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This Day in Science History

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June 27


Merle Antony Tuve

Born 27 Jun 1901; died 20 May 1982.

American research physicist and geophysicist who (with Gregory Breit) made the first use pulsed radio waves to explore the ionosphere. He devised the necessary detecting equipment to measure the time between receiving a direct radio pulse and a second pulse reflected from the ionosphere. The observations he made provided the theoretical foundation for the development of radar. Tuve, with Lawrence R. Hafstad and Norman P. Heydenburg, made the first and definitive measurements of the nuclear force between proton-proton force at nuclear distances. During WW II he developed the proximity fuse. Following the war, he made important contributions to experimental seismology, radio astronomy, and optical astronomy.

Maxie Anderson

Died 27 Jun 1983 (born 10 Sep 1934)

Maxie Leroy "Max" Anderson who (with fellow Albuquerque, NM, residents Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman) made the first transatlantic balloon flight aboard their Double Eagle II balloon, 3108 miles from Presque Isle, Maine to Miserey, France. After a dozen failed attempts, their successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by gas balloon was achieved 11-16 August 1978, (landing 17 Aug), setting a new duration record with a flight time of 137 hours. Two years later, 12-18 May 1980, with his son Kristian, he made the first nonstop balloon flight across North America. This record helium balloon flight aboard the Kitty Hawk began at San Francisco, California, lasted four days and ended near Matane, Quebec, Canada, 3,100 miles from their launch site. His later round-the-world attempts failed. He was killed in 1983 when refused permission to fly across the East German border and a faulty release clamp used at landing caused them to crash.


Asteroid imaged

In 1997, The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraftpassed within 1,200 km (750 mi) of asteroid Mathilde and took many multispectral images. It was on course to the asteroid Eros, which it was to orbit in 1999 and study for approximately a year.

Atomic power

In 1954, the world's first atomic power station began producing electricity in Obninsk, U.S.S.R., a small town 60 miles south of Moscow. The plant used a small, graphite moderated, water-cooled reactor, and could produce 5 megawatts. The reactor was used for both civilan power needs and also military purposes, such as research into the possibility of propelling submarines with nuclear power. It generated electricity until 1968, but continued in use for experiments and to warm the town's centrally distributed hot water supply. Final shutdown took place in 2002 for reason of being unprofitable.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/6/6_27.htm


June 28


Robert S. Ledley

Born 28 Jun 1926

American physicist and radiologist who invented the ACTA (Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial) diagnostic X-ray scanner, the first whole-body computerized tomography (CT) machine (U.S. patent no. 3,922,552) which revolutionized medical diagnosis. The ACTA can make a three-dimensional analysis of all organs and parts of the body in a series of cross-section images using thin X-ray beams and high power computer processing of the collected data. Using the ACTA, diagnosis of tumours, infection or bleeding is possible even deep within large organs, and it can give improved radiation therapy for cancer. The framework could be tilted to give results from planes other than vertical.

Vannevar Bush

Died 28 Jun 1974 (born 11 Mar 1890)

American electrical engineer and administrator who and oversaw government mobilization of scientific research during World War II. At the age of 35, in 1925, he developed the differential analyzer, the world's first analog computer. It was capable of solving differential equations. He put into concrete form that which began 50 years earlier with the incomplete efforts of Babbage, and the theoretical details developed by Kelvin. This machine filled a 20 x 30 foot room. He innovated one of the largest growing media in our time, namely hypermedia as fulfilled in the Internet with hypertext links.



In 1965, the first commerical telephone conversation over a satellite took place over Early Bird I between America and Europe. It had capacity for 240 voice circuits or one black and white TV channel. Positioned to serve the Atlantic Ocean region, Early Bird provided commercial communications service between North America and Western Europe. It exceeded its 18 months designed in-orbit life by 2 additional years. (It was later renamed as Intelsat I.) By 1 Jul 1969, three Intelsat satellites in geostationary orbit provided full global coverage. Only 19 days after Intelsat III became operational, Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew made their historic first landing on the moon, watched by 500 million people back on Earth.

Rocket mail

In 1928, Austrian Friedrich Schmiedl launched his first experimental rocket. The design he first used was not successful. However, by 9 Sep1931, he started the world's first official postal rocket-mail service between two Austrian towns. A parachute provided a safe landing. His rocket-mail service continued until 16 Mar 1933 when laws prohibited the civilian use of explosives (including his rocket fuel.)

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/6/6_28.htm


June 29


George Ellery Hale

Born 29 Jun 1868; died 21 Feb 1938.

American astronomer known for his development of important astronomical instruments. To expand solar observations and promote astrophysical studies he founded Mt. Wilson Observatory (Dec 1904). He discovered that sunspots were regions of relatively low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Hale hired Harlow Shapley and Edwin Hubble as soon as they finished their doctorates, and he encouraged research in galactic and extragalactic astronomy as well as solar and stellar astrophysics. Hale planned and tirelessly raised funds for the 200" reflecting telescope at the Palomar Mountain Observatory completed in 1948, after his death, and named for him - the Hale telescope.

Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev

Died 29 Jun 1971 (born 19 June 1933)

Soviet cosmonaut, design engineer on the Soyuz 11 mission, in which he, mission commander Georgy Dobrovolsky, and flight engineer Vladislav Volkov remained in space a record 24 days and created the first manned orbital scientific station by docking their spacecraft with the unmanned Salyut station launched two months earlier. Soyuz 11 was guided automatically to 100 m, then hand-docked to the Salyut 1 scientific station. Equipment aboard Salyut 1 included a telescope, spectrometer, electrophotometer, and television. The crew checked improved on-board spacecraft systems in different conditions of flight and conducted medico-biological research. They died in cabin depressurization of Soyuz 11 during its return trip to earth.


Shuttle docks with Mir

In 1995, the space shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir for a mission which lasted until 4 Jul 1995 that included the exchange of Russian crew members. The docking tested a special module similar to one that was to be used to link shuttles with the international station when it was completed. For these five days, the space vehicles formed the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth. During this mission astronauts answered questions from school students over amateur radio, and performed life science experiments aboard the SpaceLab. The SpaceLab experiments were designed to understand how the Russian Space program combats the effects on the human body of the long-durations in space.


In 1954, the Atomic Energy Commission, by a vote of 4 to1 decided against reinstating Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer's access to classified information. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 required consideration of "the character, associations, and loyalty" of the individuals engaged in the work of the Commission. Substantial defects of character and imprudent and dangerous associations, particularly with known subversives who place the interests of foreign powers above those of the United States, were considered reasons for disqualification. The Commission regarded his associations with persons known to him to be Communists exceeded tolerable limits of prudence and self-restraint, and lasted too long to be justified as merely the intermittent and accidental revival of earlier friendships.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/6/6_29.htm


June 30


Thomas Edmondson

Born 30 Jun 1792; died 22 Jun 1851.

