Κυριακή, 29 Ιουνίου 2014

Newsletter for Sunday 29 June


Feature for Today
On 29 Jun 1956, the Act that made possible the modern interstate highway system in the U.S. was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower had seen the speed and efficiency in moving troops and equipment on the four-lane autobahns in Germany during WW II.

You can read a newspaper article from the next day reporting Eisenhower Signs Road Bill.

Book of the Day
On 29 Jun 1868, George Ellery Hale was born, a foremost American astronomer, who laid much of the foundation of modern astrophysics and observational cosmology. He was a groundbreaking solar astronomer, inventing new instruments and methods of studying the sun's activity. His invention of the spectroheliograph and subsequent discovery of the magnetic field lines of sunspots nearly earned him a Nobel prize. He's best known for the planning and building of the great Hale Telescope of the Palomar Mountain Observatory. Today's Science Store pick is: Explorer of the Universe: A Biography of George Ellery Hale by Helen Wright, who provides a rare look at Hale's scientific achievements: his invention of the spectroheliograph, his discovery of the magnetic nature of sunspots, and his legendary leadership in founding the Yerkes, Mount Wilson, and Palomar Mountain Observatories. Available Used from $30.62 (as of time of writing).

On 29 Jun 1868, Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill that initiated the U.S. interstate highway system, winding a key that set in motion a perpetual motion machine. Today's second Science Store pick is: The Roads That Built America: The Incredible Story of the U.S. Interstate System, by Dan McNichol, a book that is lavishly illustrated with photos, drawings and maps. Sidebar stories include subjects like the parcel company that thrived because of the Interstate, and how the sign design process evolved. Price $14.95, save 27%, New $10.91. Also available Used from $4.90 (as of time of writing).

Yesterday's pick: Childhood's Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diphtheria in New York City, 1880-1930, by Evelynn Maxine Hammonds

For picks from earlier newsletters, see the Today in Science Science Store home page.

Quotations for Today

"Unfortunately, only a small number of patients with peptic ulcer are financially able to make a pet of an ulcer."
- William James Mayo, American surgeon , who co-founded the Mayo Clinic (born 29 Jun 1861) Quotes Icon
"More than any single action by the government since the end of the war, this one would change the face of America with straightaways, cloverleaf turns, bridges, and elongated parkways. Its impact on the American economy—the jobs it would produce in manufacturing and construction, the rural areas it would open up—was beyond calculation."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, talking in 1963 about the U.S. Interstate Highway system (initiated by a bill he signed on 29 Jun 1956) Quotes Icon
"Like buried treasures, the outposts of the universe have beckoned to the adventurous from immemorial times. Princes and potentates, political or industrial, equally with men of science, have felt the lure of the uncharted seas of space, and through their provision of instrumental means the sphere of exploration has made new discoveries and brought back permanent additions to our knowledge of the heavens."
- George Ellery Hale, American astronomer (born 29 Jun 1868) Quotes Icon

Before you look at today's web page, see if you can answer some of these questions about the events that happened on this day. Some of the names are very familiar. Others will likely stump you. Tickle your curiosity with these questions, then check your answers on today's web page.

George Ellery Hale, born 29 Jun 1868, was an American astronomer known for his development of important astronomical instruments, including the Hale telescope (completed 1948), a reflecting telescope at the California Institute of Technology's Palomar Mountain Observatory near Pasadena. He is known also for his researches in solar physics, particularly his discovery of magnetic fields in sunspots.
To the nearest 10 inches, what is the size of the reflector?
Pietro Angelo Secchi, born 29 Jun 1818, was an Italian Jesuit priest and astrophysicist, who made the first survey of the spectra of over 4000 stars and suggested that stars be classified according to their spectral type. He studied the planets, especially Jupiter, which he discovered was composed of gasses. Secchi studied the dark lines which join the two hemispheres of Mars.
What did he call the dark lines?

Viktor I. Patsayev
On 29 Jun of a certain year, three Soviet cosmonauts died while during the re-entry of their Soyuz spacecraft. The accident was due to a premature cabin decompression.
In what decade did this happen?

Thomas Addison (1793-1860) was an English physician who was the first person to correctly connect the symptoms of what is now called Addison's disease to a functional deficiency of certain glands.
Which glands did he identify?

In 1954, the Atomic Energy Commission, by a vote of 4 to1 decided against reinstating a certain very prominent scientist's access to classified information. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 required consideration of  "the character, associations, and loyalty" of the individuals engaged in the work of the Commission. Substantial defects of character and imprudent and dangerous associations, particularly with known subversives who place the interests of foreign powers above those of the United States, were considered reasons for disqualification.
Can you name the scientist?


When you have your answers ready to all the questions above, you'll find all the information to check them, and more, on the June 29 web page of Today in Science History. Or, try this link first for just the brief answers.

Fast answers for the previous newsletter for June 28: the influence exercised by various parts of the embryo that directs the development of groups of cells into particular tissues and organs; the discovery of Neptune; birds; funds in his will for the founding of the Smithsonian Institution; 14; the decade including the year 1954; magnesium.

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