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Today in History :: Friday, 22 June 2018


Birthdays:
1757George Vancouver, navigator, naval surveyor. Best known for his exploration of North America and the Pacific coast along Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Various locations around the world have been named after him including Vancouver Island and the cities of Vancouver in Washington, USA and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England.
1864Hermann Minkowski, mathematician. Developed the geometrical theory of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve difficult problems in number theory, mathematical physics, and the theory of relativity. He was first to propose that space and time, which were formerly thought to be independent, should be coupled together in a four-dimensional space-time continuum. He worked out a four-dimensional treatment of electrodynamics, his idea of a four-dimensional space (now known as "Minkowski space"), combined the three dimensions of physical space with that of time, and laid the mathematical foundation for Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. Born in Alexotas, Russia (now Kaunas, Lithuania).
1887Julian Huxley, biologist, author. First Director General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and a founder of the World Wildlife Fund. He was the brother of author Aldous Huxley (Brave New World, Eyeless in Gaza). He was knighted in 1958. Born in London, England.
1891Franz Alexander, physician, psychoanalyst. Widely regarded as the father of psychosomatic medicine because of his leading role in identifying emotional tension as a significant cause of physical illness. Born in Budapest, Hungary.
1903John Dillinger, outlaw, gangster. Named "public enemy number one" by FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. He was given a dishonourable discharge from the US Navy at the age of 22 for desertion and began his life of crime by beating up a local grocer. He was sentenced to 10 - 20 years in prison and while in prison he became a hardened criminal and learnt the art of bank robbing. He is known for his violent shoot-outs with police and his ability to escape from jail. In 1934 he was shot by police at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, USA, and died in the police van on the way to hospital. Born in Mooresville, Indiana, USA.
1906Billy Wilder, writer, director (Sunset Blvd, Some Like It Hot, Apartment, Stalag 17). Began his career as a journalist in Vienna and moved to Berlin to continue that profession. He wrote his first film script in 1929. Born Samuel Wilder in Sucha, Austria-Hungary (now in Poland).
1910Konrad Zuse, electronics engineer. Constructed the first fully operational program-controlled electromechanical binary calculating machine, or digital computer, called the Z3. He also created a basic programming system known as Plankalkül with which he designed a chess playing program. He was unable to convince the Nazi government of the time to support his work and all but one of his machines ware destroyed during allied WW II bombing raids. Born in Berlin, Germany.
1929Ralph Waite, actor (Cool Hand Luke, 5 Easy Pieces, The Waltons). Unsuccessfully ran for the US Congress in California to fill the unexpired term of the late Sonny Bono. He was defeated by Bono's widow Mary. Born in White Plains, New York, USA.
1948Todd Rundgren, musician. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
1949Lindsay Wagner, actress (Bionic Woman). Born in Los Angeles, California, USA.
1949Meryl Streep, actress (The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie's Choice, Manhattan, Out of Africa, Death Becomes Her). Regarded by some as the best actress working in American films today, possessing the skill to transform herself into whatever character she portrays. She is the most nominated actor ever for Academy Awards, with 13 nominations, winning two of them (Sophie's Choice, Kramer vs Kramer). Born Mary Louise Streep in Summit, New Jersey, USA.
1958Bruce Campbell, actor (Evil Dead, The Hudsucker Proxy). Well known for his starring role as Ash in the Evil Dead trilogy of horror/slapstick films, directed by his childhood friend Sam Raimi. Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA.
Deaths:
1922Sir Henry Wilson, Irish-born British Army field marshal. Served in Burma and the Boer War (1899-1901) and was appointed director of military operations at the War Ministry in 1910. He was chief of the British imperial general staff, and main military adviser to Prime Minister David Lloyd George in the last year of WW I. He was a staunch Irish Protestant and was murdered on the doorstep of his house by two Irish Catholic Republicans connected with the Irish Republican Army. Died in London, England, aged 58.
1965David O. Selznick, American Hollywood producer. Best known for producing the epic blockbuster "Gone With the Wind" in 1939, which earned him an Oscar. His career took off after he married Irene Mayer, daughter of Louis B. Mayer, co-owner of MGM Studios. He also worked with Alfred Hitchcock in "Rebecca" and "The Paradine Case". His career then began to wain and he struggled with his ego and his dwindling influence in Hollywood, and began gambling extensively. Died of a heart attack in Hollywood, California, USA, aged 63.
1969Judy Garland (b. Frances Ethel Gumm), singer, actress (The Wizard of Oz, Judgement at Nuremberg, Meet Me in St Louis, A Star Is Born). Died of an accidental barbiturate overdose in Chelsea, London, England, aged 48.
1987Fred Astaire (b. Frederick Austerlitz), actor, dancer (Top Hat, Swing Time, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Follow the Fleet). The son of an Austrian immigrant, he entered show business at the age of 5 and became regarded as the greatest dancer in film history. Died of pneumonia at Century City Hospital, Los Angeles, USA, aged 88.
1990Ilya Mikhaylovich Frank, Russian physicist. Shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1958 for explaining the mechanism of "Cherenkov radiation", where a peculiar blue light is emitted by charged particles travelling at very high speeds through water. The effect occurs when the particles travel through an optically transparent medium at speeds greater than the speed of light in that medium. The discovery resulted in the development of new methods for detecting and measuring the velocity of high-speed particles. Died aged 81.
Events on this day:
1675The Royal Greenwich Observatory is established in London, England, by Charles II.
1772Slavery is outlawed in England.
1807British authorities board the USS Chesapeake, a provocation that led to the War of 1812.
1815Napoleon abdicates for the second time (following his disastrous defeat at Waterloo).
1868Arkansas is re-admitted as a state of the USA.
1910Zeppelin Deutscheland, the first airship with passengers, takes to the air.
1911George V is crowned King of England.
1940France is forced to sign an armistice with Nazi Germany.
1941'Operation Barbarossa', the massive German invasion of the Soviet Union by three million troops, begins.
1969Aretha Franklin is arrested in Detroit, Michigan, USA for creating a disturbance.
1977Former US Attorney General John Mitchell begins a 19 month prison sentence in Alabama for his part in the Watergate cover-up. He was charged with conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice but was released on parole for medical reasons.
1978James Christy announces his discovery of Charon, the first moon of Pluto.
1981John McEnroe throws his greatest ever tantrum at Wimbledon: "YOU CAN NOT BE SERIOUS!!!...".
1981Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to killing John Lennon.
1983A satellite is retrieved from orbit for the first time by the Space Shuttle.
Quote of the day:
A new randomly-selected quote each day.

"That which does not kill you makes you stronger."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Daily Trivia
A new (mostly science-related) question each day.
Q. Which scientist is famous for shouting "Eureka!" during a bath?
show answer

Site of the Day:
A random site to visit each day, some of which I've found interesting, useful, humourous, provocative, etc...
New Scientist Magazine
Science and technology web site from the people at 'New Scientist' magazine. Contains comprehensive and up-to-date coverage from the world of science and technology.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Marking 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

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