English inventor whose ticket printing and numbering machine pioneered a system of fare collection in the development of the railways. While working for the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, he found handwriting the tickets irksome and delaying, and it occurred to him that the work could be done by a machine. He evolved a process for preparing receipts in advance, serial numbering all the tickets (for accountability of monies collected), and inventing a basic stamping system on wooden blocks. Edmondson's early wooden dating presses were developed into iron ones and mass produced. By 1843, twenty-seven English companies, and the Paris and Rouen railway were using the system, which had now become the standard one to adopt.

Sir John Rayleigh

Died 30 Jun 1919 (born 12 Nov 1842)

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron of Rayleigh (of Terling Place) was an English physical scientist who made fundamental discoveries in the fields of acoustics and optics that are basic to the theory of wave propagation in fluids. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904 for his investigations into the densities of the most important gases and his successful isolation of argon, an inert atmospheric gas.


African-American joins space program

In 1967, a press conference announced four Air Force officers selected for training in the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) program, El Segundo, California.* One of the four, Major Robert Lawrence, was the first African-American to qualify for training in the US space program. His career was cut short only a few months later, when he died on 8 Dec 1967 on a training flight in a Starfighter jet that crashed at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (Several years earlier, another African-American had been selected for the MOL program, on 31 Mar 1961, but not subsequently selected for training). It was not until 30 Aug 1983 that the first African-American entered space: Col. Guion S. Bluford, Jr.

Tunguska meteorite

In 1908, at around 7:15 am, northwest of Lake Baikal, Russia, a huge fireball nearly as bright as the Sun was seen crossing the sky. Minutes later, there was a huge flash and a shock wave felt up to 650 km (400 mi) away. Over Tunguska, a meteorite over 50-m diameter, travelling at over 25 km per second (60,000 mph) penetrated Earth's atmosphere, heated to about 10,000 ºC and detonated 6 to10 km above the ground. The blast released the energy of 10-50 Megatons of TNT, destroying 2,200 sq km of forest leaving no trace of life. The Tunguska rock came out of the Taurid Meteor storm that crosses Earth's orbit twice a year. The first scientific expedition for which records survive was made by Russian mineralogist Leonid Kulik in 1927.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/6/6_30.htm


July 1


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Born 1 Jul 1646; died 14 Nov 1716

German philosopher, mathematician, and political adviser, important both as a metaphysician and as a logician and distinguished also for his independent invention of the differential and integral calculus. Through meeting with such scholars as Christian Huygens in Paris and with members of the Royal Society, including Robert Boyle, during two trips to London in 1673 and 1676, Leibniz was introduced to the outstanding problems challenging the mathematicians and physicists of Europe. Leibniz's independently discovered differential and integral calculus (published 1684), but became involved in a bitter priority dispute with Isaac Newton, whose ideas on the calculus were developed earlier (1665), but published later (1687).

R. Buckminster Fuller

Died 1 Jul 1983 (born 12 Jul 1895)

Richard Buckminster Fuller was a U.S. engineer and architect who developed the geodesic dome, the only large dome that can be set directly on the ground as a complete structure, and the only practical kind of building that has no limiting dimensions (i.e., beyond which the structural strength must be insufficient). Fuller also invented a wide range of other paradigm-shifting machines and structural systems. He was especially interested in high-strength-to-weight designs, with a maximum of utility for minimum of material. His designs and engineering philosophy are part of the foundation of contemporary high-tech design aesthetics. He held over 2000 patents.



In 1934, the first X-ray photograph of the whole body taken in a one-second exposure, using ordinary clinical conditions such as would exist at an average hospital, was made at Rochester, N.Y. The one-piece radiograph was made by Arthur W. Fuchs of the Eastman Kodak Company. A selective filter was used for the first time, and the film size was 32"x72". It was exhibited by the Chicago Roentgen Society at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago, Illinois.

Evolution theory

In 1858, the Wallace-Darwin theory of evolution was first published at the Linnaean Society in London*. The previous month Charles Darwin received a letter from Alfred Wallace, who was collecting specimens in the East Indies. Wallace had independently developed a theory of natural selection - which was almost identical to Darwin's. The letter asked Darwin to evaluate the theory, and if worthy of publication, to forward the manuscript to Charles Lyell. Darwin did so, almost giving up his clear priority for he had not yet published his masterwork The Origin of Species. Neither Darwin nor Wallace were present for the oral presentation at the Linnaean Society, where geologist Charles Lyell and botanist Joseph Hooker presented both Wallace's paper and excerpts from Darwin's unpublished 1844 essay.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_01.htm


July 2


Hans Albrecht Bethe

Born 2 Jul 1906; died 6 Mar 2005.

German-born American theoretical physicist who helped to shape classical physics into quantum physics and increased the understanding of the atomic processes responsible for the properties of matter and of the forces governing the structures of atomic nuclei. Bethe did work relating to armour penetration and the theory of shock waves of a projectile moving through air. He studied nuclear reactions and reaction cross sections (1935-38). In 1943, Oppenheimer asked Bethe to be the head of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project. After returning to Cornell University in 1946, Bethe became a leader promoting the social responsibility of science. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics (1967) for his work on the production of energy in stars.

Thomas Harriot

Died 2 Jul 1621 (born 1560)

(also spelled Hariot) Mathematician and astronomer who founded the English school of algebra. He introduced a simplified notation for algebra and his fundamental research on the theory of equations was far ahead of its time. He was able to solve equations, even with negative or complex roots. However, he published no mathematical work in his lifetime. (Artes analyticae praxis, posthumous, 1631). Especially early in his career, he worked on navigation for his patron Walter Raleigh. Harriot carried out extensive telescopic observations of the satellites of Jupiter and of sunspots. When investigating optics, he discovered the sine law and measured the refractive indices of 13 different substances. He investigated free motion and motion resisted in air, and ballistic curves.



In 2001, doctors at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., implanted the first self-contained, mechanical heart replacement into 59-year-old Robert Tools. The device, called the AbioCor, was battery powered and the size of a softball. Tools died almost five months later from multiple organ failure.

First Zeppelin flight

In 1900, the first directed flight of a Zeppelin was made in Germany. LZ-1 was the first rigid airship to use a large internal metal frame containing multiple cells of hydrogen gas balloons. Its overall shape was a long uniform cylinder with rounded ends and 416 feet (120m) overall length. Named after its inventor, Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, it flew for about 18 minutes above the Bodensee (Lake Constance) near Friedrichshafen, Germany, powered by two Daimler internal combustion engines. The flight was cut short by technical difficulties. The next attempt was three months later, on 17 Oct. Its floating shed was used to assist launching by being aligned with the wind. Zeppelins built later made many commercial passenger flights

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_02.htm


July 3


Samuel P. Massie

Born 3 Jul 1919

Samuel Proctor Massie is an American chemist who was the U.S. Naval Academy's first African-American professor. He graduated from high school at age 13, and received his B.S. degree at age 18. In 1943, while working on his Ph.D., Massie joined a team of scientists working for the Manhattan Project on the development of the atomic bomb. He was asked to develop liquid compounds of uranium, though this research later proved to be a dead end. His major contributions include studies in silicon chemistry, the chemistry of phenothiazine, antimalarial-antibacterial agents, and studies on environmental agents. He is recognized for encouraging disadvantaged students into science careers.

