February 29: On This Day In History
Today is a very special day, because it only happens only every 4 years to correct our calendar from drifting away from the seasons that we are used to. I won’t get into the details of it, because others have already explained it much better than I could. I suggest going over to the Cosmic Variance blog to see their explanation of leap years and leap seconds. Instead I would like to share some of the events that happened on this rare day and I found interesting. You can see an even bigger list on the February 29th’s Wikipedia page.
- 1468 – Pope Paul III born
- 1504 – Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies. Would this be the
- 1860 – Herman Hollerith born. This American statistician invented a method to calculate statistics from large amounts of data using punchcards and old computer.
- 1932 – Gene Golub born. He is a American mathematician famous for his work in numerical analysis. (Died just last year 2007)
- 1940 – In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives his 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco. The Nobel Prize was awarded for his work on the cyclotron, a machine that accelerates electrons and smashes them against a fixed target. The largest one is currently situated across the town from SFU at the TRIUMF facility.
- 1980 – Gordie Howe of the then Hartford Whalers makes NHL history as he scores his 800th goal.
- 1996 – A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashes in the Andes, killing 123 people.