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October 4

1983 Richard Noble, of Edinburgh, Scotland, set a new land speed record of 633.468 mph (1,019 km/h), driving Thrust 2 at the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

1957 Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, was launched.

1895 The first U.S. Open Championship of golf was played on a nine-hole course in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a 36-hole competition and was played in a single day. The winner was 21-year-old Englishman Horace Rawlins.

1814 French painter Jean-François Millet was born in Gruchy, Gréville-Hague, Normandy. He was one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France and is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers.

1515 German Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach the Younger was born. He is known for his woodcuts and paintings, which were mostly portraits and simple versions of allegorical and mythical scenes.

October 3

1990 The re-unification of Germany took place, resulting in the political unity of East and West Germany. This was a major landmark in the defeat of Communism and a great step forward for the German people.

1962 The Sigma 7 spacecraft was launched as part of NASA’s Mercury space program. Astronaut Wally Schirra made six orbits of the Earth in an almost completely flawless nine-hour flight focused on “engineering evaluation” rather than on scientific experimentation.

1942 The first successful launch of a V-2 /A4-rocket took place from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany. It was the first man-made object to reach space.

1802 Scottish-American John Gorrie was born on the Island of Nevis. He was a physician, scientist, inventor, and humanitarian, and is considered the father of refrigeration and air conditioning, having invented the first ice-making machine.

October 2

1950 American cartoonist Charles M. Schulz first published the Peanuts cartoon strip.

1925 Scottish engineer John Logie Baird performed the first test of a working television system, by successfully transmitting a picture of the head of a ventriloquist’s dummy.

1917 Cytologist and biochemist Christian de Duve was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, a son of Belgian immigrants. He is famous for the discovery of the function of various cell structures, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974 for describing the structure and function of organelles (lysosomes and peroxisomes) in biological cells.

1907 Scottish biochemist Alexander R. Todd was born in Glasgow. He was awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research on the structure and synthesis of nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes.

1860 The Mariinsky Theatre, a theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg, was inaugurated with a performance of A Life for the Tsar. The theatre was named Mariinsky after its imperial patroness, Empress Maria Alexandrovna. At the time, it had the largest stage in the world and a seating capacity of 1,625.

October 1

1953 Norwegian marathon runner Grete Waitz was born in Oslo. She won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988, more than any other runner in history. She also won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a gold medal at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland.

1942 The Bell P-59A, the first United States jet fighter aircraft, was flown for the first time.

1891 Stanford University, founded by railroad magnate Leland Stanford, officially opened. There were 559 students and 15 faculty members.

1827 A Russian army, commanded by Ukrainian-born Ivan Paskevich, captured Yerevan, thus ending a millennium of Muslim occupation in Armenia.

1787 At The Battle of Kinburn, during the Russo-Turkish war, Russian forces under the command of Alexander Suvorov defeated the invading Ottoman Turks.

1671 Italian priest, philosopher, mathematician and engineer Luigi Guido Grandi was born in Cremona. In mathematics, he is best known for studying the rose curve and for Grandi’s series. He contributed to Galileo Galilei’s works and helped introduce calculus to Italy.

331 BC At the Battle of Gaugamela, Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Achaemenid Persia. The victory effectively divided the Persian Empire in half and directly led to the complete fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander a year later.

September 30

1954 The USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was commissioned. It was the first operational nuclear-powered submarine and the first vessel to complete a submerged transit across the North Pole.

1927 Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 60 homeruns in one season.

1905 English physicist Sir Nevill Francis Mott was born in Leeds. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1977 for his work on the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.

1901 British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.

1882 The world’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.

1791 The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, made its premiere performance at Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna. Mozart himself conducted the orchestra.

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