brown; inhabits fresh or sheltered coastal waters. The Smew (Mergellus albellus) is a small duck which is intermediate between the mergansers and the goldeneyes, and has interbred with th…

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Smith Ely Jelliffe

Neurologist, psychoanalyst, editor, and writer, born in New York City, New York, USA. After starting out as a civil engineer, he turned to medicine, taking his MD in 1889. That same year he co-founded the important Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, becoming sole owner and managing editor (1902–45). Meanwhile, he had also shown an interest in pharmacology, teaching it at the New York College …

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Smith Thompson

Judge, born in Amenia, New York, USA. He served the New York legislature (1800–2) and the state supreme court (1802–18). President Monroe named him secretary of the navy (1818–23) and to the US Supreme Court (1823–43). An anti-nationalist, he often dissented from the majority of the court. Smith Thompson (January 17, 1768 – December 18, 1843) was a United States Supreme Court Associat…

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Smithfield

An area just outside the walls of the City of London, UK, in former times the scene of tournaments, trials, fairs, and cattle markets. The main London meat market was located here in the mid-19th-c. Smithfield is the name of several places: In the UK: In Ireland: In the U.S.: In Australia: In Hong Kong: In South Africa:…

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Smithsonian Institution - History, Administration, Smithsonian museums, Smithsonian research centers, Further reading

A foundation for the promotion of knowledge, endowed in 1826 by the English scientist James Smithson (1765–1829), established by Act of Congress in 1846, and opened in Washington, DC in 1855. It administers a number of art, history, and science museums, scientific research centres, and is the parent organization of several autonomous artistic and academic establishments. Administered from the US …

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smog - Origin of term, Areas affected, Aviation Smog, Health effects, Natural causes, Cultural references, Notes and references

A form of air pollution with several sources. In Britain before the mid-20th-c, the smogs of industrial cities were a form of radiation fog, in which soot and smoke acted as condensation nuclei, and gases such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) were unable to escape. Such a smog (Dec 1952) was responsible for the deaths of more than 4000 people in London, which led to the Clean Air …

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smoke tree

A deciduous shrub growing to c.3 m/10 ft (Cotinus coggyria), native to S Europe and Asia; leaves rounded, widest above the middle, turning bronzy-purple in autumn; flowers 4–6-petalled, tiny, purplish, eventually fading pink, in plume-like inflorescences, at a distance reminiscent of smoke. (Family: Anacardiaceae.) Smoketree (Cotinus) is a genus of two species of flowering plants in the …

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Smokey Robinson - Biography, Solo discography

Singer, songwriter, and record producer, born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. In high school he formed a vocal group called the Miracles. They signed a contract with Berry Gordy of Motown Records (1958) and released the hit ‘Shop Around’ (1960). At Motown, Robinson composed and produced many hits such as ‘My Girl’ (1965), helping to perfect the ‘Motown sound’ and refine soul music. He went solo i…

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Smolensk - History, Sister cities, Other pictures

54°49N 32°04E, pop (2000e) 348 000. River-port capital of Smolenskaya oblast, WC European Russia, on the upper Dnepr R; first mentioned, 9th-c; part of Russia, 1654; severely damaged in World War 2; railway; linen textiles, flax, fertilizers, engineering; Cathedral of the Assumption (12th-c). Smolensk (Russian: Смоленск) is a city in western Russia, located on the Dnieper River,…

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Smothers Brothers - 1967 - 1969, Post-1969, Trivia, Discography

Musicians, comedians, and brothers: Tom Smothers (popular name of Thomas Bolyn Smothers III) (1939– ) and Dick Smothers (popular name of Richard Smothers) (1937– ), both born on Governors Island, New York, USA. The sons of an army major, they formed a folk singing group, the Casual Quintet, in college. After Tom's satirical asides began to change them from a straight folk group into a comic act,…

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snail - Physical characteristics, Hibernation/Estivation, Communication, Reproduction, Predators, Lifespan, Snails as food, Gallery, As an interjection

A common name for many types of gastropod mollusc, but sometimes used more specifically for members of the subclass Pulmonata; predominantly terrestrial or freshwater forms; usually possess a spirally coiled external shell, without an operculum closing off the shell aperture; mantle cavity modified as a vascularized lung for air breathing; includes pond snails and garden snails. (Class: Gastropoda…

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snake - Evolution, Prey, Perception, Locomotion, Reproduction, Snake bites, Venomous snakes, Evolution of Snakes, Snake charmers, Snake trapping

A reptile believed to have evolved c.135 million years ago, either from burrowing lizards or from a group of swimming marine lizards; also known as serpent; c.2400 living species, found worldwide except in very cold regions and on some islands; characterized by having separate jaw bones connected by ligaments; these bones can move apart, allowing prey much wider than the snake's head to be swallow…

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Snake River

River in NW USA; rises in NW Wyoming; flows through Idaho (via the Snake R Plain), along part of the Oregon–Idaho and Washington–Idaho borders, into Washington, joining the Columbia R near Pasco; length c.1600 km/1000 mi; major tributaries the Bruneau, Boise, Owyhee, Grande Ronde, Clearwater, Palouse; contains several gorges, the largest being Hell's Canyon; used for irrigation and hydroelectr…

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snakefly

A predatory insect characterized by an elongation of the thorax that produces a snake-like neck; adults have two pairs of similar wings with complex veins; usually found on or under bark; feeds on insects. (Order: Neuroptera. Family: Raphidiidae.) Snakeflies are a group of insects in the order Raphidioptera, which has traditionally been placed within the Neuroptera but is now generally rega…

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snapper

Deep-bodied fish of the family Lutjanidae (4 genera, 300 species), widespread and locally common in tropical seas; name derives from the long conical front teeth and highly mobile jaws; some species are a valuable food fish; includes the common tropical Atlantic grey snapper, Lutjanus griseus. The name is also used for some of the large family Sparidae, with similar canine-like front teeth. …

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snapping turtle - Reproduction, Handling snapping turtles, Role in political history, Classification, Trivia, Gallery

A reptile native to North and Central America; large head which cannot be withdrawn into shell; strong hooked jaws; long tail; inhabits fresh water; eats animals that live in (or enter) water; two species: snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii). (Family: Chelydridae.) Snapping turtles (or snappers) are large, New World freshwater turtles…

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snipe

A sandpiper, found worldwide; mottled brown plumage; shortish legs and long straight bill; inhabits mainly marshes and mountain meadows; small groups called ‘wisps’. (Genus: Gallinago, 17 species, or Coenocorypha, 1 species.) A Snipe is any of nearly 20 very similar wading bird species characterised by a very long slender bill and cryptic plumage. Genera and species are: …

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snooker - Governing body, The game, Tournaments, Notable players

A popular indoor game played with cues on a standard English billiards table by two (sometimes four) players. 22 balls are placed at specific positions on the table: one white, 15 reds, and six coloured balls (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, and black). The object is to use the cue to hit the white ball to sink (‘pot’) the other balls in any of six pockets around the table. The coloured balls …

