1925 – Evelyn Berezin, American computer scientist and engineer is born.
Evelyn Berezin is an American computer designer best known for designing the first computer-driven word processor. She was also responsible for the first computer-controlled systems for airline reservations…
…She began graduate work at New York University, holding a fellowship from the United States Atomic Energy Commission. In 1951 she accepted a job with the Electronic Computer Corporation and began there as head of the Logic Design Department. Berezin was the only person doing the logic design for computers being developed by ECC. In 1957 ECC was purchased by Underwood Corporation (originally known as the Underwood Typewriter Company) . Here, she designed a number of computers which were very general in structure but individual in specific application. Among them was a system for the US Army for range calculations, a system for controlling the distribution of magazines, and also developed what is now considered the first office computer.
The Underwood Typewriter Company was not able to continue the development beyond 1957, and Berezin went to a company called Teleregister where she developed the first computerized banking system and also an airline reservation system which controlled 60 cities in a communication system that provided 1 second response time.
In 1968, Berezin had the idea for a word processor to simplify the work of secretaries, and in 1969 she founded a word processor company, Redactron Corporation, which became a public company and delivered thousands of systems to customers throughout its international marketing organization. In the 1970’s, although the market continued strong the economy suffered a serious inflation, increasing interest rates to a level (16%) which was untenable for a business like Redactron which operated in a world in which equipment was rented. The Company was sold to the Burroughs Corporation, and integrated into its office equipment division. Berezin stayed on until 1979.
1937 – Sir Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft, at Rugby, England.
Testing of the first model started on 12 April 1937 at Rugby. During the testing the British Thomson-Houston (BTH) Chief Engineer considered it unwise to exceed 12,000 r.p.m. in the open factory for safety reasons after a run on 23 August up to 13,600 r.p.m. The 31st and final run was on 24 August 1937.
1955 – The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective.
The first effective polio vaccine was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk and a team at the University of Pittsburgh that included Julius Youngner, Byron Bennett, L. James Lewis, and Lorraine Friedman, but it required years of subsequent testing. To encourage patience, Salk went on CBS radio to report a successful test on a small group of adults and children on 26 March 1953; two days later the results were published in JAMA. Beginning 23 February 1954, the vaccine was tested at Arsenal Elementary School and the Watson Home for Children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Salk’s vaccine was then used in a test called the Francis Field Trial, led by Thomas Francis; the largest medical experiment in history. The test began with some 4,000 children at Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, and would eventually involve 1.8 million children, in 44 states from Maine to California. By the conclusion of the study, roughly 440,000 received one or more injections of the vaccine, about 210,000 children received a placebo, consisting of harmless culture media, and 1.2 million children received no vaccination and served as a control group, who would then be observed to see if any contracted polio. The results of the field trial were announced 12 April 1955 (the tenth anniversary of the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose paralysis was generally believed to have been caused by polio). The Salk vaccine had been 60–70% effective against PV1 (poliovirus type 1), over 90% effective against PV2 and PV3, and 94% effective against the development of bulbar polio. Soon after Salk’s vaccine was licensed in 1955, children’s vaccination campaigns were launched. In the U.S, following a mass immunization campaign promoted by the March of Dimes, the annual number of polio cases fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957. By 1961 only 161 cases were recorded in the United States.
1961 – The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1.
On 12 April 1961, the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1) spacecraft with Gagarin aboard was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Gagarin thus became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the earth. His call sign was Kedr (Russian: Кедр, Siberian pine or Cedar).
The radio communication between the launch control room and Gagarin included the following dialogue at the moment of rocket launch:
Korolev: “Preliminary stage….. intermediate….. main….. lift off! We wish you a good flight. Everything is all right.”
Gagarin: “Поехали!” (Poyekhali!—Let’s go!).
Gagarin’s informal poyekhali! became a historical phrase in the Eastern Bloc, used to refer to the beginning of the Space Age in human history.
In his post-flight report, Gagarin recalled his experience of spaceflight, having been the first human in space:
The feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended.
1981 – The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes place – the STS-1 mission.
STS-1 (Space Transportation System-1) was the first orbital spaceflight of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. The first orbiter, Columbia, launched on 12 April 1981 and returned on 14 April, 54.5 hours later, having orbited the Earth 37 times. Columbia carried a crew of two – mission commander John W. Young and pilot Robert L. Crippen. It was the first American manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. STS-1 was also the only maiden test flight of a new US spacecraft to carry a crew, though it was preceded by atmospheric testing of the orbiter and ground testing of the space shuttle system.
The launch occurred on the 20th anniversary of the first-ever human spaceflight. This was a coincidence rather than a celebration of the anniversary; a technical problem had prevented STS-1 from launching two days earlier, as was planned.
1994 – Canter & Siegel post the first commercial mass Usenet spam.
Laurence A. Canter (b. June 24, 1953) and Martha S. Siegel (April 9, 1948 – September 24, 2000) were partners in a husband-and-wife firm of lawyers who, on April 12, 1994, posted the first massive commercial Usenet spam. To many people, this event, coming not long after the National Science Foundation lifted its unofficial ban on commercial speech on the Internet, marks the end of the Net’s early period, when the original netiquette could still be enforced.
Canter and Siegel were not the first Usenet spammers. The “Green Card” spam was, however, the first commercial Usenet spam, and its unapologetic authors are seen as having set the precedent for the modern global practice of spamming.
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