This Day in Geek History: April 28
The first of the three volumes of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”) by Isaac Newton is published in Latin. The complete work will come to be regarded as one of the single most significant contribution to science ever published. In it, Newton presents his invention of differential and integral calculus. He also describes his laws of motion, which will become the foundation of all classic mechanics. Read the 1729 English translation of Newton’s Principa online at Google Books.
In England, Claude Grahame-White becomes the first person to pilot a plane at night. The landmark flight comes during the 1910 London to Manchester air race.
Radio station WOI in Ames, Iowa becomes the first educational radio station to be licensed in the United States.
The term “wave mechanics” is coined by nuclear physicist Erwin Schrödinger in a letter to Albert Einstein. The term is used to describe the newly emerging branch of physics which interprets the behavior of subatomic particles according to a mathematical description of a wave motion.
Ultra short wave (7.3m) television is demonstrated for the first time in Britain.
In Burbank, California, NBC dedicates its new Videotape Central, built at a cost of US$1.5 million, for broadcasting across multiple time-zones. The facility includes an RCA Color Video Tape Recorder and eight Ampex black-and-white recorders converted to color especially for the purpose by RCA Labs.
Bell Laboratories announces the development of a new “light knife” which allows surgeons to use the focused beam of a laser as a scalpel.
Russia makes the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which occurred on April 26, public knowledge. Visit the official United Nations Chernobyl website.
United States President Clinton identifies developing flat-panel displays as vital to the economic future of the nation, and his administration pledges US$600 million over the next five years to assist domestic manufacturers of flat-panel displays as part of an effort to help the fledgling U.S. industry compete with the Japanese manufacturers that dominate the market with a ninety-five percent marketshare. The funding is drawn in part from the Defense Department, which uses flat screens in military equipment. The Administration’s decision to pour money into the market will be controversial, with many critics arguing that the Government shouldn’t favor any particular industry or company.
Universal Pictures releases the science fiction horror film Village of the Damned, directed by John Carpenter and starring Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Thomas Dekker, and Mark Hamill, is released to 1,890 U.S. theaters. The film is a remake of the 1960 British horror film Village of the Damned. Both films are based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. This is Reeve’s last leading role in a feature film before a horse riding accident will leave him paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life. Produced on a budget of US$22 million, it will gross US$3,222,450 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: R) Running Time: 1 hr 39 mins
PGP Inc publishes “PGPmail 4.01 Businesses Edition” for DOS.
Virtual i/o shuts down following a February bankruptcy filing. The company was best known for their Virtual Reality (VR) headgear, which initially sold for US$799 and was eventually reduced to US$399. Former Virtual i/o CEO Greg Amadon claims that the company was only about eighteen months from producing technology that would appeal to consumers. Retailers blame poor resolution and a lack of compelling applications for the failure of the headgear-based gaming market.