Looking Back…

April 18, 2008

In case you were wondering about notable science events that happened the week of April 18th…

Creative Commons License photo credit: Luís Vieira

Gross? Or just plain cool? After Albert Einstein’s death on April 18th, 1955, pathologist Thomas Stoltz Harvey removed Einstein’s brain for preservation in the hope that people in the future could determine what made Einstein so smart.

Got sterilized milk? On April 20th, 1862, Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the first pasteurization test. Pasteurization involves heating liquids in order to kill viruses and harmful organisims.

On April 20th, 1902, Pierre and Marie Curie succesfully isolated the metal radium (88 on the periodic chart). Radium was initially used in self-luminous paints for items like watches, clocks, or aircraft switches. However, radium was removed from the production process of these items when it was discovered to be radioactive and harmful to the body. Now it is most commonly used to produce radon gas and battle cancer. Ironically, Marie Curie died from apalstic anemia, almost certainly caused from prolonged exposure to radium.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ickyp0p

In 1926, also on April 20th, Warner Brothers announced their plans for the Vitaphone, which would allow music or dialogue to be played on a phonograph simultaneously with silent pictures, giving them sound for the first time. The Vitaphone was not actually used until August of that year.

Are we alone in the universe? The answer is still unknown, but on April 22nd of 1992, astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail took a significant step in aswering this question. Although planets in other solar systems had long been theorized, these two men were finally able to prove that there were planets around the pulsar known to scientists as PSR B1257+12 (its in the constellation virgo).

Creative Commons License photo credit: Venom82

On April 24th, 1990, the Hubble Telescope was launched into space via the Space Shuttle Discovery. The Hubble Telescope was designed to be easily repaired by astronauts, and has been serviced four times since it was launched 18 years ago. The telescope has led to a refining of the estimate of how old the universe is as well as how fast the universe is expanding.

Authored By Steven Cowan

Steven never dreamed his first job out of college would be in public relations, and on top of that working for one of the top museums in the country. After all, he majored in History at Vassar College. Within three months of graduation, he landed a spot in the PR department and has not looked back since. He is fast becoming a communications fanatic, spending a tremendous amount of his time promoting the museum and all it has to offer.

One response to “Looking Back…”

  1. Discover says:

    I was searching for \’What Did Marie Curie Discover\’ at google and found your post named \’Back… | BEYONDbones\’ in search results. Not very relevant result, but still interesting to read.

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