To celebrate WebAssign’s 15th anniversary, each Monday we will be bringing you 15 anniversaries in science, technology, mathematics, and education that you can look forward to throughout the week. Here are some important dates in history coming up this week:
1902 – American geneticist Barbara McClintock is born. McClintock’s studies of chromosomes leads her to discover transposition, which she uses to demonstrate that genes turn physical characteristics on and off. She receives the Nobel prize for this work.
1911 – The Computing Tabulating Recording Company is founded. This company later becomes known as IBM.
1915 – American mathematician John Tukey is born. Tukey coins the computer term “bit“, develops the most commonly used fast Fourier transform algorithm, and develops the box plot.
1963 – Russian Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space aboard the Vostok 6 mission. At the age of 26, Tereshkova spends three days in earth orbit before de-orbiting the Vostok capsule using manual controls, ejecting from the falling capsule, and parachuting back to the ground.
1901 – The College Board produces its first standardized test, which later becomes the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
1920 – French biologist François Jacob is born. Jacob shares the Nobel prize with Jacques Monod and André Lwoff for their discovery that the relative concentrations of enzymes inside of cells comes about by the regulation of transcription.
1983 – Physicist and Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space at age 27 aboard NASA mission STS-7. Ride later is the only person to serve on both the Rogers Commission investigating the space shuttle Challenger disaster, and on the Columbia Accident Investigations Board investigating the space shuttle Columbia disaster.
2009 – NASA launches the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) robotic spacecraft. The LRO makes high resolution 3D images of the lunar surface for planning future moon landing missions. While surveying the lunar surface, the LRO photographs the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 landing sites.
1623 – French mathematician Blaise Pascal is born. Pascal makes many fundamental contributions to our understanding of the physics of pressure, fluids, and vacuum. A unit of pressure, the pascal bears his name, as well as Pascal’s law, which describes the relationship between fluids and pressure.
1906 – German-English biochemist Ernst Boris Chain is born. Chain discovers the chemical composition of penicillin, and discovers its method of therapeutic action. Chain receives the Nobel prize for his discoveries.
1861 – English biochemist Frederick Gowland Hopkins is born. Hopkins receives the Nobel prize for his discovery of “accessory food factors”, which are later called vitamins. Hopkins also discovers one of the essential amino acids, tryptophan.
1875 – English geneticist Reginald Punnett is born. Punnett invents the Punnett square, which is used to predict the probability of different genotypes that could be produced as a result of the breeding of two organisms.
1863 – German astronomer Max Wolf is born. Wolf discovers 248 asteroids, several comets, and 4 supernovae. He also pioneers the field of astrophotography, and proposes the concept of the planetarium.
2004 – The SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately-funded spaceplane to successfully achieve spaceflight.
1864 – German mathematician Hermann Minkowski is born. Minkowski creates a new mathematics called the geometry of numbers to solve problems in physics and mathematics. Minkowski applies his novel mathematics to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, giving rise to Minkowski diagrams, and a three dimensional mathematical space called Minkowski spacetime.