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September 17

1991 Finnish software engineer Linus Torvalds released the first version of the Linux computer operating system (version 0.1).

1789 British astronomer William Herschel discovered Mimas, a moon of Saturn.

1787 The United States Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1677 English physiologist, chemist and inventor Stephen Hales was born in Bekesbourne, Kent. He became famous for studying the role of air and water in the maintenance of both plant and animal life and he gave accurate accounts of the movements of water in plants, and demonstrated that plants absorb air. The genus of trees Halesia is named after him.

1630 The city of Boston, Massachussets was founded by Puritan colonists from England.

September 16

1853 German biochemist Albrecht Kossel was born in Rostock. He was a pioneer in the study of genetics, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1910 for his work in determining the chemical composition of nucleic acids (the genetic substance of biological cells).

Kossel isolated and described the five organic compounds that are present in nucleic acid: adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, and uracil. These compounds were later shown to be nucleobases, and are key in the formation of DNA and RNA, the genetic material found in all living cells.

1848 Hyperion, a moon of Saturn also known as Saturn VII, was discovered by American astronomer William Cranch Bond and his son George Phillips Bond. 2 days later, English astronomer William Lassell independently discovered it, and all have been given credit by historians.

William Cranch Bond:

William Lassell:

September 15

1968 Russia launched the unmanned Zond 5 spacecraft. It became the first spacecraft to circle the Moon and return to land on Earth. High quality photographs of the Earth were taken at a distance of 90,000 km., and a biological payload of two russian tortoises, wine flies, meal worms, plants, seeds, bacteria, and other living matter was included in the flight.

1948 A North American F-86A-3 Sabre, piloted by U.S. Air Force Major Richard L. Johnson, set a flight airspeed record of 670.84 miles per hour.

1828 Russian chemist Aleksandr Butlerov was born in Chistopol. He was one of the principal creators of the theory of chemical structure, the first to incorporate double bonds into structural formulas, the discoverer of hexamine, and the discoverer of the formose reaction. The crater Butlerov on the Moon is named after him.

1789 American novelist James Fenimore Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey. Among his most famous works is the Romantic novel The Last of the Mohicans, often regarded as his masterpiece.

September 14

1769 German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt was born in Berlin. His quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography. Between 1799 and 1804, Humboldt travelled extensively in Latin America, exploring and describing it for the first time in a manner generally considered to be a modern scientific point of view. He was one of the first to propose that the lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean were once joined (South America and Africa in particular).

1752 The British Empire adopted the modern Gregorian Calendar, which has become the world’s standard accepted calendar.

81 Domitian became Emperor of the Roman Empire. His reign was known for its ambitious economic, military and cultural programs with the intention of restoring the Empire to the splendour it had seen under previous Emperors.

September 13

1956 IBM publicly unveiled the IBM 305 RAMAC. It was the first commercial computer that used a moving head hard disk drive (magnetic disk storage) for secondary storage. RAMAC stood for “Random Access Method of Accounting and Control”. Its design was motivated by the need for real-time accounting in business.

1898 American priest and inventor Hannibal Goodwin was granted a patent for celluloid photographic film (Patent number: 610861). The film was used in Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope, an early machine for viewing animation.

1886 English organic chemist Robert Robinson was born near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. He was awarded the 1947 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on plant dyestuffs (anthocyanins) and alkaloids. He invented the symbol for benzene whilst working at St Andrews University in 1923. He is known for inventing the use of the curly arrow to represent electron movement, and he is also known for discovering the molecular structures of morphine and penicillin.

1851 American Army physician Walter Reed was born in Belroi, Virginia. In 1900, he led the team that postulated and confirmed the theory that yellow fever is transmitted by a particular mosquito species, rather than by direct contact. This insight gave impetus to the new fields of epidemiology and biomedicine, and most immediately allowed the resumption and completion of work on the Panama Canal (1904–1914) by the United States.

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