FYI June 21, 2017


 
 

 
 

On this day:

533 – A Byzantine expeditionary fleet under Belisarius sails from Constantinople to attack the Vandals in Africa, via Greece and Sicily.

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Against the Vandals
Main article: Vandalic War

For his efforts, Belisarius was rewarded by Justinian with the command of a land and sea expedition against the Vandal Kingdom, mounted in 533–534. The Romans had political, religious and strategic reasons for such a campaign. The pro-Roman Vandal king Hilderic had been deposed and murdered by the usurper Gelimer, giving Justinian a legal pretext. The Arian Vandals had periodically persecuted the Nicene Christians within their kingdom, many of whom made their way to Constantinople seeking redress. The Vandals had launched many pirate raids on Roman trade interests, hurting commerce in the western areas of the Empire. Justinian also wanted control of the Vandal territory in north Africa, which was one of the wealthiest provinces and the breadbasket of the Western Roman Empire and was now vital for guaranteeing Roman access to the western Mediterranean.

In the late summer of 533, Belisarius sailed to Africa and landed near Caput Vada (near Chebba on the coast of Tunisia). He ordered his fleet not to lose sight of the army, then marched along the coastal highway toward the Vandal capital of Carthage. He did this to prevent supplies from being cut off and to avoid a great defeat such as occurred during the attempt by Basiliscus to retake northern Africa 65 years before, which had ended in the Roman disaster at the Battle of Cap Bon in 468.

Ten miles from Carthage, the forces of Gelimer (who had just executed Hilderic) and Belisarius met at the Battle of Ad Decimum on September 13, 533. It nearly turned into a defeat for the Romans; Gelimer had chosen his position well and had some success along the main road. The Romans seemed dominant on both sides of the main road to Carthage. At the height of the battle, Gelimer became distraught upon learning of the death of his brother in battle. This gave Belisarius a chance to regroup and he went on to win the battle and capture Carthage. A second victory at the Battle of Tricamarum on December 15, resulted in Gelimer’s surrender early in 534 at Mount Papua, restoring the lost Roman provinces of north Africa to the empire. For this achievement, Belisarius was granted a Roman triumph (the last ever given) when he returned to Constantinople. According to Procopius in the procession were paraded the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem (the Vandal treasure, including many objects looted from Rome 80 years earlier, the imperial regalia and the menorah of the Second Temple among them) which had been recovered from the Vandal capital along with Gelimer himself before he was sent into peaceful exile. Medals were stamped in his honor with the inscription Gloria Romanorum, though none seem to have survived to modern times. Belisarius was also made sole Consul in 535, being one of the last persons to hold this office, which originated in the ancient Roman Republic. The recovery of Africa was incomplete; army mutinies and revolts by the native Berbers plagued the new praetorian prefecture of Africa for almost 15 years.

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Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe, or group of tribes, who were first heard of in southern Poland, but later moved around Europe establishing kingdoms in Spain and later North Africa in the 5th century.[1]

The Vandals are believed to have migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the lower Oder and Vistula rivers during the 2nd century BC and to have settled in Silesia from around 120 BC.[2][3][4] They are associated with the Przeworsk culture and were possibly the same people as the Lugii. Expanding into Dacia during the Marcomannic Wars and to Pannonia during the Crisis of the Third Century, the Vandals were confined to Pannonia by the Goths around 330 AD, where they received permission to settle by Constantine the Great. Around 400, raids by the Huns forced many of the Germanic tribes like the Goths to migrate to the Roman Empire, and fearing that they might be targeted next, the Vandals were pushed westwards crossing the Rhine into Gaul along with other tribes in 406.[5] In 409, the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, where their main groups, the Hasdingi and the Silingi, settled in Gallaecia (northwest) and Baetica (south central) respectively.[6]

After the Visigoths invaded Iberia, the Iranian Alans and Silingi Vandals voluntarily subjected to the rule of Hasdingian leader Gunderic, who was pushed from Gallaecia to Baetica by a Roman-Suebi coalition in 419. In 429, under king Genseric, the Vandals entered North Africa. By 439 they established a kingdom which included the Roman province of Africa as well as Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and the Balearic Islands. They fended off several Roman attempts to recapture the African province, and sacked the city of Rome in 455. Their kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War of 533–4, in which Justinian I managed to reconquer the province for the Eastern Roman Empire.

Renaissance and Early Modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians, “sacking and looting” Rome. This led to the use of the term “vandalism” to describe any senseless destruction, particularly the “barbarian” defacing of artwork. However, modern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetuators, not destroyers, of Roman culture.[7]

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Born on this day:

1706 – John Dollond, English optician and astronomer (d. 1761)
John Dollond FRS (10 June O.S. (21 June N.S.) 1706 – 30 November 1761) was an English optician, known for his successful optics business and his patenting and commercialization of achromatic doublets.

Dollond was the son of a Huguenot refugee, a silk-weaver at Spitalfields, London, where he was born. He followed his father’s trade, but found time to acquire a knowledge of Latin, Greek, mathematics, physics, anatomy and other subjects. In 1752 he abandoned silk-weaving and joined his eldest son, Peter Dollond (1730–1820), who in 1750 had started in business as a maker of optical instruments; this business is now Dollond & Aitchison. His reputation grew rapidly, and in 1761 he was appointed optician to the king.

In 1758 he published an “Account of some experiments concerning the different refrangibility of light” (Phil. Trans., 1758), describing the experiments that led him to the achievement with which his name is specially associated, the discovery of a means of constructing achromatic lenses by the combination of crown and flint glasses, which reduces chromatic aberration (color defects). Leonhard Euler in 1747 had suggested that achromatism might be obtained by the combination of glass and water lenses. Relying on statements made by Sir Isaac Newton, Dollond disputed this possibility (Phil. Trans., 1753), but subsequently, after the Swedish physicist, Samuel Klingenstierna (1698–1765), had pointed out that Newton’s law of dispersion did not harmonize with certain observed facts, he began experiments to settle the question.

Early in 1757 he succeeded in producing refraction without colour by the aid of glass and water lenses, and a few months later he made a successful attempt to get the same result by a combination of glasses of different qualities (see History of telescopes). For this achievement the Royal Society awarded him the Copley Medal in 1758, and three years later elected him one of its fellows. Dollond also published two papers on apparatus for measuring small angles (Phil. Trans., 1753, 1754).[2]

Priority of invention
See also: Achromatic lens: History
John Dollond was the first person to patent the achromatic doublet.[3][when?] However, it is well known that he was not the first to make achromatic lenses. Optician George Bass, following the instructions of Chester Moore Hall, made and sold such lenses as early as 1733.[4] In the late 1750s, Bass told Dollond about Hall’s design; Dollond saw the potential and was able to reproduce them.[3]

Dollond appears to have known of the prior work and refrained from enforcing his patent.[4] After his death, his son, Peter, did take action to enforce the patent. A number of his competitors, including Bass, Benjamin Martin, Robert Rew and Jesse Ramsden, took action. Dollond’s patent was upheld, as the court found that the patent was valid due to Dollond’s exploitation of the invention while prior inventors did not. Several of the opticians were ruined by the expense of the legal proceedings and closed their shops as a result. The patent remained valid until it expired in 1772.[4] Following the expiry of the patent, the price of achromatic doublets in England dropped by half.[5] More details on this invention are in History of the telescope.

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FYI June 20, 2017


 
 

 
 

On this day:

1789 – Deputies of the French Third Estate take the Tennis Court Oath.
On the 20th of June 1789, the members of the French Estates-General for the Third Estate, who had begun to call themselves the National Assembly, took the Tennis Court Oath (French: Serment du Jeu de Paume), vowing “not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established.” It was a pivotal event in the early days of the French Revolution.

The Estates-General had been called to address the country’s fiscal and agricultural crisis, but immediately after convening in May 1789, they had become bogged down in issues of representation—particularly, whether they would vote by head (which would increase the power of the Third Estate) or by order.

On 17 June, the Third Estate, led by the comte de Mirabeau, began to call themselves the National Assembly.[1] On the morning of 20 June, the deputies were shocked to discover that the chamber door was locked and guarded by soldiers. Immediately fearing the worst and anxious that a royal attack by King Louis XVI was imminent, the deputies congregated in a nearby indoor jeu de palme court in the Saint-Louis district of the city of Versailles, near the Palace of Versailles.

There, 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate took a collective oath “not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established”.[2] The only person who did not join was Joseph Martin-Dauch from Castelnaudary, who would only execute decisions made by the king.[3]

Significance
This oath would come to have major significance in the revolution as the Third Estate would constantly continue to protest to have more representation.[4] Some historians have argued that, given political tensions in France at that time, the deputies’ fears, even if wrong, were reasonable and that the importance of the oath goes above and beyond its context.[5]

The oath was both a revolutionary act, and an assertion that political authority derived from the people and their representatives rather than from the monarch himself. Their solidarity forced Louis XVI to order the clergy and the nobility to join with the Third Estate in the National Assembly in order to give the illusion that he controlled the National Assembly.[1] This oath would prove vital to the Third Estate as a step of protest that would eventually lead to more power in the Estates General, and every governing body thereafter.[6]

The Oath signified for the first time that French citizens formally stood in opposition to Louis XVI, and the National Assembly’s refusal to back down forced the king to make concessions. It was foreshadowed by, and drew considerably from, the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, especially the preamble. The Oath also inspired a wide variety of revolutionary activity in the months afterwards, ranging from rioting across the French countryside to renewed calls for a written French constitution. Likewise, it reinforced the Assembly’s strength and forced the King to formally request that voting occur based on head, not power.[citation needed] The Tennis Court Oath, which was taken in June 1789, preceded the 4 August 1789 abolition of feudalism and the 26 August 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

 
 

Born on this day:

1763 – Wolfe Tone, Irish rebel leader (d. 1798)
Theobald Wolfe Tone, posthumously known as Wolfe Tone (20 June 1763 – 19 November 1798), was a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen, and is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism and leader of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. He was captured at Letterkenny port on 3 November 1798.[1]

Early life
Theobald Wolfe Tone was born on 20 June 1763. The Tones were descended from a French Protestant family who fled to England from Gascony in the 16th century to escape religious persecution.[citation needed] A branch of the family settled in Dublin in the 17th century. Theobald’s father Peter Tone was a Church of Ireland coach-maker who had a farm near Sallins, County Kildare. His mother came from a Catholic merchant family who converted to Protestantism after Theobald was born.[2] His maternal grandfather was captain of a vessel in the West India trade.[3]

He was baptised as Theobald Wolfe Tone in honour of his godfather, Theobald Wolfe of Blackhall, County Kildare, a first cousin of Arthur Wolfe, 1st Viscount Kilwarden. However, it was widely believed that Tone was the son of Theobald Wolfe, which if true made him a half-brother of the poet Charles Wolfe.

In 1783, Tone found work as a tutor to Anthony and Robert, younger half-brothers of Richard Martin MP of Galway, a prominent supporter of Catholic Emancipation. Tone fell in love with Martin’s wife, but later wrote that it came to nothing.[3] During this period he briefly considered a career in the theatre as an actor.[4]

He studied law at Trinity College, Dublin, where he became active in the College Historical Society debating club, and was elected its auditor in 1785. He graduated BA in February 1786.[5] He qualified as a barrister in King’s Inns at the age of 26 and attended the Inns of Court in London. As a student, he eloped with Martha Witherington, daughter of William and Catherine Witherington (née Fanning) of Dublin.[6] She would go on to change her name to Matilda, on Wolfe Tone’s request.

Disappointed at finding no support for a plan that he had submitted to William Pitt the Younger, to found a military colony in Hawaii, Tone initially planned to enlist as a soldier in the East India Company, but applied too late in the year, when no more ships would be sent out until the following spring.[3]

Politician
This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay that states a Wikipedia editor’s personal feelings about a topic. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (February 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In September 1791 Tone published An Argument on behalf of the Catholics of Ireland,[6] signed “A Northern Whig”.[7] “A Northern Whig” emphasised the growing breach between Whig patriots like Henry Flood and Henry Grattan, who sought Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform without severing the tie to England, and those who desired an independent Irish Republic. Tone expressed contempt for the constitution Grattan so triumphantly extorted from the British government in 1782; himself an Anglican, Tone urged co-operation between the religions in Ireland as the only means of obtaining redress of Irish grievances.

In October 1791 Tone converted these ideas into practical policy by founding, in conjunction with Thomas Russell (1767–1803), Napper Tandy and others, the Society of the United Irishmen.[7] Until 1794, this society aimed at no more than the formation of a political union between Catholics and Protestants, with a view to obtaining a liberal measure of parliamentary reform.[8] In 1792 he was appointed assistant secretary of the Catholic Committee.[7]

The Catholics involved were not united regarding the steps they were taking, and in December 1791, sixty-eight members withdrew, led by Lord Kenmare, with the support of the higher clergy. When the British government questioned the legality of the Catholic Convention called in December 1792, Tone drew up for the committee a statement of the case on which a favourable opinion of counsel was obtained. A petition was made to King George III early in 1793, and that year the re-enfranchisement of Catholics was enacted – if they owned property as “forty shilling freeholders”. They could not, however, enter parliament or be made state officials above grand jurors. The Convention voted to Tone a sum of £1,500 with a gold medal and voted to dissolve.[5]

Sectarian animosity threatened to undermine the United Irishmen movement: two secret societies in Ulster fought against each other, the agrarian Protestant Peep o’ Day Boys and their Catholic opponents the Defenders.

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FYI June 19, 2017


 
 

 
 

On this day:

1934 – The Communications Act of 1934 establishes the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The Communications Act of 1934 is a United States federal law, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 19, 1934, and codified as Chapter 5 of Title 47 of the United States Code, 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq. The Act replaced the Federal Radio Commission with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It also transferred regulation of interstate telephone services from the Interstate Commerce Commission to the FCC.

The first section of the Act reads: “For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of the national defense, and for the purpose of securing a more effective execution of this policy by centralizing authority theretofore granted by law to several agencies and by granting additional authority with respect to interstate and foreign commerce in wire and radio communication, there is hereby created a commission to be known as the ‘Federal Communications Commission’, which shall be constituted as hereinafter provided, and which shall execute and enforce the provisions of this Act.”[1]

On January 3, 1996, the 104th Congress of the United States amended or repealed sections of the Communications Act of 1934 with the new Telecommunications Act of 1996. It was the first major overhaul of American telecommunications policy in nearly 62 years.

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Born on this day:

1771 – Joseph Diaz Gergonne, French mathematician and philosopher (d. 1859)
Joseph Diaz Gergonne (19 June 1771 at Nancy, France – 4 May 1859 at Montpellier, France) was a French mathematician and logician.


Life

In 1791, Gergonne enlisted in the French army as a captain. That army was undergoing rapid expansion because the French government feared a foreign invasion intended to undo the French Revolution and restore Louis XVI to the throne of France. He saw action in the major battle of Valmy on 20 September 1792. He then returned to civilian life but soon was called up again and took part in the French invasion of Spain in 1794.

In 1795, Gergonne and his regiment were sent to Nîmes. At this point, he made a definitive transition to civilian life by taking up the chair of “transcendental mathematics” at the new École centrale. He came under the influence of Gaspard Monge, the Director of the new École polytechnique in Paris.

In 1810, in response to difficulties he encountered in trying to publish his work, Gergonne founded his own mathematics journal, officially named the Annales de mathématiques pures et appliquées but generally referred to as the Annales de Gergonne. The most common subject of articles in his journal was geometry, Gergonne’s specialty. Over a period of 22 years, the Annales de Gergonne published about 200 articles by Gergonne himself, and other articles by many distinguished mathematicians, including Poncelet, Servois, Bobillier, Steiner, Plücker, Chasles, Brianchon, Dupin, Lamé, even Galois.

Gergonne was appointed to the chair of astronomy at the University of Montpellier in 1816. In 1830, he was appointed Rector of the University of Montpellier, at which time he ceased publishing his journal. He retired in 1844.

Work
Gergonne was among the first mathematicians to employ the word polar. In a series of papers beginning in 1810, he contributed to elaborating the principle of duality in projective geometry, by noticing that every theorem in the plane connecting points and lines corresponds to another theorem in which points and lines are interchanged, provided that the theorem embodied no metrical notions. Gergonne was an early proponent of the techniques of analytical geometry and in 1816, he devised an elegant coordinate solution to the classical problem of Apollonius: to find a circle which touches three given circles, thus demonstrating the power of the new methods.

In 1813, Gergonne wrote the prize-winning essay for the Bordeaux Academy, Methods of synthesis and analysis in mathematics, unpublished to this day and known only via a summary. The essay is very revealing of Gergonne’s philosophical ideas. He called for the abandonment of the words analysis and synthesis, claiming they lacked clear meanings. Surprisingly for a geometer, he suggested that algebra is more important than geometry at a time when algebra consisted almost entirely of the elementary algebra of the real field. He predicted that one day quasi-mechanical methods would be used to discover new results.

In 1815, Gergonne wrote the first paper on the optimal design of experiments for polynomial regression. According to S. M. Stigler, Gergonne is the pioneer of optimal design as well as response surface methodology.

He published his “Essai sur la théorie des définitions” (An essay on the theory of definition) in his Annales in 1818. This essay is generally credited for first recognizing and naming the construct of implicit definition.[1][2]

Quote
“It is not possible to feel satisfied at having said the last word about some theory as long as it cannot be explained in a few words to any passer-by encountered in the street.”[3]

 
 

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On this day:

1178 – Five Canterbury monks see what is possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon’s distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision.
Giordano Bruno is a 22 km lunar impact crater on the far side of the Moon, just beyond the northeastern limb. At this location it lies in an area that can be viewed during a favorable libration, although at such times the area is viewed from the side and not much detail can be seen. It lies between the craters Harkhebi to the northwest and Szilard to the southeast.

When viewed from orbit, Giordano Bruno is at the center of a symmetrical ray system of ejecta that has a higher albedo than the surrounding surface. The ray material extends for over 150 kilometers and has not been significantly darkened by space erosion. Some of the ejecta appears to extend as far as the crater Boss, over 300 km to the northwest. The outer rim of the crater is especially bright, compared to its surroundings. To all appearances this is a young formation that was created in the relatively recent past, geologically speaking. The actual age is unknown, but is estimated to be less than 350 million years.[1]

This feature was named after the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno.

Formation
Five monks from Canterbury reported to the abbey’s chronicler, Gervase, that shortly after sunset on June 18, 1178, (25 June on the proleptic Gregorian calendar) they saw “the upper horn [of the moon] split in two”. Furthermore, Gervase writes:

From the midpoint of the division a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out, over a considerable distance, fire, hot coals and sparks. Meanwhile the body of the Moon which was below writhed, as it were in anxiety, and to put it in the words of those who reported it to me and saw it with their own eyes, the Moon throbbed like a wounded snake. Afterwards it resumed its proper state. This phenomenon was repeated a dozen times or more, the flame assuming various twisting shapes at random and then returning to normal. Then, after these transformations, the Moon from horn to horn, that is along its whole length, took on a blackish appearance.[2]

In 1976, the geologist Jack B. Hartung proposed that this described the formation of the crater Giordano Bruno.[3]

Modern theories predict that a (conjectural) asteroid or comet impact on the Moon would cause a plume of molten matter rising up from the surface, which is consistent with the monks’ description. In addition, the location recorded fits in well with the crater’s location. Additional evidence of Giordano Bruno’s youth is its spectacular ray system: because micrometeorites constantly rain down, they kick up enough dust to quickly (in geological terms) erode a ray system,[4] so it can be reasonably hypothesized that Giordano Bruno was formed during the span of human history, perhaps in June 1178.

However, the question of the crater’s age is not that simple. The impact creating the 22-km-wide crater would have kicked up 10 million tons of debris, triggering a week-long, blizzard-like meteor storm on Earth – yet no accounts of such a noteworthy storm of unprecedented intensity are found in any known historical records, including the European, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Korean astronomical archives.[5] This discrepancy is a major objection to the theory that Giordano Bruno was formed at that time.[6]

This raises the question of what the monks saw. An alternative theory holds that the monks just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see an exploding meteor coming at them and aligned with the Moon. This would explain why the monks were the only people known to have witnessed the event; such an alignment would only be observable from a specific spot on the Earth’s surface.[7]

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Born on this day:

1932 – Dudley R. Herschbach, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
Dudley Robert Herschbach (born June 18, 1932) is an American chemist at Harvard University. He won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Yuan T. Lee and John C. Polanyi “for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes.”[1] Herschbach and Lee specifically worked with molecular beams, performing crossed molecular beam experiments that enabled a detailed molecular-level understanding of many elementary reaction processes. Herschbach is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Early life and education
Herschbach was born in San Jose, California on June 18, 1932. The eldest of six children, he grew up in a rural area. He graduated from Campbell High School, where he played football. Offered both athletic and academic scholarships to Stanford University, Herschbach chose the academic. His freshman advisor, Harold S. Johnston, hired him as a summer research assistant, and taught him chemical kinetics in his senior year. His master’s research involved calculating Arrhenius A-factors for gas-phase reactions.[2] Herschbach received a B.S. in mathematics in 1954 and an M.S. in chemistry in 1955 from Stanford University.[3]

Herschbach then attended Harvard University where he earned a A.M. in physics in 1956 and a Ph.D. in chemical physics in 1958 under the direction of Edgar Bright Wilson. At Harvard, Herschbach examined tunnel splitting in molecules, using microwave spectroscopy.[2] He was awarded a three-year Junior Fellowship in the Society of Fellows at Harvard, lasting from 1957 to 1959.[4]

Research
In 1959, Herschbach joined the University of California at Berkeley, where he was appointed an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and became an Associate Professor in 1961.[3] At Berkeley, he and graduate students George Kwei and James Norris constructed a cross-beam instrument large enough for reactive scattering experiments involve alkali and various molecular partners. His interest in studying elementary chemical processes in molecular-beam reactive collisions challenged an often-accepted belief that “collisions do not occur in crossed molecular beams”. The results of his studies of K + CH3I were the first to provide a detailed view of an elementary collision, demonstrating a direct rebound process in which the KI product recoiled from an incoming K atom beam. Subsequent studies of K + Br2 resulted in the discovery that the hot-wire surface ionization detector they were using was potentially contaminated by previous use, and had to be pre-treated to obtain reliable results. Changes to the instrumentation yielded reliable results, including the observation that the K + Br2 reaction involved a stripping reaction, in which the KBr product scattered forward from the incident K atom beam. As the research continued, it became possible to correlate the electronic structure of reactants and products with the reaction dynamics.[2]

In 1963, Herschbach returned to Harvard University as a professor of chemistry. There he continued his work on molecular-beam reactive dynamics, working with graduate students Sanford Safron and Walter Miller on the reactions of alkali atoms with alkali halides. In 1967, Yuan T. Lee joined the lab as a postdoctoral student, and Herschbach, Lee, and graduate students Doug MacDonald and Pierre LeBreton began to construct a “supermachine” for studying collisions such as Cl + Br2 and hydrogen and halogen reactions.[2]

His most acclaimed work, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986 with Yuan T. Lee and John C. Polanyi, was his collaboration with Yuan T. Lee on crossed molecular beam experiments. Crossing collimated beams of gas-phase reactants allows partitioning of energy among translational, rotational, and vibrational modes of the product molecules—a vital aspect of understanding reaction dynamics. For their contributions to reaction dynamics, Herschbach and Lee are considered to have helped create a new field of research in chemistry.[1] Herschbach is a pioneer in molecular stereodynamics, measuring and theoretically interpreting the role of angular momentum and its vector properties in chemical reaction dynamics.[2][5]

In the course of his life’s work in research, Herschbach has published over 400 scientific papers.[6] Herschbach has applied his broad expertise in both the theory and practice of chemistry and physics to diverse problems in chemical physics, including theoretical work on dimensional scaling. One of his studies demonstrated that methane is in fact spontaneously formed at high pressure and high temperature environments such as those deep in the Earth’s mantle; this finding is an exciting indication of abiogenic hydrocarbon formation, meaning that the actual amount of hydrocarbons available on earth might be much larger than conventionally assumed under the assumption that all hydrocarbons are fossil fuels.[7] His recent work also includes a collaboration with Steven Brams studying approval voting.[8]

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FYI June 17, 2017

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On this day:

1596 – The Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz discovers the Arctic archipelago of Spitsbergen.
Svalbard (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈsʋɑ(ː)lbɑː];[3] formerly known by its Dutch name Spitsbergen) is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya.

Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but forms an unincorporated area administered by a governor appointed by the Norwegian government. Since 2002, Svalbard’s main settlement, Longyearbyen, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities. Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are farther north, but are populated only by rotating groups of researchers.

The islands were first taken into use as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which they were abandoned. Coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century, and several permanent communities were established. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. They also established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone. The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol remain the only mining companies in place. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries, with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault playing critical roles. No roads connect the settlements; instead snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve inter-community transport. Svalbard Airport, Longyear serves as the main gateway.

The archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora take advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer, the Arctic fox, and certain marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched, yet fragile, natural environment. Approximately 60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords.

Svalbard and Jan Mayen are collectively assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code “SJ”. Both areas are administered by Norway, though they are separated by a distance of over 950 kilometres (510 nautical miles) and have very different administrative structures.

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1631 – Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, will spend the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.

Mumtaz Mahal ([mumˈt̪aːz mɛˈɦɛl]; meaning “the elect of the palace”; born Arjumand Banu) (27 April 1593 – 17 June 1631)[1] was Empress consort of the Mughal Empire from 19 January 1628 to 17 June 1631 and was the chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taj Mahal in Agra, often cited as one of the Wonders of the World,[2] was commissioned by her husband to act as her final resting place.[3]

Mumtaz Mahal was born Arjumand Banu Begum in Agra to a family of Persian nobility. She was the daughter of Abdul Hasan Asaf Khan, a wealthy Persian noble who held high office in the empire, and the niece of Nur Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir and the power behind the emperor.[4] She was married at the age of 19 on 30 April 1612 to Prince Khurram,[5] later known by his regnal name, Shah Jahan, who conferred upon her the title “Mumtaz Mahal”. Although betrothed to Shah Jahan since 1607, she ultimately became his second wife in 1612. Mumtaz bore her husband fourteen children, including Jahanara Begum (Shah Jahan’s favorite daughter), and the Crown prince Dara Shikoh, the heir-apparent, anointed by his father, who temporarily succeeded him, until deposed by Mumtaz Mahal’s sixth child, Aurangzeb, who ultimately succeeded his father as the sixth Mughal emperor.

Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 in Burhanpur, Deccan (present-day Madhya Pradesh), during the birth of her fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhara Begum.[6] Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built as a mausoleum for her, which is considered to be a monument of “undying love”.[7]

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Born on this day:

1571 – Thomas Mun, English writer on economics (d. 1641)
Sir Thomas Mun (17 June 1571 – 21 July 1641) was an English writer on economics and is often referred to as the last of the early mercantilists. Most notably, he is known for serving as the director of the East India Company. Due to his strong belief in the state and his prior experience as a merchant, Mun took on a prominent role during the economic depression which began in 1620. To defend the East India Company and to regain England’s economic stability, Mun published A Discourse of Trade from England unto the East-Indies.

Through mercantilist principles, Mun created a proposed set of “means to enrich a kingdom” which centred on ensuring that exports exceeded imports. In other words, Mun advocated for achieving a positive balance of trade which would cause England’s wealth to steadily increase. Thomas Mun is also widely considered to be a sophisticated thinker and has become a hugely important part of the history of economic theory.


Life and background

Thomas Mun was born in June 1571. He was the third child of a substantial London family based in the vicinity of St Andrew Hubbard, where he was baptised on 17 June 1571. His father, John Mun, and his stepfather both earned their livings as mercers. His grandfather, also named John Mun, was provost of moneyers in the Royal Mint of England. Through his family ties It can be assumed that Thomas gained insight into matters pertaining to currency and to the economy as a whole. At the age of forty-one, Thomas married Ursula Malcott and together they had three children: John, Ann and Mary. They chose the parish of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate as their home.[1]

Nothing is known about his education, but Thomas’s own career as a merchant started around 1596 where he was a member of the Mercers’ company and engaged in Mediterranean trade, especially with Italy and the Middle East. He was successful as a practising merchant and was able to amass a large fortune. In 1615, due to his prosperity, Mun was elected as the director of the East India Company and in 1622 was appointed as a member of the standing commission on trade. The rest of his professional career was spent advocating for and promoting the East India Company’s interests.[2]

Director of the East India Company
In conjunction with the British Crown, The East India Company was a trading business established to colonise new lands and to pursue trade with the East Indies. In 1615 Mun was elected as the director of the company and set out to ensure that it was operating at full capacity. To achieve this meant that wealth would be maximised and exports would be increased. In 1620, during the onset of the depression, Mun’s role within the economy was greatly enhanced. He was forced to not only defend the East India Company and its practices, but also aid the government in correcting the economy.

The trade crisis that eventually led to the depression stemmed from two separate events. First, through the East India Company, England was importing from India at a much higher rate than it was exporting. This negative balance of trade, or trade deficit, meant that England was sending out more money than it was bringing in, a clear detriment to the economy. Second, to pay for all of their imports, England sent precious metals to India. As the only real determinant of affluence in the 1600s, due to the fact that paper money was not yet in use in Northern Europe, exporting precious metals was generally unheard of. For the East India Company, however, the exportation restrictions on bullion were reduced.[3] Due to this stipulation, the exchange of silver for luxuries brought a lot of negative attention to the East India Company; citizens believed that it was a large factor in the economic downturn. Mun was thus put forward as a representative of the enterprise. His task was to clear the name of his company while also convincing his clients, and the general public, that the actions taken were ultimately for the best. He conveyed his views through his first published book, A Discourse of Trade from England Unto the East Indies.

Economic policies
According to Mun, foreign trade was the best way to increase the wealth of a nation. More specifically, it was necessary for exports to exceed imports. All other corrective economic policies were secondary. As he says in England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade, we must “sell more to strangers yearly than we consume of theirs in value.” To achieve this positive balance of trade, Mun laid out a list of criterion which he urged England to follow[4]

Imported goods that can be produced domestically should be banned.
Reduce luxurious imported goods by making Englishmen have a taste for English goods.
Reduce export duties on goods produced domestically from foreign markets.
If no alternatives are available to its neighbours, England should charge more money for its exports.
Cultivate wasteland for higher production and to reduce the amount of imports needed from abroad.
Shipping should be completed solely on English vessels.

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Today Bob Seger, one of the longest streaming holdouts, is finally coming to Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and other all-you-can-stream music-subscription services. The 72-year-old rock legend, famously slow to adopt new music distribution formats, has long been wary of streaming because of its low royalty payouts. Something obviously sparked a change of heart, as 13 of Seger’s albums are now available to stream.
 
 


 
 


 
 
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On this day:

1836 – The formation of the London Working Men’s Association gives rise to the Chartist Movement.
The London Working Men’s Association was an organisation established in London in 1836.[1] It was one of the foundations of Chartism. The founders were William Lovett, Francis Place and Henry Hetherington. They appealed to skilled workers rather than the mass of unskilled factory labourers. They were associated with Owenite socialism and the movement for general education.

Chartism
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People’s Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, and the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, and 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons. The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and in Yorkshire.

The People’s Charter called for six reforms to make the political system more democratic:

A vote for every man (earlier, every person but this was dropped due to middle-class pressure)[1] twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for a crime.
The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice.
Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation.
Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones.
Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period.

Chartists saw themselves fighting against political corruption and for democracy in an industrial society, but attracted support beyond the radical political groups for economic reasons, such as opposing wage cuts and unemployment.[2][3]

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Born on this day:

1738 – Mary Katherine Goddard, American publisher (d. 1816)
Mary Katherine Goddard (June 16, 1738 – August 12, 1816) was an early American publisher and the postmaster of the Baltimore Post Office from 1775 to 1789. She was the first to print the Declaration of Independence with the names of the signatories.

Biography
Mary Katherine Goddard was born in Southern New England in 1738.[1] She was the daughter of Dr. Giles Goddard and Sarah Updike Goddard. Her father was the postmaster of New London, which could explain why Mary and her brother had long careers and natural interest in the postal system and the printing business.

Her brother, William Goddard (1740-1817), was a few years younger and had served an apprenticeship in the printing trade. The Goddards (Mrs. Goddard, William Goddard and Mary Goddard) set up a printing press and published Providence’s first newspaper, the Providence Gazette. However, William left Rhode Island to start a newspaper in Philadelphia. William also had been the publisher and printer of a revolutionary publication, the Maryland Journal. Mary Goddard took control of the journal in 1774 while her brother was traveling to promote his Constitutional Post; she continued to publish it throughout the American Revolutionary War until 1784. Her brother forced her to give up the newspaper amid an acrimonious quarrel.[2] In 1775, Mary Katharine Goddard became postmaster of the Baltimore post office. She also ran a book store and published an almanac in offices located around 250 Market Street (now East Baltimore Street, near South Street).

When on January 18, 1777, the Second Continental Congress moved that the Declaration of Independence be widely distributed, Goddard was one of the first to offer the use of her press. This was in spite of the risks of being associated with what was considered a treasonable document by the British. Her copy, the Goddard Broadside, was the second printed, and the first to contain the typeset names of the signatories, including John Hancock. During the American Revolution, Goddard opposed the Stamp Act vehemently, recognizing it would increase the cost of printing.

Goddard was a successful postmaster for 14 years. In 1789, however, she was removed from the position by Postmaster General Samuel Osgood despite general protest from the Baltimore community.[3] Mary Katherine Goddard generally did not take part in public controversies, preferring to maintain editorial objectivity; therefore, few articles contain her personal opinions, and her defense was not mounted publicly. Osgood asserted that the position required “more traveling…than a woman could undertake” and appointed a political ally of his to replace her. On November 12, 1789, over 230 citizens of Baltimore, including more than 200 leading businessmen, presented a petition demanding her reinstatement. It was, however, unsuccessful.[4] Following her dismissal, Goddard sold books, stationery, and dry goods. She died August 12, 1816, still beloved by her community.[5]

She was posthumously inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.[6]

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Update 06/15/2017 8:40 AM – The BBC now reports that that the aluminum cladding was filled with a flammable polyethylene core, the same material found in high-rise fires in France, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia. Ideally, a more expensive but non-flammable material would be used for a project like this.

Meanwhile, the new agency says that Rydon, the contractor responsible for the Tower’s recent renovation has changed its statement. The company originally claimed that it had met all “fire regulation” when refurbishing Grenfell but omitted that phrase in a later statement.

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On this day:

1667 – The first human blood transfusion is administered by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys.

Jean-Baptiste Denys (1643 – 3 October 1704) was a French physician[1] notable for having performed the first fully documented human blood transfusion, a xenotransfusion. He studied in Montpellier and was the personal physician to King Louis XIV.

