2001 Australian Ian Thorpe became the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single World Championships.
1935 The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was flown for the first time. It was a four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed in the 1930s for the then-United States Army Air Corps (USAAC).
1867 American-Argentine astronomer Charles Dillon Perrine was born in Ohio. He worked at Lick Observatory from 1893 to 1909 and then was director of the Argentine National Observatory. He discovered two moons of Jupiter, today known as Himalia (in 1904) and Elara (in 1905). At the time, they were simply designated “Jupiter VI” and “Jupiter VII” and were not given their present names until 1975.
1858 French photographer Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as “Nadar”, took the first aerial photographs while flying in a balloon over Paris.
1851 Berkowski made the first solar eclipse photograph using the daguerrotype process, at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kalinigrad in Russia). Berkowski, a local daguerrotypist observing at the Royal Observatory, never published his first name.
1609 Bermuda was first settled by survivors of the English ship Sea Venture, led by Admiral Sir George Somers, during a voyage to Virginia. Bermuda had been discovered in 1503 by a Spanish explorer, Juan de Bermúdez, but never settled until over 100 years later.
1949 The world’s first jet-propelled airliner, the British De Havilland Comet, was flown for the first time.
1921 Canadian doctors Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Herbert Best first isolated insulin at Toronto University.
1866 American businessman and financier Cyrus Field finally succeeded, after two failures, in laying the first underwater telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.
1848 Hungarian physicist Loránd Eötvös was born in Buda. He is known for his work on gravitation and surface tension, in particular his study of the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass (the so-called weak equivalence principle) and his study of the gravitational gradient on the Earth’s surface. The weak equivalence principle plays a prominent role in relativity theory, and the measurements of the gravitational gradient are important in applied geophysics, such as the location of petroleum deposits. The CGS unit for gravitational gradient is named the eotvos in his honor.
1667 Swiss mathematician Johann Bernoulli was born in Basel. He was one of the early developers of infinitesimal calculus.
1971 NASA launched Apollo 15 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On board were Commander David R. Scott, Command Module Pilot Alfred M. Worden, and Lunar Module Pilot James B. Irwin. It was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed “J missions”, long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous missions. It was also the first mission to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
1963 NASA launched Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous communication satellite. During the first year of its operations, NASA conducted voice, teletype, and facsimile tests, as well as 110 public demonstrations to show the capabilities of this satellite and invite feedback.
1958 The United States Army Ballistic Missile Agency launched the Explorer 4 satellite, with the purpose of studying the Van Allen radiation belts and the effects of nuclear explosions upon these belts (and the Earth’s magnetosphere in general). The instruments on board the satellite were designed and built by American scientist James Van Allen (pictured below).
1803 The Surrey Iron Railway, considered to be the world’s first public railway, was opened. It was a horse-drawn railway, 9 miles long, that linked the former Surrey towns of Wandsworth and Croydon via Mitcham (all now suburbs of south London).
1745 The first recorded women’s cricket match took place between the villages of Bramley and Hambledon near Guildford in Surrey, England.
1997 American professor of gynecology and obstetrics John D. Gearhart announced that for the first time human stem cells had been cultured in a laboratory, using tissue taken from aborted human embryos.
1984 Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space as she carried out more than three hours of experiments outside the orbiting space station “Salyut Seven.”
1978 Louise Joy Brown, the first test tube baby, was born in England.
1959 A hovercraft crossed the English Channel for the first time. The world’s first all metal hovercraft, SR.N1, crossed the Channel between Calais and Dover in 2 hours 3 minutes with Captain Peter Lamb piloting, Mr John Chaplin as navigator and the inventor, Mr. Christopher Cockerell in his own words as ‘moveable ballast’ on board.
1909 French aviator Louis Blériot flew across the English Channel in a monoplane, traveling from Calais, France, to Dover, England, in 37 minutes. This was the world’s first international overseas airplane flight.
1538 The city of Guayaquil was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Orellana and given the name Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad de Santiago de Guayaquil.
1954 American engineer James H. Trexler first transmitted the sound of a human voice beyond the ionosphere and back to Earth after reflecting off the moon. This “Communication Moon Relay” was designed to develop a secure and reliable method of wireless communication by using the Moon as a natural communications satellite.
1950 The first successful rocket launch from Cape Canaveral took place. “Bumper” No. 8 was a captured German V-2 rocket with the payload replaced by another rocket, the 700-pound Army-JPL Wac Corporal.
1847 Richard M. Hoe of New York City patented the rotary type printing press. He created a revolution in printing by rolling a cylinder over stationary plates of inked type and using the cylinder to make an impression on paper. This eliminated the need for making impressions directly from the type plates themselves, which were heavy and difficult to maneuver.
1844 American mechanical engineer Henry Rossiter Worthington patented the independent single direct-acting steam power pump, an invention which laid the foundation of the entire pump industry. This invention solved the major steam-engine problem of supplying water to the boiler – even when the engine was shut down – and replaced hand-pumping to keep the boiler filled.