Looking back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that occured the week following August 22…

On August 24, 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the cities of Pompeii (hopefully you had the chance to see the exhibit here in Houston at the Museum of Fine Arts), Herculaneum, and Stabiae under volcanic ash. The city was lost for 1,700 years – until it was accidentily rediscovered in 1748. The excavation of the city has given valuable insight into the city during the height of Roman Empire, acting as a time capsule, allowing scientists to study the buildings, food, and even people that were buried that fateful day.
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This is Mount Etna erupting in 2006 (there is no footage of the 79 explosion of Mount Vesuvius for obvios reasons.)

Also on August 24, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the term “planet,” and Pluto was sent on its cosmic way (read the post about the controversy that ensued, by our astronomer James.) Pluto was “demoted” to the status of Dwarf Planet. There are currently eight planets and four dwarf planets in our solar system. The new definition of a planet is a celectial body that meets the following criteria:
    (a) is in orbit around the Sun, 
    (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and
    (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

Karoli looking foward
Creative Commons License photo credit: ckaroli

On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers. He was one of the first men to build a telescope, and did so without actually ever seeing one of the few that existed. He was the first to discover any of Jupiter’s moons (he found 4), now known as the Galilean satellites.

On August 27, 2003, Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. The last time Mars was that close to Earth, man had just began to migrate out of Africa. Man wouldn’t start settling down, farming, and beginning to live in cities for another 48,000 years. Mars passed approximately 34,646,416 miles (55,758,006 kilometers) from Earth.

Looking Back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that occured the week of August 8…

On August 8 of 1876, Thomas Edison patented the mimeograph. When I first read this I was secretly hoping it was some technology involving mimes, but I was not so fortunate. The mimeograph is actually like an early version of the photocopier. The image is transfered using a wax mulberry paper (rice paper). Because the mimeograph uses no electricity to operate, it is still used in developing countries.

Also on August 8, but in 1908, Wilbur Wright made his first public flight in France. The Wright brothers faced deep scorn and were thought to be “Bluffeurs.” Although Wilbur’s flight only lasted 105 seconds, he was able to fly in a circle and woed the crowd. The brothers gained world fame overnight. Newspapers that had posted doubts about the Wright brother recanted their early statements and issued apologies. This is a video of the Wright brother’s early flights.
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On August 12 of 1981, the IBM Personal Computer was first released. The PC was IBM’s attempt to get into the small computer market which was currently dominated by the Atari 8-bit family and the Tandy Corporation TRS-80’s.

_DSC4375
Creative Commons License photo credit: cjmaru

On August 12, 1990, the dinosaur Sue was discovered in Faith, South Dakota. Even today, Sue remains the best preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever uncovered. The dinosaur resides in Chicago’s Field Museum. The skeleton is 42 feet from tail to nose, and is 12 feet tall at the hips. The bones are anywhere from 67 to 65.5 million years old.

Looking Back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that occurred the week of July 4th…

ET christmas 2004
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lathyrus

Ready for the clone wars? On July 5th, 1996, Dolly the sheep was born. Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Dolly lived her entire life at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. She had six lambs of her own, and lived to the age of six.

ET phone home… On July 6th, 2003, a message was sent out to five different stars. The message, Cosmic Call 2, was broadcasted from Eupatoria, a 70-meter radar. The message was sent to the stars Hip 4872, HD 245409, 55 Cancri, HD 10307, and 47 Ursae Majoris. The message should reach its destination in 2036, 2040, 2044, 2044, and 2049 respectively. Talk about your long distance phone calls.

Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. On July 10, 1925, in Dayton, Tennessee, the Scopes Trial began. John T. Scopes, a high school teacher, was accused of teaching evolution in the classroom in violation of Tennessee law.

Raw DNA Image
Creative Commons License photo credit: MASH DnArt

The law, which passed in January of 1925, stated that it was illegal for anyone to teach anything but the story of Divine Creation of man. After an eight day trial, Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution and fined 100 dollars (approximately 1,165 dollars in today’s currency.)

On July 10, 1997, London scientists report their DNA analysis of a Neandertal skeleton, nicknamed African Eve, found in modern day Ethiopia. The results place her life at roughly 140,000 years ago, which supports the Out of Africa Theory. This theory states that all our ancestors originally came from Africa. An alternative theory is the Multiregional Origin Theory, which states that our ancestors developed independantly in different regions of the world.

Looking Back…

atlas
Creative Commons License photo credit: Andyrob

In case you were wondering about notable science events that happened the week of May 16th…  

On May 16th, 1866 Charles Elmer Hires invents root beer. He was orginally going to call it “root tea” but felt that “root beer” would appeal more to the working man.

On May 19th, 1961, the Soviets launched Venera 1, which later became the first man made object to fly by another planet (Venus). On May 16th and May 17th, of 1969, the Soviet probes Venera 5 and Venera 6 transmit data back to Earth as they crash onto the surface of Venus.

On May 20th, 1570, the cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues what is commonly reffered to as the first modern Atlas.

On May 20th, 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from New York in a small, single seat, single engine plane known as the Spirit of St. Louis. 33 and a half hours later, Lindbergh landed in Paris, France, completing the first solo non-stop flight across across the Atlantic Ocean.

Exactly five years later, on May 20th of 1933, Amelia Earhart took off from NewFoundland, headed for Paris. She crossed the Atlantic in a measley fifteen hours, but bad weather forcerd her to turn north and land in Ireland.

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