Calendar Of Science

Every month, Pacific Science Center publishes a Calendar of Science, a compendium of science facts to add a little knowledge to your daily routine. So, read on and discover a few things you may not have known. If you would like to receive a daily dose of science, subscribe to Calendar of Science on Twitter. We've also set up a Google Calendar to which you may subscribe. Have a comment or question? Please drop us a line. Remember, life's boring without discovery!


Dec. 1 1743-Birthday of the German chemist Martin Klaproth, who discovered uranium.
Dec. 2 1929-At Chou-Kou-Tian, China, archaeologists discovered the 700,000 yr old skull of Homo erectus pekinensis, or Peking Man.
Dec. 3 1795-Birthday of educator Rowland Hill, who invented the postage stamp and introduced the first postal service in England.
Dec. 4 1973-Pioneer 10 flew past Jupiter and sent back photos of its atmosphere and three of its moons (Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto).
Dec. 5 1901-Birthday of physicist Werner Heisenberg, who formulated the uncertainty principle.
Dec. 6 1863-Birthday of chemist Charles Martin Hall, who invented an inexpensive method for extracting aluminum from bauxite ore.
Dec. 7 1905-Birthday of Gerard Kuiper, discovered Uranus's moon Miranda, Neptune's moon Nereid, and predicted existence of the Kuiper Belt.
Dec. 8 2000-NASA announced high-res photos of Mars showed layers of sedimentary rocks, indicating lakes & shallow seas were once there.
Dec. 9 1906-Birthday of electrical engineer Grace Murray Hopper, invented the computer compiler.
Dec. 10 1901-First Nobel prizes awarded, in accordance with the will of Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite.
Dec. 11 1863-Birthday of astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, compiled the Henry Draper Catalogue, listed the spectra of over 225,000 stars.
Dec. 12 1927-Birthday of electrical engineer Robert Noyce, who invented the integrated circuit or microchip.
Dec. 13 1920-Albert Michelson & Francis Pease measured diameter of Betelgeuse. 1st measurement of the size of any star other than the Sun.
Dec. 14 1962-Mariner 2 flew past Venus, discovered its surface temp was over 800 degrees F. 1st successful flyby of another planet.
Dec. 15 1852-Birthday of physicist Henri Becquerel, who discovered radioactivity.
Dec. 16 1811-The most powerful earthquake in US history occurred near New Madrid, MO. Changed the course of the Mississippi River.
Dec. 17 1903-At Kitty Hawk, NC, Orville & Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight of an airplane.
Dec. 18 1958-US launched the world's first communications satellite. Project SCORE broadcast the first message from space.
Dec. 19 1813-Birthday of chemist Thomas Andrews, who demonstrated that ozone is a form of oxygen.
Dec. 20 1901-Birthday of physicist Robert Van de Graaff, who invented the Van de Graaff generator.
Dec. 21 1773-Birthday of Robert Brown, discovered that tiny particles suspended in liquid are constantly in motion (Brownian motion).
Dec. 22 1938-Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered a coelacanth in a recent catch of fish. Thought to be extinct for 65 million years.
Dec. 23 1947-Physicists Walter Brattain and John Bardeen demonstrated the first transistor.
Dec. 24 1818-Birthday of James Joule, discovered mechanical, electrical & heat energy are equivalent, each can be converted to the other 2.
Dec. 25 1642-Birthday of Isaac Newton, who invented calculus, and who discovered the three laws of motion and the law of gravity.
Dec. 26 1898-Marie and Pierre Curie announced their discovery of the element radium.
Dec. 27 1571-Birthday of astronomer Johannes Kepler, who discovered the three laws of planetary motion.
Dec. 28 1612-Galileo became 1st to see Neptune through a telescope. Didn't realize it was a planet, wasn't discovered again until 1846.
Dec. 29 1800-Birthday of Charles Goodyear, invented the vulcanization process, which made rubber stable in both hot and cold temperatures.
Dec. 30 1995-The Hubble Space Telescope completed photographing the Hubble Deep Field, small region of sky in constellation Ursa Major.
Dec. 31 1887-The Lick telescope installed on Mount Hamilton near San Francisco. World's largest, 1st to be located on a mountain top.