Bunsen Burner Day

posted Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Burn your Bunsens today. German chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen was born on 31 March 1811.

First photo of Mercury taken from orbit (2011)

posted Sunday, 29 March 2015


Largest Earthquake Recorded in North America (1964)

posted Saturday, 28 March 2015

During the evening of 29 March 1964 (on the Christian holiday of Good Friday), the area of Prince William Sound in Southeastern Alaska was struck by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake. This earthquake was the largest ever recorded in North America.

Einstein’s fourth letter to President Roosevelt (1945)

posted Wednesday, 25 March 2015

This letter failed to reach President Roosevelt before his death on 12 April 1945. To read all four letters from Einstein to Roosevelt, follow this link.

112 Mercer Street
Princeton, New Jersey
March 25, 1945

The Honorable Franklin Delano Roosevelt
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C.


I am writing to introduce Dr. L. Szilard who proposes to submit to you certain consideration and recommendation. Unusual circumstances which I shall describe further below introduce me to take this action in spite of the fact that I do not know the substance of the considerations and recommendations which Dr. Szilard proposes to submit to you.

In the summer of 1939 Dr. Szilard put before me his views concerning the potential importance of uranium for national defense. He was greatly disturbed by the potentialities involved and anxious that the United States Government be advised of them as soon as possible. Dr. Szilard, who is one of the discoverers of the neutron emission of uranium on which all present work on uranium is based, described to me a specific system which he devised and which he thought would make it possible to set up a chain reaction in un-separated uranium in the immediate future. Having known him for over twenty years both from his scientific work and personally, I have much confidence in his judgment and it was on the basis of his judgment as well as my own that I took the liberty to approach you in connection with this subject. You responded to my letter dated August 2, 1939 by the appointment of a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Briggs and thus started the Government’s activity in this field.

The terms of secrecy under which Dr. Szilard is working at present do not permit him to give me information about his work; however, I understand that he now is greatly concerned about the lack of adequate contact between scientist who are doing this work and those members of your Cabinet who are responsible for formulating policy. In the circumstances I consider it my duty to give Dr. Szilard this introduction and I wish to express the hope that you will be able to give his presentation of the case your personal attention.

Very truly yours,

(A. Einstein)

Fender receives patent for Stratocaster (1953)

posted Tuesday, 24 March 2015

US Design Patent 169,062, Guitar (Stratocaster), Clarence Fender,1953

Stratocaster Design Patent

Near Miss Day (1989)

posted Monday, 23 March 2015

On 23 March 1989, an asteroid bigger than an aircraft carrier, traveling at 74,000 km/h, passed through Earth’s orbit less than 640,000 km away. It did not impact the earth and life as we know it continued on without incident.

The distinction between past, present and future (1955)

posted Saturday, 21 March 2015

Upon learning of the death of his lifelong friend Michele Besso, Einstein wrote …

Nun ist er mir auch mit dem Abschied von dieser sonderbaren Welt ein wenig vorausgegangen. Dies bedeutet nichts. Für uns gläubige Physiker hat die Scheidung zwischen Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft nur die Bedeutung einer wenn auch hartnäckigen Illusion.   Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborly persistant illusion

MESSENGER arrives safely at Mercury (2011)

posted Tuesday, 17 March 2015

3 August 2004 Launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida
2 August 2005 Earth Flyby
24 October 2006 First Venus Flyby
5 June 2007 Second Venus Flyby
14 January 2008 First Mercury Flyby
6 October 2008 Second Mercury Flyby
29 September 2009 Third Mercury Flyby
18 March 2011 Mercury Orbit Insertion


Vanguard 1 launched (1958)

posted Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Vanguard I became the second artificial satellite successfully placed in Earth orbit by the United States. With a diameter of only 152 mm and a weight of 1.4 kg it was described by then Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev as “the grapefruit satellite.” Vanguard 1 was preceded by the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 and the American Explorer 1. Vanguard 1 is still in orbit around the earth making it the oldest artificial object still in space. Follow this link to see where it is right now.

Skate surfaces at the North Pole (1959)

posted Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The USS Skate (SSN-578) was the second operational nuclear powered submarine and the first to break through the ice cap and surface at the North Pole.