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Snorri Sturluson

Icelandic poet, statesman, and historian. In 1215 he was elected law-speaker of the island, but after becoming involved in a plan for Norway to rule Iceland, he incurred the ill-will of the Norwegian king, Haakon IV (reigned 1217–63), who had him murdered. His main works were the Prose Edda, a literary fund of ancient Icelandic saga and mythology, and Heimskringla (The Circle of the World), a ser…

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snow

A type of solid precipitation which forms at temperatures below the freezing point of water. At very cold temperatures, single ice crystals may fall as snow. At higher temperatures, ice crystals aggregate into geometrical forms called snow flakes. Close to freezing point, snow may turn to sleet as it begins to thaw. Snow fall is measured by depth (in millimetres or inches). To convert this to equi…

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snow leopard - Description, Threatened species, Snow leopard in heraldry

A rare big cat (Panthera uncia) native to the mountains of SC Asia, living near the snow line; thick pale grey coat with dark rings (sometimes enclosing small spots); inhabits meadows, rocks, and (in winter) forests; eats goats, sheep, deer, smaller mammals, birds; also known as ounce. The snow leopard (Uncia uncia or Panthera uncia ), also known in some instances as the ounce, is a large c…

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snowboarding - History, Board Construction, Bindings, Instruction, Freestyle snowboarding, Safety and Precautions, Film

A popular recreation and sport that developed in the 1970s, using a single board (a relative of the skateboard) on snow. Snowboarders claim it offers more flexibility than skiing for off-piste snowboarding as well as the opportunity for acrobatic tricks. Snowboarding is an official sport of the Winter Olympics for both men and women, with slalom racing and acrobatic displays in a specially built

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Snowdon - First ascent, Climbing on Snowdon, Topography, Routes leading up Snowdon, Summit buildings

53°04N 4°05W. Mountain with five peaks rising to 1085 m/3560 ft in Gwynedd, NW Wales, UK; highest peak in England and Wales; centre of Snowdonia National Park (area 2188 km²/845 sq mi, established 1951); tourism; rack railway from Llanberis to main peak. Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and the highest British mountain south of the Scottish Highlands, is "probably the busiest …

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snowdrop - Active substances, Gallery

A bulb often flowering in late winter (Galanthus nivalis) native to Europe and W Asia; leaves strap-shaped, very narrow, bluish-green; flowers on long stalks, solitary, drooping, white; three outer perianth-segments spreading; three inner smaller, with green spot at base of apical notch. (Family: Amaryllidaceae.) The Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is the best-known representative of a …

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Snowy Mountains Scheme - Environmental concerns, Power Stations

A massive construction project in SE Australia carried out 1949–72, but first proposed in 1881. The object of the scheme was to divert the Snowy R inland into the Murrumbidgee R to provide hydroelectricity and irrigation. It consists of 16 storage dams, 7 power stations, 80 km/50 mi of aqueducts, and 145 km/90 mi of tunnels. The Snowy Mountains Scheme is a massive water diversion and s…

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snowy owl - Gallery, The Snowy Owl in popular culture

A typical owl native to the northern N hemisphere (Nyctea scandiaca); plumage mainly white; inhabits tundra, marshes, and Arctic islands; hunts during day; eats mammals and birds up to the size of Arctic hares and ducks; nests on ground. The Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae. Snowy Owl calls are varied, but the alarm call is a barking…

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soap - Purification and finishing, Uses, The history and process of soap making, Handmade soap, Soap Substitutes, Disadvantages

The salt of a fatty acid, usually stearic (octadecanoic) or palmitic (hexadecanoic) acids. Soaps appear to have originated in prehistoric Germany, where fats were hydrolysed by natural alkali from wood ashes. Soaps are ionic detergents, and commercial soaps for washing are normally sodium or potassium salts. Hard water causes the calcium or magnesium salt to precipitate. Insoluble calcium soaps ar…

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soapwort

A perennial with creeping stolons and erect leafy stems (Saponaria officinalis), native to Europe and Asia; flowers 2·5 cm/1 in diameter, fragrant; calyx tubular, often reddish; five petals, spreading, pale pink, each with two scales at the base. (Family: Caryophyllaceae.) …

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Sochi - 2014 Winter Olympic Candidate City, Sister cities

43°35N 39°46E, pop (2000e) 338 000. Seaport in Krasnodarskiy kray, S European Russia; founded as a spa, 1896; stretches for over 30 km/19 mi along the E shore of the Black Sea; airport; railway; important holiday and health resort; fortress ruins (1838). Sochi (Russian: Со́чи) is a Russian resort city, situated in Krasnodar Krai, near the southern Russian border. Soch…

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social cognition - Basic processes: representation, accessibility, attention and regulation, Social cognitive neuroscience

In psychology, the processes through which the social world is perceived, understood, and reasoned about. Theorists who write about these processes tend to stress the impact of thinking on social action. Social cognition is the study of how people process social information, especially its encoding, storage, retrieval, and application to social situations. Cognitive representati…

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Social Credit - Later versions of Social Credit theory, Arguments, Groups influenced by Social Credit

A monetary theory proposed by C H Douglas in Canada in 1924. It involved increasing consumer purchasing power by means of a state-backed ‘credit’. It was embraced most notably by William Aberhart of Alberta, whose Social Credit Party held provincial office from 1935 to 1971. Social Credit political movements were also consequential in British Columbia, New Zealand, and Quebec (Créditistes). …

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Social Darwinism - History, Influence of Social Darwinists, Criticisms and controversies

A school of thought which developed within 19th-c sociology based on the belief that social evolution depended on society adapting most efficiently to its environment. The associated ‘eugenics movement’ argued that Western society had developed because of the superior abilities of whites compared with other ‘racial’ groups. Social Darwinism in the most basal meaning is the idea that bio…

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social democracy - Social democratic political parties, "Democratic socialism" versus "social democracy", History

A section of the socialist movement which emerged in the late 19th-c after the break-up of the First International, and which advocates achieving social change through reformist rather than revolutionary means. Social democrats accept and work through existing state structures, although such movements may contain radical left-wing sections. Some political parties that adopted the social democratic…

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Social Democratic Party (SDP)

A UK political party formed in 1981 by a ‘gang of four’, comprising David Owen, Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins, and Bill Rogers (1928– ). They broke away from the Labour Party primarily over disagreements on policy and the degree of influence exerted on Party policy by the trade unions. Although espousing socialist principles, the Party was a moderate centrist one. The SDP formed an electoral pa…

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Social Gospel - In The United States, In Britain and Canada, In Literature, The 21st Century

An early 20th-c movement in the USA concerned with the application of Christian principles to the social and political order in the service of the Kingdom of God. Among its most prominent leaders were Washington Gladden (1836–1918), Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918), and Shailer Matthews (1863–1941). The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that was most …

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social history

History which concentrates upon the interaction of groups and upon the nature of social structures in the past. Once undervalued, both as a descriptive subject concerned with unearthing the minutiae of everyday life and as a less analytical appendage to economic history, social history has developed rapidly since the 1960s. It has incorporated social science methods, particularly in analysing the …

