1876 Scottish-Canadian inventor Alexander Graham Bell was granted the first patent (No.174,465) for the electric telephone by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. His patent described an “Improvement in Telegraphy”, and established the principle of the telephone.
1799 The Royal Institution of Great Britain, a London-based organization devoted to scientific education and research, was founded by the leading British scientists of the age, including Henry Cavendish and its first president, George Finch.
1792 English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer John Herschel was born in Buckinghamshire. He originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy, named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus, made many contributions to the science of photography, and investigated colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays.
1765 French inventor Nicéphore Niépce was born in Chalon-sur-Saône, Saône-et-Loire. He is most noted as one of the inventors of photography and for pioneering work in the field, having produced some of the first photographs in the 1820s.
1919 American chemist Harry Coover was born in Newark, Delaware. While working as a chemist for Eastman Kodak, he discovered the adhesive properties of certain cyanoacrylates in 1951, leading to development of a quick-drying and strong-bonding paste now known as Super Glue. During the Vietnam War, Coover developed a cyanoacrylate spray based on the same compound, which was sprayed onto soldiers’ serious wounds to quickly halt bleeding, so the injured could be transported to medical facilities instead of morgues. He died on March 27, 2011.
1869 Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev made a formal presentation to the Russian Chemical Society, describing his periodic table of elements. His table is much like the one we use today, arranging the elements in a table ordered by atomic weight, corresponding to relative molar mass as defined today. Others had done similar work, but Mendeleev’s table is important in that it left gaps when it seemed that the corresponding element had not yet been discovered.
1853 La traviata, an opera in three acts by Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi, was performed for the first time at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.
1787 German optician Joseph von Fraunhofer was born in Straubing, Bavaria. He is known for the discovery of the dark absorption lines known as Fraunhofer lines in the Sun’s spectrum, for making excellent optical glass and achromatic telescope objectives, and for inventing the spectroscope (an instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum).
1521 Portuguese-Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the island of Guam.
1475 Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer Michelangelo was born in Caprese near Arezzo, Tuscany.
1982 The Russian Venera 14 spacecraft landed on Venus. The lander survived for 57 minutes, and managed to measure and transmit the composition of the surface where it had landed.
1979 NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter at a distance of about 349,000 kilometres (217,000 miles) from the planet’s center. Most observations of the moons, rings, magnetic fields, and the radiation belt environment of the Jovian system were made during the 48-hour period that bracketed the closest approach.
1943 The Gloster Meteor, the first British jet fighter, flew for the first time.
1872 American entrepreneur and engineer George Westinghouse patented his railway air brake. The Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) was subsequently organized to manufacture and sell Westinghouse’s invention which was nearly universally adopted. Modern trains use brakes in various forms based on this design.
1850 The Britannia Bridge, a bridge across the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales, officially opened.
1696 Italian painter and printmaker Giovanni Battista Tiepolo was born in Venice. He was a prolific artist, whose luminous, poetic frescoes epitomized the lightness and elegance of the Rococo period.
1574 English mathematician William Oughtred was born in Eton. He first used logarithmic scales to perform direct multiplication and division and he is credited as the inventor of the slide rule in 1622. Oughtred also introduced the “×” symbol for multiplication as well as the abbreviations “sin” and “cos” for the sine and cosine functions.
1986 The Russian spacecraft Vega 1 began transmitting back to Earth the first close-up images of Halley’s Comet.
1890 The Forth Bridge was officially opened by the Prince of Wales. It is a cantilever railway bridge over the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, connecting Edinburgh with Fife. The bridge has been called the “one immediately and internationally recognised Scottish landmark”.
1854 British meteorologist Sir William Napier Shaw was born in Birmingham. He introduced the air pressure unit millibar, as well as the tephigram, a diagram of temperature changes.
1675 English astronomer John Flamsteed was appointed “The King’s Astronomical Observator” — the first British Astronomer Royal, by King Charles II. His task was “to apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so-much desired longitude of places for the perfecting the art of navigation.” The highly prestigious office remains in place today, though it is largely honorary.
1152 Frederick I Barbarossa was elected King of Germany. He later became King of Italy (1154) and Holy Roman Emperor (1155).
2005 American adventurer Steve Fossett completed the first solo nonstop airplane flight around the world without refueling, aboard the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.
1969 NASA launched Apollo 9, containing the Command/Service Module along with the Lunar Module. The crew spent ten days in low Earth orbit performing the first manned flight of a LM, the first docking and extraction of a LM, a two man spacewalk, and the second docking of two manned spacecraft. All was in preparation for the eventual Apollo goal of landing on the moon.
1878 The Treaty of San Stefano was signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire at the end of the Russo-Turkish War. The treaty created a free and autonomous Bulgaria, after 500 years of rule by the Ottomans. The day is celebrated as Liberation Day in Bulgaria.
1875 The first organized indoor hockey game was played at Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink between two nine-player teams.
1585 The Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theatre) in Vicenza, Italy, was officially inaugurated with a production of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King. The theatre was the final masterpiece designed by Andrea Palladio, the greatest architect of the Italian Renaissance, and is the oldest surviving enclosed theatre in the world.
1284 The Statute of Rhuddlan was enacted. The statute transferred much of the lands held by the Prince of Wales to England under Edward I.