William Crawford Gorgas

Died 3 Jul 1920 (born 3 Oct 1854)

Major William Crawford Gorgas was a U.S. Army surgeon who contributed greatly to the building of the Panama Canal by introducing mosquito control to prevent yellow fever and malaria. Originally, Gorgas doubted the conclusion of Walter Reed's Yellow Fever Commission in Cuba (1900) that the mosquito was the only means by which the disease spread. Nevertheless, Gorgas supported the new policy and eventually became the most active proponent of the mosquito theory in the United States. In Cuba, he assisted in eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. In 1904, Gorgas led the ten-year anti-mosquito campaign to wipe out yellow fever in Panama.


Comet Nucleus Tour

In 2002, NASA launched Contour (Comet Nucleus Tour), a U.S. unmanned satellite on a mission to get within 60 miles of a comet nucleus to study frozen samples of the solar system from its infancy. It was launched aboard a Boeing Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral. After orbiting Earth until 15 Aug 2002, the satellite's onboard rockets sent it toward an encounter with Comet Enke in 2003, then Comet Schwassman- Wachman 3 in 2006. It is equipped with a special debris shield so it can navigate closer to the comets and survive bombardment from the minute particles of dust and frozen water that form a comet's most distinctive feature, the tail. The shield includes a layer of Kevlar, the material used in bullet-proof vests.

First fatal nuclear accident in the U.S.

In 1961, three men were killed in the first fatal nuclear accident in the U.S. when an experimental reactor exploded. The Stationary Low-Power Plant No.1 (SL-1), was part of the National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS), near Idaho Falls, Idaho. An 80-lb control rod was lifted by hand beyond its safe position, causing a core meltdown and explosion of the reactor. Four days were spent to devise a safe method to recover one of the corpses. All three bodies were extremely radioactivity, causing problems for their burial. Clean-up took 18 months. Investigators were never able to determine why this ''abnormal act'' occurred. Two decades later, a documentary speculated one of the men had marital problems and sabotaged the reactor

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_03.htm


July 4


Rube Goldberg

Born 4 Jul 1883; died 7 Dec 1970.

American cartoonist who satirized the American preoccupation with technology. His name became synonymous with any simple process made outlandishly complicated because of his series of "Invention" cartoons which use a string of outlandish tools, people, plants and steps to accomplish everyday simple tasks in the most complicated way. Goldberg applied his training as a graduate engineer and used his engineering, story-telling, and drawing skills to make sure that the "Inventions" could work, even though dozens of arms, wheels, gears, handles, cups, and rods were put in motion by balls, canary cages, pails, boots, bathtubs, paddles, and even live animals for simple tasks like squeezing an orange for juice or closing a window in case it should start to rain.

Thomas Jefferson

Died 4 Jul 1826 (born 13 Apr 1743)

U.S. president who was throughout his lifetime an extraordinarily learned man, including interests in mathematics and natural sciences. He corresponded with such men as Joseph Priestley, and sometimes contributed time and money to progress in these fields. He collected and classified fossils. He was interested in the experiments being made in ballons and submarines. While visiting Europe, he sent home various mechanical and scientific gadgets produced including a polygraph and phosphorus matches. At his Monticello estate, he practiced scientific farming, and was always on the lookout for a significant new plant or seed. Jefferson died shortly before 1pm. His old friend, John Adams, died a few hours later.


Mars probe

In 1997, the Mars Pathfinder, an unmanned space vehicle, reached the Martain atmosphere. It had taken seven months to travel there since its launch on 4 Dec 1996. Its main science mission was to study the Martian atmosphere and investigate the geology and chemical composition of the planet's rocks and soils. The descent was braked by a heat shield, a parachute and rockets. Using a new NASA effort for "cheaper, faster, better," the Mars Pathfinder used airbags to cushion its landing on the surface. It carried Sojourner, a 10-kg (22-lb) wheeled rover device designed to travel slowly across the surface of Mars taking photographs and collect other scientific data, while also testing autonomous-vehicle technology on the Martain terrain.


In 1054, Chinese and other astronomers saw a supernova, a violently exploding star that was visible in daylight for 23 days and at night for almost 2 years. It is believed the Crab Nebula in the constellation Taurus is the remanant of this supernova. Rock paintings in North America suggest that Indians in Arizona and New Mexico saw it. There are no European records of the event.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_04.htm


July 5


Andrew Ellicott Douglass

Born 5 Jul 1867; died 20 Mar 1962

American astronomer and archaeologist who coined the name dendrochronology for tree-ring dating, a field he originated while working at the Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Ariz. (1894-1901). He showed how tree rings could be used to date and interpret past events. Douglass also sought a connection between sunspot activity and the terrestrial climate and vegetation. The width of tree rings is a record of the rainfall, with implications on the local food supply in dry years. Archaeologist Clark Wissler collaborated in this work by furnishing sections of wooden beams from Aztec Ruin and Pueblo Bonito so Douglass could cross-date the famous sites. Thus the study of tree rings enables archaeologists to date prehistoric remains.

Nicéphore Niepce

Died 5 Jul 1833 (born 7 Mar 1765)

(Joseph-)Nicéphore Niepce was a French inventor who was the first to make a permanent photographic image. In 1807, with his brother Claude, he invented the pyréolophore, an internal combustion engine fueled by lycopodium powder. Although never practical, the engine was able to move a 2-m model boat upstream. By 1813, Niepce had taken up lithography, which led to his invention of photography. By letter, in May 1816, he told Claude of an apparatus that produced a (negative) image using a paper coated with silver chloride fixed with nitric acid. After further experimentation, by 1826, he achieved the first fixed positive image. Approaching bankruptcy, in 1829, he signed an agreement of cooperation with Daguerre.


Saturn rocket

In 1966, a Saturn I-B rocket, an unmanned Apollo test flight, the first Apollo orbital mission, was launched at Cape Kennedy and made 4 orbits at an altitude of about 113 miles (180-km). The AS-203 mission successfully evaluated the performance of the S-IVB instrument unit stage under orbital conditions and to obtain flight information on venting and chill-down systems, fluid dynamics and heat transfer of propellant tanks; attitude and thermal control system, launch vehicle guidance, and checkout in orbit. The Saturn rocket was designed for lofting humans to the moon, requiring a rocket larger and more powerful than any built before or since. It combined five F-1 rocket engines to yield more than 7.5 million pounds of thrust.

Junction transistor

In 1951, the invention of the junction transistor was announced by Dr. William Shockley in Murray Hill, N.J. This new type of transistor overcame the problems of the earlier point-contact transistor. The junction transistor was a three-layer sandwich. The outer layers were semiconductors with too many electrons (known as N-type) and the inner layer was the opposite with too few (known as P-type).They weren't up to the point-contact transistor's ability to handle signals that fluctuated extremely rapidly, but in every other way they were superior. The NPN transistors were much more efficient, used very little power to work, and they were so much quieter that they could handle weaker signals than the type-A transistors ever could.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_05.htm


July 6


George Claghorn

Born 6 July 1748; died 3 Feb 1824.

