Oct 3, 1716: Giambatista Beccaria, a.k.a. Giovanni Battista Beccaria (originally Francesco), was born. He was an Italian physicist who spread knowledge of Benjamin Franklin’s discoveries with electricity, which he extended with his own research. He designed an electrical thermometer and investigated the relative powers of parallel plate capacitors. He formed explanations for meteorological and geophysical phenomena in terms of “natural electricity”. With his students, he experimentally probed the atmosphere with metal poles, kites and rockets. He published his work in five books.
Oct 3, 1803: John Gorrie, American physician who pioneered the artificial manufacture of ice, refrigeration, and air conditioning, was born. While he was a Naval officer stationed at Apalachicola, Florida, when treating malaria patients with fever, he reasoned that he needed ice, since people living in cold climates never got malaria. He built a small steam engine to drive a piston in a cylinder immersed in brine. The piston first compressed the air, and then on the second stroke, when the air expanded, it drew heat from the brine. The chilled brine was used to cool air or make ice. He was granted the first U.S. Patent for mechanical refrigeration in May of 1851, US #8080. Dr. Gorrie was posthumously honored by Florida, when his statue was placed in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
Oct 3, 1805: The first comprehensive pharmacopoeia prepared by a medical society in the USA was authorized by the members of the Massachusetts Medical Society of Boston, Mass. It became the 286-page The Pharmacopoeia of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 1808, edited by Drs. James Jackson and John Collins Warren.
The earliest pharmacopoeia produced in the USA was prepared for the army in 1778 and consisted of just 32 pages with a small type area. It was titled “Pharmacopoeia simpliciorum et efficiorum, in usum noscomii militaris, etc.”
Oct 3, 1818: Scottish publisher, Alexander MacMillan, was born. Though not himself a professional scientist he did much to promote science by publishing the journal Nature, arguably the most recognized journal in the world today.
The first issue was published on 4 Nov 1869. The journal had the support of many influential contributors, including Thomas Huxley. Yet, for the first 30 years, it was a financial burden for MacMillan because the journal never made money. He tolerated the losses because of his committment to the journal’s mission “to place before the general public the grand results of scientific work and scientific discovery; and to urge the claims of science to move to a more general recognition in education and in daily life.”
Oct 3, 1830: George Bailey Brayton, American engineer, was born. He invented the first liquid-fueled internal combustion engine, patented on April 2, 1872. He manufactured and sold these engines in Providence, Rhode Island. Its principle of continuous ignition later became the basis for the turbine engine. A pressurized air-fuel mixture from a reservoir was ignited upon entering a water-cooled cylinder. The Brayton engine was given trials powering watercraft.
Oct 3, 1844: Scottish physician and parasitologist, Sir Patrick Manson, was born. He has been called the “father of tropical medicine.” In 1877, he was the first to identify an insect for the spread of infection. While working at Amoy, China, he found the development phase of filaria worms in the tissues of blood-sucking mosquitoes. This parasite worm causes the filariasis disease when transferred to human body tissues. In 1894, he proposed a mosquito-malaria hypothesis. Manson moved to Hong Kong in 1883, where he set up a medical school. In 1886 he co-founded Dairy Farm to produce contamination-free milk. He also researched sleeping sickness and beri-beri, and helped introduce vaccination to the Chinese. He inspired Alphonse Laveran’s discovery of the malarial parasite, and Sir Ronald Ross’s proof of transmission of malaria by Anopheles mosquitoes.
Oct 3, 1854: Major William Crawford Gorgas, U.S. Army surgeon, was born. He contributed greatly to the building of the Panama Canal by introducing mosquito control to prevent yellow fever and malaria. At first, Gorgas doubted the conclusion of Walter Reed’s Yellow Fever Commission in Cuba in 1900, which said that the mosquito was the only means by which the disease spreads. Nevertheless, Gorgas supported the new policy and eventually became the most active proponent of the mosquito theory in the United States. In 1904, Gorgas led the ten-year anti-mosquito campaign to wipe out yellow fever in Panama.
Oct 3, 1899: The motor-driven vacuum cleaner was patented, US #634,042, as a “pneumatic carpet renovator” by John S. Thurman of St. Louis, Missouri.
Oct 3, 1904: Korean-American chemist, Charles J. Pedersen, was born. He, along with Jean-Marie Lehn and Donald J. Cram, was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his synthesis of the crown ethers – a group of organic compounds with structure-specific interactions of high selectivity when reacting with other atoms and molecules, much like the molecules in living organisms. These are molecules that can “recognize” each other and choose with which other molecules they will form complexes.
Oct 3, 1916: Irish cardiologist, Frank Pantridge, who developed the life-saving portable defibrillator, was born. He learned that death occurred within the first hour for 60 percent of males up to middle-age that died from heart attack. Of these, 90 percent suffered ventricular fibrillation.
So, to deliver treatment as fast as possible, in 1965, Pantridge equipped an ambulance with a portable defibrillator. It achieved a 50% long-term patient survival rate. This pre-hospital coronary care plan was adopted rapidly in America and was used in 1972 when President Lyndon Johnson suffered a heart attack during a visit to Virginia. In 1979, the first automated external defibrillators (AEDs) became available.
