This Day in Geek History: November 11
Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe begins recording his observations of a supernova in the constellation Cassiopeia. For two weeks, it will be brighter than any other star in the sky, even remaining visible during the day. It will remain visible to the naked eye for another six months, until March 1574. Brahe will later publish his observations in the book De Nova Stella, which will be the origin of the the word “nova.”
Massachusetts passes the first compulsory school attendance law in the U.S.
Gottfried Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time by finding the area under the graph of the y = f(x) function.
The first U.S. patent for a telescope is issued to Alvan Clark of Cambridge, Massachusetts. (US No. 8,509)
A photograph is used in a newspaper advertisement for the first time in history. The ad is for Harrison Patent Knitting Machine Co. of Manchester, England and it is in published in this day’s edition of The Parrot, which is published in Manchester.
The discovery of cosmic rays is announced by Robert Andrews Millikan, who coined the term, in Madison, Wisconsin.
Dr. Clinton Joseph Davisson, of Bell Telephone Laboratories, and George Paget Thomson of London University win the Nobel Prize in Physics “for their experimental discovery of the diffraction of electrons by crystals.”
The first combined handset telephone is introduced commercially. Before this date, all phones had separate ear and mouth pieces.
NASA launches the Gemini 12 spaceflight. The purpose of the Gemini program is to demonstrate that an astronaut can outside a spacecraft in the vacuum of space. The crew of the Gemini 12, Jim Lovell and Edwin Aldrin, were the first to be trained underwater in preparation for their mission. During the spaceflight, Aldrin will spend two hours and twenty minutes on a tethered space-walk, during which he photographs star fields and retrieves a micrometeorite collector among other small chores. The successful space walk will be the final proof of the feasibility of extravehicular activity. Gemini 12 will be the last of NASA’s two man missions.
The International Business Machines (IBM) Data Processing Division (DPD) demonstrates the IBM 2980 financial terminal, which will be available to banks under special order in Miami.
The first ethernet network goes into operation. The network consists of a kilometer of coaxial cable operating on a protocol known as Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD). The system was co-invented by David Boggs and Robert Metcalfe
NASA launches the Space Shuttle Columbia on its first operational flight, during which the first four-person crew in the history of the space program will deploy the first two commercial satellite to be carried into space aboard a shuttle using a remote manipulator arm for the first time. (STS-5)
The discovery of the oldest known insect fossils, which are believed to be approximately 390 million years old, is reported in the journal Science.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Unification (Part 2)” first airs. (No. 508) Spock attempts to reunify the Vulcans and Romulans, but he realizes too late that he has fallen into a trap. Memory Alpha entry
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