FYI February 15, 2018


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On This Day

1925 – The 1925 serum run to Nome: The second delivery of serum arrives in Nome, Alaska.
The 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, was a transport of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay across the U.S. territory of Alaska by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs 674 miles (1,085 km) in five and a half days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic.

Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is a popular tourist attraction in New York City’s Central Park. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.

The sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in subarctic communities around the world, and the race became both the last great hurrah and the most famous event in the history of mushing, before the first aircraft in the 1930s and then the snowmobile in the 1960s drove the dog sled almost into extinction. The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honors the history of dog mushing.



Born On This Day

1850 – Sophie Bryant, Irish mathematician, academic and activist (d. 1922)
Sophie Willock Bryant (15 February 1850, Sandymount, Dublin – 29 August 1922, Chamonix, France) was an Anglo-Irish mathematician, educator, feminist and activist.[1]

Early life and education

Bryant was born Sophie Willock in Dublin in 1850. Her father was Revd Dr William Willock DD, Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, Dublin. She was educated at home, largely by her father. As a teenager she moved to London, when her father was appointed Professor of Geometry at the University of London in 1863, and she attended Bedford College. At the age of nineteen she married Dr William Hicks Bryant, a surgeon ten years older than she was, who died of cirrhosis within a year.[2][3]

In 1875 Bryant became a teacher and was invited by Frances Mary Buss to join the staff of North London Collegiate School. In 1895 she succeeded Miss Buss as headmistress of North London Collegiate, serving until 1918.[2][3]

When the University of London opened its degree courses to women in 1878, she became one of the first women to obtain First Class Honours, in Mental and Moral Sciences, together with a degree in mathematics in 1881, and three years later was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science. In 1882 she was the third woman to be elected to the London Mathematical Society, and was the first active female member, publishing her first paper with the Society in 1884.[2][3] Together with Charles Smith, Bryant edited three volumes of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, for the use of schools (Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, books I and II (1897); Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, books III and IV (1899); Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, books VI and IX (1901)).[4]

Sophie Bryant was a pioneer in education for women. She was the first woman to receive a DSc in England; one of the first three women to be appointed to a Royal Commission, the Bryce commission on Secondary Education in 1894–1895; and one of the first three women to be appointed to the Senate of the University of London. When Trinity College Dublin opened its degrees to women, Bryant was one of the first to be awarded an honorary doctorate. She was also instrumental in setting up the Cambridge Training College for Women, now Hughes Hall, Cambridge.[2][3] She is also said to have been one of the first women to own a bicycle.[2]

She was interested in Irish politics, wrote books on Irish history and ancient Irish law (Celtic Ireland (1889), The Genius of the Gael (1913)), and was an ardent Protestant Irish nationalist. She was president of the Irish National Literary Society in 1914. She supported women’s suffrage but advocated postponement until women were better educated.[2][3][5]
Later life and death

Bryant loved physical activity and the outdoors. She rowed, cycled, and swam, and twice climbed the Matterhorn.[6] She died in a hiking accident in the Alps in 1922, age 72.[2][3]




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