American revolutionary soldier and ship-builder whose most notable vessel was the USS Constitution, one of several 44-gun frigates authorized by Congress in 1794 to protect commerce at sea. He served in the Revolutionary War, rising from first lieutenant to the rank of colonel, then became a well-known ship-builder at New Bedford, Mass. He built the whalerRebecca there, launched in Mar 1785. It is said to be the first American whaler to round Cape Horn and return with a cargo of sperm oil from the Pacific. In 1794, he moved to Boston to build the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides"). Its difficult launch began on 20 Sep 1797, but it was not afloat until 21 Oct. It remains the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

Georg Ohm

Died 6 July 1854 (born 16 Mar 1789)

German physicist who showed by experiment (1825) that there are no "perfect" electrical conductors. All conductors have some resistance. He stated the famous Ohm's law (1826): "If the given temperature remains constant, the current flowing through certain conductors is proportional to the potential difference (voltage) across it." or V=iR.


Radio compass

In 1920, a radio compass was used for first time for aircraft navigation. In a test of the radio compass as an aid to navigation, an F5L left Hampton Roads and flew directly to the battleship Ohio (BB 12), 94 miles at sea in a position unknown to the pilot. Without landing, the plane made the return trip to Hampton Roads, this time navigating by signals from Norfolk.

International fingerprints

In 1905, John Walker's fingerprints were the first ones to be exchanged by police officials in Europe and America. Law enforcement units in London and St. Louis, MO. completed the exchange.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_06.htm


July 2 Addendum:

Missed was the launch of the Giotto spacecraft which visited Halley's comet in 1986.

Giotto was a European robotic spacecraft mission from the European Space Agency, intended to fly by and study Halley's Comet. On 13 March 1986, the mission succeeded in approaching Halley's nucleus at a distance of 596 kilometers. The spacecraft was named after the Early Italian Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone. He had observed Halley's Comet in 1301 and was inspired to depict it as the star of Bethlehem in his painting Adoration of the Magi.

The mission was given the go-ahead by ESA in 1980, and launched on an Ariane 1 rocket (flight V14) on 2 July 1985 from Kourou. The craft was controlled from the European Space Agency ESOC facilities in Darmstadt (then West Germany) initially in Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) then in the Near Earth Phase (NEP) before the longer Cruise Phase through to the encounter.

Scientific results
Images showed Halley's nucleus to be a dark peanut-shaped body, 15 km long, 7 to 10 km wide. Only 10% of the surface was active, with at least three outgassing jets seen on the sunlit side. Analysis showed the comet formed 4.5 billion years ago from volatiles (mainly ice) that had condensed onto interstellar dust particles. It had remained practically unaltered since its formation.

Measured volume of material ejected by Halley:

80% water,
10% carbon monoxide
2.5% a mix of methane and ammonia.
Other hydrocarbons, iron, and sodium were detected in trace amounts.
Giotto found Halley's nucleus was blacker than coal, which suggested a thick covering of dust.

Source: MW, Wiki, MPAE, and JPL


July 7


Rudolf Wolf

Born 7 July 1816; died 6 Dec 1893.

Swiss astronomer and astronomical historian. Wolf's main contribution was the discovery of the 11 year sunspot cycle and he was the codiscoverer of its connection with geomagnetic activity on Earth. In 1849 he devised a system now known as Wolf's sunspot numbers. This system is still in use for studying solar activity by counting sunspots and sunspot groups. In mathematics, Wolf wrote on prime number theory and geometry, then later on probability and statistics - a long paper discussed Buffon's needle experiment. He estimated by Monte Carlo methods.

Herman Kahn

Died 7 July 1983 (born 15 Feb 1922)

American physicist, who worked on nuclear strategy as a military analyst (1948-61). Later, he became known as a futurist making controversial studies of nuclear warfare in his books, including his provocative analysis of nuclear war in On Thermonuclear War (1960) and his predictions of the probability and survivability of nuclear war in Thinking About the Unthinkable (1962). He held that since it might be possible to survive a nuclear war, it was essential to plan to do just that. Kahn founded the influential Hudson Institute in New York in 1961 to study aspects of national security related to narcotics policy, international economics and trade, population, transportation, crime, medicine.


Solar Challenger

In 1981, the first solar-powered aircraft, Solar Challenger, crossed the English Channel.

Goldbach's conjecture

In 1742, the Russian mathematician Christian Goldbach dated a letter to Leonhard Euler in which he presented his famous conjecture. Stated in modern terms, Goldberg's conjecture proposes that "Every even natural number greater than 2 is equal to the sum of two prime numbers." It has been checked by computer for vast numbers - up to at least 4 x 1014 - but still remains unproved. Goldbach also studied infinite sums, the theory of curves and the theory of equations.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_07.htm


July 8


Pyotr Kapitsa

Born 8 July 1894; died 8 Apr 1984.

Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, Russian physicist, was a corecipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for his basic strong magnetic field inventions and discoveries in the area of low-temperature physics. He discovered that helium II (the stable form of liquid helium below 2.174 K, or -270.976 C) has almost no viscosity (i.e., resistance to flow). Late in the 1940's Kapitza changed his focus, inventing high power microwave generators - planotron and nigotron (1950-1955) and discovered a new kind of continuous high pressure plasma discharge with electron temperatures over a million K.

Pete Conrad

Died 8 July 1999 (born 2 Jun 1930)

Charles Peter Conrad, American astronaut, was the third man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission (14-24 Nov, 1969). He had other experience in space on Gemini 5 (launched 21 Aug 1965, logging a new space endurance record of 8 days), on Gemini 11 (launched 18 Sep 1966, first orbit rendezvous and docking), and the Skylab 2 mission (1973). After service as a U.S. Navy test pilot, Conrad had been selected in 1962 to join NASA's second group of astronauts. On 14 Feb1996, Conrad was a crew member for a record-breaking flight around the world in a Lear jet. He died at age 69 from internal injuries after he crashed on his motorcycle.


Ice cream sundae

In 1881, a patron came into Edward Berner's drug store in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and sat down at the soda-fountain counter. Since it was the Sabbath, the customer couldn't have the desirable, but scandalous, flavored soda water. Berner compromised by putting ice cream in a dish and poured over it the chocolate syrup that was previously only served as flavoring in ice-cream sodas. That was an ice cream Sunday! The name became "sundae", after the day on which Berner served it.

Machine gun

In 1856, Charles E. Barnes patents a crank operated machine gun. It was ahead of its time, but similar to other machine guns invented later. Although it was invented before the outbreak of the war, there is no evidence that it was used by either side. (Dr. Richard J. Gatling, a North Carolina farm boy, patented his renouned six-barrel machine gun on November 4, 1862.)

