Here are some highlights from this week in science history. To learn more about these intriguing science topics, just click on the underlined words in blue print to access the library catalog. I hope they pique your interest!
Apr. 20, 1928 British astronomer Gerald Hawkins was born. Hawkins was an established astronomer at Boston University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory who determined that Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain in Southern England was a sophisticated ancient astronomical computer. Although others had speculated on the importance of Stonehenge, Hawkins performed an intense study which he published in the journal Nature in 1963. He found astronomical alignments among 165 points of Stonehenge purely associated with the sun and moon. He used a computer to show that a pattern of alignments with twelve major lunar and solar events existed. Whether you consider Stonehenge an ancient observatory, astronomical calendar or calculator, the construction of it was an impressive engineering feat and it is shrouded in mystery!
Apr. 21, 1902 Marie and Pierre Curie successfully isolated one gram of radioactive radium in the laboratory in Paris. Marie and Pierre shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics with French scientist A. Henri Becquerel for their groundbreaking investigations in radioactivity. Marie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. The scientific partnership of Marie and Pierre achieved world renown and Marie would go on to win a second Nobel Prize. More about Marie at a later date she is a science topic all her own!
Apr. 22, 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated in the U.S. to encourage environmental awareness and responsibility. Its mission is to safeguard the nation’s water, air and soil from pollution. The global theme for Earth Day 2009 is “The Green Generation”. The first Earth Day in 1970 is considered by many to be the birth of the modern environmental movement.