This Day in Geek History: March 1
Edward Drinker Cope reads his paper to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in which he gives the name Ornithochirus to the remains of an creature with large wings. However, Cope’s rival Othniel Charles Marsh beats him to print by publishing a paper in the American Journal of Science a few days earlier, using the alternative name Pterodactylis.
E. Remington and Sons in Ilion, New York begin production of the first practical typewriter.
Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity when he develops the photographic plate he had left in a desk drawer and finds that it has fogged with the image of the uranium compound crystals resting on it. Thus, the discovery is the result of a chance occurrence. He had originally stored objects together on February 26, after postponing his intended experiment on phosphorescent emissions stimulated by the sun. Instead, he found spontaneous and penetrating rays, independent of any input of energy. He will share the 1903 Nobel Prize with Pierre and Marie Curie for his work on radioactivity.
Over Kinlock Field in St. Louis, Albert Berry makes the first in-flight parachute jump from a plane. He jumps from a Benoist pusher biplane piloted by Tony Jannus at an altitude of 1,500 feet.
Harry Houdini patents a diver’s suit. (US No. 1,370,316)
The first public videophone service is launched in Germany by Postminister Baron Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach at the Leipzig Trade Fair. Call booths are located at the fair ground and at the main post office in Augustplatz, Berlin, 160 kilometers away. The one hundred eighty line mechanical system is made available to Aryans between 8am and 10pm each day.
Warner Bros. Pictures releases the black-and-white horror film The Walking Dead, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Boris Karloff, Edmund Gwenn, and Marguerite Churchill, premieres in New York City. It was inspired by the 1939 film The Man They Could Not Hang. The film was produced on a budget of US$217,000. IMDB listing Running time: 1 hr 6 mins
The hydrogen bomb, code-named Castle Bravo, is detonated in a test over the Pacific archipelago of Bikini Atoll, a part of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. With a force equivalent to twenty megatons (million tons) of TNT, it is the most powerful of all U.S. thermonuclear bomb tests. It is believed that the hydrogen bomb is up to one thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Radioactivity renders the islands an unsafe wasteland to which the evacuated indigenous people won’t be able to return to for decades to come. The natives were moved to the island of Rongerik, only to be moved to Ujelan a year later and then to Kili Island. Read more about the test at Znet, in the article entitled “Bikini and the Hydrogen Bomb: A Fifty Year Perspective” or at the Atomic Bomb Museum.
The San Francisco Chronicle publishes an article reporting the results of a University of California survey finding that Americans spend more money on comic books than is spent on textbooks in all the country’s elementary schools and high schools combined.
John McCarthy releases the LISP Programmer’s Manual, marking the release of the first recursive and symbolic programming language. Considered the mother tongue of artificial intelligence (AI), LISP will be one of the most enduring high-level languages ever created. Read more about the history of LISP at John McCarthy’s Standford website.
Huntington, Indiana becomes the first city in the United States to implement “911″ as the universal emergency telephone number. The system is implemented by AT&T, and Hunting was chosen be the first such city because it is the home town of Democratic U.S. Representative John Edward Roush, who sponsored the legislation which enacted the system. On the same day, the Commission on Civil Disturbance, a committee convened by President Lyndon Johnson, issues a report on the riots that occurred the previous year in several major U.S. cities that heightens the public awareness of the need for such an emergency number.
The Star Trek episode “The Omega Glory” first airs. (No. 52) In it, the Enterprise comes across the derelict Federation ship Exeter, and the crew discovers that its entire crew has been killed by a plague. Memory Alpha entry
The first color television programs are broadcast in Australia.