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_08.htm


July 9


John Wheeler

Born 9 Jul 1911; died 13 Apr 2008

John Archibald Wheeler was the first American physicist involved in the theoretical development of the atomic bomb. He also originated a novel approach to the unified field theory. Wheeler was awarded the 1997 Wolf Prize "for his seminal contributions to black hole physics, to quantum gravity, and to the theories of nuclear scattering and nuclear fission." After recognizing that any large collection of cold matter has no choice but to yield to the pull of gravity and undergo total collapse, Wheeler first coined the term "black hole" in 1967.

Count Amedeo Avogadro

Died 9 Jul 1856 (born 9 Aug 1776)

Italian chemist and physicist who found that at the same temperature and pressure equal volumes of all perfect gases contain the same number of particles, known as Avogadro's Law (1811) leading to the Avogadro's constant being 6.022 x 1023 units per mole of a substance. He realized the particules could be either atoms, or more often, combinations of atoms, for which he coined the word "molecule." This explained Gay-Lussac's law of combining volumes (1809). Further, Avogadro determined from the electrolysis of water that it contained molecules formed from two hydrogen atoms for each atom of oxygen, by which the individual oxygen atom was 16 times heavier than one hydrogen atom (not 8 times as suggested earlier by Dalton.)


Voyager 2

In 1979, Voyager 2, passed by Jupiter. It was one of a pair of unmanned U.S. interplanetary probes launched in 1977. Although it was launched first (20 Aug), followed by the launch of Voyager 1 (5 Sep), Voyager 2 was designed to travel more slowly, and pass all the giant planets. Voyager 1 visited Jupiter (Mar 1979) and Saturn (Nov 1980) then to leave the Solar System. Voyager 2 passed Saturn (25 Aug 1981), but continued on to Uranus (24 Jan 1986) and Neptune (24 Aug 1989). Data from the two probes included photographs of Jupiter showing a variety of cloud forms around Jupiter, and volcanic activity on its moon, Io.

Kepler's Universe

In 1595, Johannes Kepler published Mysterium cosmographicum (Mystery of the Cosmos) He described an invisible underlying structure determining the six known planets in their orbits. Thinking as a mathematician, he devised a structure based on only five convex regular solids. The path of each planet lay on a sphere separated from its neighbors by touching an inscribed polyhedron. An inscribed cube separated the spheres of the outermost planets, Saturn and Jupiter. Inside the path of Jupiter, an inscribed tetrahedron contained the sphere for Mars. Spheres for the Earth, Venus and Mercury were respectively nested within a regular dodecahedron, icosohedron, and regular octahedron. The orbital data fitted this model so surprisingly well. It was, nevertheless, wrong-headed!

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_09.htm


July 10


Nikola Tesla

Born 10 Jul 1856; died 7 Jan 1943

Serbian-American inventor and researcher who designed and built the first alternating current induction motor in 1883. He emigrated to the United States in 1884. Having discovered the benefits of a rotating magnetic field, the basis of most alternating-current machinery, he expanded its use in dynamos, transformers, and motors. Because alternating current could be transmitted over much greater distances than direct current, George Westinghouse bought patents from Tesla the system when he built the power station at Niagara Falls to provide electricity power the city of Buffalo, NY.

Frank Schlesinger

Died 10 July 1943 (born 11 May 1871)

American astronomer who pioneered in the use of photography to map stellar positions and to measure stellar parallaxes, which could give more precise determinations of distance than visual ones, and with less than one hundredth as much time at the telescope. He designed instruments and mathematical and numerical techniques to improve parallax measurements. He published ten volumes of zone catalogs, including some 150,000 stars. He compiled positions, magnitudes, proper motions, radial velocities, and other data to produce the first edition and, with Louise Jenkins, the second, of the widely-used Bright Star Catalogues, making Yale a leading institution in astrometry. He established a second Yale observatory in South Africa.



In 1962, Telstar 1, the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to relay TV and telephone signals between the United States and Europe. Pioneered by AT&T, it set the stage for far easier access to information, with much greater speed. When Telstar was put into service for the first satellite television broadcast, it made possible the first live television signals sent across the Atlantic. Viewers in France and England saw President Kennedy conduct a press conference, and audiences in the United States watched French singer Yves Montand and the changing of the guard at England’s Buckingham Palace.

Helium liquefied

In 1908, Kamerlingh Onnes made helium liquid at a temperature of 4.2 K (about -269 ºC). He had worked for many years to liquify this element which persisted as a gas to the lowest temperature. Using liquid air to produce liquid hydrogen and then the hydrogen to jacket the liquification apparatus, he produced about 60 cubic centimeters of liquid helium. The gas was liquefied by compressing it, cooling it below the inversion temperature and then allowing it to expand, which causes further cooling resulting in the liquefaction of some of the gas. At his cryogenic laboratory, he had previously liquefied air (1892) in large quantities, and built a large hydrogen liquefier (1906). Onnes received the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his low temperature work

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_10.htm


July 11


Theodore Maiman

Born 11 Jul 1927; died 5 May 2007.

Theodore H(arold) Maiman was an American physicist who built the first working laser. He began working with electronic devices in his teens, while earning college money by repairing electrical appliances and radios. In the 1960s, he developed, demonstrated, and patented a laser using a pink ruby medium. The laser is a device that produces monochromatic coherent light (light in which the rays are all of the same wavelength and phase). The laser has since been applied in a very wide range of uses, including eye surgery, dentistry, range-finding, manufacturing, even measuring the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

William Shippen, Jr.

Died 11 Jul 1808 (born 21 Oct 1736)

First systematic teacher of anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics in the United States. In addition to pictures and casts of the human body, he was also one of the first to use dissected human bodies in the teaching of anatomy in America. This aroused the animosity of the populace - his dissecting rooms were mobbed on several occasions, and once he narrowly escaped with his life - but his courses were very successful, and the number of students increased year by year. He lectured on both anatomy and midwifery. In 1762 he established the first American maternity hospital in Philadelphia.


Skylab re-entry

In 1979, the U.S. space station, Skylab, re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. It disintegrated, spreading fragments across the southeastern Indian Ocean and over a sparsely populated section of western Australia, where a cow died after being struck by a piece of falling debris.«

Pons Comet

In 1801, French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons (24 Sep 1761 - 14 Oct 1831) discovers his first comet. In his lifetime he discovered or co-discovered up to 37 comets. Since 1789, when he got a post at the Observatory at Marseilles as concierge, Pons quickly learned how to make observations with the instruments. He had a remarkable ability to remember the star fields he observed and to recognize changes. He logged his first discovery of a comet on 11 July 1801, which he had to share with Messier who found it a day later. Interestingly, as Pons' made his first comet discovery, that comet was Messier's last. Almost once every year, thereafter until 1827 when he eyesight declined, Pons found a new comet. Jean-Louis Pons set the record for visual discoveries of comets by an individual.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_11.htm


July 12


George Washington Carver

Born 12 July 1861; died 5 Jan 1943

African-American educator, scientist, chemist, inventor, botanist. After the Civil War, Southern farmers planted cotton year after year, and the soil lost its fertility. Yields dropped. Between1890 and 1910, the cotton crop was devastated by the bolweevil. George Washington Carver was appointed head of the agriculture department at The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama by Booker T. Washington (1896). Carver discovered and taught how to maintain the fertility of the soil. Further, his discovered two new crops that would grow well there: peanuts and sweet potatoes. Further, Carver created a market by inventing hundreds of new uses for for these crops, from milk to printer's ink .

