What happened today in science history.

Category: Environment / Ecology (Page 1 of 2)

October 18th in Science and Engineering

Oct 18, 1616: English pharmacist, botanist and physician, Nicholas Culpeper, was born. He published the Complete Herbal in 1653, a comprehensive listing of English medicinal herbs and their uses. It’s still in print. While upper-class physicians withheld medical knowledge from the common people, Culpeper, of lower-class roots, did the opposite by spreading medical knowledge among the people and giving his time to charity patients. He wrote or translated a large number of medical works to give people access to a vast amount of health information. Culpeper died of tuberculosis at age 38.

Oct 18, 1787: U.S. engineer and ship designer, Robert Livingston Stevens, was born. He invented the inverted-T railroad rail and the railroad spike. He tested the first steamboat to use screw propellers, invented and built by his father, John Stevens. Robert Stevens invented a long list of designs and improvements for ships. He was the first to successfully burn anthracite coal in a cupola furnace.

Stevens found that steel rails laid on wooden ties, with crushed stone or gravel beneath, provided a roadbed superior to any known before. His rail and roadbed came into universal use in the United States and remains so to this day. He also invented the pilot (cowcatcher) for the locomotive and increased the number of locomotive drive wheels for better traction.

Oct 18, 1799: German-Swiss chemist, Christian Friedrich Schönbein, was born. He discovered and named ozone in 1840 and was the first to describe guncotton (nitrocellulose). He noted ozone appeared during thunderstorms and named the gas ozone for its peculiar smell (ozo is Greek for smell). Later experiments showed that sending an electric current through pure, dry oxygen (O2 molecules) creates ozone (O3 molecules).

His discovery of the powerful explosive called cellulose nitrate, or guncotton, was the result of a laboratory accident. One day in 1845 he spilled sulfuric and nitric acids and soaked it up with a cotton apron. After the apron dried, it burst into flame. He had created nitrated cellulose. He found that cellulose nitrate could be molded and had some elastic properties. It eventually was used for smokeless gun powder.

Oct 18, 1854: Swedish explorer, Salomon Auguste Andree, who led the ill-fated balloon expedition to the North Pole in 1897, was born. He and two companions lifted off on July 11, 1897 from Danes Island, Spitsbergen in the balloon, Eagle, which he had built himself. This was the first ever attempt to explore the Arctic by air. They hoped to drift over the North Pole.

They disappeared, and nothing was known of them for 33 years, until Aug 6th, 1930, when Norwegian explorers on White Island (Kvitöa) found remains of a balloonist, a diary and photos. Just two days after the launch, the balloonists had to make an emergency landing on the ice, where they eventually died in the bitter cold, hundreds of kilometers from the North Pole.

Oct 18, 1859: Italian archaeologist, Paolo Orsi, was born. He pioneered the excavation and research of sites from the prehistoric to the Byzantine in Sicily and southern Italy. He was an expert in the pre-Greek Siculan period he named after the Siculi, or Sikels, a native group or groups which were said to have inhabited southern Italy and eastern Sicily.

In 1889 through 1893, he undertook excavations in the Pantalica Valley, which has five necropoli with thousands of burial chambers hewn in the steep limestone cliffs. He discovered the Neolithic village of Stentinello. In 1911, he uncovered the doric temple at Punta Stilo, and more excavation revealed the layout of some city walls and some houses. The archaeological museum in Sicily is dedicated to him.

Oct 18, 1870: Sandblasting was patented by Benjamin Chew Tilghman. Sandblasting uses compressed air to force an abrasive material like sand through the nozzle of a sandblasting gun. He’s also considered the father shotpeening. This is where small spheres of hardened steel are blasted against steel objects to give them a hardened and crack resistant surface. This is used to strengthen metal that is under great stress such as the connecting rods in high-performance piston engines.

In 1866, he found that sulphurous acid would dissolve the intercellular matter of wood, freeing the fibres for pulp, and became famous as the inventor of the sulphite process to make wood pulp for making of paper.

Oct 18, 1878: Thomas Edison made electricity available for household usage.

Oct 18, 1892: The first long-distance telephone line between Chicago and New York was formally opened as Chicago Mayor Hempstead Washburn greeted his New York counterpart, Hugh J. Grant.

Oct 18, 1898: English brothers Alexander and Francis Elmore applied for a British patent (No. 21,948) for their flotation process to separate valuable ore, such as copper, from the gangue (worthless rock) with which it is associated when mined. It was the first practical equipment to extract metals from low-content ore. Pulverized ore is mixed with water and brought into contact with thick oil. The oil entraps the metallic constituents, which are afterwards separated, and gangue passed away with the water. Today, flotation methods remain vital in the mining industry, processing millions of tons of ores each year.

Pascual Jordan Oct 18, 1902: Ernst Pascual Jordan, a German physicist, was born. In the late 1920s, Jordan co-founded with Max Born the field of quantum mechanics using matrix methods. Werner Heisenberg later joined the team. They showed how light could be interpreted as composed of discrete quanta of energy.

Later, with Wolfgang Pauli and Eugene Wigner, Jordan contributed to the quantum mechanics of electron-photon interactions, now called quantum electrodynamics. He also originated, with Robert Dicke, a theory of cosmology that proposed to make the universal constants of nature, such as the universal gravitational constant G, variable over time.

Oct 18, 1919: George Edward Pelham (“Pel”) Box, English-American engineer and statistician, was born. He began as a chemist. At age 19, he published his first paper, on an activated sludge process to produce clean effluent. In the army during WW II, at Porton Down Experimental Station, he taught himself statistics to get more reliable results from his experiments on the chemistry of poison gases. Thus, he became “an accidental statistician”, the title of his autobiography.

He developed several statistical tools that bear his name: the Box-Jenkins model, Box-Cox transformations, and Box-Behnken designs. Box wrote or co-authored major statistics texts on evolutionary operation, times-series, Bayesian analysis, the design of experiments, statistical control, and quality improvement.

Oct 18, 1922: The British Broadcasting Company was formed five years before it received its first Royal Charter and became the British Broadcasting Corporation. In the 1920s, John Reith, the BBC’s founding father, knew of America’s unregulated, commercial radio, and the fledgling Soviet Union’s rigidly controlled state system. Reith’s vision was of an independent British broadcaster able to educate, inform, and entertain, without political or commercial pressure. Listening to the wireless in the UK quickly became a social and cultural phenomenon as the BBC in London and its regional stations gave birth to radio mass communication.

