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Time Travel Tuesday #timetravel a look back at the Adafruit, maker, science, technology and engineering world

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1894 – Labor Day becomes an official US holiday.

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Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend and it is considered the unofficial end of summer.

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. “Labor Day” was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day.

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1906 – Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Polish-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate is born.

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Maria Goeppert Mayer was a German-born American theoretical physicist, and Nobel laureate in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second female Nobel laureate in physics, after Marie Curie.

A graduate of the University of Göttingen, Goeppert Mayer wrote her doctorate on the theory of possible two-photon absorption by atoms. At the time, the chances of experimentally verifying her thesis seemed remote, but the development of the laser permitted this. Today, the unit for the two-photon absorption cross section is named the Goeppert Mayer (GM) unit.

Maria Goeppert married Joseph Edward Mayer and moved to the United States, where he was an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University. Strict rules against nepotism prevented Johns Hopkins University from taking her on as a faculty member, but she was given a job as an assistant and published a landmark paper on double beta decay in 1935. In 1937, she moved to Columbia University, where she took an unpaid position. During World War II, she worked for the Manhattan Project at Columbia on isotope separation, and with Edward Teller at the Los Alamos Laboratory on the development of the Teller’s “Super” bomb.

After the war, Goeppert Mayer became a voluntary associate professor of Physics at the University of Chicago (where Teller and her husband worked) and a senior physicist at the nearby Argonne National Laboratory. She developed a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells, for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, which she shared with J. Hans D. Jensen and Eugene Wigner. In 1960, she was appointed full professor of physics at the University of California at San Diego.

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1926 – Robert Ledley, American academic and inventor

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Robert Steven Ledley, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and Professor of Radiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine, pioneered the use of electronic digital computers in biology and medicine. In 1959, he wrote two influential articles in Science: “Reasoning Foundations of Medical Diagnosis” (with Lee B. Lusted) and “Digital Electronic Computers in Biomedical Science”. Both articles encouraged biomedical researchers and physicians to adopt computer technology. In 1960 he established the National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), a non-profit research organization dedicated to promoting the use of computers and electronic equipment in biomedical research. At the NBRF Ledley pursued several major projects: the early 1960s development of the Film Input to Digital Automatic Computer (FIDAC), which automated the analysis of chromosomes; the invention of the Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial (ACTA) whole-body CT scanner in the mid-1970s; managing the Atlas of Protein Sequence and Structure (created in 1965 by Margaret O. Dayhoff); and the establishment of the Protein Information Resource in 1984. Ledley also served as editor of several major peer-reviewed biomedical journals. In 1990, Ledley was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1997. He retired as president and research director of the NBRF in 2010.

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1969 – Stonewall riots begin in New York City, marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

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The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homophile groups in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social/political movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn. They attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.

After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.

The Stonewall National Monument was established at the site in 2016.

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