Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today in History: April 15

  • 1452 The original "renaissance man" Leonardo Da Vinci born; designed buildings, bridges, canals, forts and war machines; painted the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
  • 1707 Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler born; one of the founders of pure mathematics; one of the most famous men of the 18th C. in Europe; e^(πi) = -1, e^(ix) = cos x + i sin x.
  • 1715 The Pocotaligo Massacre: an emergency diplomatic party of six from the governor of South Carolina is met cordially by Yamasee indian leaders the previous evening but are attacked as they slept; four are tortured to death and two barely escape. This starts the Yamasee War, which includes Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Shawnee tribes among others.
  • 1923 Insulin becomes available to the public for use by diabetics; 1923 Nobel to Frederick Banting and J.J.R. Macleod (who each shared his prize with his colleague).
  • 1927 American physicist Robert Mills born; 1980 Rumford Prize (with office-mate Chen Yang), for Yang-Mills field theory, the one of the foundations of the Standard Model of elementary particles and of string theory.
  • 1945 The British 11th Armoured Division liberates 60,000 prisoners of the Bergen-Belsen Nazi death camp; 13,000 unburied corpses litter the grounds; "The living lay with their heads against the corpses and around them moved the awful, ghostly procession of emaciated, aimless people, with nothing to do and with no hope of life, unable to move out of your way, unable to look at the terrible sights around them".
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  1. Just so's you know, I stop by every day to find out about "Today in History!"

    Thanks, and keep up the good work! (I especially enjoy the emphasis on science/math, and often follow the links to "remind myself...")

  2. Thanks. It's always nice to get a compliment.

  3. e^(πi) = -1 is one of the coolest equations ever derived. It combines four numbers that individually represent great advances in mathematics into a single statement, with no extra terms to cloud the perfection.


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