Oct 18, 1952: The New York Times reported that a mechanical heart was used for the first time to maintain the blood circulation of a 41-year-old man during an 80-minute operation on his heart. The Dodrill-GMR Mechanical Heart was developed by Dr. Forest Dodrill and built by the General Motors Research Laboratories.

Oct 18, 1955: A new subatomic particle called a negative proton or antiproton was discovered at UC Berkeley in California. The hunt for antimatter began in earnest in 1932 with the discovery of the positron, a particle with the mass of an electron and a positive charge. However, creating an antiproton would be far more difficult since it needed nearly 2,000 times the energy to accomplish.

In 1955, the most powerful “atom smasher” in the world, the Bevatron at Berkeley, could provide the required energy. Detection was accomplished with a maze of magnets and electronic counters through which only antiprotons could pass. After several hours of bombarding copper with protons accelerated to 6.2 billion electron volts (Gev) of energy, the scientists counted a total of 60 antiprotons.

Oct 18, 1962: Dr. James D. Watson of the U.S., Dr. Francis Crick, and Dr. Maurice Wilkins of Britain won the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their work in determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA itself had first been identified and isolated almost a century before by Friedrich Miescher in 1869.

Oct 18, 1969: Cyclamates were banned in the USA. Sodium cyclamate is a non-caloric sweetener discovered in 1937. It has been widely used as a tabletop sweetener, in sugar-free beverages, in baked goods, and other low-calorie foods, particularly in combination with saccharin. The ban was based on concern raised by one experiment showing bladder tumors appearing in laboratory rats fed large doses of cyclamate. Following new experiments, in June 1985, the National Academy of Sciences affirmed the FDA’s Cancer Assessment Committee’s latest conclusion: “The totality of the evidence from studies in animals does not indicate that cyclamate or its major metabolite cyclohexylamine is carcinogenic by itself.” Cyclamate is approved for use in 130 countries.

Oct 18, 1971: In its first such action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shut down heavy industries in Birmingham, Alabama, when air pollution on this day was reaching dangerous levels. It was an emergency action under the Clean Air Act (1970). The EPA asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order. Among others, U.S. Steel had been belching too much smoke into an atmospheric inversion (stagnant air mass). Among idled workers, one said, “We’re going to choke to death before we starve to death.” Six months before, the city had suffered a five-day crisis that spiked on April 20, 1971. At that time, while the state failed in enforcement, the EPA was not notified early enough to start emergency action. Days with high particulate counts in the air thereafter drew close EPA scrutiny.

Oct 18, 1989: The Galileo space orbiter was released from the STS 34 flight of the Atlantis Space Shuttle. Then the orbiter’s upper stage rocket pushed it into a course through the inner solar system. The craft gained speed from gravity assists in encounters with Venus and Earth before heading outward to Jupiter. During its six year journey to Jupiter, Galileo’s instruments made interplanetary studies using its dust detector, magnetometer, and various plasma and particle detectors. It also made close-up studies of two asteroids, Gaspra and Ida in the asteroid belt. The Galileo orbiter’s primary mission was to study Jupiter, its satellites, and its magnetosphere for two years. It released an atmospheric probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere on Dec 7, 1995.

October 11th in Science and Engineering

Oct 11, 1755: Spanish chemist and mineralogist, Fausto D’Elhuyar, was born. He assisted his older brother Juan José in experiments to separate tungsten metal from its wolframite ore in 1783.

Two years earlier, Swedish chemist Carl Scheele discovered tungstic acid, though he did not isolate the elemental form of the metal. The mineral Scheele was working with was called “tung sten” (heavy stone in Swedish). This mineral is now known as Scheelite.

The Elhuyar brothers, working at the Seminary of Bergara, succeeded in extracting the metal by reducing tungstic acid with charcoal. For the first time, Basque scientists entered the history of science. Each became a director of a school of mines, but in different countries. Although Juan José discovered tungsten metal, Fausto became better known.

Oct 11, 1758: German physician and astronomer,Heinrich Wilhelm Matthaus Olbers, was born. While practicing medicine at Bremen, he calculated the orbit of the comet of 1779, discovered the minor planets (asteroids) Pallas (1802) and Vesta (1807), and discovered five comets, Olbers invented a method for calculating the velocity of falling stars (meteors). He is also known for Olber’s paradox, which asks “why is the night sky dark if there are so many bright stars all around to light it?”

Oct 11, 1799: Joseph Gillott, a pioneer of the steel pen, was born in Sheffield. An English engineer Bryan Donkin patented a steel pen point in 1803 but did not commercially exploit it. In 1830, steel makers William Joseph Gillott, William Mitchell, James Stephen Perry, working mainly in Birmingham, England, developed the machine production technique for cheap long-wearing steel pen nibs. Tempered steel sheet was stamped to produce the basic nib, which was then shaped, slit and the tip formed. More than most other metals, stainless steel has the elasticity needed to give the variety of penmanship styles available from the quill pen. By 1850 quill pen usage was fading and the quality of the steel nibs had been improved by tipping them with hard alloys of iridium, rhodium and osmium.

Oct 11, 1811: The first steam-powered ferryboat, the Juliana, began operating between New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey. Its inventor, John Stevens, designed improvements in steamboats, obtained one of the first US patents in 1791. He experimented on the Passaic River, from 1798 to 1800, with the steamboat, Polacca. The experiment was unsuccessful due to vibrations and leaks.

By 1803, Stevens had patented an improved multitubular boiler and outfitted the Little Juliana which sailed successfully in New York harbor in 1804. It was one of the earliest twin screw sailboats. After building other ships he bought a commercial ferry license in 1811 and operated a horse-powered ferry while building the first steam ferry, Juliana.

Oct 11, 1844: American businessman, Henry John Heinz was born. He founded the H.J. Heinz Co.and invented its “57 varieties” slogan. Heinz was a natural salesman. His entrepreneur and business genius had roots in post-Civil War Pittsburgh, where iron, steel, and glass factories were forging industrial America. By age 12 he was peddling produce from the family garden. At 25, in 1869, he and a friend launched Heinz & Noble. Its first product was Henry’s mother’s grated horseradish, bottled in clear glass to reveal its purity. Heinz & Noble thrived until an overabundance of crops in 1875 brought bankruptcy. Nevertheless, Henry plunged back in, eventually building a model factory complex along the Allegheny River. By 1896, at the age of 52, the pickle king had become a millionaire and celebrity.

