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On March 31, Descartes was born.

March 31 may be yet another day in the year, but history proves that this is just not some ordinary day.

On this day in history, many cultural and significant things happened. The father of modern Western philosophy, René Descartes, was born; the Eiffel Tower was opened, and Sir Isaac Newton, one of most important scientists of all time, passed away in his sleep.

Many students did not realize that so many important events happened.

“I just thought it was a regular day,” Thomas Valcukas (freshman, biology) said. “So many important things in history happen every day, so it is easy to just kind of forget all of the little details. I think that a lot actually happens today now that I know some events.”

March 31 is marked with famous birthdays, deaths and events in music, film and TV and sports.

Descartes was born in 1596 in La Haye en Touraine, France. La Haye de Touraine was later renamed after him. Descartes is most well known for saying, “I think, therefore I am.” His work, “Meditations on First Philosophy,” shaped Western political thought.

“I never heard of him (Descartes) until the Cook Honors College gave us an assignment about him and his work (‘Meditations on First Philosophy’),” Valcukas said.

“I learned that he was a philosopher that asked essentially what was real or how do we know if something is fact or fiction. For some, those questions are hard to answer, but they really make you think.”

Yet another event was the official opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 in Paris. The tower was built for the Exposition Universelle. Standing at 1063 feet tall, the tower took two years to build.

“I would honestly love to visit the Eiffel Tower,” Bridget Gardner (freshman, environmental engineering) said. “The history behind it is very interesting, and it’s one of the most fascinating landmarks in Europe.”

Gardner said she has not really thought about its history until learning about its opening. She did say that she thinks it would be amusing if the tower served as a radio antenna.

Isaac Newton passed away in 1727 at the age of 84. He is considered to be a revolutionary scientist because he played a key role in understanding the laws of motion. He created three laws to explain the phenomenon, with the most notable being, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

“Isaac Newton’s contributions to the scientific community are among the most important pertaining to everyday life,” Noah Rhea (freshman, political science) said.

“Many of us take gravity’s effects for granted. For a long time, nobody questioned why things dropped to the ground. Thanks to Isaac Newton asking those questions himself, we can now gain a greater knowledge about our Earth and other celestial bodies.”

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