Jean Picard

Died 12 July 1682 (born 21 Jul 1620)

French Jesuit, active astronomer, cartographer, hydraulics engineer, Jean Picard devised a movable-wire micrometer to measure the diameters of celestial objects such as the Sun, Moon and planets. For land surveying and leveling, he designed instruments that incorporated the astronomical telescope. He greatly increased the accuracy of measurements of the Earth, using Snell's method of triangulation (Mesure de la Terre, 1671). This data was used by Newton in his gravitational theory. Picard was one of the first to apply scientific methods to the making of maps. Among his other skills were hydraulics; he solved the problem of supplying the fountains at Versailles with water.


Panama Canal Formal Opening

In 1920, the Panama Canal was formally dedicated. It had taken more than 30 years to overcome the enormous engineering challenges and complete at a cost of $347 million. The first ship had, in fact, travelled through six years earlier when the Panama Canal opened to shipping on 15 Aug 1914. At that time, the world scarcely noticed the event since German troops were driving across Belgium toward Paris and the newspapers relegated the Panama story to their back pages; the greatest engineering project in the history of the world had been dwarfed by the totality of World War I.

Wireless telegraphy in the southern hemisphere

In 1906, the first long-distance wireless telegraphy message across water in the southern hemisphere was transmitted 300-km across Bass Strait from Devonport, Tasmania to Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia, to demonstrate Marconi's equipment. A Morse code message from Governor Gerald Strickland of Tasmania, was sent to Governor General Northcote of Victoria. The town celebrated. Businesses closed for the afternoon. A band played for the crowd of 2000 people at the event. Despite the test's success, the Australian Government postponed purchase or approval for the service and after three months the stations were dismantled. However, by 1912, wireless equipment was required for ships in Australian waters

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_12.htm


July 13


Heinrich Louis d'Arrest

Born 13 Jul 1822; died 14 Jun 1875.

German astronomer who, while a student at the Berlin Observatory, hastened the discovery of Neptune by suggesting comparison of the sky, in the region indicated by Urbain Le Verrier's calculations, with a recently prepared star chart. The planet was found the same night. His father-in-law was A. F. Moebius (1790 - 1868). d'Arrest found several comets, the one of 1851 with a period of 6.6 years bears his name. One work he published was on the Asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, another work titled Siderum nebulosorum observationes Hafniensis contained 1942 nebula, 340 described for the first time.

Died 13 Jul 1974 (born 18 Nov 1897)

(Baron Blackett of Chelsea) Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett was an English physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1948 for his discoveries in the field of cosmic radiation. In these studies he used cloud-chamber photographs that revealed the way in which a stable atomic nucleus can be disintegrated by bombarding it with alpha particles (helium nuclei). Although such nuclear disintegration had been observed previously, his data explained this phenomenon for the first time and were useful in explaining disintegration by other means.


Jupiter probe

In 1995, the spacecraft Galileo released a probe towards Jupiter that is to become the first Earth emissary ever to penetrate the atmosphere of any of the outer gas giants (Dec. 1995). The mission's scientific objectives included measurement of the temperature and pressure structure of Jupiter's atmosphere and the chemical composition of Jupiter. Also, it studied the cloud layers and cloud particle size and density. Measurement were made of the amount of helium relative to hydrogen on Jupiter, winds in the atmosphere, how sunlight and energy coming from the deep interior are distributed in Jupiter's atmosphere. The probe could also detect lightning and energetic protons and electrons trapped in Jupiter's magnetic field.

First atomic bomb

In 1945, the first atomic bomb arrived partly assembled at its test site in the New Mexico desert. It is a Friday the 13th. By Sunday, it is completed and set at the top of a tower waiting for the first atomic bomb test.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_13.htm


July 14


George Green

Born 14 July 1793; died 31 May 1841.

George Green was an English mathematician, born near Nottingham, who was first to attempt to formulate a mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism. He was a baker while, remarkably, he became a self-taught mathematician. In March 1828 he published An Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theories of Electricity and Magnetism. He became an undergraduate at Cambridge in October 1833 at the age of 40. Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) subsequently saw, was excited by the Essay. Through Thomson, Maxwell, and others, the general mathematical theory of potential developed by an obscure, self-taught miller's son heralded the beginning of modern mathematical theories of electricity.

Maurice de Broglie

Died 14 July 1960 (born 27 Apr 1875)

(6th duke) (Louis-César-Victor-) Maurice de Broglie was a French physicist who made many contributions to the study of X rays. While in the navy (1895-1908), he first distinguished himself by installing the first French shipboard wireless. From 1912, his chief interest was X-ray spectroscopy. His "method of the rotating crystal" was an application of Bragg's "focussing effect" to eliminate spurious spectral lines. De Broglie discovered the third L absorption edge (1916), which led to the exploration of "corpuscular spectra." During 1921-22, he worked with his brother Louis to refine Bohr's specification of the substructure of the various atomic shells. He also did pioneer work in nuclear physics and cosmic radiation


First Mars close-up photo

In 1965, the Mariner 4 satellite sent a transmission of the first close-up photograph of Mars. It consisting of 8.3 dots per second of varying degrees of darkness. The transmission lasted for 8.5 hours and depicted the regions on Mars known as Cebrenia, Arcadia, and Amazonis. The satellite was 134 million miles away from earth and 10,500 miles from Mars. The 574-pound spacecraft had been launched at 9:22am on 28 Nov 1964, from Cape Canaveral, FL, by a two-stage Atlas-Agena D rocket. In addition to its camera with digital tape recorder (about 20 pictures), it carried instruments for studying cosmic dust, solar plasma, trapped radiation, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, radio occultation and celestial mechanics.

Liquid-Fuel Rocket

In 1914, the first patent for a liquid-fueled rocket design was granted to Dr Robert Hutchins Goddard. His first rocket reached a height of 12.5 metres.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_14.htm


July 15


Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Born 15 Jul 1943

British astronomer who discovered the first four pulsars. She was a Cambridge University graduate student, age 24, searching for quasars in 1967, when she noticed an unusual stellar radio signal - a rapid series of pulses repeating every 1.337 sec. This interstellar beacon was not man-made, so it was nicknamed in fun as LGM, for Little Green Men. In the next few months, Bell (her maiden name) found three more sources of radio pulses by careful scrutiny of hundreds of feet of pen-recorder paper. These represented a new class of celestial objects - pulsars - which astronomers eventually associated with superdense matter in the final stage of the evolution of massive stars. To date, hundreds more pulsars have been identified.

