1902 – Willis Haviland Carrier invents the first air conditioner.
In Buffalo, New York, on July 17, 1902, in response to a quality problem experienced at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company of Brooklyn, Willis Carrier submitted drawings for what became recognized as the world’s first modern air conditioning system. The 1902 installation marked the birth of air conditioning because of the addition of humidity control, which led to the recognition by authorities in the field that A/C must perform four basic functions.
1920 – American physicist Gordon Gould is born.
By 1957, many scientists including Townes were looking for a way to achieve maser-like amplification of visible light. In November of that year, Gould realized that one could make an appropriate optical resonator by using two mirrors in the form of a Fabry–Pérot interferometer. Unlike previously considered designs, this approach would produce a narrow, coherent, intense beam. Since the sides of the cavity did not need to be reflective, the gain medium could easily be optically pumped to achieve the necessary population inversion. Gould also considered pumping of the medium by atomic-level collisions, and anticipated many of the potential uses of such a device.
The first page of the notebook in which Gould coined the acronym LASER and described the essential elements for constructing one.
Gould recorded his analysis and suggested applications in a laboratory notebook under the heading “Some rough calculations on the feasibility of a LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”—the first recorded use of this acronym. Gould’s notebook was the first written prescription for making a viable laser and, realizing what he had in hand, he took it to a neighborhood store to have his work notarized. Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes independently discovered the importance of the Fabry–Pérot cavity—about three months later—and called the resulting proposed device an “optical maser”. Gould’s name for the device was first introduced to the public in a conference presentation in 1959, and was adopted despite resistance from Schawlow and his colleagues.
1955 – Disneyland park opens to the public.
Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955. It is the only theme park designed and built to completion under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. It was originally the only attraction on the property; its official name was changed to Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the expanding complex in the 1990s.
Walt Disney came up with the concept of Disneyland after visiting various amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He initially envisioned building a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain fans who wished to visit; however, he soon realized that the proposed site was too small. After hiring a consultant to help him determine an appropriate site for his project, Disney bought a 160-acre (65 ha) site near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began in 1954 and the park was unveiled during a special televised press event on the ABC Television Network on July 17, 1955.
1976 – 20 African countries boycott the 21st Olympic Games in Montreal.
The opening ceremony of the 21st Olympic Games in Montreal has been marred by the withdrawal of 25 African countries.
They are all protesting at New Zealand’s sporting links with South Africa.
The International Olympic Committee’s refusal to ban New Zealand, whose rugby team is currently touring South Africa, has resulted in the boycott.
South Africa has been banned from the Olympics since 1964 for its refusal to condemn apartheid.
1984 – The national drinking age in the United States is changed from 18 to 21.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 (23 U.S.C. § 158) was passed by the United States Congress on July 17, 1984. It was a controversial bill that punished every state that allowed persons below 21 years to purchase and publicly possess alcoholic beverages by reducing its annual federal highway apportionment by 10 percent. The law was later amended, lowering the penalty to 8 percent from fiscal year 2012 and beyond.
Despite its name, this act did not outlaw the consumption of alcoholic beverages by those under 21 years of age, just its purchase. However, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, and the District of Columbia extended the law into an outright ban. The minimum purchase and drinking ages is a state law, and most states still permit “underage” consumption of alcohol in some circumstances. In some states, no restriction on private consumption is made, while in other states, consumption is only allowed in specific locations, in the presence of consenting and supervising family members, as in the states of Colorado, Maryland, Montana, New York, Texas, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The act also does not seek to criminalize alcohol consumption during religious occasions (e.g. communion wines, Kiddush).