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social mobility

The way individuals or groups move from one status or class position to another, either higher (‘upward’ social mobility) or lower (‘downward’ social mobility), within the social hierarchy. It is typically measured in terms of movement across a range of pre-existing positions which enjoy unequal access to material and cultural ‘goods’. One can improve one's access to such goods, and so be up…

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social movement - Definition, History, Types of social movement, Dynamics of social movements, Social movement theories, Further reading

Any significant social or political force which aims to bring about change, but which has only the minimum of organization and operates through self-generating and independent action, such as the women's movement. These movements have played a significant part in many important social and political changes. They sometimes produce more organized forms of action, in the form of political parties and…

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social psychology

The study of the behaviour of groups of individuals. Social psychologists might record anything from fine-grained details of the body posture and gaze direction of an individual, in an attempt to understand non-verbal communication, to large-scale characteristics of crowd behaviour. They are also concerned with concepts that necessarily involve more than one individual, such as leadership, friends…

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social realism - Social realism in France and the Soviet Union, Social realism elsewhere

A term current in art criticism since World War 2, referring to pictures which treat ‘real life’ subjects in a way that challenges the values of ‘bourgeois’ society. Courbet's ‘Stonebreakers’ (1849) may have been the first great social realist picture. In the 20th-c the term was applied to the US Ashcan School, and in Europe to Italian artist Renato Guttoso (1912–87). Social Realism,…

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social security - Basic security, Social insurance, Income maintenance

In the USA, a tax on wages and salaries imposed to pay for retirement benefits, disability insurance, and hospital insurance. The tax is an important part of all Federal revenues (around 40%), and is the equivalent of British national insurance. In the UK, social security refers to the provision of financial aid by the state to reduce poverty. It comprises a wide range of benefits (covering such m…

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social stratification - Critical overview, Non-stratified societies, Weber's inspiration

A system of social inequality in which social groups occupy different positions (or strata) based on their unequal access to and ownership of material, political, and cultural (eg educational) resources. Social stratification is never a random process, but a product of economic and social relations that ‘allocate’ people to specific positions within a structured social hierarchy. In socio…

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social studies

A range of disciplines within the arts, humanities, and social sciences, including sociology, history, economics, and geography, whose principal concern is the study of various aspects of society. With the development of more sophisticated and scientific analyses, the term is less favoured today and more likely to be replaced by social sciences. Social studies is the study of history, econo…

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social work - Origins, Role of the social worker, Role of social work in the USA

A term which is usually understood to refer to the occupational activities of the social-work profession, ie the provision of social services to the ‘needy’, including counselling, care, and the general administration of the benefits of the state. Social work has its origins in late 19th-c charitable organizations which provided assistance to hospital staff and helped distribute poor relief. …

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socialism - History of socialism, Socialism as an economic system, Socialism and social and political theory

A wide-ranging political doctrine which first emerged in Europe during industrialization in the 18th-c. Most socialists would agree that social and economic relationships play a major part in determining human possibilities, and that the unequal ownership of the means of production under capitalism creates an unequal and conflictive society. The removal of property employed in the production proce…

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Socialist Realism - Socialist realism in the Soviet Union, Socialist realism in other states, Roots of socialist realism

In literature and art, the officially approved style of the former Soviet Union and of other socialist states, intended to appeal to the masses, and typically representing ordinary workers going about their mundane tasks. It produced armies of writers, artists, and composers (the ‘engineers of human souls’, in Stalin's words) who were dedicated to the propaganda of social realism as a reaction t…

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Society Islands

pop (2000e) 193 000; area 1535 km²/592 sq mi. One of the five archipelagoes of French Polynesia, comprising the Windward Is (including Tahiti) and the Leeward Is; two clusters of volcanic and coral islands in a 720 km/450 mi chain stretching NW–SE; visited by Captain Cook in 1769, and named by him after the Royal Society; French protectorate, 1844; French colony, 1897; capital, Papeete (o…

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sociobiology - Definition, History, Sociobiological theory, Controversy

The integrated study of the biological basis of social behaviour, based on the assumption that all behaviour is adaptive. Emphasis is placed on social systems as ecological adaptations, and explanations are given in terms of evolutionary theory. Sociobiology is a synthesis of scientific disciplines that explains behaviour in all species by considering the evolutionary advantages of social b…

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sociolinguistics - Differences according to class, Differences according to ethnic group, Differences according to geography

The study of the relationships between language and the society which uses it. The subject has a wide range, encompassing the analysis of all the varieties used in a community, and the contexts in which they are appropriate. This includes the use of standard and non-standard forms, and the attitudes towards them of different groups; the language of different social class and caste groups; the diff…

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sociology - History, Social theory, Science and mathematics

The study of patterned social behaviour which constitutes a social system or society, a term originally coined by French social theorist Auguste Comte. Sociologists explore the way in which social structures are continually modified as a result of social interaction, and thereby seek to explain the development of new institutions or new types of society. Modern sociology has a number of key theore…

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sociometry - Moreno's Criteria for Sociometric Tests

A technique for mapping social networks. The networks are based on respondents ranking those people they find more and those less desirable; the technique can be used by psychologists to build a theory of association between people. A graphical representation of a network of social relationships is known as a sociogram. The term sociometry relates to its Latin etymology, socius meaning comp…

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sockeye

Species of salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), widespread in the N Pacific Ocean and adjacent rivers; length up to 80 cm/32 in; feeds mainly on crustaceans during life at sea; migrates into fresh water to breed, the adults dying after spawning; an important commercial species along the American seaboard; also known as red salmon. (Family: Salmonidae.) Sockeye was a punk rock band from Stow, Ohio…

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Socorro

34º04N 106º55W, pop (2000e) 8900. Seat of Socorro Co, New Mexico, USA; in the Rio Grande valley, E of the Magdalena Mts; the name Sorocco (‘refuge’) dates from 1598 when travellers took shelter on their way to establish a colony near Santa Fe; the Spaniards built a church nearby (1627) that became the San Miguel Mission; town prospered with the discovery of silver (19th-c) in the Magdalena Mt…

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Socrates - Life, Trial and death, Philosophy, Satirical playwrights, Prose sources, Further reading and external links

Greek philosopher, born in Athens, Greece. Little is known of his early life. By Plato's account, he devoted his last 30 years to convincing the Athenians that their opinions about moral matters could not bear the weight of critical scrutiny. His technique, the Socratic method, was to ask for definitions of such morally significant concepts as piety and justice, and to elicit contradictions from t…

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soda bread - Griddle Cake, History

A type of bread which uses sodium bicarbonate to provide the necessary carbon dioxide. In contrast to yeast-risen bread, it is easier and quicker to prepare. Soda bread is a type of quick bread in which yeast has been substituted with baking soda. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic a…

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sodium - Occurrence, Compounds, Physiology and sodium ions

Na (Lat natrium), element 11, melting point 97·8°C. A very soft and reactive alkali metal, not found free in nature, but always in the form of one of its salts, in which it shows oxidation state +1. These occur in salt deposits, but sodium chloride (common salt, or NaCl) can also be extracted from ocean water, of which it makes up about 3·5%. The metal is obtained by electrolysis of molten NaCl…