Robert Ernest House

Died 15 Jul 1930 (born 3 Aug 1875)

American physician who championed the use of scopolamine hydrobromide as a "truth serum." Based on research into its use as a general birth anaesthetic by J. Christian Gauss, House interpreted from the results that a patient in the twilight state was unable to tell a lie. From 1924, House convinced Texas criminologists, to use the drug to "assist" in determination of guilt or innocence of a suspect. Later, it was found by legal challenges and CIA research in the 1950s that House had far exaggerated its value. "Truth" confessed under the drug's influence was distorted by the drug's halucinogenic side effects. Such use ended. (Scopolamine is still used in minute doses to control motion sickness, and as a veterinary preanesthetic medication.


Jet airplane

In 1954, the first commercial jet transport airplane built in US - the Boeing 707 prototype - the model 367-80, made its maiden flight from Renton Field, south of Seattle, Washington. From its model number, it was nicknamed the Dash 80. The flight marked the 38th anniversary of the Boeing Company. The project was announced on 30 Aug 1952. Within two years, the company's $16 million investment produced the airplane rolled out for display on 14 May 1954. The 707 series of jetliners, being larger and faster soon replaced propeller airplanes for international travel. On 26 Oct 1958, Pan American World Airways began trans-Atlantic 707 jet service between New York and Paris.

Royal Society

In 1662, the Royal Society, London, received its Royal Charter, which was passed by the Great Seal, from King Charles II. It was a successor to the Society for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning, constituted to promote experimental philosophy, formed at a meeting of a dozen scientists on 28 Nov 1660 in Gresham College, London. The Society subsequently petitioned the King to recognise it and to make a royal grant of incorporation. Gresham College is named after Sir Thomas Gresham (son of Sir Richard Gresham, Lord Mayor 1537/38) who conceived the idea of building an Exchange modelled on the Antwerp Bourse.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_15.htm


July 16


Giuseppe Piazzi

Born 16 July 1746; died 22 Jul 1826.

Italian astronomer and author, born in Valtellina, discovered the first asteroid - Ceres. He established an observatory at Palermo and mapped the positions of 7,646 stars. He also discovered that the star 61 Cygni had a large Proper Motion, which led Bessel to chose it as the object of his parallax studies. He discovered Ceres on 1 Jan 1801, but was able to make only three observations. The term "asteroid," meaning "star-like" was coined (1803) by Herschel. Fortuitously, Gauss had recently developed mathematical techniques that allowed the orbit to be calculated. Within the next few years, astronomers discovered three more asteroids: Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. The thousandth Asteroid discovered was named Piazzi in his honor.

Julian Seymour Schwinger

Died 16 July 1994 (born 12 Feb 1918)

American physicist who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics (with Richard Feynman and Shin-Itiro Tomonaga). Schwinger worked on reconciling quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity. He published his first physics paper at the age of sixteen. During WW II, he developed important methods in electromagnetic field theory, which advanced the theory of wave guides. His variational techniques were applied in several fields of mathematical physics. In the 1940's he was one of the inventors of the "renormalization" technique. In 1957, he proposed that theoretically there were two different neutrinos: one associated with the electron and one with the muon. Later experimental work provided verification. He invented source theory


Shoemaker-Levy Comet

In 1994, the first of 21 asteroids, major fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broken-up 2 years earlier, hit Jupiter, creating a 1200-mile wide fireball 600 miles high to the joy of astronomers awaiting the celestial fireworks, giving scientists their first chance to observe such a collision as it happened, and others through July 22. Jupiter is a gas giant, made up mostly of hydrogen and helium in gas and liquid form.When we observe Jupiter, we are looking not at a solid surface, but a banded atmosphere with swirling clouds and huge storms.

Moon Shot

In 1969, the Crew of Apollo XI, Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins, blasted off from Cape Kennedy on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon.

Atomic Bomb

In 1945, the first atomic bomb was exploded at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The atomic bomb was invented by two refugee German scientists in Britain, Professor Rudolph Peierls and Otto Frisch, of Birmingham University. They designed a "blue-print" for making an atom bomb in 1940. It actually began when the Italian-born physicist Enrico Fermi, working in the United States, invented an apparatus which produced the first atomic chain reactions. In 1940 both the Americans and British were researching the atom bomb and when the United States entered WW2, the British joined the American "Manhattan Project" and production of the bomb went on ahead in the US.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_16.htm


July 17


Gordon Gould

Born 17 Jul 1920; died 16 Sep 2005.

American physicist who coined the word "laser" from the initial letters of "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation." Gould was inspired from his youth to be an inventor, wishing to emulate Marconi, Bell, and Edison. He contributed to the WWII Manhattan Project, working on the separation of uranium isotopes. On 9 Nov 1957, during a sleepless Saturday night, he had the inventor's inspiration and began to write down the principles of what he called a laser in his notebook Although Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow, also successfully developed the laser, eventually Gould gained his long-denied patent rights.

(Jules) Henri Poincaré

Died 17 Jul 1912 (born 29 Apr 1854)

(Jules) Henri Poincaré was a French mathematician, physicist, astronomer and a gifted interpreter of science to the public. His Poincaré Conjecture holds that if any loop in a given three-dimensional space can be shrunk to a point, the space is equivalent to a sphere. Its proof remains an unsolved problem in topology. He influenced cosmogony, relativity, and topology. In applied mathematics he also studied optics, electricity, telegraphy, capillarity, elasticity, thermodynamics, potential theory, quantum theory, and cosmology. He is often described as the last universalist in mathematics. He studied the three-body-problem in celestial mechanics, and theories of light and electromagnetic waves. He was a co-discoverer (with Albert Einstein and Hendrik Lorentz) of the special theory of relativity.


Nuclear powered town

In 1955, the American town of Arco, Idaho, became the first community in the world to have all its electrical needs provided by nuclear power. During the one-hour test, the town was cut off from all other sources of electrical power. Arco, a town of about 1,000 residents was about 20 miles away from the Atomic Energy Commission's (AEC) National Reactor Testing Station (NRTS) where the Boiling Water Reactor Experiment (BORAX), an experimental uranium-fuelled nuclear reactor, was operated by the Argonne National Laboratory. The demonstration was made to show the safety of nuclear-powered electricity and its ability to sustain the load. (NRTS is now the Idaho National Laboratory.)

First Star Photograph

In 1850, the Harvard Observatory (founded 1839) took the first photograph of a star. The observatory director, W.C. Bond and a Boston photographer J.A. Whipple took a daguerreotype of Vega. A daguerreotype used a copper base with a thin film of polished silver sensitized by iodine vapors to form a thin yellow layer of silver iodide. After the photograph was taken, the plate was developed in a current of magnesium vapor at 75ºC, which adhered to the light-struck parts of the plate. The plate was then fixed in sodium thiosulfate, and rinsed. However, the astronomers could not be thrilled with the prospect of waiting hours and hours to get an image of a single star or nebula. Fortunately better photographic materials were later invented.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_17htm


July 18


Hendrik Antoon Lorentz

Born 18 Jul 1853; died 4 Feb 1928.

