1899 – Percy Lavon Julian, American chemist and academic, is born.
Percy Lavon Julian was an African American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine, and a pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones progesterone and testosterone from plant sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol. His work laid the foundation for the steroid drug industry’s production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.
He later started his own company to synthesize steroid intermediates from the wild Mexican yam. His work helped greatly reduce the cost of steroid intermediates to large multinational pharmaceutical companies, helping to significantly expand the use of several important drugs.
Julian received more than 130 chemical patents. He was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry. He was the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and the second African-American scientist inducted (behind David Blackwell) from any field.
1914 – Dorothy Lewis Bernstein, American mathematician, is born.
Dorothy Lewis Bernstein was an American mathematician known for her work in applied mathematics, statistics, computer programming, and her research on the Laplace transform. She was the first woman to be elected president of the Mathematics Association of America.
1938 – Reatha King, American chemist and businesswoman, is born.
Reatha Clark King is an African-American chemist, the former Vice President of the General Mills Corporation; and the former President, Executive Director, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the General Mills Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of General Mills, Inc.
1970 – Apollo 13 is launched.
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST (19:13 UTC) from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) had depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to make makeshift repairs to the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.
The flight passed the far side of the Moon at an altitude of 254 kilometers (137 nautical miles) above the lunar surface, and 400,171 km (248,655 mi) from Earth, a spaceflight record marking the farthest humans have ever traveled from Earth. The mission was commanded by James A. Lovell with John L. “Jack” Swigert as Command Module Pilot and Fred W. Haise as Lunar Module Pilot. Swigert was a late replacement for the original CM pilot Ken Mattingly, who was grounded by the flight surgeon after exposure to German measles.
The story of the Apollo 13 mission has been dramatized multiple times, most notably in the 1995 film Apollo 13.
1976 – The Apple I is created.
Apple Computer 1, also known later as the Apple I, or Apple-1, is a desktop computer released by the Apple Computer Company (now Apple Inc.) in 1976. It was designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak’s friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. The Apple I was Apple’s first product, and to finance its creation, Jobs sold his only motorized means of transportation, a VW Microbus, for a few hundred dollars, and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500; however, Wozniak said that Jobs planned to use his bicycle if necessary. It was demonstrated in July 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.
Production was discontinued on September 30, 1977, after the June 10, 1977, introduction of its successor, the Apple II, which Byte magazine referred to as part of the “1977 Trinity” of personal computing (along with the PET 2001 and the TRS-80).