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Sodom and Gomorrah - Situation, The Biblical text, Jewish views, Liberal Christian Views, Conservative Christian Views, Islamic View, Skeptical View

Two of five ‘cities of the plain’ in ancient Palestine, perhaps now submerged under the S end of the Dead Sea or located to the SE of the Dead Sea. In Gen 18–19 the people were legendary for their wickedness, especially their sexual perversity. The stories tell how Lot and his family were warned to flee from their home in Sodom just before the city was destroyed by ‘brimstone and fire’ as a d…

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Sofia - Geography, History, Culture, Demographics, Economy, Administration, Transport and infrastructure, Architecture, Education, Sport, Mass media, Notable people

42°40N 23°18E, pop (2000e) 1 223 000. Capital of Bulgaria since 1878, situated on a plateau in W Bulgaria; Roman town 1st–4th-c; under Byzantine rule 6th–9th-c; under Turkish rule 1382–1878; airport (Vrazhdebna); railway; university (1888); steel, machinery, electronics, food processing, chemicals; museums, theatres, opera house, observatory; Alexander Nevsky memorial cathedral; 4th-c St G…

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Sofia Coppola - Biography, Filmography

Director, producer, actress, and writer, born in New York City, New York, USA. The daughter of film director Francis Ford Coppola, she began acting from an early age, and in 1990 gained attention with her performance as Mary Corleone in her father's final part of The Godfather trilogy. As a director her work includes The Virgin Suicides (1999), Lost in Translation (2003, Oscar for best original sc…

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softball - Types of softball, The field, Equipment, Umpires, Gameplay, Modification of rules, International competition, Popularity and participation

A smaller version of baseball, played using a diamond-shaped infield with bases 60 ft (18·3 m) apart. The object, as in baseball, is to score runs by completing a circuit of the diamond before being put out. The principal differences between the two sports are that the softball field is smaller, the ball is bigger, the pitcher throws the ball underarm, and the game lasts seven innings (not nine…

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Soichiro Honda - A dream, Early years, Art Shokai, Honda Motor Co., Racing, Last years

Motor cycle and car manufacturer, born in Iwata Gun, C Japan. He started as a garage apprentice in 1922 and opened his own garage in 1928. By 1934 he had started a piston-ring production factory. He began producing motor cycles in 1948, and became president of Honda Corporation in the same year, until 1973. He stayed on as a director, and was appointed ‘supreme adviser’ in 1983. Soichiro …

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soil - Soil and its environment, Fields of study

The top layer of the Earth's surface, comprising a mixture of fine weathered rock particles and organic matter. The finest particles form clay; the less fine, silt; and the coarsest, sand. Provided moisture is available, soils generally support vegetation, and provide a habitat for a wide range of soil flora and fauna. Soil consists of mineral and organic matter, as well as living organisms…

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soil profile - Soil horizons

A vertical section through the soil revealing four basic soil horizons: the surface layer, or topsoil, which contains organic material; an upper subsoil, rich in nutrients but containing little organic matter; a lower subsoil of partly weathered mineral material; and the bedrock material from which the upper layers may have been derived. A soil profile is a cross section through the soil wh…

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soil science - History of Soil Science, Soil Science Practice

The study of soil, its information, and its management as a medium for plant growth. It includes both the physical management of soil, through cultivation, drainage, and irrigation, and the chemical management of soil, through the control of nutrient status, acidity, and salinity. Soil science deals with soil as a natural resource on the surface of the earth including soil formation, classi…

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Sojourner Truth - Life, Modern references, Books

Abolitionist and women's rights activist, born in Ulster Co, New York, USA. Born to slaves of a wealthy Dutch-American estate owner (she grew up speaking Dutch), she herself served as a slave in the Dumont family (1810–27) and had at least five children (two daughters were sold away from her). She fled her owners' household in 1827, found refuge in the home of the Van Wageners, and took their nam…

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Sol Bloom

US representative, born in Pekin, Illinois, USA. A self-made man, he learned accounting while working in a brush factory, and supervised the construction of the Midway Plaisance at the Chicago World Exposition in 1893. He set up music departments in stores (1849–1910) before going into construction in New York City and becoming a Democratic congressman at age 53 (1923–49). As chairman of the For…

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Sol Lewitt

Minimalist and exponent of Conceptual Art, born in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He studied at Syracuse University in 1949, and emerged as an abstract artist in the early 1960s. In the 1970s he made Minimalist ‘structures’, but was already declaring that the concept was more important than the work, and the planning more than the execution, hence his exhibited wall-drawings were afterwards obliter…

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Sol Tax

Cultural anthropologist, born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Educated at the universities of Wisconsin and Chicago (1935 PhD), he carried out field studies among the North American, Guatemalan, and Mexican Indians, and had a long career as a professor of anthropology at Chicago. As a longtime associate at the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, he promoted many expeditions and field c…

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solar cell - Three generations of development, Applications and implementations, Theory, Solar cell efficiency factors, Light-absorbing materials

A device for converting light directly into electrical power. It exploits the photovoltaic effect in junctions between semiconductor materials. Commercial cells using single crystals of silicon are efficient (converting c.14% of incident energy to electricity) but expensive; other materials are cheaper, such as germanium arsenide and amorphous silicon, but less efficient. The cells are arranged in…

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solar constant - History

The total radiation falling on the Earth from the Sun; symbol S, value 1365 W/m2 (watts per metre squared). A better terminology is total solar irradiance, more fully the sum over the entire spectrum of the Sun's irradiance at all wavelengths incident on top of the Earth's atmosphere at an Earth–Sun distance of 1 Astronomical Unit. The total solar irradiance continually changes by as much as 1% …

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solar flare - Solar-B Spacecraft, Classification of flares, Hazards

A violent release of energy in the vicinity of an active region on the Sun, emitting energetic particles, X-rays, and radio waves. It causes notable auroral displays in our upper atmosphere. Solar flares were first observed on the Sun in 1859. The frequency of occurrence of solar flares varies, from several per day when the Sun is particularly "active" to less than one each week…

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solar neutrino problem - Introduction, Measurements, Resolution

The discrepancy between the number of neutrinos that are expected to emanate from the Sun due to the nuclear processes that power it, and the number reaching Earth from the Sun, which is too small. The problem was first noted by US physicist Raymond Davis, whose neutrino detection experiment began running in 1967. Despite a variety of experiments since, the discrepancy remains. Revision of models …

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solar power - Energy from the Sun, Types of technologies, Classifications of solar power technology

Energy radiating from the Sun, exploited in a number of ways to provide energy for heat and electricity generation. Solar panels or collectors (a black metal absorber) can be used to extract heat from the warmth of sunshine to heat water or air in pipes contained in or beneath the panels. In some arid countries, panels are used to power stills for evaporating saline water, condensing the vapour an…

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solar prominence

Flame-like clouds of matter in the solar chromosphere, sometimes triggered by solar flares, reaching heights of 1 000 000 km/600 000 mi at extremes. They are visible using special instruments such as the coronagraph, or during a total eclipse. A solar prominence is a large bright feature located in the solar corona. While the corona consists of extremely hot ionized gases, known as pla…