Oct 11, 1855: American metallurgist, James Gayley, was born. He invented a device to ensure uniform humidity in the air stream going into blast furnaces. With prior experience at several iron works, Gayley was hired by the Edgar Thomson Steel Works as Superintendent of the Blast Furnaces in 1885. Gayley was an economizer and made a record reductions in coke consumption. He invented the bronze cooling plate for blast furnace walls, the auxiliary casting stand for Bessemer steel plants, and was the first to use the compound condensing blowing engine with the blast furnace.

He also invented the dry-air blast, for which the Franklin Institute awarded him the Elliott Cresson medal. Gayley rose to first vice-president of the US Steel Corporation and acquired a large fortune.

Oct 11, 1865: American zoologist, Charles Atwood Kofoid, was born. His classification of many new species of marine protozoans helped establish systematic marine biology.

Oct 11, 1871: American archaeologist and social activist, Harriet Ann Boyd Hawes, was born. Hawes gained renown for her discoveries of ancient remains in Crete. She went to Crete in 1900, and with the encouragement of Arthur Evans, began to excavate a Minoan site at Kavousi where she discovered Iron Age Tombs. From 1901-05 she led a large team that excavated the early Bronze Age Minoan town of Gournia, becoming the first woman to head a major archaeological dig.

As a community of artisans, Gournia was of particular interest to archaeologists because it complemented the more elaborate palaces being unearthed at Knossos and elsewhere. In 1908 she published her monumental work on Gournia. During WW I she went to Corfu to help nurse the Serbians.

Oct 11, 1881: British physicist and psychologist, Lewis Fry Richardson, was born. He was the first to apply mathematics to accurate weather prediction. In 1922, Richardson applied the mathematical method of finite differences to predicting the weather. He was also a chemist with National Peat Industries and in charge of the physical and chemical laboratory of the Sunbeam Lamp Co.

Early application of mathematical techniques to weather forecasting were severely limited by extensive computation times: three months to predict weather for the next 24 hours. With electronic computers available after WW II, his methods became practical. He wrote several books applying mathematics to the causes of war. He contributed to calculus and the theory of diffusion for eddy-diffusion in the atmosphere. The Richardson number, a quantity involving gradients of temperature and wind velocity, is named after him.

Oct 11, 1881: Roll film for cameras was patented by David H. Houston, who was a Scottish immigrant that travelled to North Dakota in 1879 to homestead a 400-acre farm, 30 miles NE of Fargo. His many patents ranged from a disc plow to a portable camera. George Eastman bought 21 patents on cameras from him, including the invention that made Houston famous. This was a portable camera designed in 1879, for which Houston received $5000 plus monthly royalties for life. This camera suited the everyday person, rather than a professional photographer’s big studio camera on wheels. First sold by Eastman in 1881 for $25, the Kodak camera came loaded with a 100-exposure film that Houston would process and then reload the camera for $10. Houston died a rich man in 1906.

Oct 11, 1884: German chemist, Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius, was born. In 1921, Bergius invented a process to convert coal dust and hydrogen gas directly into gasoline and lubricating oils without isolating intermediate products. During distillation of coal, Bergius succeeded in forcing hydrogen under high pressure to combine chemically with the coal, transforming more carbon from the coal into oils than is possible with conventional distillation. For his work in developing the chemical high pressure hydrogenation method necessary for this process he shared the 1931 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Carl Bosch of Germany.

Oct 11, 1887: A patent for the adding machine was granted to Dorr Eugene Felt of Chicago, Illinois. His Comptometer was the first practical key-driven calculator with sufficient speed, reliability, and cost to become commercially successful.

He called his original prototype the “Macaroni Box”, a rough model that Felt created over the year-end holidays in 1884-85. The casing was a grocery macaroni box, assembled with a jackknife using meat skewers as keys, staples as key guides and elastic bands for springs. He improved his design, producing his earliest commercial wooden-box Comptometer from 1887 thru 1903, leading to the first steel case Model A in 1904. Electric motor drive was introduced in the 1920’s.

Oct 11, 1938: R. Games Slayter and John H. Thomas patented glass wool (fiberglass) and the machinery to make it. Games Slayter, the driving force behind Owens Corning technology and innovation, sought to make a finer glass fiber material. In 1932, Dale Kleist, a young researcher under Jack Thomas (Slayter’s research assistant), working on an unrelated experiment accidentally caused a jet of compressed air to strike a stream of molten glass, resulting in fine glass fibers. By fall of 1932, Kleist refined the process by using steam, to make glass fiber material thin enough for commercial fiberglass insulation. From March 1933, Games Slayter directed Jack Thomas in experiments using glass wool instead of natural or other synthetic fibers on textile machinery.

Oct 11, 1945: American physician, Robert Peter Gale, was born. He co-founded the International Bone Marrow Registry, and was a pioneer in bone marrow transplantation. Gale received much attention for the assistance he gave to foreign governments in treating radiation victims — to the Soviet Union (1986) after the Chernobyl disaster and to Brazil (1987) following an accident in Goiania. As a specialist in bone marrow transplants, he volunteered to treat Chernobyl victims and was invited by Mikhail Gorbachev to travel with a group to Moscow immediately after the April 1986 accident. He operated with bone marrow transplants on 13 Chernobyl victims, however, many of the highly exposed Chernobyl survivors have since died from latent radiation effects.

Oct 11, 1957: The Jodrell Bank radio telescope, the world’s largest radio telescope at the time, began operating. Though the telescope is popularly known for tracking and communicating with man-made satellites, its prime function is the study of the universe by means of radio waves emitted by distant stars, galaxies, and quasars.

Oct 11, 1958: The lunar probe Pioneer 1 was launched by a Thor-Able rocket from the Eastern Test Range, now called the Kennedy Space Center. Its intended mission was to reach the moon but it failed to go as far as planned and fell back to Earth. It transmitted 43 hours of data before burning up in the atmosphere. NASA had just been formed at the beginning of the same month.

