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Released: 20 Dec 2013



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Today in History :: Wednesday, 25 April 2018


Birthdays:
1284Edward II, King of England (1307 - 1327). Fourth son of Edward I, a notable military leader, he became heir to the throne at only a few months of age when his older brother Alfonso died. Regarded as lacking in drive and ambition, he was decisively defeated by Robert Bruce in the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Imprisoned in 1326, he renounced the throne in 1327 in favour of his eldest son, Edward III. Born at Caernarfon Castle, North Wales.
1599Oliver Cromwell, soldier, statesman. One of the leading generals on the Parliamentary side during the English Civil Wars, he led the New Model Army to decisive success at the Battles of Marston Moor and Naseby in 1645. He was among those who brought King Charles I to trial and signed his death warrant. After the British Isles were named the Commonwealth, he served as the first chairman of the Council of State, and when Charles II advanced into England in 1651, Cromwell destroyed his army at Worcester, the battle that ended the civil wars. As Lord Protector (an English government title used by the de-facto head of state during the brief period of the republic of England), he ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was responsible for establishing the British Commonwealth, reorganisation of the national Church, and giving Scotland and Ireland parliamentary representation. He was offered the kingship in 1657 by Parliament but declined. He became increasingly autocratic during his reign and his aggressive foreign policy led him into the first Anglo-Dutch War in 1652 against the Netherlands when his rule gradually assumed the guise of a military dictatorship. He died in 1658 and was buried at Westminster Abbey until 1661 when his body was exhumed from its grave and hung at Tyburn in a ritual execution. Born in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England.
1769Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, engineer, inventor. Solved the historic problem of underwater tunnelling by inventing the tunnelling shield. Using the tunnelling shield, he constructed a tunnel between Rotherhithe and Wapping, London, opened in 1843, which which now carries the East London Line of the London Underground. He also designed machines for sawing and bending timber, boot making, stocking knitting, and printing. He was knighted in 1841. Born in Hacqueville, France.
1825Charles Ferdinand Dowd, school teacher. Developed the idea of time zones, dividing the United States by meridians into zones one hour, and 15 degrees, apart, using Greenwich, England, as the basis. Born in Madison, Connecticut, USA.
1823Félix d' Hérelle, microbiologist. Recognised as the discoverer of the bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria. The bacteriophage had been identified earlier by British microbiologist Felix Twort in about 1915, however Twort declined to take credit for, or to pursue his initial findings. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
1874Guglielmo Marconi, physicist. Widely known as the father of radio, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909 for his contribution to the development of wireless telegraphy. He is recognised as being the inventor of the first practical system of wireless telegraphy to achieve widespread use. His work built upon the contributions of such notable scientists as Hans Christian Ørsted, Michael Faraday, Heinrich Hertz, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Popov, Thomas Edison, Nathan Stubblefield, and others. His system was based primarily on that of Nikola Tesla, theoretically demonstrated by Tesla in 1893, two years before Marconi first demonstrated his system. Alexander Popov, regarded in Russia as the "father of radio", also demonstrated his own radio transmission system several months before Marconi, however Popov died in 1905 and never applied for a patent. Born near Bologna, Italy.
1900Wolfgang Pauli, physicist. Recognised as an outstanding physicist by his early twenties and still a student who helped to lay the foundations of the quantum theory of fields. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1945 for his 1925 discovery of the , which states that in an atom, no two electrons can occupy the same quantum state simultaneously. He predicted mathematically, in 1931, that conservation laws required the existence of a new particle which he proposed to call the neutron, later renamed neutrino by Fermi following its discovery. Born In Vienna, Austria.
1912Gladys Presley, mother of Elvis. Born Gladys Love Smith in Pontotoc, Mississipi, USA.
1918Ella Fitzgerald, singer. Regarded as one of the great female jazz singers of all time and one of the most prolific, recording more than 200 albums. Born in Newport News, Virginia, USA.
1923Albert King, blues musician. One of the most influential blues guitarists ever. Born Albert Nelson in Indianola, Mississippi, USA.
1940Al Pacino, actor (The Godfather, And Justice For All, Scorpio). A former stage actor, he shot to film stardom as Michael Corleone in The Godfather and has since cemented his position as a motion picture bad guy with starring roles in Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter, and Scarface. Born in New York City, USA.
1945Björn Ulvaeus, musician, song writer (ABBA). Born in Gothenburg, Sweden.
1946Talia Shire, actress (Rocky, The Godfather). Best known as the wife of Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky series of films. She is a sister of director, Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti). Born Talia Rose Coppola in Lake Success, New York, USA.
1949Michael Brown, musician (The Left Banke). Best known as singer and writer of the song, "Walk Away Renee", about the girlfriend of a fellow band member, written when he was 16 years old. Born in New York City, USA.