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Solar System - Layout, Planets, dwarf planets, and small solar system bodies, Formation, Sun, Inner planets

The Sun and its associated, gravitationally bound, system of eight major (classical) planets, their 100+ numbered satellites (Mar 2006), four dwarf planets, the c.75 000 numbered asteroids, the comets, and interplanetary dust. The classical planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars (the four ‘inner planets’) and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune (the four outer ‘gas giants’) - and asteroids orbit …

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solar time

Time measured by considering the rotation of the Earth relative to the Sun. Mean solar time is established by reference to the mean Sun, and was established as the fundamental measure of clock time before it was realized that the Earth has variable rotation. Apparent solar time is time shown by a sundial. The difference between the two can amount to 16·4 min (early November). Apparent sol…

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solar wind - History, Properties

A stream of charged particles (plasma) emanating from the upper atmosphere (corona) of the Sun and expanding continuously into the interplanetary medium with a velocity of 300–800 km/s (200–500 mi/s). Most of the flow appears to originate in the Sun's polar regions. The solar magnetic field is embedded in radially outflowing plasma, and due to the Sun's rotation forms a spiral pattern like a r…

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solder - Lead Solder, Hard solder, Flux Core Solder, Lead-free solder

An alloy which will melt easily at a moderate temperature, and so provide a bond between two metal surfaces. It usually consists of tin and lead, when used for joining copper, brass, or iron with tin-plate. As distinct from welding, soldering only fills in interstices in the juxtaposed metals, and does not fuse into them. A solder is a fusible metal alloy, with a melting point or melting ra…

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soldier beetle

An elongate beetle; wing cases usually parallel-sided; adults commonly found on flowers and vegetation; larvae typically predatory, found in soil, leaf litter, and under bark; adults feed on nectar, pollen, or as predators. (Order: Coleoptera. Family: Cantharidae, c.5000 species.) The soldier beetles, or Cantharidae are relatively soft-bodied, straight sided beetles, related to the Lampyrid…

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sole

Any of the flatfish in the family Soleidae, widespread in shallow continental shelf waters of tropical to temperate seas; includes the common European sole, or Dover sole (Solea solea), distributed from the Mediterranean to Norway; length up to 50 cm/20 in; both eyes on right side of body; very popular food fish, taken commercially mainly by trawl. The name is also used elsewhere for flatfish be…

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Solemn League and Covenant

An alliance between the English Parliament and the Scottish Covenanters against Charles I, agreed in September 1643. Parliament promised £30 000 a month to the Scots and the introduction of full Presbyterianism in England; the Scots agreed to provide an army to the hard-pressed parliamentarians to fight Charles. The pact facilitated parliamentary victory in the first Civil War, but although it w…

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solenoid - Electromechanical solenoids, Derivation of magnetic field around a long solenoid, Rotary Voice Coil, Pneumatic solenoid valves

A coil of wire, usually cylindrical, partially surrounding a movable iron core. When a current flows in the coil, a magnetic field is produced which makes the core move. A solenoid converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, as in operating a switch or circuit breaker. A solenoid is a loop of wire, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a magnetic field when an electric…

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solicitor - England and Wales, Republic of Ireland, Canada, United States

A lawyer whose responsibilities involve giving legal advice to clients. In order to practise, solicitors in the UK require a practising certificate from the appropriate Law Society. Solicitors have a right to appear for clients in the lower courts, but may not act as advocates in the Supreme Court or House of Lords unless they have the appropriate advocacy qualification. Most are concerned with ad…

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solicitor general

In the UK, one of the government's law officers, who is a member of the House of Commons and junior to the attorney general. There is also a solicitor general for Scotland, who holds a similar position. Specifically, Solicitor General or Solicitor-General refers to a position in government dealing with legal affairs in several countries: …

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solid

A dense form of matter characterized by its ability to transmit twisting forces and its inability to flow; virtually incompressible; tends to retain shape when stressed; described as rigid, the atoms generally not being free to move from point to point. Solids are divided into crystals, comprising ordered arrays of atoms; amorphous solids, which are disordered arrays; and polymers and rubbers, whi…

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solid-state physics - Topics, External links and references

The study of all properties of matter in the solid state; a sub-branch of condensed matter physics, which includes liquids and solids. Traditionally it focuses on crystal structure, more recently embracing more complex systems such as alloys, ceramics, amorphous solids, and surfaces. …

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Solidarity - History, Influence abroad

An organization established in Poland (Sep 1980) as the National Committee of Solidarity to co-ordinate the activities of the emerging independent trade union following protracted industrial unrest, notably in the Lenin shipyard in Gda?sk. Its first president was Lech Wa??sa. It organized a number of strikes in early 1981 for improved wages and conditions, and became a force for major political re…

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Solihull - Education

52°25N 1°45W, pop (2001e) 199 500. Town in West Midlands, C England, UK; a suburb of SE Birmingham; National Exhibition Centre; Birmingham airport nearby; railway; vehicles, packaging, machinery. Residents of Solihull and those born in the town are referred to as Silhillians. The motto of Solihull is Urbs in Rure (Town in the Country). Solihull probably derived its name from…

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Solingen - Twin cities

51°10N 7°05E, pop (2000e) 168 000. Industrial city in Düsseldorf district, W Germany; in the Ruhr valley, 22 km/14 mi SE of Düsseldorf; badly bombed in World War 2; cutlery, chemicals, petrochemicals, hardware. Coordinates: 51°10′N 7°5′E Solingen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. …

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solipsism - Origin of solipsism, Varieties of solipsism, Questions about solipsism, Thought experiments, Hutton's Paradox

In philosophy, the theory that ‘I’ alone exist and that the ‘outside world’ exists only in my consciousness. However implausible, the thesis proves hard to refute from within theories such as Descartes', which make introspection and immediate experience the ultimate source of factual knowledge. Solipsism is first recorded with the Greek presocratic sophist Gorgias (c. 483–375 BC) who …

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solitaire - History, Examples of solitaire card games, Multiplayer Solitaire

An extinct dodo-like bird. The name is also used for the Hawaian honeycreeper (Viridonia sagittirostris) and New World thrushes of the genera Myadestes (7 species) and Entomodestes (2 species). Solitaire or Patience is any of a family of single-player card games of a generally similar character, but varying greatly in detail. The games are generally referred to as "Patience" in Britis…

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soliton - Solitons in fiber optics

A moving, solitary, stable wave having a well-defined position and constant amplitude; they can be observed in water in shallow channels, such as tidal bore waves. Solitons may provide a description of fundamental particles. In mathematics and physics, a soliton is a self-reinforcing solitary wave caused by a delicate balance between nonlinear and dispersive effects in the medium. Solitons …

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solo - Television and film, Places, Products, Recreation, Other

One of the family of trick-taking card games, similar to bridge. Players have to declare how many tricks they will win before each game. Tricks are won as in whist, but with the difference that the declarer plays without a partner (hence the name), and there is an auction. …

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Solomon (Hebrew Bible) - Historical figure, The name Solomon, Biblical account, Later legends, Solomon in modern fiction