Oct 3, 1922: City telephone lines were used for the first time in the USA for the transmission of a facsimile photo in Washington, DC. Charles F. Jenkins sent an image from 1519 Connecticut Ave to the US Naval Radio Staion NOF at Anacostia, D.C. Witnesses from the US Navy and the Post Office Department attended the transmission. A photographic plate was used to record the signals at 5502 16th St, N.W. Washington, DC.
Earlier the same year, on June 11, 1922, a photograph had been sent by radio across the Atlantic from Rome to Bar Harbor, Maine. That transmission reproduced a 7 x 9.5 in. halftone picture, using light falling on a selenium cell to form the dots.
Oct 3, 1941: A patent for the first aerosol can used in a commercial application was filed by chemist Lyle D. Goodhue and entomologist William N. Sullivan, researchers at the US Department of Agriculture. It was titled a “Dispensing Apparatus” US #2,331,117, Oct 5, 1943. It was designed to apply oil-free insecticides in mushroom houses.
During WW II similar cans, dubbed “bug bombs”, were used to protect troops from malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Under the public service patent, royalty-free licenses were issued for the manufacture of insecticidal aerosols until the patent expired in 1960.
Oct 3, 1944: Belgian mathematician, Pierre René Deligne, who was awarded the Fields Medal at the 1978 International Congress of Mathematicians in Helsinki, Finland, was born. He won the medal for his work in algebraic geometry. His work originated with André Weil’s ideas on polynomial equations which led to three questions on what properties of a geometric object can be determined purely algebraically. These three problems quickly became major research challenges to mathematicians. A solution of the three Weil conjectures was given by Deligne. This work brought together algebraic geometry and algebraic number theory. The solution to these problems had required the development of a new kind of algebraic topology.
Oct 3, 1945: Following a message from President Truman, a bill sponsored by the War Department and known as the May-Johnson bill was introduced into the US Congress. The purpose of this bill was to keep the atomic bomb a secret under stringent security restrictions. Because it failed to provide for the sharing of information with foreign countries, and granted a dominant role to the military, scientists throughout the country were galvanized in opposition. Due in part to lobbying by scientists such as Leo Szilard and other groups, the May-Johnson Bill was tabled in December. The McMahon Act, signed on Aug, 1, 1946, mandated civilian control of atomic energy under the auspices of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).
Oct 3, 1947: After 11 years of grinding and polishing the 200-inch (5.1 m) diameter mirror for the Mount Palomar Observatory was completed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The mirror began in 1934 with 20 tons of molten Pyrex (borosilicate) glass at 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit poured into a ceramic mold at the Corning Glass Works in New York.
It was allowed to cool just one or two degrees per day for eleven months, then cooled to room temperature. Then came eleven years of careful grinding and polishing to bring the mirror to a near-perfect parabola, accurate to 2 millionths of an inch or 50 nanometers across its full diameter. Five tons of glass was removed during the grinding and polishing.
The finished telescope saw first light on January 26, 1949, at 10:06 pm PST under the direction of Edwin Powell Hubble, targeting NGC 2261. The Hale Telescope was dedicated to Dr. George Ellery Hale, who initiated the project but did not live to see its completion. The Hale Telescope was the largest in the world until 1976, and second largest until 1993. It was the last large telescope to use a parabolic mirror.
A list of discoveries made with this telescope would fill a book. It continues in full operation today imaging exoplanets and many other studies.
Oct 3, 1952: “Hurricane”, the first British atomic bomb was tested at Monte Bello, Australia, becoming the third country in the world to test such a weapon. The bomb used an improved plutonium implosion bomb similar to the US “Fat Man”. To test the effects of a ship-smuggled bomb, a threat of great concern at the time, Hurricane was exploded inside the hull of the HMS Plym, a 1450 ton frigate, anchored in 40 feet of water 400 yards offshore. The explosion, 9 feet below the water line, left a saucer-shaped crater on the seabed 20 feet deep and 1,000 feet across.
Oct 3, 1952: The first US video recording on magnetic tape giving credible results of off-air black and white recordings was made by John T. Mullin at the electronics division of Bing Crosby Enterprises, Inc. in Los Angeles, California.
Using a Video Tape Recorder, the images on magnetic tape were not only one-third less costly than photographic methods, but were also immediately available to reproduce on a standard TV monitor tube as soon as the tape was rewound. The 12-head VTR used one-inch tape running at 120 inches per second to record ten tracks of monochrome video information, a clock track to control synchronization, and an FM audio track. The basic idea used frequency division multiplexing with 10 channels covering the desired video range. This gave an effective tape speed of 1,200 inches or 100 feet per second.
From the above, it becomes clear why helical scan video tape recording was later developed. With helical scan, the tape moves much more slowly past an inclined head spinning at high RPM.
Oct 3, 1967: The X-15 rocket plane achieved a world record speed for a manned aircraft of Mach 6.7, or 4,520 mph, or 7,274 km/h, or over a mile per second, with USAF pilot Pete Knight. As of 2019, this record remains unchallenged. This level-flight record was set at an altitude of 192,100 feet (58.5 km).
The X-15 was built with a titanium frame and a skin of Inconel X. At high speeds, the aircraft would glow white hot from air-friction. In earlier flights, the X-15 set the still-unbroken altitude record for a manned aircraft at 354,200 feet (108 km), or 67 miles, well past the generally accepted “edge” of space.