Dutch physicist and joint winner (with Pieter Zeeman) of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1902 for his theory of the influence of magnetism upon electromagnetic radiation phenomena. The theory was confirmed by findings of Zeeman and gave rise to Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity. From the start, Lorentz made it his task to extend James Clerk Maxwell's theory of electricity and of light. Already in his doctor's thesis, he treated the reflection and refraction phenomena of light from this new standpoint. His fundamental work in the fields of optics and electricity revolutionized conceptions of the nature of matter. In 1878, he published an essay relating the velocity of light in a medium, to its density and composition..

Gene Shoemaker

Died 18 Jul 1997 (born 28 Apr 1928)

Eugene Merle Shoemaker was an American planetary geologist. Shoemaker initiated and vigorously promoted the intensive geologic training of the astronauts that made them able scientific observers and reporters on moon landings. He was a major investigator of the imaging by unmanned Ranger and Surveyor satellites which, before any Apollo landing, revealed the nature of the Moon's cover of soil and broken rock that he named the regolith. He codiscovered Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 which collided with Jupiter (1994), the first observed collision of two solar system bodies. He died in a car crash. In tribute, a small capsule of his ashes were launched in a memorial capsule aboard Lunar Prospector to the moon.



In 1990, the airlock hatch on the Soviet space station Mir could not be closed by the cosmonauts returning after a seven-hour space walk making an exterior inspection and repairs. The hatch had been damaged when it was pushed back on its hinges by residual air escaping when the cover was opened to begin the spacewalk. Instead, Anatoly Solovyov and Aleksandr Balandin stayed behind an interior airlock in another part of the station for eight days. After their next spacewalk to continue repairs on 26 Jul, they managed to secure the hatch and repressurize as normal.*«

Messerschmitt Jet

In 1942, Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe, Germany's first operational jet fighter, takes first flight. The Me262 surprised the Allies with its speed advantage - around 100 or more miles per hour. Although it could still be intercepted by Allied piston-engine fighters, when the Nazi jet was at speed it could escape an enemy. However, introduced near the end of World War II, and with limited numbers available, the Me 262 had limited effect on the progress of the war.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_18htm


July 19


Samuel Colt

Born 19 July 1814; died 10 Jan 1862.

Samuel Colt, born Hartford, Conn., was an American firearms manufacturer who popularized the Colt 45 revolver and other firearms. While an apprentice seaman, he made a wooden model of an automatically revolving breech pistol (perhaps inspired by the ship's wheel) and on returning to the U.S.A. he made metal models, filed for patents, and toured as "Dr. Coult," thus earning the money he needed to begin manufacturing. His factory was one of the most innovative in its use of mass-production technique. His Barnum-like salesmanship and self-promotion also popularized his product.

Alain Bombard

Died 19 Jul 2005 (born 27 Oct 1924)

French biologist and physician who made a single-handed voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in a small boat to test his theory that a shipwrecked person could survive without provisions. He was age 27 when he left the Canary Islands on 19 Oct 1952 with almost no provisions and only a sextant for navigation. He ate raw fish he speared with a home-made harpoon, netted surface plankton. and drank seawater, limited to occasional sips. His Zodiac inflatable boat, l'Hérétique, was just 4.5 m (15-ft) long and fitted with a sail. Bombard reached Barbados 65 days later on 23 Dec 1952, having lost about 25-kg (55-lb) in weight


Yarkon Water

In 1955, Yarkon Water Project opens to supply water to Negev desert in Israel. Water shortage is a severe problem in Israel. There is not much water in this area and the existing sources lie partly in Syria and Jordan. The Yarkon "flows" through the most densely populated areas of the country to the Mediterranean. The river has deteriorated rapidly since the 1950's due to excessive draining for irrigation by the National Water Carrier; with marked decline in water quality, animal habitats, flora and fauna. The National Water Carrier (1964), which crosses Israel from north to south, is the 81-mile main artery connecting all regional water projects in the State.

Steamship Great Britain

In 1843, the S.S. Great Britain, was launched from Bristol, England, the world's first all-metal liner, first single screw-propeller driven and with 322-ft overall length, the biggest ship of the time. The six-masted, 3,270-ton vessel, designed by I. K. Brunel, became the world's first iron-hulled steamship to cross the Atlantic (1845). Its crew of 130 included 30 stewards for the 360-seat dining room. As a luxury liner, it carried passengers to New York and Melbourne. Later it became a ferry carrying troops to the Crimea and India, then a cargo ship, finally abandoned in the Falkland Islands following storm damage (1886). On this day in 1970, it was towed back to Bristol's Great Western Dock (where it was originally built) to be restored by volunteers.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_19htm


July 20


Robert D. Maurer

Born 20 Jul 1924

American research physicist, who with his colleagues at Corning Glass Works, Dr. Donald B. Keck and Dr. Peter Schultz invented fused silica optical waveguide - optical fiber. This was a breakthrough creating a revolution in telecommunications, capable of carrying 65,000 times more information than conventional copper wire. In 1970, Maurer, Keck, and Schultz solved a problem that had previously stumped scientists around the world. They designed and produced the first optical fiber with optical losses low enough for wide use in telecommunications. The light loss was limited to 20 decibels per kilometer (at least one percent of the light entering a fiber remains after traveling one kilometer). He retired in 1989.

Guglielmo Marconi

Died 20 Jul 1937 (born 25 Apr 1874)

Italian inventor, born in Bologna. He was a physicist, who invented the wireless telegraph in 1935 known today as radio. Nobel laureate (1909). In 1894, Marconi began experimenting on the "Hertzian Waves" (the radio waves Hertz first produced in his laboratory a few years earlier). Lacking support from the Italian Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, Marconi turned to the British Post Office. Encouraging demonstrations in London and on Salisbury Plain followed. Marconi obtained the world's first patent for a system of wireless telegraphy, in 1897, and opened the world's first radio factory at Chelmsford, England in 1898. In 1900 he took out his famous patent No. 7777 for "tuned or syntonic telegraphy."


Man walks on moon

In 1969, Apollo XI astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon, after their lunar module separated from the command module and landed on the lunar surface at 09:18 GMT/4:18 EDT on the Sea of Tranquillity. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin establish Tranquility Base while Michael Collins orbited above. Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface at 10:56 ET and proclaimed, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Internationally, nearly 700 million television viewers witnessed the event live as it happened.

Mars landing

In 1976, America's "Viking I Lander" spacecraft, launched 20 Aug 1975, made its successful, first-ever landing on Mars at Chryse Planitia, and began transmitting pictures. Later, a robot arm that could scoop up samples of material and deposit them into on-board experiments, investigated the hint of life on Mars. Both weathered top soil and deeper soil samples were tested. The image shows Chryse Planitia looking NW over the Viking 1 Lander. An antenna is at upper right. The wide, low plain is covered with large rocks, loose sand and dust. The image was taken on 30 August 1976, a little over a month after landing. Pictures from the mission included views of the Mars surface taken from the Viking 1 Orbiter from space.

Source: http://www.todayinsci.com/7/7_20.htm
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