King of Israel, the second son of David and Bathsheba. His outwardly splendid reign (described in 1 Kings 1–11 and 2 Chron 1–10) saw the expansion of the kingdom and the building of the great Temple in Jerusalem. But high taxation and alliances with heathen courts bred discontent, which later brought the disruption of the kingdom under his son, Rehoboam. Solomon was credited with extraordinary w…

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Solomon (music) - Historical figure, The name Solomon, Biblical account, Later legends, Solomon in modern fiction

Pianist, born in London, UK. After appearing with great success as a child prodigy, he retired for further study, and won a high reputation as a performer of the works of Beethoven, Brahms, and some of the modern composers. He did not tour as extensively as most players, and was forced to retire after a stroke in 1965. Solomon (Latin name) (Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה, (Shelomo) Standard Šəl…

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Solomon Islands - History, Politics, Foreign relations and the military, Geography, Economy, Demographics, Religion, Culture

Local name Solomon Islands The Solomon Islands is a nation in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. The capital is Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal. The Solomon Islands have been inhabited by Melanesian people for at least 30,000 years. The United Kingdom established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some…

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Solomon Lefschetz

Mathematician, born in Moscow, Russia. He studied engineering in Paris before emigrating to the USA. After losing both his hands in an industrial accident (1910), he was forced to abandon engineering, and turned to mathematics. He took his doctorate in 1911, taught at Kansas University (1913–25), and studied topology at Princeton (1925–53), becoming the leading topologist of his generation in th…

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Solomon Schechter - Early life, Academic career, American Jewish community, Religious and cultural beliefs, Legacy

Hebraic scholar and educator, born in Focsani, Romania. Educated in Vienna and Berlin, he went to England (1882), where he was appointed lecturer in the Talmud and rabbinical literature at Cambridge University (1890). He gained wide notice for identifying a Hebrew fragment, brought from Egypt, as a lost portion of Ecclesiasticus (one of the Apocrypha of the Bible). He then went off to Cairo and lo…

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Solomon Stoddard

Protestant theologian, born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He graduated from Harvard in 1662 and became the first librarian there (1667–74). From 1672 until his death he was pastor of the Congregational church at Northampton, MA (where his grandson Jonathan Edwards succeeded him). He helped develop the controversial Half-way Covenant, which permitted church membership to those who, without a full…

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Solon - Summary of Solon's Life : 638 - 558 B.C.

Athenian statesman, law-giver, and poet. As chief archon, he enacted many economic, constitutional, and legal reforms, and paved the way for the development of democracy at Athens, and her emergence as a great trading state. Enslavement for debt was abolished, a new currency instituted, and citizenship granted to foreign craftsmen settling in Athens. Wealth rather than birth was made the criterion…

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solstice - Cultural aspects, See Also

An event when the Sun is at its furthest point from the Equator, resulting in the longest day and shortest night (the summer solstice) in one hemisphere and the shortest day and longest night (the winter solstice) in the other hemisphere. In the N hemisphere, the summer solstice is on 21 or 22 June and the winter solstice on 21 or 22 December. Solstices occur because the Earth's axis is inclined t…

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solubility - Solubility of ionic compounds in water

The extent to which one substance (the solute) dissolves in another (the solvent). It is expressed in many ways, generally as the mass or number of moles of solute which dissolve in a unit volume of solvent. This table presents an overview of solubility of salts in water. For a more comprehensive chart on solubility data, visit solubility chart. Biopharmaceutics Classification S…

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solution - Ideal solutions, Solvents, Solvation, Types of solutions

A uniform phase, generally liquid, containing more than one component. When one component is present in excess, it is called the solvent; minor components are called solutes. Many alloys are solid solutions, in which the various metal atoms are randomly dispersed through the structure. In chemistry, a solution is a homogeneous mixture composed of one or more substances, known as solutes, di…

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Solvay process - Chemistry, Uses of Soda Ash, History, Byproducts and Wastes, Carbon Sequestration and the Solvay Process

A technique for the production of sodium carbonate (an important industrial alkali), devised in 1865 by Belgian chemist Ernest Solvay (1838–1922), and improved by Ludwig Mond in 1870. Sodium chloride is treated with ammonia and then with carbon dioxide. This produces sodium bicarbonate (which is heated to give the desired sodium carbonate) and ammonium chloride, which is treated with lime to reco…

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solvent - Protic and aprotic solvents, Properties table of common solvents

The major component of a solution. Water is often described as the ‘universal solvent’, but the term is also applied specifically to volatile organic materials such as acetone and ethyl acetate, used in paints and adhesives. Polar solvents can be further subdivided into polar protic solvents and polar aprotic solvents. In chemical reactions the use of polar protic solvents favors the SN1 …

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Solway Firth

Inlet of the Irish Sea, separating Cumbria, England, from Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland; estuary of Esk and Eden Rivers; length c.65 km/40 mi; width at mouth, c.40 km/25 mi; noted for its salmon fisheries. The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of …

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Somalia - History, Politics, Capital, Geography, Administrative divisions, Economy, Health, Demographics, Culture, Telecommunications

Official name Somali Democratic Republic, Arabic Jamhuriyadda Dimugradiga Somaliya Somalia (Somali: Soomaaliya; Somalia has no recognized central government authority nor any other feature associated with an established independent state. The independence of the British Somaliland Protectorate from the United Kingdom was proclaimed on June 26, 1960. In late 1969, a m…

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somatostatin - Actions, Synthetic substitutes, Somatostatin in the brain

Hormone-like polypeptide identified in the brain (hypothalamus), pancreas (D-cells in the islets of Langerhans), stomach (mucosal D-cells), and small and large intestines. It generally has an inhibitory action: hypothalamic somatostatin (a neurohormone) inhibits growth hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone secretion from the front lobe of the pituitary; pancreatic somatostatin (a paracrine) inhi…

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Somerset - History, Geology, landscape and ecology, Climate, Economy and industry, Culture, Settlements, Place names

pop (2001e) 498 100; area 3451 km²/1332 sq mi. County of SW England, UK; bounded N by the Bristol Channel; uplands in the W include Exmoor and the Brendon and Quantock Hills; Mendip Hills in NE, Blackdown Hills in S; county town, Taunton; chief towns include Bridgwater and Yeovil; N Somerset, and Bath & NE Somerset, separate unitary authorities from 1996; agriculture (especially dairy farmin…

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Somerville - Institutions named Somerville, Places named Somerville, People named Somerville, Derivation of the name

42º23N 71º06W, pop (2000e) 77 500. City in Middlesex Co, E Massachusetts, USA; 5 km/3 mi NW of Boston; founded, 1842; incorporated as a city, 1871; birthplace of Helen Woodard Atwater, Ralph Wendell Burhoe, Emery Leon Chaffee, Nelson Goodman, Harry Pillsbury; railway; telecommunications and hi-tech industries. See also William Somerville, for people sharing that name. Sir …

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Son of Man - Ancient languages, Ancient Semitic literature, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Theological interpretation, Scholarly interpretation

