This Day in Geek History: March 12
The state of Mississippi approves the first state-supported college for women, the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College. Visit the official Mississippi University for Women website.
Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton sells the first bottles of his tonic, Coca-Cola. He creates the liquid in his backyard from a combination of cinnamon, coca leaves, lime, and kola nuts brewed in a brass kettle in an attempt to find an alternative to alcoholic beverages during prohibition. He markets the formula as a brain and nerve tonic for medical use, but he’ll later add carbonated water and sell it as a beverage.
German engineer Alfred Maul is issued a patent for a camera-carrying space rocket capable of carrying and returing photography equipment and scientific instruments. Maul is the same engineer who, in 1904, successfully took aerial photographs of the ground from a height of 2,000 ft. (600m) by attaching cameras to a black powder rocket, thereby creating the first instrumented sounding rocket.
Dr. Lee De Forest, the inventor of the radio tube, demonstrates the first motion picture system to feature sound recorded onto a track of the film at a press conference. He calls the system, which he developed in 1920, Phonofilm. To demonstrate the system, he shows a film that features dancers and musicians with music playing in the background, without dialog. The narrow strip of dark and light running along the margin of the film’s photo frames are converted into cell by a photocell built into the system’s projector.
Television signals are broadcast in Hawaii for the first time.
Universal Pictures releases the science fiction film The Andromeda Strain, directed by Robert Wise and staring Arthur Hill, James Olson, Kate Reid, David Wayne, and Paula Kelly, to US theaters. The film is based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. It is notable for being the first film to use computer animation. IMDB Length: 2 hrs 11 mins
According to Twin Galaxies, Steven Ritger scores a record-setting 9,855,000 points playing the Atari arcade game Battle Zone at the Time Out Arcade in Springfield, Virginia. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
The first Centrum fur Buro- und InformationsTechnik (CeBIT) exhibition, the world’s largest computer expo, is held in Hanover, Germany. The event attracts 2,142 exhibitors and 334,400 visitors. The event was previously a part of the annual industry exhibition, but beginning with this year, it is held separately, a month after the industry fair, due to its increasing popularity. Centrum fur Buro- und InformationsTechnik translates to “Centre of Office and Information technology.” Visit the official CeBIT website.
The Giotto space probe, which was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), encounters Halley’s Comet the Comet. On March 14, the probe will make a close pass to examine the comet’s nucleus. Visit the official website of the Giotto mission.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Offspring” first airs. (No. 316) In it, Data creates an android that he consideres to be his child, but when Starfleet command learns of the development, an Admiral comes aboard to demand that the new android be removed from the Enterprise. Memory Alpha entry
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