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New type of infectious agent

American biologist Stanley Prusiner discovered prions. Prion is an infection agent composed of normal protein. However, this protein is folded in a way which causes disease. This abnormal way of folding can be transmitted to other molecules of the same protein and spread. Examples of prion diseases are mad cow disease or kuru.

First normal exoplanet

Astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered a planet orbiting a sun-like star 51 Pegasi. It was a second officially confirmed exoplanet. The first one, however, orbits a neutron star – remnant of stellar explosion, very different from our Sun. As of august 2017, there have been over 3600 confirmed exoplanets.

Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl is born

Thor Heyerdahl is adventurer and ethnographer, sailed 6000 km across the Pacific Ocean (from South America to the Tuamotu Islands) on a handmade raft. The raft was called Kon-Tiki according to an ancient South American solar god. It was constructed out of balsa logs and other native materials.

Anniversaries of the (in)famous