Oct 11, 1968: The first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, was launched on a Saturn 1-B rocket from Cape Kennedy. The astronauts onboard were Captain Wally Schirra, Jr. (Navy), with crew members Donn Fulton Eisele (Air Force) and R. Walter Cunningham (civilian). They circled for 11 days, up to 183 miles above the Earth, in 90 minute orbits. They tested maneuvering the Apollo, first by detaching it from the upper stage of the rocket. Then, they turned the Apollo around to reposition its nose toward the rocket. This maneuver was vital for future Moon missions.

Oct 11, 1983: The last hand-cranked (magneto) telephones in the United States went out of service as 440 telephone customers in Bryant Pond, Maine, were switched to direct-dial service. Prior to that time a resident’s number could be as short as two digits. The last hand-cranked telphone call in Bryant pond was made the following day, on Oct 12, 1983.

Oct 11, 1994: The space probe Magellan ended its mission to explore Venus when flight controllers lowered its orbit into Venus’ dense atmosphere and it plunged toward the surface. Radio contact was lost the next day. Although much of Magellan was vaporized, some sections are thought to have hit the planet’s surface intact.

Magellan was launched from the cargo bay of Space Shuttle Atlantis on May 4, 1989. Magellan arrived at Venus and entered orbit on Aug 10, 1990. Magellan collected radar imagery of the planet’s surface showing large shield volcanoes, lava plains, and few craters.

Oct 11, 1995: Americans Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland, and Dutch scientist Paul Crutzen won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work warning that CFCs are eating away Earth’s ozone layer. In 1970, Dr. Crutzen showed that nitrogen oxides are important in the natural balance of ozone in the upper atmosphere. Research rapidly escalated into global biogeochemical cycles. In 1974, Drs. Molina and Rowland established that there was a threat to the ozone layer from man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), such as gases then used in spray cans. More than a decade before the Antarctic ozone hole was discovered, their research stirred the international response to control the emissions of CFCs to protect the ozone layer.

October 7th in Science and Engineering

Oct 7, 1806: Ralph Wedgwood secured the first patent for carbon paper, which he described as an “apparatus for producing duplicates of writings.” In his process, thin paper was saturated with printer’s ink, then dried between sheets of blotting paper.

His idea that became “carbon paper” was a byproduct of his invention of a machine to help blind people write. The “black paper” was intended as a substitute for ink. A blind person would have trouble with a dip pen and ink, and unable to see the resulting writing. So, a system was needed that allowed the person to write “blind” and know that the result would always appear. In its original form, Wedgwood’s “Stylographic Writer” provided a metal stylus instead of a quill for writing, with the carbon paper placed between two sheets of paper in order to transfer a copy onto the bottom sheet.

Oct 7, 1822: Rudolf Leuckart, German zoologist and teacher, was born. Leuckart founded the modern science of parasitology. As a youth, he showed an early interest in zoology and in insects in particular. While attending medical school at the University of Gottingen he studied under the renowned zoologist, Rudolph Wagner, who encouraged him to research in this branch of science. In 1847, he was appointed a zoology lecturer.

Leuckart described the complicated life cycles of various parasites including tapeworms and the liver fluke. He demonstrated that some human diseases such as trichinosis are caused by multicellular worm-like animals.

Oct 7, 1856: The first practical folding machine to fold book and newspaper sheets was patented by Cyrus Chambers of Pennsylvania, US #15,842. It made three right angle folds to produce a sixteen page folded result. The machine was installed in the Bible printing house of Jasper Harding & Son, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Accuracy of early folding machines was poor, with hand folding still predominating for high quality work. Development of the folding machine after 1862 was rapid, and in 1873 a machine was patented that would fold a 16-page section and one of 8 pages, inset the latter, and paste it in place. That same year devices to cut and slit paper as it went through the machine were introduced.

Oct 7, 1858: American meteorologist and inventor, Charles Marvin, was born. Marvin invented the clinometer that measures the height of clouds. These became standard equipment at airports. He was Chief of the US Weather Bureau from 1913 to 1934. He worked on and wrote about the Robinson cup anemometer.

For early systematic investigations of the upper air, he designed and constructed kites and kite mounted instruments. He also devised the Marvin pyrheliometer and inaugurated the regular measurement of solar radiation intensity by the Weather Bureau. Marvin designed a seismograph operated by the Weather Bureau. He was also particularly interested in the application of mathematical statistics to meteorological problems.

Oct 7, 1885: Niels Henrik David Bohr, Danish physicist, and one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century, was born. He was the first to apply the Quantum Theory, which restricts the energy of a system to certain discrete values, to the problem of atomic and molecular structure. For this work he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922. He developed the so-called Bohr theory of the atom and liquid model of the nucleus.

Bohr was of Jewish origin and when the Nazis occupied Denmark he escaped in 1943 to Sweden on a fishing boat. From there he was flown to England where he began to work on the project to make a nuclear fission bomb. After a few months he went with the British research team to Los Alamos in the USA where they continued work on the project.

At Los Alamos, Bohr was such a towering intellect that nearly everyone at the laboratory was afraid of him, with the exception of Richard Feynman, an equally towering intellect.

Oct 7, 1931: The first short-exposure infrared photograph taken of a large group of people in apparent total darkness was taken in Rochester, NY at the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories. The people were in a room that was flooded with invisible infrared light (700 to 900 nanometers, beyond the red end of the visible spectrum). A group of 50 people visiting the laboratory were photographed on a new photographic emulsion sensitive to infrared.

Since then, scientists have made much use of infrared imagery in medical applications, aerial photography, and thermal analytics. Since plant chlorophyll reflects infrared rays more intensely than other green materials, infrared photos yield a precise indication of where vegetation is present on the ground, a fact used by satellites such as Landsat.

Oct 7, 1939: English chemist, Harold W. Kroto, was born. He shared, with Richard E. Smalley and Robert F. Curl, Jr., the 1996 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their joint discovery of the carbon compounds called fullerenes. These new forms of the element carbon contain 60 or more atoms arranged in closed shells. The number of carbon atoms in the shell can vary, and for this reason numerous new carbon structures have become known. Formerly, six crystalline forms of the element carbon were known, namely two kinds of graphite, two kinds of diamond, chaoit (1968) and carbon (VI) (1972). Fullerenes are formed when vaporised carbon condenses in an atmosphere of inert gas. The carbon clusters can then be analysed with mass spectrometry.

