Oh Yeah, Developmental Biology!


Science on May 18th

Here is a list of scientific events, natural or man-made, that happened on this date throughout history. HAPPY MAY 18TH.

  1. In 1991, the first Briton into space, Helen Sharman, launched with two cosmonauts in a Soyuz spacecraft.
  2. In 1980, following a weeklong series of earthquakes and smaller explosions of ash and smoke, the long-dormant Mount St. Helens volcano erupted in Washington state, U.S., hurling ash 15,000 feet into the air and setting off mudslides and avalanches. The eruptions caused minimal damage in the sparsely populated area, but about 400 people - mostly loggers and forest rangers - were evacuated. The explosion was characterized as the equivalent of 27,000 atomic bombs. The cloud of ash eventually circled the globe.
  3. In 1969, the Apollo 10 was launched to be a complete staging of the Apollo 11 mission without actually landing on the Moon. The mission was the second to orbit the Moon and the first to travel to the Moon with the entire Apollo spacecraft configuration. It made a successful eight-day dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing. Astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan descended inside the Lunar Module to within 14 kilometers of the lunar surface (achieving the closest approach to the Moon before Apollo 11 landed two months later). Apollo 10 splashed down at 12:52 pm on 26 May, less than 4 miles (6.4 km) from the target point and the recovery ship
  4. In 1967, the first legalization of human artificial insemination in the U.S. was enacted by the state of Oklahoma and signed this day by the governor. It came a century after the first trials. The first recorded human impregnation by means of artificial insemination in the U.S. was made in 1866. Dr. James Marion Sims, gynecologist and chief of the Woman’s Hospital, New York gave over 54 such injections in 1866-67.
  5. In 1955, the highly classified patent for the first atomic pile was finally issued - 13 years after it had been started and nearly 11 years after it had been filed (No. 2,708,656). Work on the initial patent application had begun six months before the reactor was completed. Fermi and his team of scientists at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory ushered in the nuclear age when they achieved the world’s first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction on 2 Dec 1942. Filed with the U.S. Patent Office in Dec 1944, the patent application listed Fermi and Szilard as co-inventors and described the method by which a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction had been achieved. By the time it was issued, Fermi had been dead for six months.
  6. In 1952, Prof. Willard F. Libby determined the age of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, England, at about 1848 BC (+/- 275 years) through analysis of the carbon-14 radioisotope in charcoal remains excavated there there. Update of C-14 ceases when plants or animals die, and the proportion in the organic remains steadily declines through radioactive decay. Since the half-life of C-14 is about 5,600 years, measurement of the remaining proportion in dead organic matter, indicates the age of that sample. Astronomer Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer had previously calculated that on Midsummer Day, 1680 BC, the sun rose directly over a special marking notch that can still be seen on the Heel Stone. Libby’s measurements support that estimate.
  7. In 1923, the first patent application on a rotary-dial telephone was submitted in France by Antoine Barnay.
  8. In 1910, Halley’s Comet was visible from Earth, moving across the face of the sun.
  9. In 1830, English mechanic Edwin Beard Budding (c.1796 - 1846), inventor of the lawn mover, signed a manufacturing agreement with John Ferrabee, Phoenix Iron Works, Stroud. Budding based his design on the helical cutting blades he had seen on cylinders run over newly woven cloth to cut the pile for a smooth finish. His patent (No. 5,990, 31 Aug 1830) described his mower to replace hand scythes for “cropping or shearing the vegetable surface of lawns, grass plats, and pleasure grounds.” It had a cast iron frame with a large roller that turned a series of cogs which rotated the blades. Production was increased in 1832 by license to the agricultural manufacturer Ransomes. Budding also invented the adjustable spanner.
  10. In 1787, glass was engraved for the first time in Toulouse, France.
  11. In 1914, the first commercial cargo began its passage through the Panama Canal.