Joseph Lister publishes an article on his discovery of antiseptic surgery in the medical journal The Lancet. The article is the first of a series in which Lister applies Pasteur’s theory that the micro-organisms which cause gangrene might be inhibited chemically. In the articles, he details his successful use of phenol (carbolic acid) on medical instruments, surgical incisions, and wound dressings to reduce infections.
The wireless telephone is invented, enabling pilots to communicate in flight with each other and the ground for the first time.
Robert Goddard launches the first US liquid-fuel rocket in a field in Auburn, Massachusetts. The rocket is an experimental model of Goddard’s own design which places the rocket ahead of its fuel tank, shielded from flame by a metal cone. The design is intended to provide the rocket with greater stability, but it failed to function as it was intended to.
NASA launches the Gemini 8 at 10:41am EST. Shortly after its launch, it will take part in the first physical docking of two spacecraft in orbit when it rendezvous with the Gemini Agena to conduct extravehicular activities six hours and thirty-three minutes after launch. However, about twenty-seven minutes after docking, a malfunction in the capsule’s control thrusters occurs, and it is forced to abort the mission and return to Earth at 10:23pm EST, only 6.5 orbits after launch. The mission is crewed by command pilot Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong and pilot Astronaut David R. Scott. It is the twelfth manned American space mission.
The Star Trek episode “Errand of Mercy” first airs. (No. 26) In it, Kirk and Spock attempt to protect the planet Organia from the Klingon and sway them to the side of the Federation, but they aren’t welcome. Memory Alpha entry
The NASA robotic space probe Mariner 10 makes its third and final pass of the planet Mercury. Read more about the voyage of the Mariner 10 at NASA’s official site for the mission. View an archive of images returned by the Mariner 10.
The Russian satellite Ekran 12 is launched. Ekran 12 is a geostationary satellite developed for a national system of Direct-to-Home television. The first satellite of the Ekran series was launched in 1976. Each satellite provides one television and two radio channels to cable systems across the USSR and to individual residences in northern Siberia. Visit the official website of the Ekran satellites.
The Monday, March 16 issue of Fortune magazine features an article entitled, “The house that Jack built.” In it, Sam Tramiel appears in a picture with an Atari game system captioned, “Atari president Sam Tramiel is shooting for sales of $1 billion by 1990.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces that it will extend its network to Europe over a high-speed data link, which will mark the first time the internet is accessible outside U.S. borders. Visit the official NSF website.
Ward Cunningham invites a colleague via email to become the first user of what he called the WikiWikiWeb, the world’s first Wiki, a database that can be edited and enlarged by any user. Cunningham dubbed the database “wiki” for the Hawaiian word for “quick” because it was built in the hope that the system might speed up the transfer of documentation and ideas between collaborating programmers. Six years later, the concept will explode in popularity when Wikipedia is launched.
Apple Computer releases Mac OS X Server 1.0 and a preview version of Mac OS X for developers. Server 1.0 is the first operating system released by Apple to be based on NeXT. Visit the official Mac OS X Server website.
The Samsung Electronics Company announces that they have begun producing a 256Mb synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM) chips. The company projects sales of between two and three million units in the first year. Visit the official Samsung website.
Hitachi unveils the humanoid robot EMIEW (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate) to compete with Honda’s ASIMO and Sony’s QRIO. The robot, which, unlike it’s competitors, is equipped with wheels rather, is “the world’s quickest-moving robot,” with a top speed of 3.7 miles per hour (6km/h). Hitachi claims that the robots could be “trained” for practical use in factories and offices in as little as five years. Read more at the BBC. Visit the official EMIEW website.
Linspire, Inc. announces the release version “Five-0″ (5.0) of its Linspire operating system. Linspire is a Linux distribution based on Debian GNU and designed with easy use in mind. Visit the official Linspire website.
Guinness World Records names House of the Dead: Overkill the “most profane game ever.” The game, which is available on the Nintendo Wii console, features the F word 189 times, meaning it composed about three percent of the all of the game’s dialogue.