Oct 7, 1954: In Poughkeepsie, New York, IBM displayed the first all-transistor calculator. It needed only 5 percent of the power of comparable electronic calculators based on vacuum tubes. Three years later, in 1957, IBM introduced the IBM 608, the first all-transistor commercial calculator. The 608 was plugboard programmable.

Oct 7, 1959: The dark far side of the Moon was photographed for the first time and pictures relayed back to Earth by Russia’s Luna 3 spacecraft. After passing the moon, the Luna 3 looked back from a distance of 63,500 km to take 29 photos of the sunlit far side of the moon. The film photos, taken over a period of 40 minutes, were developed onboard and radioed back to earth on October 18, 1959. The photos covered 70 percent of the far side. The photographs were very noisy and of low resolution, but many features could be recognized. Despite the poor quality, they provided the first view in history of the far side of the moon. (Note that the far side of the moon cannot be viewed from Earth because the moon rotates and revolves at the same rate, so the same part always faces Earth.)

Oct 7, 1970: British Petroleum (BP) made the first big oil find in the British sector of the North Sea. The Sea Quest drilling platform found a 170 meter layer of oil 2,135 meters below the seabed, in water depth of 128 meters. This was the first major oilfield discovered in the British sector of the North Sea. The oil was a valuable light crude with low wax and low sulphur content. Production was inaugurated on November 3, 1975 by the Queen.

October 1st in Science and Engineering

Oct 1, 1842: French inventor and poet, Charles Cros, was born. His work in several fields foreshadowed and paralleled important developments in science. He was interested in mechanical and physical sciences. Cros designed an automatic telegraph and showed it at the Worlds Fair of 1867. In 1869, he sent to the Société Française de Photographie, a system for reproduction of color images. In April 1877, he delivered plans for an apparatus he called a paléophone, which was a phonograph. Thus, he had the idea before Edison. He died in poverty and was never recognized for his discoveries due to more influential and better funded competitors for fame.

Oct 1, 1846: Ten years after his voyage on the Beagle, Charles Darwin began his study of barnacles, which was to appear in four volumes on living and fossil Cirripedes (barnacles). For his observations, he used a single lens microscope made to his own design with a large stage to take shallow dishes for aqueous dissections.

Oct 1, 1847: Maria Mitchell, the first woman astronomer in the United States, discovered a comet. One night in the fall of 1847, Maria looked at the sky through the telescope in her homemade observatory at Nantucket, Massachusetts, and saw a star five degrees above the North Star, where there had been no star before. She had memorized the sky and was sure of her observation. It occurred to her that this might be a comet. Maria recorded the presumed comet’s coordinates. The next night the star had moved — a comet. For this discovery, she was awarded a gold medal by the king of Denmark. She became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Oct 1, 1862: American archaeologist, Esther Boise Van Deman, was born. While studying on a scholarship in Rome when she decided that Roman archaeology was to be her chosen field of work. In 1907, while attending a lecture in the Atrium Vestae, she noticed that the bricks blocking up a doorway were different from those in the structure itself. She speculated that those differences in building materials might provide a wealth of information for dating the chronology of Roman structures. Thus began thirty years of life in Rome. She was the first woman to specialize in Roman field archaeology. She established lasting criteria for the dating of ancient constructions, which advanced the serious study of Roman architecture and the construction of the great aqueducts.

Oct 1, 1880: Thomas Edison opened his first electric incandescent lamp factory in Menlo Park, New Jersey — The Edison Lamp Works. More than 130,000 bulbs had been manufactured by the time the plant was moved to Harrison, NJ in April of 1882.

Oct 1, 1881: William Edward Boeing, American aviation pioneer, was born. He began in the lumber business in 1902, but his interests shifted to aviation. He trained at Glenn L. Martin’s flying school in 1915, and bought his own aircraft. In 1916, Boeing co-founded Pacific Aero Products Company, soon renamed Boeing Airplane Company. By 1920, he received a major order for 200 MB-3 fighter planes. Boeing Air Transport began flying mail and passengers in July of 1927. By mergers with other aircraft industries, he built United Aircraft and Air Transport the most profitable aviation company of its time. In 1934, government antitrust action split the company up and United Airlines became an independent business. Embittered, Boeing sold all his stock in the company, but volunteered as a consultant during WW II.

Oct 1, 1890: An Act of Congress reserved areas of forest land in California and created Yosemite National Park, under the control of the Secretary of the Interior. This followed the original Yosemite Grant made on June 30, 1864 by Act of Congress to the State of California of the “Yo-Semite Valley” and the land embracing the “Mariposa Big Tree Grove,” by which, for all time, the area was protected for “public use, resort, and recreation.” On March 3, 1905, the State of California ceded and granted the Yosemite Valley land back to the USA, transferring responsibility and maintenance costs to the federal government for the National Park. Yosemite National Park is the USA’s third oldest national park.

Oct 1, 1904: Austrian-British nuclear physicist, Otto Robert Frisch, was born in Vienna. Frisch, with his aunt Lise Meitner, described the division of neutron-bombarded uranium into lighter elements. He named the process fission in 1939, borrowing a term from biology. At the time, Meitner was working in Stockholm and Frisch at Copenhagen under Niels Bohr. Bohr brought their observations to the attention of Albert Einstein and others in the United States.

Frisch did research with James Chadwick from 1940 to 1943, and was the head of the Critical Assembly Group at Los Alamos project on the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1946. After World War II, Frisch became a science writer describing atomic physics for the layman.

Jerome Bruner Oct 1, 1915: American psychologist, Jerome Seymour Bruner, was born. He pioneered techniques for investigating infant perception. His investigations of various aspects of cognition, learning, and memory in young children complemented studies by Jean Piaget. Their work was influential on education in America. Bruner observed, “there is no unique sequence for all learners, and the optimum in any particular case will depend upon a variety of factors, including past learning, stage of development, nature of the material, and individual differences.”

Oct 1, 1939: Black-American astrophysicist, George R. Carruthers, was born. He was the principal inventor of a new space camera to measure ultraviolet light which can be used to identify interstellar atoms and molecules. After several years in development, it was taken to the moon on the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Positioned on the moon’s surface, the camera could also image the gases of the Earth’s atmosphere and the concentration of pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, in the air surrounding large cities.

Other space cameras developed by Carruthers and his colleagues have surveyed the ozone layer and transmitted photos of distant stars and planets for computer analysis. He was also a pioneer in the development of electronic telescopes.

