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Annus mirabilis (pl. anni mirabiles) is a Latin phrase that means "wonderful year", "miraculous year" or "amazing year". This term was originally used to refer to the year 1666, and today is used to refer to several years during which events of major importance are remembered. Prior to this, however, Thomas Dekker used the phrase mirabilis annus in his 1603 pamphlet The Wonderful Year, "Wherein is shewed the picture of London lying sick of the plague."
1543 – The year of scienceEdit
- Andreas Vesalius published De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) in Basel, which revolutionised the science of human anatomy and the practice of medicine.
- Nicolaus Copernicus published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) in Nuremberg, Germany, which eventually altered the science of astronomy forever.
1666 – The year of wondersEdit
John Dryden's poemEdit
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known written usage of the Latin phrase "Annus Mirabilis" is as the title of a poem composed by English poet John Dryden about the events of 1666. The phrase "annus mirabilis" translates as "wonderful year" or "year of miracles". In fact, the year was beset by great calamity for England (including the Great Fire of London), but Dryden chose to interpret the absence of greater disaster as miraculous intervention by God, as "666" was then regarded as the Number of the Beast, and the year 1666 expected by some to be particularly disastrous.
In addition to this, the English fleet defeated a Dutch fleet in the St James' Day Battle, for a great victory at sea. (However, in 1667 the Dutch burned several major warships of the English fleet in the raid on the Medway and Charles II was forced to sue for peace.)
In the year 1666, Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation. As such, it has later been called Isaac Newton's "Annus Mirabilis." It was in this year that Isaac Newton was alleged to have observed an apple falling from a tree, and in which he in any case hit upon the law of universal gravitation (Newton's apple). He was afforded the time to work on his theories due to the closure of Cambridge University by an outbreak of plague.
1759 – William PittEdit
A series of victories by the British military in 1759 in North America, Europe, India, and in various naval engagements, is occasionally referred to as William Pitt's annus mirabilis, and was the decisive year of the Seven Years' War.
1776 – The Liberty yearEdit
1905 – Albert EinsteinEdit
The year 1905 has often been linked to the term annus mirabilis, as it was in this year that Albert Einstein made important discoveries concerning the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, the special theory of relativity, and the famous E = mc2 equation. His four articles, collectively known as his Annus Mirabilis papers, were published in Annalen der Physik, all in 1905.
This phrase has since been used to refer to other years. The examples here are primarily from the English-speaking world.
- 1644–1645 – The string of victories by the Scottish general, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, in 1644–1645 during the English Civil War is sometimes called the "Year of Miracles".
- 1666 – In Roman numerals, the year 1666 contains all the numerals in decreasing order: MDCLXVI.
- 1722 - one Mart. Scriblerus, Philomath (a pseudonym of either John Arbuthnot or Alexander Pope) predicted that on December 29, 1722, all men would be transformed into women, and all women transformed into men—preemptively declaring the coming year an "Annus Mirabilis". This is a satirical work, but nevertheless explores themes concerning transgender in a fairly thorough manner.
- 1797 - William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote Lyrical Ballads and other important works of poetry.
- 1821 – the year in which the French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel made critical advances on polarization, partial reflection, and double refraction – has been described by the science historian Olivier Darrigol as Fresnel's annus mirabilis.
- 1899 - According to Wouter Hanegraaff, Arthur Edward Waite and Arthur Machen, in their collection of letters published as The House of the Hidden Light, refer to their time, together, with Annie "Dora" Lakeman and Vivienne Pierpoint, beginning "in the autumn of 1899", as their annus mirabilis.
- 1922 – In the English-speaking world, 1922 has been described as the annus mirabilis of Modernism, due to the publication of many major literary works, including James Joyce's Ulysses and T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.
- 1932 – Three major discoveries in particle physics: Discovery of the neutron, Cockroft-Walton particle accelerator and artificial nuclear disintegration, discovery of the positron.
- 1939 – This phrase has also been used to describe 1939 Hollywood because of all the classic films produced this year, a record 18 of which were chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry.
- 1946 – The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Hugh Dalton described 1946 as the then Labour Government's 'Annus mirabilis'
- 1963 – The phrase Annus Mirabilis was also used by Philip Larkin as the title for one of his best-known poems, written in 1967 and published in High Windows (1974), which celebrated the onset of more relaxed sexual mores in 1960s Britain, specifically mentioning the year 1963 as a sort of personal "annus mirabilis".
- 1967 was Celtic F.C.'s annus mirabilis. The club won every competition they entered: the Scottish League, the Scottish Cup, the Scottish League Cup, the Glasgow Cup, and the European Cup (the quintuple).
- 1972 was AFC Ajax's annus mirabilis. The club won every competition they entered (4): Dutch League, European Cup, Dutch Cup and Intercontinental Cup (the Quadruple); as well the European Supercup final match but this latter result was not recognized by UEFA, making it an unofficial quintuple.
- mid-1970s – The phrase was used to describe the mid-1970s uptick in sugar prices which skyrocketed Cuban sugar-based earning.
- 1989 – Annus Mirabilis has been used to describe 1989 and the political events which took place in Eastern Europe, which saw the end (or the beginning of the end) of communist governments in several countries (See: Revolutions of 1989) including Poland, East Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
- 2006 was the annus mirabilis of the numerical relativity triple breakthrough that solved the binary black hole problem in supercomputers according to Jeremy Schnittman of NASA.
- 2009 was FC Barcelona's annus mirabilis. The club won all 6 competitions they entered: the Spanish League, the Spanish King's Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, the European Champions League, the European Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.
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In the same year  I began to think of gravity extending to the orb of the moon, .... All this was in the two plague years of 1665 and 1666, for in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention, and minded mathematics and philosophy more than at any time since.
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In the beginning of the year 1665 I found the Method of approximating series & the Rule for reducing any dignity of any Binomial into such a series. The same year in May I found the method of Tangents of Gregory & Slusius, & in November had the direct method of fluxions & the next year in January had the Theory of Colors & in May following I had entrance into the inverse method of fluxions. And the same year I began to think of gravity extending to the orb of the Moon & (having found out how to estimate the force with which a globe revolving within a sphere presses the surface of the sphere) from Keplers rule of the periodical times of the Planets being in sesquialterate proportion of their distances from the centers of their Orbs, I deduced that the forces which keep the Planets in their Orbs must be reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about which they revolve: and thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the earth ... All this was in the two plague years of 1665 and 1666. For in those days I was in the prime of my age of invention & minded Mathematics & Philosophy more than at any time since.
- Blanning p.299
- Monod p.167
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Archived December 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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