Category Archives: Historical

Happy Birthday — Joseph Lister

Perhaps it’s appropriate at this time to note that April 5 was the birthday of Joseph Lister, considered the father of antiseptic medicine. Lister was born in 1827 in Upton, England. He graduated with honors from University College in London in 1852 and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and house surgeon

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The World’s First Author

Since reading is such a safe quarantine pastime, who would you think was the world’s first known author? So far as we know now, our first credited author was Enheduanna, a woman who lived in the 23rd century BCE in Mesopotamia. According to the archaeological evidence, she was remarkable figure: a princess, a priestess and

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The Mother of the Atomic Bomb

The more I study history, the more I realize how much important information never appears in most textbooks. For example, the role of women. I’ve just stumbled across the story of Lise Meitner, who was born in Vienna, Austria in 1878. She was the¬†second woman¬†to receive a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Vienna.

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Thank Sputnik for GPS

If you don’t believe good ideas can come from anywhere, here is some proof. On October 4, 1957 (when I was nine years old), the USSR launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. To say this unexpected breakthrough shook up the U.S. scientific community would be an understatement. Two of those who took notice were

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A Lesson in Self-Sacrifice

Here is something to think about as you follow the news about the coronavirus outbreak. In 1665, a tailor from the English village of Eyam received a box of materials from London. He needed the contents to make clothes for the villagers. But the box contained more than cloth; it also delivered fleas carrying the

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Speaking After 3000 Years

No, this is not a joke. An Egyptian has spoken for the first time in 3000 years. It was only one syllable, but still… As you must have guessed, the person was actually the mummy of a priest named Nesyamun who lived three millennia ago. And yet scientists were able to reproduce his speech. How

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The Newest Navy Carrier is….

One of the fascinations of being a history nerd is the personal stories you come across. For example, the mess attendant who was gathering laundry aboard the battleship West Virginia in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. When the ship was hit by Japanese torpedoes, this sailor helped his mortally wounded commanding officer, manned a

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Speaking of New Decades, Remember Y2K?

Not only is this a new year, this is a new decade. Speaking of new decades, I’ve been surprised at the number of news articles revisiting the Year 2000 problem at the turn of the century, otherwise known as Y2K (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem) . In case you don’t remember or are very young, as we approached the

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