Oct 1, 1940: A 260-km stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Irwin and Carlise in the State of Pennsylvania, was officially opened to the public as the first American limited-access interstate-type highway. It had been used earlier by the U.S. Army. It was not called an Interstate Highway at the time because the term didn’t exist. On June 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Act of 1956, which established a national system of interstate and defense highways. The Pennsylvania Turnpike became part of that Interstate Highway system.

Although not newly-constructed, it became part of the Interstate System. It’s been called the “The Granddaddy of the Pikes,” and can be regarded as the oldest U.S. Interstate Highway.

Oct 1, 1949: The first deliveries were made of the first practical rectangular television tube made in the USA. Prior television tubes (screens) were round. The tubes were manufactured by the Kimble Glass Co., a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois, and sold for about $12. The display face of the tube measured approx. 12 in. by 16 in.

Oct 1, 1956: The Physical Review published a paper by Tsung Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang on the Question of Parity Conservation in Weak Interactions. They addressed an issue that had long been believed, but for which there had been no experimental support.

There existed the Theta-Tau Puzzle in the disintegration of certain cosmic ray particles via the nuclear weak force. Lee and Yang believed this was because of parity violation, which contradicted the generally accepted Law of Conservation of Parity. They proposed experiments involving weak interactions. Chien-Shiung Wu validated non-conservation of parity on Dec 27, 1956.

Oct 1, 1957: The notorious drug thalidomide was first marketed in West Germany and shortly sold in at least 46 countries. First synthesized in 1953 by Chemie Grünenthal, as a sedative, it seemed a wonder drug for pregnant women to combat symptoms associated with morning sickness. Too late, it was found that the drug’s molecules crossed the placental wall, especially during the first trimester, tragically affecting the proper growth of the fetus. Worldwide, over 10,000 babies were born by the early 1960s with substantial birth defects, including deafness, blindness, internal disabilities, cleft palate, deformed or missing limbs.

Oct 1, 1969: The French Concorde prototype broke the sound barrier for the first time. The first test flight of the aircraft took place on March 2, 1969 in Toulouse, France. The first commercial passenger supersonic flights began on Jan 21, 1976.

The Concorde was a brilliant technological achievement. It was the first airplane to be entirely controlled by computer. But it was not destined to become widely successful due to high operating cost, high fuel consumption and the terrific noise it produced.

September 30th in Science and Engineering

Sep 30, 1802: Antoine Jérôme Balard, a French chemist who in 1826 discovered the element bromine, was born. He determined its properties, and studied some of its compounds. Later, he proved the presence of bromine in sea plants and animals.

Balard noticed that bromine had an atomic weight that was close to the arithmetic mean of two other known halogens, chlorine and iodine, suggesting that they formed a chemical family. (They do.) He also researched the inexpensive extraction of chemical salts from seawater and made other discoveries in chemistry. He studied and named amyl alcohol. Louis Pasteur and Marcellin Erthelot were among his students.

Sep 30, 1841: A machine “for sticking pins into paper” was patented (U.S. #2275) by Samuel Slocum. He had previous invented but not patented a sewing pin making machine. This new machine aligned several pins in parallel and #pushed them through a folded paper, a convenient way to package the product. One man tending both machines could produce 100,000 pins in 11 hours.

Sep 30, 1842: English geologist, Charles Lapworth who proposed what came to be called the Ordovician Period (505 to 438 million years ago) of geologic strata was born.

Lapworth is famous for his work with marine fossils called graptolites. By carefully collecting and cataloging the tiny fossilized sea creatures, he figured out the original order of layered rocks that had been faulted and folded in England’s Southern Uplands. This method of correlating rocks with graptolites became a model for similar research throughout the world. In 1879, Lapworth proposed a new classification of Lower Paleozoic rocks as the Ordovician Period, between the redefined Cambrian and Silurian periods.

Sep 30, 1846: Dentist Dr. William Morton used an experimental anesthetic, ether, for the first time on one of his patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for tooth extraction.

Sep 30, 1862: US patent #36,593 was issued for a revolving turret for battleships to the inventor, Theodore Ruggles Timby When Ericsson built the first turret battleship in the world, the Monitor, he added a turret based on Timby’s design.

Sep 30, 1870: French physicist, Jean-Baptiste Perrin, was born. His studies of the Brownian motion of minute particles suspended in liquids verified Albert Einstein’s explanation of this phenomenon and thereby confirmed the atomic nature of matter.

Perrin also determined by a new method one of the most important physical constants, Avogadro’s number. Avogadro’s number is the number of molecules in a given number of grams of a substance as indicated by the molecular weight. The Perrin obtained agreed closely to that given by the kinetic theory of gases. For this achievement he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1926.

Sep 30, 1881: The Godalming town council in Surrey, England, voted to have the world’s first public electricity supply. Instead of renewing the contract with the gas company that lit the community, the town council accepted a less expensive offer from Calder & Barrett to convert to electricity. The mayor and council members saw a demonstration of electrical lighting earlier that week.

The system was AC. The generator was powered by a water-wheel at a local leather mill and supplied lighting to the mill, streets, and some businesses and homes. This system preceeded Edison’s first electric utility by a year.

Sep 30, 1882: Born on this day was Charles Lanier Lawrance, an American aeronautical engineer who designed the first successful air-cooled aircraft engine. These engines were used on many historic early flights. He also designed a new type of wing with exceptionally good lift-to-drag ratio that was widely used in World War I. By the mid-1920s his improvements in engine power and reliability made a remarkable series of long-distance flights possible, including those of Admiral Byrd, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Clarence Chamberlin.

Despite the sensational publicity of these flights, Lawrance remained in obscurity. He once commented, “Who remembers Paul Revere’s horse?” For his J-5 Whirlwind engine, Lawrance was awarded the annual Collier Trophy in 1928.

Sep 30, 1882: Hans Wilhelm Geiger, a German physicist who developed the Geiger Counter, was born. The Geiger Counter was the first successful detector of individual alpha particles and other ionizing radiation. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Erlangen in 1906, he collaborated with Ernest Rutherford. He used the first version of his particle counter and other detectors in experiments that led to the identification of the alpha particle as the nucleus of the helium atom and to Rutherford’s statement in 1912 that the nucleus occupies a very small volume in the atom.

