Pacific Science Center

Bringing science to life.

Calendar Of Science – December

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.


Dec. 1, 1936-Brundin and Lyon received a U.S. patent for a hydroponics system (soilless culture of plants).
Dec. 2, 1957-The first full-scale atomic electric generating station in the U.S. began operation in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.
Dec. 3, 1984-A poisonous gas, methyl isocyanate, leaked from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India, world’s worst industrial disaster.
Dec. 4, 1908-Birthday-Alfred Day Hershey, who discovered the fact that DNA was the genetic material of life.
Dec. 5, 1969-The U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) connected four computer network nodes in four universities.
Dec. 6, 1850-Hermann von Helmholtz demonstrated his revolutionary ophthalmoscope to the Berlin Physical Society.
Dec. 7, 1888-John Boyd Dunlop was issued a British patent for his pneumatic or air-filled tyre.
Dec. 8, 1931-Espenschied and Affel were awarded U.S. patent for a “concentric conducting system,” now known as coaxial cable.
Dec. 9, 1960-The Sperry Rand Corporation, in Minnesota unveiled the Univac 1107, the first electronic computer with thin-film memory.
Dec. 10, 1901-The king of Sweden distributed the first Nobel Prizes at the first Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.
Dec. 11, 1997-Global warming conference was held in Kyoto, Japan where over 150 countries agreed to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.
Dec. 12, 1955-Christopher Cockerell, father of the hovercraft air-cushion vehicle, filed his first patent for the hovercraft.
Dec. 13, 1962-The first U.S. communications earth satellite, Relay I, was launched.
Dec. 14, 1967-Arthur Kornberg announced the first synthesis of biologically active DNA in a test tube.
Dec. 15, 1612-Simon Marius observed Andromeda galaxy through a telescope, the most distant object that can be seen by the unaided eye.
Dec. 16, 1929-Birthday-Bruce Nathan Ames who developed the Ames test, an indicator of the carcinogenicity of chemicals.
Dec. 17, 1903-Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft.
Dec. 18, 1958-The first American communications satellite, Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was launched.
Dec. 19, 1902-The first fingerprint file in the U.S. was initiated.
Dec. 20, 1900-Invention of Musical Arcs, by William Du Bois Duddell, was reported.
Dec. 21, 1933-Dr. Flosdorf and Stuart Mudd prepared dried human blood serum at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dec. 22, 1938-The first coelacanth, a primitive fish thought extinct, was discovered in East London.
Dec. 23, 1947-John Bardeen and Walter Brattain demonstrated the first transistor at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey.
Dec. 24, 1936-Ernest Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron, administered the first radioactive isotope medicine at Berkeley.
Dec. 25, 1741-Astronomer Anders Celsius devised the Centigrade temperature scale.
Dec. 26, 1898-Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive element radium while experimenting with a common uranium ore.
Dec. 27, 1822-Birthday-Louis Pasteur who discovered the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization.
Dec. 28, 2005-The first in a series of satellites, named Galileo, was launched by a consortium of European governments and companies.
Dec. 29, 1888-The Great Nebula in Andromeda, M31, was photographed by Isaac Roberts.
Dec. 30, 1913-Dr. Coolidge patented a method for making ductile tungsten for the filaments of electric lamps.
Dec. 31, 1938-Dr. Harger invented the first breath testing machine for car drivers for the analysis of blood alcohol content.

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