Deaths:
1566Diane de Poitiers, duchess de Valentinois, mistress of King Henri II of France. Came to the French court as a lady-in-waiting, where Henri, 20 years her junior, fell in love with her. After the death of her husband, she became Henri's mistress from circa 1536 and throughout his reign, (1547 - 59) she held court as Queen of France in all but name. The real queen, Catherine de Médici, was forced to live in comparative obscurity. She was also a keen patron of poets and artists. Died in Anet, France, aged 66.
1744Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer, physicist, mathematician. Best known for the temperature scale he developed in 1742 which defines zero degrees as the temperature at which water freezes, and 100 degrees as the temperature at which water boils (his original design was the reverse of this). He also built Sweden's first observatory in his home town of Uppsala in 1741. Died in Uppsala, Sweden, aged 43.
1853William Beaumont, American physician, surgeon. US Army surgeon (1812 - 15, 1820 - 40) who studied the stomach and digestive system being the first person to observe and study human digestion as it occurs in the stomach. Died in St Louis, Missouri, USA, aged 68.
1928Floyd Bennett, American pioneer aviator. Best known as the pilot and second in command of the first successful flights over the North and South Poles. Enlisted in the US Navy in 1917 and served as instructor during WW I. Died of pneumonia in Quebec, Canada, aged 37.
1940Charles Sumner Tainter, American inventor. Inventor of various sound-recording instruments, including the photophone in 1880 (with Alexander Graham Bell), an instrument for transmitting sound on a beam of light. He also developed the graphophone in 1881, with Chichester Bell, a cousin of Alexander Graham Bell. The graphophone used a wax-coated cardboard cylinder and a flexible recording stylus, greatly improving on the tinfoil surface and rigid stylus used by Thomas Edison. Died in San Diego, California, USA, aged 85.
1973George Sanders, Russian-born English actor (All About Eve, Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Lodger). Commited suicide by an overdose of sleeping pills (Nembutal) in a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, aged 65.
Events on this day:
1684A patent is granted for the thimble.
1719Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is published.
1792A guillotine is used for the first time, in the execution of highwayman, Nicolas Pelletier.
1859Excavation begins for the building of the Suez Canal.
1898The USA declares war on Spain at the beginning of the Spanish-American War, the day after Spain declared war on the USA.
1915Allied troops land on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, beginning the disastrous Dardanelles campaign.
1916The United Kingdom declares martial law in Ireland following the outbreak of the Easter Rebellion.
1920Britain is given mandates for the former Ottoman territories of Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and Palestine.
1925Paul von Hindenburg takes office as President of Germany.
1938The first seeing eye dog goes into service.
1953Geneticists Francis Crick and James Watson publish their discovery of the structure of DNA.
1953The first person now known to have AIDS, enters a hospital, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
1954Bell Laboratories announce the development of the first solar battery.
1960A Triton submarine completes the first submerged circumnavigation of the Earth.
1961A Mercury Atlas rocket lifts off on its first test flight carrying an electronic mannequin.
1961Robert Noyce is granted the first patent for an integrated circuit.
1974Portuguese dictator, Antonio Salazar, is overthrown in a military coup.
1983Pioneer 10 travels beyond the orbit of Pluto.
1988John Demjanuk, also known as "Ivan the Terrible", a notorious guard at the Treblinka extermination camp, is sentenced to death in Israel for war crimes committed during WW II.
1990The Hubble Space Telescope is placed into orbit by the space shuttle, Discovery. It was seven years behind schedule and, at a cost of around $2.5 billion, was nearly $2 billion over budget. Also, the primary mirror was flawed, blurring images and substantially reduced the telescope's ability to see distant stars or objects, necessitating a subsequent mission to repair it. Despite this initial setback, Hubble became one of NASA's most successful and long-lasting science missions. It has beamed hundreds of thousands of images back to Earth, shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy.
1990Violeta Barrios de Chamorro begins a 6 year term as Nicaragua's president.
2011Indian police arrest Suresh Kalmadi, chief organiser of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, following an investigation into allegations of corruption. It is alleged that almost one third of the $6 billion budget was misappropriated. Kalmadi was earlier sacked for his handling of the event and officials T.S. Darbari, Sanjay Mohindroo, and Games treasurer M. Jayachandran were also arrested over alleged financial irregularities.
Quote of the day:
A new randomly-selected quote each day.

"A witty saying proves nothing."
~ Voltaire

Daily Trivia
A new (mostly science-related) question each day.
Q. What percentage of Americans get no daily exercise?
show answer

Site of the Day:
A random site to visit each day, some of which I've found interesting, useful, humourous, provocative, etc...
Science Based Medicine
A web site founded by Steven Novella exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine, including complimentary and alternative medicine.
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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This page first created by Craig Porter: 2002.