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February 23 Science History

Science History of February 23


Learn about the history of science by reading about the significant scientific events that took place on this day in history.

1997 - First successful clone of a mammal announced.

Scientists from the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced they had successfully cloned an adult sheep and had produced a lamb they named Dolly. Dolly was born on July 5, 1996 from a procedure where the nucleus from an adult sheep was transferred to an unfertized egg cell.

1987 - SN 1987A supernova first observed.

SN1987A Supernova

SN 1987A became the first supernova observed since 1604. The supernova was observed from the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy visible from the southern hemisphere. The explosion took place approximately 168,000 years before it was observed on Earth. It was bright enough to see with the naked eye at its peak brightness in May before it began to fade.

1973 - Dickinson W. Richards Jr. died.

Richards was an American physician who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Medicine with André Cournand and Werner Forssmann for their technique and developmental research into catheterization and heart disease. Richards and Cournand pioneered the use of Forssmann's catheters to study the physiology of shock, heart failure and other cardiac diseases.

1954 - Salk polio vaccine test begins.

Children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania received the first polio vaccine developed by Dr. Salk. This was the beginning of a test that would involve nearly 2 million children in 44 states. The test would show the vaccine was successful and would greatly reduce the number of polio victims around the world.

1924 - Allan MacLeod Cormack was born.

Cormack was an American physicist who laid the theoretical groundwork for the technique of x-ray computed tomography or CT scan. Godfrey Hounsfield would take the research and build the first CT scanner and both men would share the 1979 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their efforts.

1884 - Casimir Funk was born.

Funk was a Polish biochemist who coined the term 'vitamine'. He believed there were compounds that were vital to health and were centered around an amine group - vital amines or vitamine. He postulated the existence of vitamins B1, B2, C and D and eventually discovered vitamin B3. Later it was shown that not all vital amines were associated with amines so the final 'e' was dropped to just vitamin.

1855 - Carl Friedrich Gauss died.

Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777 – 1855)
Wikimedia Commons

Gauss was a prolific German scientist who made major contributions to the fields of astronomy, optics and electricity and magnetism. His greatest contribution was to mathematics. He advanced statistics, number theory, geometry and mathematical analysis.

1840 - First meeting The Chemical Society of London was held.

The Chemical Society of London held their first organized meeting. The Chemical Society would eventually become the Royal Society of Chemistry. The RSC is the largest European chemical society and publishes Chemistry World, a monthly chemical journal.

1812 - Étienne-Louis Malus died.

Étienne-Louis Malus (1775 - 1812)

Malus was a French physicist who discovered that when light is reflected, the reflected light becomes partially polarized. He also discovered birefringence of light passing through a prism. Birefringence is where a ray of light enters a medium, it splits into two new rays. The first passes through the medium with no change in direction and the second is refracted.

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