The Geiger-Müller counter (developed with Walther Müller) had improved durability, performance and sensitivity to detect not only alpha particles but also beta particles (electrons) and ionizing electromagnetic photons. Geiger returned from England to Germany in 1912 and continued to investigate cosmic rays, artificial radioactivity, and nuclear fission.

Sep 30, 1882: The first hydroelectric power plant in the U.S. was opened on the Fox River, in Appleton, Wisconsin. Powered by a water wheel, a single dynamo provided 12.5 kilowatts, enough for 180 lights of ten candlepower each.

Sep 30, 1883: American civil engineer, Nora Stanton Blatch Barney, was born. Her professional and political activities built on her family’s tradition of women leaders. In 1905, she was the first woman in the US to earn a degree in civil engineering and the first junior member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She wrote a paper on the water supply of Washington, DC, which became a reference work used for over 50 years for studies on the transport of solids in liquids.

In 1908, she married Lee De Forest, inventor of the radio vacuum tube, for whom she worked as a laboratory assistant until 1909, when they separated. In 1908, on a honeymoon trip to France, De Forest transmitted voice communication from the Eiffel Tower to receivers 500 miles away.

Sep 30, 1887: Leslie Herbert Lampitt, English analytical chemist and food scientist, was born. As chief chemist of Lyons, he founded the largest food laboratory in Europe. After serving in WW I, he suggested to Samuel Gluckstein of the food company J. Lyons & Co. that science should be applied to food production.

In Jul 1919, he founded a 3,000 sq. ft. biochemical department, a laboratory analyzing food samples that was the first of its kind in Europe. The staff and activities grew. By 1928, the lab occupied 35,000 sq. feet in a seven-story building. In June of 1949, Oxford graduate Margaret Roberts joined as a research chemist. Later, as Margaret Thatcher, she became Britain’s first woman Prime Minister.

Sep 30, 1902: The “making of cellulose esters” was jointly patented by William H. Walker, Arthur D. Little, and Harry S. Mork of Massachusetts. (US #709,922). A month later, Oct 28, 1902, they also patented artificial silk (US #712,200). Viscose was an early name for the product, which has a silk-like luster. The term Rayon was adopted by the textile industry in 1924 to replace “artificial silk” and other names.

Unlike most man-made fibers, rayon is not synthetic. Made from wood pulp, Rayon’s properties are more similar to those of natural cellulosic fibers, such as cotton or linen, than those of petroleum-based synthetic fibers like nylon.

Sep 30, 1905: Nevill Francis Mott, English physicist, was born. In 1977, he, along with Philip W. Anderson and John H. Van Vleck of the US, shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for his independent researches on the magnetic and electrical properties of amorphous semiconductors.

The properties of crystaline semiconductors are described by the Band Theory, which compares the conductivity of metals, semiconductors, and insulators. A famous exception is provided by nickel oxide. According to Band Theory, nickel oxide ought to be a metallic conductor but in reality is an insulator. Mott refined Band Theory to include electron-electron interaction and explained so-called Mott transitions, by which some metals become insulators as the electron density decreases.

Sep 30, 1906: The world’s first international balloon race began. The race began at Jardin des Tuleries, with 17 entrants and 250,000 spectators. The race was sponsored by James Gordon-Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald, who was known for financing Henry Stanley’s expedition into Africa to find David Livingstone.

The race was won by a coal-gas balloon from the United States. Pilot Lt. Frank P. Lahm of the U.S. Signal Corps and his co-pilot Maj. Henry B. Hersey, of the Weather Bureau, flew 402 miles (647-km) from Paris, France to Scarborough, England in 22 hours and 15 minutes. Only seven entrants reached England safely. The win promoted ballooning in the USA and the next race in 1907 was held at St. Louis, Missouri.

Sep 30, 1907: A letter was written to the London Times protesting motor car speed traps. The author, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, said, among other things, “the police neglect their other duties and look upon trapping as a regular sport, producing income to local government from the £5 or £10 fines for speeds of 20 or 30 mph.” In response to the complaints of dust clouds kicked up by automobiles, Lord Montagu suggested the construction of better roads.

Sep 30, 1917: American inventor, Irving B. Kahn, was born. He invented teleprompter and headed the TelePrompTer company. In the mid 1950’s, Kahn designed and built the first remotely controlled, multi-image, rear projection system. The system could randomly select between 500 slides and larger transparencies. It was built for the US Army facility in Huntsville, Alabama, for making persuasive presentations to visiting Congressmen. Kahn also made many technological contributions to the early cable TV industry. In 1961, Kahn and Hub Schlafley demonstrated Key TV, an early pay TV concept, by showing the second Patterson vs. Johansson heavyweight fight, giving birth to pay-per-view.

Sep 30, 1929: An early manned rocket-powered flight was made by German auto maker Fritz von Opel. His Sander RAK 1 was a glider powered by sixteen 50 pound thrust rockets. In it, Opel made a successful flight of 75 seconds, covering almost 2 miles. Prior to this, Opel had set several land speed records in rocket sleds he built and tested in secret. He gradually got the speed up to 254 km/h (158 mph).

Sep 30, 1935: Boulder Dam, (later renamed Hoover Dam) in Boulder City, Nevada, was dedicated. The concrete-arch dam was the first US hydroelectric plant to produce over a million kilowatts (1 gigawatt) of power. The first four generators came online on Oct 26, 1936. The full complement is 13. The 1 GW milestone was reached in June of 1943, with most but not all generators installed. With all generators on line, generating capacity was 1.45 GW. The power mainly serves the Los Angeles area.

In the 1990s, an upgrade of all electrical equipment was undertaken. Siemens used supercomputers to design the new generators and new turbine wheels. NGK provided all new switchgear and transformers. With no increase in water flow through the turbines, the maximum output power of Hoover Dam has increased to 4.0 GW (4,000 megawatts). Unfortunately, climate change has reduced the amount of water in the Colorado River system so much that the dam only operates at reduced capacity and other hydro facilities nearby are shutdown entirely.

Sep 30, 1939: French chemist, Jean-Marie Lehn, was born. He who shared, with Charles J. Pedersen and Donald J. Cram, the 1987 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for his contribution to the laboratory synthesis of molecules that mimic the vital chemical functions of molecules in living organisms. Such molecules have a highly selective, structure specific interaction. These molecules can effectively “recognize” each other and choose with which other molecules they will form complexes. Of low molecular weight and with very special properties, the molecules in these compounds bind in a selective manner, like a key fits a lock.