A term found in Jewish and Christian literature, most strikingly in the New Testament Gospels as a frequent self-designation of Jesus. The term's significance is debated: in Aramaic it is an idiomatic reference to ‘man’ in general, and possibly also a circumlocution for ‘I’; in Dan 7 it is associated with the righteous ones who are exalted at the end of the age and given dominion; in 1 Enoch 4…

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sonar - History of Sonar, Active sonar, Passive sonar, Sonar in warfare, Fisheries Acoustics, Fisheries Applications

Acronym for sound navigation and ranging, a means of detecting underwater vessels and objects, shoals of fish, and seabed features. The device emits pulsed bursts of sound underwater and listens for reflected echoes (active sonar), or simply listens for and interprets the sounds that a target, such as a submarine, may itself make (passive sonar). SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging)?— or …

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sonata - Usage of sonata, Instrumentation, Brief history of the usage of sonata

A musical composition, usually for keyboard (harpsichord, piano, organ) or for another instrument with keyboard. The main Baroque type, however, was the trio sonata for two solo instruments (usually violins) and continuo, exemplified in works by Corelli, Purcell, and Handel. These were normally in four or more movements, but the 550 or so keyboard sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti are nearly all singl…

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Sonderbund

A political and military league of seven Swiss Catholic cantons (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Zug, Fribourg, Lucerne, Valais), formed in 1845 to resist liberal plans for centralization. The 25-day Sonderbund War (1847) ended with the government's defeat of the Sonderbund, and the creation of a Federal State (1848). The Sonderbund (meaning "separate alliance", in German), was a league created i…

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song - Cultural types, Song forms

Quite apart from liturgical song (for which a special nomenclature exists), folksong, popular music, and the indigenous music of non-Western cultures, there remains a vast corpus of song which defies any brief survey or classification. Mediaeval vernacular song, at least as it has reached us, was unaccompanied monody, sung mainly to courtly, amatory, sometimes religious texts. Renaissance song was…

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song cycle - Song cycles in classical music, Song cycles in popular music

A sequence of separate songs united by some common theme or narrative thread. The earliest was perhaps Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte (1816, To the Distant Beloved); later examples include Schubert's Die Winterreise (1827, The Winter Journey), and Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (1904, Songs on the Death of Children). A song cycle is a group of songs designed to be performed in sequence as a …

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songbird

A bird of the passerine sub-order Oscines. This sub-order includes most birds renowned for their singing ability. A songbird or oscine is a bird belonging to the suborder Passeri of Passeriformes (ca. Artamidae: wood swallows, butcherbirds, currawongs and Australian Magpie Paradisaeidae: birds of paradise Corvidae: crows, ravens, and jays Corcoracidae: White-winged Chough and Apostleb…

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Songhai

A W African state which rose to power in the region formerly dominated by Mali in the second half of the 15th-c, commanding the trade routes of the Sahara, the great market at Timbuktu, and the area W to Senegal. It declined as a result of the Portuguese re-orientation of trade routes, and was attacked by Moroccan forces in the 1590s. Songhai peoples still control much of the Saharan caravan trade…

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Sonia (Terk) Delaunay - Legacy

Painter and textile designer, born in Ukraine. Brought up in St Petersburg, she studied art at Karlsruhe and in Paris where, in 1905, she attended the Académie de la Palette. In 1909 she made a marriage of convenience with the art critic Wilhelm Uhde, but that ended shortly, and in 1910 she married the French painter Robert Delaunay and together they founded the movement known as Orphism. In 1918…

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Sonia Sanchez - Biography, Writing and Activism, Bibliography

Poet and writer, born in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. She studied at Hunter College (1955 BA), and taught at several institutions, including Temple University, Philadelphia (from 1977). A black nationalist and political activist, she is known for persuasive and metaphorical poetry, as in homegirls & handgrenades (1984). Later poetry includes Under a Soprano Sky (1986) and Shake Loose My Skin: New and…

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sonic boom - Characteristics, Abatement, Perception and noise, Bullwhip

A pressure shock wave created by aircraft travelling at supersonic speeds. The shock wave is produced continually, and travels outwards from the aircraft. Where it meets the ground it is perceived as a loud bang. Its intensity at ground level depends on aircraft height, flight pattern, and weather, and may be sufficient to cause damage to buildings. A sonic boom was also produced when the British …

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Sonja Henie - Summary, Filmography, Trivia, Navigation

Ice skater and film actress, born in Oslo, Norway. Starting in 1927, she won seven European championships, 10 world championships, and gold medals in the 1928, 1932, and 1936 Olympic Games. She is credited with introducing music and dance-based movements into free-skating and thus greatly broadening the public for what had been a previously technical event. She turned professional in 1936 and made…

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sonnet - The Italian sonnet, The English sonnet, The Spenserian sonnet, The modern sonnet

A poem of 14 lines, usually in iambic pentameter, and with a structural balance between the first 8 lines (octave) and the last 6 (sestet). A variety of rhyme schemes may be employed. Introduced in 13th-c Italy, the sonnet was established by Petrarch as a major form of love poetry, and was adapted in French and English vernacular literature in the late 16th-c. Sydney, Spenser, and Shakespeare wrot…

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Sonny Boy Williamson

Harmonica player, born in Glendora, Mississippi, USA. Eventually becoming a legendary singer and harmonica player, he began by performing as ‘Little Boy Blue’ in the Mississippi Delta region throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In 1941 he began broadcasting on King Biscuit Time, a daily radio programme in Helena, AR, which he remained associated with until his death. Following John Lee ‘Sonny Boy’ …

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Sonny Liston - Early life, Professional boxing career, Death

Boxer, born in St Francis Co, Arkansas, USA. There is a great deal of uncertainty about his early life, and especially his age. It is thought he learned to box while serving two long prison sentences, and began his career in the ring in 1934. He defeated Floyd Patterson to become world heavyweight champion in 1962, but in 1964 lost the title to Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali). Charles L. …

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Sonny Ramadhin

Cricketer, born in Trinidad. With Valentine he formed a devastating spin attack in the West Indies Test sides of the 1950s helping them win their first series in England (1950). In 43 Tests he took 188 wickets, on one occasion taking 10 wickets in a match. At Birmingham in 1957 he bowled more balls (774) in a match than any other bowler in the history of Test cricket. In later years he played coun…

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Sonny Rollins - Biography, Discography, Samples, Films

Jazz saxophonist and composer, born in New York City, USA. He learned to play piano, alto saxophone, and tenor saxophone while at school, and early on worked and recorded with major bebop figures such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. From the mid-1950s he emerged as an important voice in the ‘hard bop’ movement. His use of calypso themes reflects his roots in the Virgin Is, and he is considere…

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Sonny Terry

Blues singer and harmonica player, born in Greensboro, Georgia, USA. He learned harmonica as a child and began earning a living in the streets at a young age. In 1938 he performed at the ‘From Spirituals to Swing’ concert at Carnegie Hall, displaying a unique virtuosity that involved bending and modulating notes. From the 1940s into the 1980s he performed widely with guitarist Brownie McGhee, bu…

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Sonora - Higher Education Institutions, Sonora in Popular Media

