1774 – Meriwether Lewis, American soldier, explorer, and politician, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition is born.
Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark. Their mission was to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase, establish trade with, and sovereignty over the natives near the Missouri River, and claim the Pacific Northwest and Oregon Country for the United States before European nations. They also collected scientific data, and information on indigenous nations. President Thomas Jefferson appointed him Governor of Upper Louisiana in 1806.He died of gunshot wounds in what was either a murder or suicide, in 1809.
1868 – French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovers helium.
In 1868 Janssen discovered how to observe solar prominences without an eclipse. While observing the solar eclipse of August 18, 1868, at Guntur, Madras State (now in Andhra Pradesh), British India, he noticed bright lines in the spectrum of the chromosphere, showing that the chromosphere is gaseous. Present, though not immediately noticed or commented upon, was a bright yellow line later measured to have a wavelength of 587.49 nm in the spectrum of the Sun. This was the first observation of this particular spectral line, and one possible source for it was an element not yet discovered on the earth. From the brightness of the spectral lines, Janssen realized that the chromospheric spectrum could be observed even without an eclipse and proceeded to do so immediately.
1902 – Margaret Murie, American environmentalist and author is born.
Margaret Thomas “Mardy” Murie was a naturalist, author, adventurer, and conservationist. Dubbed the “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement” by both the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society, she helped in the passage of the Wilderness Act, and was instrumental in creating the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She was the recipient of the Audubon Medal, the John Muir Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States.
1911 – Klara Dan von Neumann, Hungarian computer scientist is born.
Klára (Klari) Dán Von Neumann was a scientist, and a pioneer computer programmer. She wrote the code used on the MANIAC machine developed by John von Neumann and Julian Bigelow at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. She was also involved in the design of new controls for ENIAC and was one of its primary programmers. She taught early weather scientists how to program.
1920 – The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.
The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits any United States citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. It was ratified on August 18, 1920. The Constitution allows the states to determine the qualifications of voters, subject to limitations imposed by later amendments. Until the 1910s, most states disenfranchised women. The amendment was the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote. It effectively overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote.
The Nineteenth Amendment was first introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years later, in 1919, Congress approved the amendment and submitted it to the states for ratification. It was ratified by the requisite number of states a year later, with Tennessee’s ratification being the final vote needed to add the amendment to the Constitution. In Leser v. Garnett (1922), the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted.
1957 – Marta Bohn-Meyer, American pilot and engineer is born.
Marta Bohn-Meyer was an American pilot and engineer.
Marta Bohn-Meyer served as chief engineer of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. Bohn-Meyer was involved in a variety of research projects at NASA — she was the first female crewmember assigned to the Lockheed SR-71, serving as navigator during studies of aerodynamics and propulsion that used the SR-71 as a testbed. She was also project manager in a study of advanced laminar flow wing design using the General Dynamics F-16XL aircraft.
Bohn-Meyer was an accomplished Unlimited aerobatic pilot, and was twice a member of the United States Unlimited Aerobatic Team. She also served as Team Manager in 2005.
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