1892 – Louis de Broglie, French physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate is born.
Louis-Victor-Pierre-Raymond was a French physicist who made groundbreaking contributions to quantum theory. In his 1924 PhD thesis he postulated the wave nature of electrons and suggested that all matter has wave properties. This concept is known as the de Broglie hypothesis, an example of wave–particle duality, and forms a central part of the theory of quantum mechanics.
De Broglie won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1929, after the wave-like behaviour of matter was first experimentally demonstrated in 1927.
The 1925 pilot-wave model, and the wave-like behaviour of particles discovered by de Broglie was used by Erwin Schrödinger in his formulation of wave mechanics. The pilot-wave model and interpretation was then abandoned, in favor of the quantum formalism, until 1952 when it was rediscovered and enhanced by David Bohm.
Louis de Broglie was the sixteenth member elected to occupy seat 1 of the Académie française in 1944, and served as Perpetual Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences. De Broglie became the first high-level scientist to call for establishment of a multi-national laboratory, a proposal that led to the establishment of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
1896 – Gerty Cori, Czech-American biochemist and physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate, is born.
Gerty Theresa Cori was a Jewish Czech-American biochemist who became the third woman—and first American woman—to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Cori was born in Prague (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now the Czech Republic). Gerty was not a nickname, but rather she was named after an Austrian warship. Growing up at a time when women were marginalized in science and allowed few educational opportunities, she gained admittance to medical school, where she met her future husband Carl Ferdinand Cori; upon their graduation in 1920, they married. Because of deteriorating conditions in Europe, the couple emigrated to the United States in 1922. Gerty Cori continued her early interest in medical research, collaborating in the laboratory with Carl. She published research findings coauthored with her husband, as well as publishing singly. Unlike her husband, she had difficulty securing research positions, and the ones she obtained provided meager pay. Her husband insisted on continuing their collaboration, though he was discouraged from doing so by the institutions that employed him.
With her husband Carl and Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay, Gerty Cori received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for the discovery of the mechanism by which glycogen—a derivative of glucose—is broken down in muscle tissue into lactic acid and then resynthesized in the body and stored as a source of energy (known as the Cori cycle). They also identified the important catalyzing compound, the Cori ester. In 2004, both Gerty and Carl Cori were designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of their work in clarifying carbohydrate metabolism.
In 1957, Gerty Cori died after a ten-year struggle with myelosclerosis. She remained active in the research laboratory until the end. She received recognition for her achievements through multiple awards and honors. The Cori crater on the Moon and the Cori crater on Venus are named after her.
1939 – The Wizard of Oz premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California.
The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Widely considered to be one of the greatest films in American history, it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, alongside Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, and Margaret Hamilton, with Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe and Clara Blandick, Terry (billed as Toto), and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins.
Notable for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and memorable characters, it has become an icon of American popular culture. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost to Gone with the Wind. It did win in two other categories, including Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow” and Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart. While the film was considered a critical success upon release in August of 1939, it failed to generate profit for MGM, earning only $3,017,000 on a $2,777,000 budget, which made it MGM’s most expensive production to date.
1969 – The Woodstock Music & Art Fair opens in upstate New York, featuring some of the top rock musicians of the era.
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair—informally, the Woodstock Festival or simply Woodstock—was a music festival attracting an audience of over 400,000 people, scheduled over three days on a dairy farm in New York from August 15 to 17, 1969, but ultimately ran four days long, ending August 18, 1969.
Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”, it was held at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre (240 ha; 0.94 sq mi) dairy farm in the Catskills near the hamlet of White Lake in the town of Bethel. Bethel, in Sullivan County, is 43 miles (69 km) southwest of the town of Woodstock, New York, in adjoining Ulster County.
During the sometimes rainy weekend, 32 acts performed outdoors before an audience of more than 400,000 people. It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation.
Rolling Stone listed it as one of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.
1977 – The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, receives a radio signal from deep space; the event is named the “Wow! signal” from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.
The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States, then used to support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The signal appeared to come from the constellation Sagittarius and bore the expected hallmarks of extraterrestrial origin.
Astronomer Jerry R. Ehman discovered the anomaly a few days later, while reviewing the recorded data. He was so impressed by the result that he circled the reading on the computer printout and wrote the comment Wow! on its side, leading to the event’s widely used name.
The entire signal sequence lasted for the full 72-second window during which Big Ear was able to observe it, but has not been detected since, despite several subsequent attempts by Ehman and others. Many hypotheses on the origin of the emission have been advanced, including natural and man-made sources, although none of them adequately explains the result. The Wow! signal remains therefore the strongest candidate for an alien radio transmission ever detected.
2013 – The Smithsonian announces the discovery of the olinguito, the first new carnivorous species found in the Americas in 35 years.
The olinguito (Spanish for “little olingo”, Bassaricyon neblina, colloquially known as the “kitty bear”) is a mammal of the raccoon family Procyonidae that lives in montane forests in the Andes of western Colombia and Ecuador. The species was described as new in 2013. The species name neblina is Spanish for fog or mist, referring to the cloud forest habitat of the olinguito.
On 22 May 2014 the International Institute for Species Exploration declared the olinguito as one of the “Top 10 New Species of 2014” among species discovered in 2013. The reasons for its selection are its resemblance with a cross between a slender domestic cat and a romanticized American black bear, and it is the first new carnivorous mammal described in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.