1846 – George Westinghouse, American engineer and businessman, founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company is born.
George Westinghouse, Jr. was an American entrepreneur and engineer who invented the railway air brake and was a pioneer of the electrical industry, gaining his first patent at the age of 22. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for much of his career, Westinghouse was one of Thomas Edison’s main rivals in the early implementation of the American electricity system. Westinghouse’s electricity distribution system, based on alternating current, ultimately prevailed over Edison’s insistence on direct current. In 1911 Westinghouse received the AIEE’s Edison Medal “For meritorious achievement in connection with the development of the alternating current system.”
1897 – Florence B. Seibert, American biochemist and academic, is born.
Florence Barbara Seibert was an American biochemist known for isolating a pure form of tuberculin used in the standard TB test. She is a member of the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame.
1903 – Ernest Walton, Irish physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate, is born.
Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton was an Irish physicist and Nobel laureate for his work with John Cockcroft with “atom-smashing” experiments done at Cambridge University in the early 1930s, and so became the first person in history to artificially split the atom, thus ushering the nuclear age.
1927 – Opening of The Jazz Singer, the first prominent talking movie.
The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film era. Directed by Alan Crosland and produced by Warner Bros. with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the movie star Al Jolson performs six songs. The film is based on The Day of Atonement, a play by Samson Raphaelson.
The film depicts the fictional story of Jakie Rabinowitz, a young man who defies the traditions of his devout Jewish family. After singing popular tunes in a beer garden he is punished by his father, a cantor, prompting Jakie to run away from home. Some years later, now calling himself Jack Robin, he has become a talented jazz singer. He attempts to build a career as an entertainer but his professional ambitions ultimately come into conflict with the demands of his home and heritage.
Darryl F. Zanuck won the Special Academy Award for producing the film, and it was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Engineering Effects. In 1996, The Jazz Singer was selected for preservation in the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” motion pictures. In 1998, the film was chosen in voting conducted by the American Film Institute as one of the best American films of all time, ranking at number ninety.
1995 – 51 Pegasi is discovered to be the second major star apart from the Sun to have a planet orbiting around it.
51 Pegasi (abbreviated 51 Peg) is a Sun-like star located 50.9 light-years (15.6 parsecs) from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. It was the first extrasolar Sun-like star found to have a planet orbiting it.
2007 – Jason Lewis completes the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe.
Jason Lewis is an English award-winning author, explorer and sustainability campaigner credited with being the first person to circumnavigate the globe by human power. He is also the first person to cross North America on inline skates (1996), and the first to cross the Pacific Ocean by pedal power (2000). Together with Stevie Smith, Lewis completed the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from mainland Europe to North America by human power (1995).
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