Todays History

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23 February 1941

Plutonium is isolated for the first time by Glenn Seaborg.

Seaborg, a world-renowned nuclear chemist, Nobel laureate in chemistry, professor and educator, and scientific advisor to ten U.S. presidents, is probably best known for the discovery of plutonium (1941) and for his leadership of the team that developed plant processes for its purification for use in the U.S. World War II atomic bomb program, and his “revolutionary” actinide concept , which led to the discovery of elements 95 and 96 between 1944 and 1945. Plutonium, the 94th element, was first produced and isolated at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, CA, USA, on December 14, 1940. The team of Glenn T. Seaborg used the lab’s cyclotron to bombard uranium with deuterons, which generated neptunium, element 93. Subsequent ?-decay resulted in the formation of plutonium.

Seaborg was also a codiscoverer of elements 97 and 98 and…

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    22 February 1959

    Lee Petty wins the very first Daytona 500.

    On this day in 1959, Lee Petty defeats Johnny Beauchamp in a photo finish at the just-opened Daytona International Speedway in Florida to win the first-ever Daytona 500. The race was so close that Beauchamp was initially named the winner by William France, the owner of the track and head of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). However, Petty, who was driving a hardtop Oldsmobile 88, challenged the results and three days later, with the assistance of news photographs, he was officially named the champ. There was speculation that France declared Beauchamp the winner in order to intentionally stir up controversy and generate publicity for his new race track.

    Today, the 200-lap, 500-mile Daytona 500 is one of auto racing’s premiere events and the first race of the NASCAR season. France,…

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    21 February 1918

    The last surviving Carolina parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.

    The Carolina Parakeet was the only parrot species native to the eastern United States. It was found from southern New York and Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico, and lived in old forests along rivers. It is the only species classified in the genus Conuropsis. It was called head of yellow or pot pot chee by the Seminole and kelinky in Chickasaw.

    The last known wild specimen was killed in Okeechobee County, Florida, in 1904, and the last captive bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo on February 21, 1918. This was the male specimen, called “Incas”, who died within a year of his mate, “Lady Jane”. Coincidentally, Incas died in the same aviary cage in which the last Passenger Pigeon, “Martha”, had died nearly four years earlier. It was not…

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    20 February 1877

    Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake is first shown at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

    Swan Lake is ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was composed in 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger. The ballet was premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet on 4 March 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, billed as The Lake of the Swans. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet on 15 January 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. For this revival, Tchaikovsky’s score was revised by…

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    19 February 1985

    EastEnders is broadcast for the first time on the BBC.

    On the 19th February 1985, the BBC’s flagship soap opera EastEnders was broadcast for the first time. Now airing four episodes a week, the series has been broadcast continuously ever since and remains one of the most popular television shows in the United Kingdom.

    EastEnders was created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland, a producer and script editing partnership who had previously worked together on long-running police drama Z-Cars. In March 1983 they were asked to come up with a bi-weekly evening television drama by David Reid, the BBC’s Head of Series & Serials, who wanted a new show to run 52 weeks a year.

    Smith and Holland were both from London, and opted to set the soap in the East End. They based the original twenty-four characters…

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Born on this day

February 23, 2017
1685 George Frederick Handel
1734 Mayer Amchel Rothschild
1883 Victor Fleming
1937 Lt-Cdr Brian Mills
1939 Peter Fonda
1947 Anton Mosimann
1952 Brad Whitford
1955 Howard Jones

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