1871 – Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate is born.
Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson, OM, FRS was a New Zealand physicist who came to be known as the father of nuclear physics. Encyclopædia Britannica considers him to be the greatest experimentalist since Michael Faraday (1791–1867).
In early work he discovered the concept of radioactive half-life, proved that radioactivity involved the nuclear transmutation of one chemical element to another, and also differentiated and named alpha and beta radiation. This work was done at McGill University in Canada. It is the basis for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry he was awarded in 1908 “for his investigations into the disintegration of the elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances”, for which he is the first Canadian and Oceanian Nobel laureate, and remains the only laureate born in the South Island.
Rutherford moved in 1907 to the Victoria University of Manchester (today University of Manchester) in the UK, where he and Thomas Royds proved that alpha radiation is helium nuclei. Rutherford performed his most famous work after he became a Nobel laureate. In 1911, although he could not prove that it was positive or negative, he theorized that atoms have their charge concentrated in a very small nucleus, and thereby pioneered the Rutherford model of the atom, through his discovery and interpretation of Rutherford scattering by the gold foil experiment of Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden. He conducted research that led to the first “splitting” of the atom in 1917 in a nuclear reaction between nitrogen and alpha particles, in which he also discovered (and named) the proton.
Rutherford became Director of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in 1919. Under his leadership the neutron was discovered by James Chadwick in 1932 and in the same year the first experiment to split the nucleus in a fully controlled manner was performed by students working under his direction, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton. After his death in 1937, he was honoured by being interred with the greatest scientists of the United Kingdom, near Sir Isaac Newton’s tomb in Westminster Abbey. The chemical element rutherfordium (element 104) was named after him in 1997.
1907 – Bertha Parker Pallan, American archaeologist is born.
Bertha “Birdie” Parker was the first Native American female archaeologist, of Abenaki and Seneca descent. She was born in 1907 in Chautauqua County, New York. Her mother, Beulah Tahamont (later Folsom), was an actress. Her father, Arthur C. Parker, was an archaeologist and the first president of the Society for American Archaeology. Her maternal grandparents were the actors Elijah “Chief Dark Cloud” Tahamont and Margaret (Dove Eye) Camp. As a child, she assisted her father in his excavations…
…Bertha Parker Pallan Thurston Cody is notable in the field of archaeology for her role as a ground-breaker: she was one of the first (if not the first) Native American female archaeologists. She was certainly first in her ability to conduct this work at a high level of skill, yet without a university education, making discoveries and gaining insights that impressed the trained archaeologists around her.
1907 – John Mauchly, American physicist and co-founder of the first computer company is born.
John William Mauchly was an American physicist who, along with J. Presper Eckert, designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic digital computer, as well as EDVAC, BINAC and UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer made in the United States.
Together they started the first computer company, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC), and pioneered fundamental computer concepts including the stored program, subroutines, and programming languages. Their work, as exposed in the widely read First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC (1945) and as taught in the Moore School Lectures (1946), influenced an explosion of computer development in the late 1940s all over the world.
1919 – Maurice Hilleman, American microbiologist and vaccinologist is born.
Maurice Ralph Hilleman was an American microbiologist who specialized in vaccinology and developed over 40 vaccines, an unparalleled record of productivity. Of the 14 vaccines routinely recommended in current vaccine schedules, he developed eight: those for measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. He also played a role in the discovery of the cold-producing adenoviruses, the hepatitis viruses, and the cancer-causing virus SV40.
He is credited with saving more lives than any other medical scientist of the 20th century. Robert Gallo described him as “the most successful vaccinologist in history”.
1967 – Thurgood Marshall is confirmed as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Thurgood Marshall was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice.
Before becoming a judge, Marshall was a lawyer who was best known for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools. He served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy and then served as the Solicitor General after being appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Johnson nominated him to the United States Supreme Court in 1967.
1984 – STS-41-D: The Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on its maiden voyage.
Space Shuttle Discovery is one of the orbiters from NASA’s Space Shuttle program and the third of five built. Its first mission, STS-41-D, flew from August 30 to September 5, 1984. Over 27 years of service it launched and landed 39 times, gathering more spaceflights than any other spacecraft to date.
Discovery became the third operational orbiter to enter service, preceded by Columbia and Challenger. It embarked on its last mission, STS-133, on February 24, 2011 and touched down for the final time at Kennedy Space Center on March 9, having spent a cumulative total of almost a full year in space. Discovery performed both research and International Space Station (ISS) assembly missions. It also carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. Discovery was the first operational shuttle to be retired, followed by Endeavour and then Atlantis.
HardWired episode 6 — Adafruit! “iJustine gets crafty with Becky Stern, Adafruit’s Director of Wearable Electronics.” Read more.
“F is for Frequency” – Circuit Playground! (video) – featuring a talking oscilloscope ! What is frequency? Why is it so important for radio and sound waves? Find all the answers with Adabot, Ladyada and a new friend who knows quite a bit about the subject. Read more.
CNBC visited Adafruit and interviewed our founder and engineer, Ladyada! How one small business makes electrical engineering easy.
How one small business makes electrical engineering easy – Buzzing and humming filled the air at the Adafruit Industries factory in downtown Manhattan, where workers assembled kits for do-it-yourself electronics.
The kits, used by kids and adults alike, teach basic concepts of electrical engineering, with a reward at the end of each lesson: an original and functional item made by hand.