The Italian painter Fra Angelico combined the religious style of the Middle Ages (a period in European history from around 500 to around 1500) with the Renaissance's (a period of revived interest Courtesy of the Library of Congress. in Greek and Roman culture that began in Italy during the fourteenth century) concern for representing mass, space, and light.
Maya Angelou—author, poet, playwright, stage and screen performer, and director—is best known for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970), the story of her early life, which recalls a young African American woman's discovery of her self-confidence.
International diplomat Kofi Annan of Ghana is the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), the multinational organization created to, among other things, maintain world peace. He is the first black African to head that organization and was awarded the Nobel Prize.
Susan B. Anthony was an early leader of the American women's suffrage (right to vote) movement and a pioneer in the struggle to gain equality for women.
Virginia Apgar forever changed the field of perinatology (the care of infants around the time of birth). She was the creator of the Apgar Newborn Scoring System, a method of evaluating the health of infants minutes after birth in order to make sure they receive proper medical care.
Benigno Aquino of the Philippines was a leading opponent of the rule of President Ferdinand Marcos (1917–1989), who governed the Philippines from 1966 to 1986. Aquino's opposition ended in August 1983 when, after living in the United States for three years, he returned to the Philippine capital of Manila and was assassinated (killed) at the airport.
Yasir Arafat was elected chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1969. Though originally in favor of an all-out war to end Israel's occupation of Arab lands in the Middle East, from 1974 on he and the PLO claimed to be interested in a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian problem.
Archimedes is considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He is also famed for his inventions and for the colorful—though unproven—ways he is believed to have made them.
A Jewish girl forced to flee Germany during World War II (1939–45), Hannah Arendt analyzed major issues of the twentieth century and produced an original and radical political philosophy.
Aman of the people and loved by many in his home country, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was first elected president of Haiti by a large margin in 1990. He was removed from power in a military takeover in 1991, however.
Aristophanes was the greatest of the writers of the original Greek comedy, which flourished in Athens in the fifth century B.C.E., and the only one with any complete plays surviving. He wrote at least thirty-six comedies, of which eleven still exist.
The Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle created the scientific method, the process used for scientific investigation. His influence served as the basis for much of the science and philosophy of Hellenistic (Ancient Greek) and Roman times, and even affected science and philosophy thousands of years later.
L ouis Armstrong was a famous jazz trumpet player and singer. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential musicians in the history of jazz music.
The American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon.
Although he fought with skill and courage in many campaigns during the American Revolution (1775–83), General Benedict Arnold is best known as the man who betrayed his country.
Mary Kay Ash used her training in direct sales to create her own multimillion-dollar cosmetics firm and provide women with the opportunity for advancement.
Arthur Ashe was the first African American player to compete in the international sport of tennis at the highest level of the game. After an early retirement from sports due to heart surgery, Ashe used his sportsman profile and legendary poise to promote human rights, education, and public health.
The author of nearly five hundred books, Isaac Asimov was one of the finest writers of science fiction in the twentieth century. Many, however, believe Asimov's greatest talent was for, as he called it, "translating" science, making it understandable and interesting for the average reader.
Fred Astaire was a famous dancer and choreographer (one who creates and arranges dance performances) who worked in vaudeville (traveling variety entertainment acts), musical comedy, television, radio, and Hollywood musicals.
An American fur trader and businessman, John Astor used his profits from fur trading to invest in a wide range of business enterprises. By the time of his death he was the richest man in America.
One of Canada's best-known writers, Margaret Atwood is an internationally famous novelist, poet, and critic. She is also committed to positive change in our way of life.
The English-born American poet W. H.
American artist and ornithologist (one who studies birds) John James Audubon was a leading natural history artist who made drawings of birds directly from nature. He is mainly remembered for his Birds of America series.
Augustus was the first emperor of Rome. He established the principate, the form of government under which Rome ruled its empire for three hundred years.
I n 1988 Aung San Suu Kyi became the major leader of the movement toward the reestablishment of democracy in Burma (now Myanmar). In 1991, while under house arrest by the government for her activities, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The English writer Jane Austen was one of the most important novelists of the nineteenth century. In her intense concentration on the thoughts and feelings of a limited number of characters, Jane Austen created as profound an understanding and as precise a vision of the potential of the human spirit as the art of fiction has ever achieved.
The founder of modern Hasidism was the Polish-born Israel ben Eliezer, who is generally known as Baal Shem Tov.
Charles Babbage was an English inventor and mathematician whose mathematical machines were based on ideas that were later put to use in modern computers. Indeed, Babbage is sometimes even called the inventor of the computer.