Video encyclopedia

Flashback archive

DNA analysis reval origin of the Justinian plague

The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Eastern Roman Empire, the Sassanid Empire, and ports around the Mediterranean Sea. It resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25 to 50 million people (13% of the world's population). It was the first instance of bubonic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis.

Iran sent a monkey in a "Pishgam" rocket into space

The launch took place on that day, because it was the birthday of Mohammed. Further details were not given except that the craft landed safely and the monkey survived. Later the Iranian Space Agency published a full video of the Pishgam Launch. Fourteen days later, Iran launched another monkey astronaut.

American astronomer Helen Sawyer Hogg dies

She is noted for pioneering research into globular clusters and variable stars. A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core as a satellite. Hogg photographed the clusters and looked for variable stars in them. Some of them can be used from measuring the distance.

German theoretical physicist and atomic spy Klaus Fuchs dies

He worked on the Manhattan Project and was responsible for many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons, and later, early models of the hydrogen bomb. In 1950 he was convicted of supplying information to the Soviet Union during and shortly after the Second World War.

Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

On its way to NASA shuttle orbiter mission, the shuttle broke apart 73 seconds into its flight over the Atlantic Ocean. All 7 crew members died. The original cause was an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failing at liftoff because it was not designed to fly under unusually cold conditions.

American biochemist Robert W. Holley is born

He is known for describing the structure of transfer RNA for the first time in history. Transfer RNA, usually called just tRNA, serves as the link between the mRNA and the amino acid sequence of proteins. Transfer RNAs are a necessary component of translation, the biological synthesis of new proteins in accordance with the genetic code.

British crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale is born

She proved that the benzene ring is flat by using X-ray diffraction methods to elucidate the structure of hexamethylbenzene. The benzene molecule is composed of six carbon atoms joined in a ring with one hydrogen atom attached to each. Kathleen Lonsdale also worked on the synthesis of artificial diamonds.

Swiss physicist, inventor and explorer Auguste Piccard is born

He is known known for his record-breaking helium filled balloon flights. He used the balloon to study Earth's upper atmosphere and cosmic rays. Picard also invented the bathyscaphe. He designed the Bathyscaphe Trieste, which with its crew of two reached a record maximum depth of 10,911 metres at the bottom of the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench.

Bellingshausen discovers the continent of Antarctica

Bellingshausen was selected to command Russian expedition to the Southern Ocean. On 28 January 1820 his two ships, Vostok and Mirny, discovered the Antarctic coast. Other explorers, Englishman Edward Bransfield, and the American Nathaniel Palmer, also claimed to discover Antarctica. But Bellingshausen was probably first.

London's Pall Mall is 1st street lit by gaslight

The first public street lighting with gas was demonstrated in Pall Mall, London, by Frederick Albert Winsor. Five years later the first gas company in the world was founded. Less than two years later the Westminster Bridge was lit by gas. As artificial lighting became more common towns became much safer.

Anniversaries of famous

born 1940

Carlos Slim

born 1853

José Martí

died 1988

Klaus Fuchs

died 1986

Ronald McNair