“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?”
― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
George Washington was the first President of the United States (1789–1797), the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and which remains the supreme law of the land.
1902 – American aviator, author, inventor, explorer and social activist Charles Lindbergh is born.
As a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, Lindbergh emerged suddenly from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927, made from Roosevelt Field in Garden City on New York’s Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km), in the single-seat, single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. As a result of this flight, Lindbergh was the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve officer, was also awarded the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.
1906 – Clyde Tombaugh, American astronomer, is born.
Clyde William Tombaugh was an American astronomer. Although he is best known for discovering the dwarf planet Pluto in 1930, the first object to be discovered in what would later be identified as the Kuiper belt, Tombaugh also discovered many asteroids; he also called for the serious scientific research of unidentified flying objects, or “U.F.O.s”.
1936 – Radium becomes the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.
On 4 February 1936, radium E (bismuth-210) became the first radioactive element to be made synthetically in the United States. Dr. John Jacob Livingood, at the radiation lab at University of California, Berkeley, was bombarding several elements with 5-MeV deuterons. He noted that irradiated bismuth emits fast electrons with a 5-day half-life, which matched the behavior of radium E.
1943 – Ken Thompson, computer scientist is born.
Kenneth Lane Thompson, commonly referred to as ken in hacker circles, is an American pioneer of computer science. Having worked at Bell Labs for most of his career, Thompson designed and implemented the original Unix operating system. He also invented the B programming language, the direct predecessor to the C programming language, and was one of the creators and early developers of the Plan 9 operating systems. Since 2006, Thompson works at Google, where he co-invented the Go programming language.
Other notable contributions included his work on regular expressions and early computer text editors QED and ed, the definition of the UTF-8 encoding, his work on computer chess that included creation of endgame tablebases and the chess machine Belle.
2004 – Facebook is founded.
Facebook is now 10 years old!
Facebook is an online social networking service. Its name comes from a colloquialism for the directory given to students at some American universities. Facebook was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The founders had initially limited the website’s membership to Harvard students, but later expanded it to colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before it opened to high-school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over. Facebook now allows anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old to become a registered user of the website.
In a January 2014, during the week previous to the company’s tenth anniversary, chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, clarified: “He [Mark] always said Facebook was started not just to be a company, but to fulfill a vision of connecting the world.