Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

Calendar Of Science – May

Every month, Pacific Science Center publishes a Calendar of Science, a compendium of science facts to add a little knowledge to your daily routine. 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. Have a comment or question? Please drop us a line. Remember, life’s boring without discovery.


May 1, 1949-Gerard Kuiper discovered Nereid, 2nd satellite of Neptune, the outermost and the 3rd largest of Neptune’s known satellites.
May 2, 1800-William Nicholson 1st to produce a chemical reaction by electricity (electrolysis of water).
May 3, 1968-Dr. Denton Cooley performed 1st heart transplant in U.S. on Everett Thomas, his heart was damaged from rheumatic heart disease.
May 4, 2003-The first cloned equine, a mule foal was born at the University of Idaho using a cell from a mule fetus and an egg from a horse.
May 5, 1961-Alan Bartlett Shepherd, Jr. became 1st American in space by making a 15 minute sub-orbital flight on Freedom 7 spacecraft.
May 6, 1851-A U.S. patent issued to John Gorrie for “Improved Process for the Artificial Production of Ice” (refrigerator).
May 7, 1992-The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off on its maiden voyage carrying seven NASA astronauts.
May 8, 1961-The 1st practical seawater conversion plant in the U.S. was opened in Freeport, Texas.
May 9, 1962-A pulse light laser beam sent by scientists from MIT successfully bounced off the moon, 1st lunar laser ranging experiment.
May 10, 1852- Theory of valence (any atom can combine with a certain, limited number of other atoms) announced by Sir Edward Frankland.
May 11, 1811- The original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, were born of Chinese parents in Siam (Thailand).
May 12, 1820-Birthday: Florence Nightingale (“The Lady With The Lamp”) who established modern nursing practice.
May 13, 1890-Nikola Tesla issued a patent for an electric generator.
May 14, 1796-Edward Jenner administered 1st vaccination against smallpox to an 8-year-old boy.
May 15, 1953-Stanley Miller’s paper on synthesis of amino acids under conditions that simulated primitive Earth’s atmosphere published.
May 16, 1960-Physicist Theodore Maiman uses a synthetic-ruby crystal to create the first laser.
May 17, 1955-The highly classified U.S. patent for 1st atomic pile was finally issued, 11 years after it had been filed.
May 18, 1967- The 1st legalization of human artificial insemination in the U.S. was enacted by the state of Oklahoma.
May 19, 1896-Edward Acheson was issued a patent for an electric furnace used to produce carborundum (silicon carbide).
May 20, 1990-The Hubble Space Telescope sent its 1st photograph from space, an image of a double star 1,260 light years away.
May 21, 1873-Birthday: Hans Berger, invented electroencephalography (EEG) (the recording of “brain waves”).
May 22, 1989-The 1st successful transfer of cells containing foreign genes into a human being performed at National Institutes of Health.
May 23, 1930-New U.S. Plant Patent Act allowed patent protection for new and distinct varieties of asexually reproduced plants.
May 24, 1892-Thomas Edison issued three patents for an “Electric Locomotive” and a fourth patent relating to an “Electric Railway”.
May 25, 1940- Howard Florey and Ernst Chain successfully tested penicillin in one of the most famous animal tests in medical history.
May 26, 1931-A microfilm camera was patented by George L. McCarthy.
May 27, 1931-The 1st U.S. full scale wind tunnel for testing airplanes was opened in Langley Field Research Center, Virginia.
May 28, 1959-Two monkeys, Able and Baker, were fired into space becoming the 1st living creatures to survive a space flight.
May 29, 1919-During a total solar eclipse, Sir Eddington performed the 1st test and proved Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
May 30, 1898-Morris William Travers, while working with Sir Willam Ramsay in London, discovered the element krypton.
May 31, 1852-Birthday: Richard Julius Petri, a bacteriologist who invented Petri dish.

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