1731 – Henry Cavendish, French-English chemist, physicist, and philosopher is born.
Henry Cavendish FRS was a British natural philosopher, scientist, and an important experimental and theoretical chemist and physicist. Cavendish is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called “inflammable air”. He described the density of inflammable air, which formed water on combustion, in a 1766 paper “On Factitious Airs”. Antoine Lavoisier later reproduced Cavendish’s experiment and gave the element its name.
1897 – German chemist Felix Hoffmann discovers an improved way of synthesizing acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
In 1897, Hoffmann started working to find a less irritating substitute for salicylic acid. It is generally accepted that he turned to this idea because his father was suffering the side effects of taking sodium salicylate for rheumatism.
1938 – Leroy Hood, American biologist and academic is born.
Leroy “Lee” Edward Hood is an American biologist who has served on the faculties at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Washington. Hood has developed ground-breaking scientific instruments which made possible major advances in the biological sciences and the medical sciences. These include the first gas phase protein sequencer (1982), for determining the amino acids that make up a given protein; a DNA synthesizer (1983), to synthesize short sections of DNA; a peptide synthesizer (1984), to combine amino acids into longer peptides and short proteins; the first automated DNA sequencer (1986), to identify the order of nucleotides in DNA; ink-jet oligonucleotide technology for synthesizing DNA and nanostring technology for analyzing single molecules of DNA and RNA.
The protein sequencer, DNA synthesizer, peptide synthesizer, and DNA sequencer were commercialized through Applied Biosystems, Inc. and the ink-jet technology was commercialized through Agilent Technologies. The automated DNA sequencer was an enabling technology for the Human Genome Project. The peptide synthesizer was used in the synthesis of the HIV protease by Stephen Kent and others, and the development of a protease inhibitor for AIDS treatment.
Hood established the first cross-disciplinary biology department, the Department of Molecular Biotechnology (MBT), at the University of Washington in 1992, and co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology in 2000. Hood is credited with introducing the term “systems biology”, and advocates for “P4 medicine”, medicine that is “predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory.” Scientific American counted him among the 10 most influential people in the field of biotechnology in 2015.
1967 – The Outer Space Treaty, signed on January 27 by more than sixty nations, comes into force.
The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. The treaty was opened for signature in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on 27 January 1967, and entered into force on 10 October 1967. As of July 2017, 107 countries are parties to the treaty, while another 23 have signed the treaty but have not completed ratification. In addition, the Republic of China (Taiwan), which is currently only recognized by 19 UN member states, ratified the treaty prior to the United Nations General Assembly’s vote to transfer China’s seat to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1971.