1796 – Johann Christian Poggendorff, German physicist and journalist is born.
Johann Christian Poggendorff, was a German physicist born in Hamburg. By far the greater and more important part of his work related to electricity and magnetism. Poggendorff is known for his electrostatic motor which is analogous to Wilhelm Holtz’s electrostatic machine. In 1841 he described the use of the potentiometer for measurement of electrical potentials without current draw.
1949 – KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut becomes the first Ultra high frequency (UHF) television station to operate a daily schedule.
KC2XAK was the world’s first UHF television station. It was simply a rebroadcast/broadcast translator transmitter of New York City’s WNBT (NBC 4), and broadcast on UHF Channel 24 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It went on the air on December 29, 1949.
The station’s launch was code-named “Operation Bridgeport”, as a test by RCA and NBC, to determine if the UHF spectrum was feasible to use for communications and broadcasting.
1958 – Nancy J. Currie, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut is born.
Nancy Jane Currie is an engineer, United States Army officer and a NASA astronaut…
…Currie was assigned to NASA Johnson Space Center in September 1987 as a flight simulation engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft, a complex airborne simulator which models flight characteristics of the Shuttle orbiter. An astronaut since 1990, she has been involved in robotic hardware and procedure development for the shuttle and space station and has worked as a spacecraft communicator. Dr. Currie has also served as the chief of the Astronaut Office Robotics and Payloads-Habitability branches and the Habitability and Human Factors Office in JSC’s Space and Life Sciences Directorate. She has assisted the Johnson Space Center’s Automation, Robotics, and Simulation Division in the development of advanced robotics systems and is a consultant to NASA’s Space Human Factors Engineering Project. A veteran of four Space Shuttle missions, she has accrued 1,000 hours in space. She flew as mission specialist – flight engineer, on STS-57 (1993), STS-70 (1995), STS-88 (1998; the first International Space Station assembly mission), and STS-109 (2002).
In September 2003, Currie was selected to lead the Space Shuttle Program’s Safety and Mission Assurance Office. As of 2006, she serves as the Senior Technical Advisor to the Automation, Robotics, and Simulation Division in the JSC Engineering Directorate.
1959 – Physicist Richard Feynman gives a speech entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom“, which is regarded as the birth of nanotechnology.
“There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” was a lecture given by physicist Richard Feynman at an American Physical Society meeting at Caltech on December 29, 1959. Feynman considered the possibility of direct manipulation of individual atoms as a more powerful form of synthetic chemistry than those used at the time. The talk went unnoticed and it didn’t inspire the conceptual beginnings of the field. In the 1990s it was rediscovered and publicised as a seminal event in the field, probably to boost the history of nanotechnology with Feynman’s reputation.