37º59N 120º22W, pop (2002e) 4400. County seat of Tuolumne Co, California, USA; located in the Sierra Nevada range; settled by Mexican miners (1848) and named after the state of Sonora in Mexico; gold rush town known as ‘Queen of the Southern Mines’; incorporated as a city, 1851; birthplace of Melvin M Belli and Garfield Bromley Oxnam; as the once profitable mines began to decline, the town de…

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Sons of Liberty - Societies, Flags

An organization in the American Revolution that provided popular leadership in the resistance movement against Britain. Composed mainly of artisans, small traders, and dissident intellectuals, it operated as an organized inter-colonial group in 1765–6. Thereafter, the men who had taken part continued to provide popular leadership. The term was also used to describe all Americans involved in the r…

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Sophia (of Hanover) - Real and fictional women named Sophia (or variants thereof)

Electress of Hanover, born in The Hague, The Netherlands, the youngest daughter of Elizabeth Stuart (daughter of James I of England) and Frederick, Elector Palatine, also elected King of Bohemia (1618). In 1658 she married Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who became the first Elector of Hanover. Her son George, Elector of Hanover, became George I of Great Britain. Named in the Act of …

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Sophia (of The Netherlands) - Real and fictional women named Sophia (or variants thereof)

Queen of the Netherlands, born in Stuttgart, SW Germany, the daughter of King William I of Wurtemburg and Catharina Pavlovna of Russia. She married the future King William III of the Netherlands in 1839. They had three children: Willem (1840–79), Maurits (1843–50) and Alexander (1851–84), all of whom died before their father. …

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Sophia Loren - Biography, Filmography

Actress, born in Rome, Italy. An illegitimate child from a poor home in Naples, she became a teenage beauty queen and model. Her film debut was as an extra. She came under contract to film producer Carlo Ponti (1912– ), later her husband, and blossomed as an actress. An international career followed and she won an Oscar for La Ciociara, (1961, trans Two Women). Frequently appearing with Marcello …

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Sophia Smith

Philanthropist, born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, USA. She finished formal schooling at age 14, but educated herself with the many books in her family's house. A shy young woman, she never married. Deaf by age 40, she lived her entire life in her family's home with an unmarried sister and brother, Austin Smith. As the last surviving member of her family, she inherited its money, in particular the f…

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Sophie Grigson

British cookery writer and broadcaster. She studied at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and became a cookery correspondent for the Evening Standard (1986–93), The Sunday Express (1988–91), The Independent (1993–4), and The Sunday Times (1994–6). Her television programmes for Channel 4 include Grow Your Greens/Eat Your Greens (1993) and Sophie's Meat Course (1995…

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Sophie Tucker - Early life, Legacy and influence, Tributes

Singer and entertainer, born in Russia. Brought to the USA as a child, she first performed in vaudeville in blackface, singing ragtime melodies. She almost stole the show in the Ziegfield Follies of 1909 and returned as a star to vaudeville, abandoning blackface but continuing in the African-American style. She helped popularize songs of black composers such as Eubie Blake, and was also known for …

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Sophocles - Life, Surviving works, Trivia

Greek tragic playwright, born in Colonus Hippius. He wrote 123 plays, of which only seven survive, all written after his victory over Aeschylus in a dramatic contest in 468 BC: Ajax, Electra, Women of Trachis, Philoctetes, and his three major plays Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. His introduction of a third actor, taking further the innovations of Aeschylus, allowed greater complexi…

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Sophonisba

Noblewoman, the daughter of a Carthaginian general. She was betrothed to the Numidian prince Masinissa, but for reasons of state during the 2nd Punic War (218–202 BC) married his rival, Syphax. In 203 Syphax was defeated by a Roman army led by Masinissa, who took Sophonisba captive and married her. The Romans objected to this marriage, and Masinissa gave her up, but delivered poison to her to pre…

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Sopot - History, Mayors, Economy, High education, Transportation, Sports

54°27N 18°01E, pop (2000e) 53 500. Resort town in Gda?sk voivodship, N Poland; between wooded slopes and the Bay of Gda?sk; part of the Tri-City with Gda?sk and Gdynia; railway; hydrotherapy treatment centre, open-air opera, racecourse; international song festival. Sopot (pronounce: ['sɔpɔt]; Sopot is a powiat capital in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. Sopot is a l…

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Sopron - History, Wine production, Architecture, Sports, Famous residents, Twin towns

47º45N 16º32E, pop (2002e) 55 000. Town in Györ-Sopron county, NW Hungary; on the border with Austria; birthplace of Ludwig von Benedek and Margaret Mahler; awarded the Europa Prize in 1975 for the conservation of its ancient monuments and buildings; university of forestry; textiles, fruit, sugar; Fire Tower in the Baroque main square. Coordinates: 47.68489° 16.58305° Sop…

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sorbic acid

A permitted food preservative which can inhibit the growth of moulds. Such preservatives are known as antimycotic. Sorbic acid is obtained from the unripe fruits of the mountain ash. Sorbic acid, or 2,4-hexadienoic acid, is a natural organic compound used as a food preservative. Sorbic acid and its mineral salts, such as sodium sorbate, potassium sorbate and calcium sorbate, are…

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sorghum - Origin, Cultivation and uses, Species, Hybrids

A cereal resembling maize (corn) in general appearance, but with dense heads of small grains. The most important is Sorghum vulgare, also called kaffir corn or guinea corn, cultivated as a staple food in much of Africa and parts of Asia, and in America and Australia for animal feed. One variety yields sugar in the same way as sugar cane. (Genus: Sorghum, 60 species. Family: Gramineae.) Sorg…

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Soria

41°46N 2°28W, pop (2000e) 35 000. City in Spain in Castilla-León, capital of the province and of the administrative area of the same name; in the upper valley of the R Duero in the System Ibérico; urban development during the Middle Ages as a centre of the wool trade; negligible agricultural activity; small food and timber industry; commercial centre of the Spart of the province and the core…

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Sorley Maclean

Gaelic poet, born at Osgaig, I of Raasay, off Skye, Highland, N Scotland, UK. He read English at Edinburgh University (1929–33), and by the end of the 1930s was an established figure on the Scottish literary scene. In 1940 he published Seventeen Poems for Sixpence, which he produced with Robert Garioch, and in 1943, Dàin do Eimhir (Poems to Eimhir), addressed to the legendary Eimhir of the early…

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sorrel

Any of several species of dock, native to Europe, usually with spear-shaped, acid-tasting leaves used as vegetables or in salads. (Genus: Rumex. Family: Polygonaceae.) …

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sorus - References and external links

A plant structure formed from a number of sporangia. It is usually associated with ferns, where they are arranged in distinctive patterns on the undersides of the fronds, but they are also found in some algae and fungi. The lid-like flap of tissue covering and protecting the sorus in some ferns is known as the indusium. In ferns, a sorus (pl. sori) is a cluster of sporangia on the edge or u…

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Sosigenes of Alexandria

Astronomer and mathematician who advised Julius Caesar on calendar reform. He recommended a year of 365·25 days, and inserted an extra 67 days into the year 46 BC to bring the months back in register with the seasons. In Pliny book 2, 8, Sosigenes is credited with work on the orbit of Mercury: …

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