This Day in Geek History: February 24
Charles Darwin publishes Descent of Man in London, England. In it, Darwin wrote, “The sole object of this work is to consider, firstly, whether man, like every other species, is descended from some pre-existing form; secondly, the manner of his development; and thirdly, the value of the differences between the so-called races of man… During many years it has seemed to me highly probable that sexual selection has played an important part in differentiating the races of man; but in my Origin of Species I contented myself by merely alluding to this belief. When I came to apply this view to man, I found it indispensable to treat the whole subject in full detail.” Read the full text of Descent of Man online or listen to the audiobook at Darwin Online.
Henri Becquerel unknowingly discovers radioactivity during an investigation of the phosphorescent rays of some “double sulfate of uranium and potassium” crystals. He will later report to the French Academy of Sciences reports that he placed the crystals on the outside of a photographic plate wrapped in sheets of very thick black paper and exposed the whole to the sun for several hours. When he develops the photographic plate, a black silhouette of the substance appears on the negative. When he places a coin between the uranium crystals and the wrapped plate, its image appears on the negative.
The Fields Medal is established to recognize outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics by John Charles Fields, the chairman of the Committee of the International Mathematical Congress (ICM). The first medals will be awarded in Oslo, Norway in 1936.
The first rocket to reach outer space is launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. The modified German V-2 ballistic missile reached a record altitude of 244 miles, breaking the Kármán line, which, 62.1 miles above the Earth’s sea level, will later be established by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale as the upper limit of Earth’s atmosphere.
Steven Paul Jobs is born. Jobs will later co-found Apple Computer, Inc., found NeXT Computer, Inc., and purchase Pixar Animation Studios.
The first telephone and television satellite relays are established through Echo 1.
The discovery of first pulsar is announced in an article in the journal Nature. The pulsar was discovered by Jocelyn Bell, a graduate student at Cambridge University, working under the direction of Professor Antony Hewish on November 28, 1967.
According to Twin Galaxies, Ken McLeod scores a record-setting 2,913,510 points playing the Namco arcade game Bosconian at the Quinpool Amusements arcade in Nova Scotia. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
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