Sep 30, 1943: German biochemist, Johann Deisenhofer, was born. Diesenhofer received the 1988 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, along with Hartmut Michel and Robert Huber, for the determination of the three-dimensional structure of certain proteins that are essential to photosynthesis. Using X-ray crystallography, they unravelled the full details of how a membrane-bound protein is built up, revealing the structure of the molecule atom by atom. The protein was taken from a bacterium which, like green plants and algae, uses light energy from the sun to build organic substances. Photosynthesis in bacteria is simpler than in algae and higher plants, but the work has led to increased understanding of photosynthesis in those organisms as well.

Sep 30, 1954: USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, was commissioned at Groton, Connecticut. Its nuclear reactor eliminated diesel engines which previously limited a sub’s range and speed. Nuclear power also eliminated diesel fuel storage spaces and periodic surfacing to recharge batteries.

Nautilus was launched Jan 21, 1954. It could dive longer, faster, and deeper than any submarine before it. It was 319 feet long, with a 27 foot beam (hull diameter), could dive to 700 feet, and travel at over 20 knots. Nautilus broke records in 1958 as the first vessel to travel under the Arctic ice and cross the North Pole. Decommissioned in 1980, the sub was converted into a museum in 1985.

Sep 30, 1982: H. Ross Perot and Jay Colburn completed the first circumnavigation of the world in a helicopter, the Spirit of Texas. The took 29 days. For their trip around the world, which began and ended in Fort Worth, Texas, Perot and Coburn flew a Long Ranger with full navigation equipment, survival gear, and emergency items. Pop-out floats were added, and a 151-gallon auxiliary fuel tank in place of the rear seat was used to enable the Spirit of Texas to fly eight hours without refueling. An Allison 250-C28B turbine engine performed flawlessly for 246.5 hours of flight, flying more than 10 hours a day, over open ocean, barren desert, and tropical rain forest with an average ground speed of 117 mph.

September 29th in Science and Engineering

Sep 29, 1803: French mathematician, Jacques Charles-François Sturm, was born. Among other things, he developed Sturm’s theorem, an important contribution to the theory of equations. Sturm worked as a tutor of the de Broglie family in Paris around 1823, where he met many leading scientists and mathematicians. In 1826, working with Swiss engineer, Daniel Colladon, he made the first accurate measurement of the speed of sound in water (roughly 1,500 meters per second or 4,900 feet per second). In 1827 he wrote a prize-winning paper on the compressibility of fluids.

Since the work of mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650), a problem existed in finding the number of solutions of a given second-order differential equation within a given range of the variable. Sturm provided a complete solution to the problem with his theorem which he published in 1829. Sturm’s theorem has since been applied to many problems including the solution to the Schrödinger equation and its boundary values, a fundamental part of quantum mechanics.

Sep 29, 1859: American physician, Hermann M. Biggs, was born. He pioneered the use of bacteriological studies in the field of public health for the prevention and control of contagious diseases. In 1892, he became the first director of a new Division of Pathology, Bacteriology and Disinfection within the New York City Department of Health, addressing the problem of cholera infected immigrants arriving at the harbor. He eventually became the chief medical officer of the City of New York and in 1914, commissioner of health for the State of New York. The methods he developed spread throughout the USA.

Sep 29, 1901: Italian-American physicist, Enrico Fermi, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1938, was born. He was one of the chief architects of the nuclear age. He was the last of the double-threat physicists: a genius at creating esoteric theories and also designing elegant experiments.

He developed the theory of beta decay in 1933, postulating that the newly-discovered neutron decaying to a proton emits an electron and a particle he called a neutrino.

Fermi developed theory to explain this decay, which led him to find the weak interaction force. He developed the statistical methods required to clarify a large class of subatomic phenomena. He discovered neutron-induced radioactivity, and he directed the construction and operation of the first controlled chain reaction involving nuclear fission — the first atomic reactor.

Sep 29, 1903: John Heysham Gibbon, the American surgeon who invented the heart-lung machine, was born. As a Harvard research fellow in surgery in 1930, he saw a patient undergoing heart-lung surgery suffocate on his own blood.

This inspired what became his life work. On May 10, 1935, he had built his first external pump, and was able to maintain the cardiac and respiratory functions of a cat. In the late 1940’s, Gibbon received financial and technical assistance from the IBM Corporation to develop an oxygenator with sufficient capacity for a human. On May 6, 1953, with his improved machine he was able to perform the first successful open-heart operation. He repaired an atrial septal defect on 18-yr-old Cecelia Bavolek, maintaining the patient’s heart and lung functions on the machine for 26 minutes.

Sep 29, 1914: A patent, US #1111999, for a “Phonograph-Record” was granted to Thomas A. Edison.

Sep 29, 1920: British biochemist, Peter Dennis Mitchell, who won the 1978 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, was born. His work helped to clarify how ADP (adenosine diphosphate) is converted into the energy-carrying compound ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the mitochondria of living cells.

Sep 29, 1925: American engineer and inventor, Paul Beattie MacCready, was born. His life work focused on the design and construction of ultra-efficient flying machines. He invented the first human-powered flying machines and the first solar-powered aircraft to make sustained flights. In 1977, his pedal-powered Gossamer Condor flew a 1.15 mile figure-eight course demonstrating sustained, controlled, human-powered flight. For this, he won the Kremer Prize. Dr. Peter Lissamen was co-designer with MacCready. In 1979, their human-powered Gossamer Albatross won the second Kremer Prize when it crossed the English Channel.

Sep 29, 1931: American particle physicist, James Watson Cronin, was born. He shared, with Val Logsdon Fitch, the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physics for the discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons.

Their experiment proved that a reaction of subatomic particles run in reverse does not follow the path of the original reaction. This implies that time has an effect on subatomic particle interactions. The experiment demonstrated a break in particle-antiparticle symmetry for certain reactions.

Sep 29, 1954: The CERN (Centre Européenne de Recherche Nucléaire) convention was ratified by the 12 founding member states. As stated by CERN’s Director General Robert Aymar, “gave the new organization a mission to provide first class facilities, to coordinate fundamental research in particle physics, and to help reunite the countries of Europe after two world wars.” Geneva, Switzerland had been chosen as the site of the new laboratory.

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