1748 – Swedish physician and naturalist Anders Sparrman is born.
He sailed for the Cape of Good Hope in January 1772 to take up a post as a tutor. When James Cook arrived there later in the year at the start of his second voyage, Sparrman was taken on as assistant naturalist to Johann and Georg Forster. After the voyage he returned to Cape Town in July 1775 and practiced medicine, earning enough to finance a journey into the interior. He was guided by Daniel Ferdinand Immelman, the young frontiersman who had previously guided the Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg. Daniel and Sparrman reached the Great Fish River and returned in April 1776.
In 1776 Sparrman returned to Sweden, where he had been awarded an honorary doctorate in his absence. He was also elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1777. He was appointed keeper of the natural historical collections of the Academy of Sciences in 1780, Professor of natural history and pharmacology in 1781 and assessor of the Collegium Medicum in 1790. In 1787 he took part in an expedition to West Africa, but this was not successful.
1869 – Alice Hamilton, American scientist and first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University, is born.
Hamilton began her long career in public health and workplace safety in 1910, when Illinois governor Charles S. Deneen appointed her as a medical investor to the newly-formed Illinois Commission on Occupational Diseases. Hamilton lead the commission’s investigations, which focused on industrial poisons such as lead and other toxins. She also authored the “Illinois Survey,” the commission’s report that documented its findings of industrial processes that exposed workers to lead poisoning and other illnesses. The commission’s efforts resulted in the passage of the first workers’ compensation laws in Illinois in 1911, in Indiana in 1915, and occupational disease laws in other states. The new laws required employers to take safety precautions to protect workers.
1902 – American author John Steinbeck is born.
Steinbeck began to write a series of “California novels” and Dust Bowl fiction, set among common people during the Great Depression. These included In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. He also wrote an article series called The Harvest Gypsies for the San Francisco News about the plight of the migrant worker.
Of Mice and Men was a drama about the dreams of two migrant agricultural laborers in California. It was critically acclaimed and Steinbeck’s 1962 Nobel Prize citation called it a “little masterpiece”. Its stage production was a hit, starring Wallace Ford as George and Broderick Crawford as George’s companion, the mentally childlike, but physically powerful itinerant farmhand Lennie. Steinbeck refused to travel from his home in California to attend any performance of the play during its New York run, telling director George S. Kaufman that the play as it existed in his own mind was “perfect” and that anything presented on stage would only be a disappointment. Steinbeck wrote two more stage plays (The Moon Is Down and Burning Bright).
2014 – Adafruit publishes our Adafruit 1-Wire Thermocouple Amplifier – MAX31850K Learn Guide.
Thermocouples are very sensitive, requiring a good amplifier with a cold-compensation reference. So far we’ve carried the very nice MAX31855 which is an SPI interface thermocouple amplifier. The ‘855 is great but if you have a lot of thermocouples to measure it isn’t terribly easy to use. That’s why we are also carrying the new ‘850 model from Maxim – it’s a “1-Wire” thermocouple amp which can have any number of breakouts on a single shared I/O line.
2014 – International Polar Bear Day is first celebrated.
International Polar Bear Day is organized by Polar Bears International to raise awareness about the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations.The day encourages people to find ways to reduce their carbon output, such as by turning down their thermostat or driving less. The day has also been used to encourage the installation of energy efficient insulation in houses.