1885 – Harry Ricardo, English engine designer and researcher is born.
Sir Harry Ricardo was one of the foremost engine designers and researchers in the early years of the development of the internal combustion engine.
Among his many other works, he improved the engines that were used in the first tanks, oversaw the research into the physics of internal combustion that led to the use of octane ratings, was instrumental in development of the sleeve valve engine design, and invented the Diesel “Comet” Swirl chamber that made high-speed diesel engines economically feasible.
1891 – Wilder Penfield, American-Canadian neurosurgeon and academic is born.
Wilder Graves Penfield OM CC CMG FRS was a pioneering neurosurgeon once dubbed “the greatest living Canadian”. He expanded brain surgery’s methods and techniques, including mapping the functions of various regions of the brain such as the cortical homunculus. His scientific contributions on neural stimulation expand across a variety of topics including hallucinations, illusions, and deja vu. Penfield devoted a lot of his thinking to mental processes, including contemplation of whether there was any scientific basis for the existence of the human soul.
1892 – Bessie Coleman, American pilot is born.
Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and is also the first Native American woman to hold a pilot license. She is also the first person of African American and Native American descent to hold an international pilot license….
Coleman quickly realized that in order to make a living as a civilian aviator—the age of commercial flight was still a decade or more in the future—she would need to become a “barnstorming” stunt flier, and perform for paying audiences. But to succeed in this highly competitive arena, she would need advanced lessons and a more extensive repertoire. Returning to Chicago, Coleman could find no one willing to teach her, so in February 1922, she sailed again for Europe. She spent the next two months in France completing an advanced course in aviation, then left for the Netherlands to meet with Anthony Fokker, one of the world’s most distinguished aircraft designers. She also traveled to Germany, where she visited the Fokker Corporation and received additional training from one of the company’s chief pilots. She returned to the United States with the confidence and enthusiasm she needed to launch her career in exhibition flying.
“Queen Bess,” as she was known, was a highly popular draw for the next five years. Invited to important events and often interviewed by newspapers, she was admired by both blacks and whites. She primarily flew Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplanes and army surplus aircraft left over from the war. She made her first appearance in an American airshow on September 3, 1922, at an event honoring veterans of the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I. Held at Curtiss Field on Long Island near New York City and sponsored by her friend Abbott and the Chicago Defender newspaper, the show billed Coleman as “the world’s greatest woman flier” and featured aerial displays by eight other American ace pilots, and a jump by black parachutist Hubert Julian. Six weeks later she returned to Chicago to deliver a stunning demonstration of daredevil maneuvers—including figure eights, loops, and near-ground dips—to a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Checkerboard Airdrome (now Chicago Midway Airport).
1949 – The Hale telescope at Palomar Observatory sees first light under the direction of Edwin Hubble, becoming the largest aperture optical telescope (until BTA-6 is built in 1976).
The Hale Telescope is a 200-inch (5.1 m), f/3.3 reflecting telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California, US, named after astronomer George Ellery Hale. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, he orchestrated the planning, design, and construction of the observatory, but did not live to see its commissioning. The Hale was groundbreaking for its time, with double the diameter of the next largest telescope and pioneering the use of many technologies such as vapor deposited aluminum and low thermal expansion glass. It is still in active use.
1961 – John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his physician. This is the first time a woman holds the appointment of Physician to the President.
…It was her success with alleviating skeletal muscle pain that resulted in Travell being the first female personal Physician to the President. Travell was called upon by the personal orthopedic surgeon of Senator John F. Kennedy to assist with back pain treatments. Kennedy suffered from terrible pain resulting from invasive back surgeries related to injuries sustained during World War II. When Kennedy won the Presidential race in 1960, he appointed her as his personal physician. Her treatments included the use of a rocking chair to help alleviate pain, which led to the popularization of the furniture piece among Americans. She continued to serve as Personal Physician to the President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, with his successor Lyndon B. Johnson. She continued through Johnson’s re-election, but decided to leave the White House in 1965.
1962 – Ranger 3 is launched to study the Moon. The space probe later misses the moon by 22,000 miles (35,400 km).
Ranger 3 was a space exploration mission conducted by NASA to study the Moon. The Ranger 3 robotic spacecraft was launched January 26, 1962 as part of the Ranger program. Due to a series of malfunctions, the spacecraft missed the Moon by 22,000 mi (35,000 km) and entered a heliocentric orbit.
The Ranger 3 space probe was designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to impacting on the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft.