2004 The Cassini-Huygens robotic spacecraft entered into orbit around Saturn. Hundreds of scientists and engineers from 16 European countries and 33 of the United States make up the team responsible for designing, building, flying and collecting data from the Cassini orbiter and Huygens probe.
1874 The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, went on sale. The machine incorporated elements which became fundamental to typewriter design, including a cylindrical platen and a four-rowed QWERTY keyboard.
1818 Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis was born in Buda. He is now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the “savior of mothers”, Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Semmelweis’s practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory.
1646 German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz was born in Leipzig. He is a major figure in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy. He developed infinitesimal calculus independently of Isaac Newton, and his mathematical notation has been widely used ever since it was first published. He became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of mechanical calculators, having invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator.
In philosophy, Leibniz is mostly noted for his optimism, e.g. his conclusion that our Universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created. Leibniz, along with René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, was one of the three great 17th century advocates of rationalism.
1948 The transistor was demonstrated by its inventors, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, scientists at the Bell Telephone Laboratory in Murray Hill, NJ.
1894 The Tower Bridge across the River Thames in London was officially opened. The chief engineer was Sir John Wolfe-Barry.
1808 British chemist and inventor Humphry Davy announced he had separated the element boron. However, working independently, French chemist, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac had announced* the same accomplishment nine days ealier, on 21 Jun 1808.
1868 American astronomer George Ellery Hale was born in Chicago. He is known for inventing the spectroheliograph while an undergraduate at MIT, with which he made his discoveries of the solar vortices and magnetic fields of sun spots. He also worked to found a number of significant astronomical observatories, including Yerkes Observatory, Mount Wilson Observatory, Palomar Observatory, and the Hale Solar Laboratory.
1807 Battle of Athos: Russian Admiral Dmitry Senyavin destroyed the Ottoman fleet. As a result of the battle, the Ottoman Empire lost a combat-capable fleet for more than a decade and signed an armistice with Russia on 12 August.
1927 American chemist Frank Sherwood Rowland was born in Delaware, Ohio. His best-known work is the discovery that chlorofluorocarbons contribute to ozone depletion. Rowland theorized that manmade organic compound gases combine with solar radiation and decompose in the stratosphere, releasing atoms of chlorine and chlorine monoxide that are individually able to destroy large numbers of ozone molecules. He was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.
1906 German-American theoretical physicist Maria Goeppert-Mayer was born in Kattowitz (now Katowice, Poland), within the German Empire’s Prussian Province of Silesia. She was awarded the 1963 Nobel Prize in physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. In addition, while working on her doctoral thesis in 1931, she worked out the theory of possible two-photon absorption by atoms. This was not confirmed experimentally until the development of the laser in the 1960s. To honor her fundamental contribution to this area, the unit for the two-photon absorption cross section is named the Goeppert-Mayer (GM) unit.
1873 French surgeon and biologist Alexis Carrel was born in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, Rhône. He developed new techniques in vascular sutures and was a pioneer in transplantology and thoracic surgery. He collaborated with American physician Charles Claude Guthrie in work on vascular suture and the transplantation of blood vessels and organs, and was awarded the 1912 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for these efforts.
1846 The saxophone was patented by Belgian clarinetist Adolphe Sax. He wanted to create an instrument that would both be the most powerful and vocal of the woodwinds and the most adaptive of the brass, which would fill the then vacant middle ground between the two sections.
1712 Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva. As a major figure in of 18th-century Romanticism, his political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the American Revolution and the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.
1960 American organic chemist Robert Burns Woodward first synthesized chlorophyll “a”. This molecule consists of 55 carbon atoms linked with 72 hydrogen atoms, 5 atoms of oxygen and 1 atom of magnesium. The research was performed at the Converse Memorial Laboratory of Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
1923 American airmen Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter performed the first ever aerial refueling, in a DH-4B biplane.
1898 Canadian-American seaman and adventurer Joshua Slocum completed the first solo circumnavigation of the globe, sailing on his refitted sloop-rigged fishing boat Spray. He traveled a distance of more than 46,000 miles.