Looking Back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that happened the week of June 20th…

Creative Commons License photo credit: Neil Rickards

A far cry from Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario. On June 21st, 1948, the first stored-program was run on a computer. The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, nicknamed “Baby”, ran a program that held only 17 instructions. The computer program test was to find the highest proper factor of 218. It took 3.5 million operations and 52 minutes for the computer to produce an answer. And I thought my computer was slow.

Also on June 21st, 2002, Europe was declared to be free of polio (poliomyelitis,) a disease that targets infants and small children. The vaccine was created in April of 1955 by Jonas Salk.

The world doesn’t revolve around you. On June 22nd, 1638, Galileo Galilei was forced by the Catholic Church to recant his heliocentric theory that the sun, and not the earth, is the center of the universe. Of course, now we know that the sun is not the center of the universe either.

Minty Fresh. On June 26th, 1974, the first Universal Product Code was used in Ohio. The barcode was used at a supermarket; the first product scanned was a piece of Wrigley’s gum.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mu0x
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2 thoughts on “Looking Back…

  1. Speaking of looking back…that photo is of a telephone “toll” unit like I used in the middle 1960’s when I worked for Southwestern Bell on Jefferson St. in downtown Houston. It was primarily used for long distance and pay telephones or anythime someone dialed “0” for the operator. It worked by using pairs of wire plugs. When there was a call, the back plug of the pair was put into a lighted circle on the “board” and you answered “Operator.” The front wire in the set was put into a free hole, then you dialed (actually on 1965, early push buttons, when everyone else still dialed)the number the caller wanted. When there was an answer, you backed out and let them talk and handled the next call.
    If you want to see vintage telephone equiptment you need to visit the Telephone Pioneers Museum in the Heights, Houston.

  2. You caught me! It is indeed a picture of an old telephone “toll”. Unfortunately, I could not find a picture of a giant old computer from any of the photos available to me, so I tried to find something similar. Can’t slip anything past our diligent readers. Thanks for your comment Sharon, we always look forward to hearing from our readers.

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