1921 – Beatrice Helen Worsley, Mexican-Canadian computer scientist and academic is born.
Beatrice “Trixie” Helen Worsley was the first female computer scientist in Canada. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge with Alan Turing and Douglas Hartree as advisers, the first Ph.D granted in what would today be known as computer science. She wrote the first program to run on EDSAC, co-wrote the first compiler for Toronto’s Ferranti Mark 1, wrote numerous papers in computer science, and taught computers and engineering at Queen’s University and the University of Toronto for over 20 years before her untimely death at the age of 50.
1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first transistor radio.
Two companies working together, Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.) of Indianapolis, Indiana, were behind the unveiling of the Regency TR-1, the world’s first commercially produced transistor radio. Previously, Texas Instruments was producing instrumentation for the oil industry and locating devices for the U.S. Navy and I.D.E.A. built home television antenna boosters. The two companies worked together on the TR-1, looking to grow revenues for their respective companies by breaking into this new product area. In May 1954, Texas Instruments had designed and built a prototype and was looking for an established radio manufacturer to develop and market a radio using their transistors. (The Chief Project Engineer for the radio design at Texas Instruments’ headquarters in Dallas, Texas was Paul D. Davis, Jr., who had a degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University. He was assigned the project due to his experience with radio engineering in World War II.) None of the major radio makers including RCA, Philco, and Emerson were interested. The President of I.D.E.A. at the time, Ed Tudor, jumped at the opportunity to manufacture the TR-1, predicting sales of the transistor radios at “20 million radios in three years”. The Regency TR-1 was announced on October 18, 1954 by the Regency Division of I.D.E.A., was put on sale in November 1954, and was the first practical transistor radio made in any significant numbers. Billboard reported in 1954 that “the radio has only four transistors. One acts as a combination mixer-oscillator, one as an audio amplifier, and two as intermediate-frequency amplifiers.” One year after the release of the TR-1 sales approached the 100,000 mark. The look and size of the TR-1 was well received, but the reviews of the TR-1’s performance were typically adverse. The Regency TR-1 is patented by Richard C. Koch, US 2892931, former Project Engineer of I.D.E.A.
1967 – The Soviet probe Venera 4 reaches Venus and becomes the first spacecraft to measure the atmosphere of another planet.
Venera 4, also designated 1V (V-67) s/n 310 was a probe in the Soviet Venera program for the exploration of Venus. It was the first successful probe to perform in-place analysis of the environment of another planet. It may also have been the first probe to land on another planet, with the fate of its predecessor Venera 3 being unclear. Venera 4 provided the first chemical analysis of the Venusian atmosphere, showing it to be primarily carbon dioxide with a few percent of nitrogen and below one percent of oxygen and water vapors. The station detected a weak magnetic field and no radiation field. The outer atmospheric layer contained very little hydrogen and no atomic oxygen. The probe sent the first direct measurements proving that Venus was extremely hot, that its atmosphere was far denser than expected, and that it had lost most of its water long ago.
1979 – the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) begins allowing people to have home satellite earth stations without a federal government license.
On October 18, 1979, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began allowing people to have home satellite earth stations without a federal government license. The front cover of the 1979 Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalogue featured the first home satellite TV stations on sale for $36,500. The dishes were nearly 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter and were remote controlled. The price went down by half soon after that, but there were only eight more channels. The Society for Private and Commercial Earth Stations (SPACE), an organisation which represented consumers and satellite TV system owners was established in 1980.