Attempts to transfuse blood
Denys administered the first fully documented human blood transfusion on June 15, 1667.[2] He transfused about twelve ounces of sheep blood into a 15-year-old boy, who had been bled with leeches 20 times. The boy survived the transfusion.[1] Denys performed another transfusion into a labourer, who also survived. Both instances were likely due to the small amount of blood that was actually transfused into these people, which allowed them to withstand the allergic reaction. Denys’ third patient to undergo a blood transfusion was Swedish Baron Gustaf Bonde. He received two transfusions, and died after the second.[3] In the winter of 1667, Denys administered transfusions of calf’s blood to Antoine Mauroy, a madman. Mauroy died during the third transfusion.[4] Much controversy surrounded his death. Mauroy’s wife asserted Denys was responsible for her husband’s death, and Denys was charged with murder. He was acquitted, and Mauroy’s wife was accused of causing his death. After the trial, Denys quit the practice of medicine.[5] It was later determined that Mauroy actually died from arsenic poisoning. Denys’ experiments with animal blood provoked a heated controversy in France,[3] and in 1670 the procedure was banned. It wasn’t until after Karl Landsteiner’s discovery of the four blood groups in 1902 that blood transfusions became safe and reliable.

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Blood transfusion
Blood transfusion is generally the process of receiving blood or blood products into one’s circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used for various medical conditions to replace lost components of the blood. Early transfusions used whole blood, but modern medical practice commonly uses only components of the blood, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, clotting factors, and platelets.

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Born on this day:

1330 – Edward, the Black Prince of England (d. 1376)
Edward of Woodstock KG (15 June 1330 – 8 June 1376), called the Black Prince, was the eldest son of King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, and the father of King Richard II of England. He was the first Duke of Cornwall (from 1337), the Prince of Wales (from 1343) and the Prince of Aquitaine (1362–72).

He was called “Edward of Woodstock” in his early life, after his birthplace, and since the 16th century has been popularly known as the Black Prince. He was an exceptional military leader, and his victories over the French at the Battles of Crécy and Poitiers made him very popular in England during his lifetime. In 1348 he was made a Founding Knight of the Garter.

Edward died one year before his father, becoming the first English Prince of Wales not to become King of England. The throne passed instead to his son Richard II, a minor, upon the death of Edward III.

Richard Barber comments that Edward “has attracted relatively little attention from serious historians, but figures largely in popular history.”[1]

Life
Edward was born on 15 June 1330 at Woodstock Palace in Oxfordshire. He was created Earl of Chester on 18 May 1333, Duke of Cornwall on 17 March 1337 (the first creation of an English duke) and finally invested as Prince of Wales on 12 May 1343 when he was almost 13 years old.[2] In England, Edward served as a symbolic regent for periods in 1339, 1340, and 1342 while Edward III was on campaign. He was expected to attend all council meetings, and he performed the negotiations with the papacy about the war in 1337. He also served as High Sheriff of Cornwall from 1340–1341, 1343, 1358 and 1360–1374.

Edward had been raised with his cousin Joan, “The Fair Maid of Kent”.[3] Edward gained permission for the marriage from Pope Innocent VI and absolution for marriage to a blood-relative (as had Edward III when marrying Philippa of Hainault, his second cousin) and married Joan on 10 October 1361 at Windsor Castle. The marriage caused some controversy, mainly because of Joan’s chequered marital history and the fact that marriage to an Englishwoman wasted an opportunity to form an alliance with a foreign power.

When in England, Edward’s chief residence was at Wallingford Castle in Berkshire (since 1974 in Oxfordshire), or at Berkhamsted Castle in Hertfordshire.

He served as the king’s representative in Aquitaine, where he and Joan kept a court which was considered among the most fashionable of the time.[citation needed] It was the resort of exiled kings such as James IV of Majorca and Peter of Castile.

Peter of Castile, thrust from his throne by his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastámara, offered Edward the lordship of Biscay in 1367, in return for the Black Prince’s aid in recovering his throne. Edward was successful in the Battle of Nájera (April 3), in which he soundly defeated the combined French and Castilian forces led by Bertrand du Guesclin. However Peter did not pay fully and refused to yield Biscay, alleging lack of consent of its states. Edward retreated to Guienne by July.[4]

The Black Prince returned to England in January 1371 and died on 8 June 1376 (a week before his 46th birthday), after a long-lasting illness that was probably amoebic dysentery contracted ten years earlier while campaigning in Spain.[5]

Edward and chivalry
Edward lived in a century of decline for the knightly ideal of chivalry.[6] On one hand, after capturing John the Good, king of France, and Philip the Bold, his youngest son, at the Battle of Poitiers, he treated them with great respect — at one point he gave John permission to return home, and reportedly prayed with John at Canterbury Cathedral. Notably, he also allowed a day for preparations before the Battle of Poitiers so that the two sides could discuss the coming battle with one another, and so that the Cardinal Périgord could plead for peace. However, some argue “he may have been playing for time to complete preparation of his archers’ positions.”[7]

On the other hand, his chivalric tendencies were overridden by expediency on many occasions. The Black Prince’s repeated use of the chevauchée strategy (burning and pillaging towns and farms) was not in keeping with contemporary notions of chivalry, but it was quite effective in accomplishing the goals of his campaigns and weakening the unity and economy of France.[6]

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