11 January 1908

The Grand Canyon National Monument is created.

On January 11, 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt declares the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument.

Though Native Americans lived in the area as early as the 13th century, the first European sighting of the canyon wasn’t until 1540, by members of an expedition headed by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Because of its remote and inaccessible location, several centuries passed before North American settlers really explored the canyon. In 1869, geologist John Wesley Powell led a group of 10 men in the first difficult journey down the rapids of the Colorado River and along the length of the 277-mile gorge in four rowboats.

By the end of the 19th century, the Grand Canyon was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One famous visitor was President Theodore Roosevelt, a New Yorker with a particular affection for the American West.After becoming president in1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, Roosevelt made environmental conservation a major part of his presidency. After establishing the National Wildlife Refuge to protect the country’s animals, fish and birds, Roosevelt turned his attention to federal regulation of public lands. Though a region could be given national park status–indicating that all private development on that land was illegal–only by an act of Congress, Roosevelt cut down on red tape by beginning a new presidential practice of granting a similar “national monument” designation to some of the West’s greatest treasures.

In January 1908, Roosevelt exercised this right to make more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon area into a national monument. “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is,” he declared. “You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

Congress did not officially outlaw private development in the Grand Canyon until 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act. Today, more than 5 million people visit the canyon each year. The canyon floor is accessible by foot, mule or boat, and whitewater rafting, hiking and running in the area are especially popular. Many choose to conserve their energies and simply take in the breathtaking view from the canyon’s South Rim–some 7,000 feet above sea level–and marvel at a vista virtually unchanged for over 400 years.

11 January 1981

Production of the DeLorean sports car starts in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

The DeLorean DMC-12 was the only model ever produced by the company, or just “the Back to the Future car” as it was made famous by the Back to the Future franchise, is a sports car manufactured by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company for the American market from 1981–83. The car features gull-wing doors and an innovative fiberglass body structure with a steel backbone chassis, along with external brushed stainless steel body panels. The car became widely known and iconic for its appearance and was modified as a time machine in the Back to the Future media franchise.

The first prototype appeared in October 1976. Production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of southwest Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the first DMC-12 rolled off the production line on January 21. Over the course of production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. About 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in early 1983.The DMC-12 was the only model produced by the company, which was later liquidated as the US car market went through its largest slump since the 1930s. In 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor cars were believed still to exist.

On January 27, 2016, the new DMC announced that it would build 300 DMC-12 cars in late 2016 and “new” DMC-12s in early 2017, each projected to cost just under $100,000.

11 January 1922

Insulin was first used to treat diabetes in a human.

On 11 January 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old boy with diabetes, who lay dying at the Toronto General Hospital, was given the first injection of insulin. However, the extract was so impure that Thompson suffered a severe allergic reaction, and further injections were cancelled.

Over the next 12 days, James Collip worked day and night to improve the ox-pancreas extract, and a second dose was injected on the 23 January. This was completely successful, not only in having no obvious side-effects, but in completely eliminating the glycosuria sign of diabetes.

Children dying from diabetic ketoacidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the inevitable death. In one of medicine’s more dramatic moments Banting, Best, and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families.

Insulin was discovered by Sir Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best and JJR Macleod at the University of Toronto in 1921 and it was subsequently purified by James B Collip.Before 1921, it was exceptional for people with Type 1 diabetes to live more than a year or two. One of the twentieth century’s greatest medical discoveries, it remains the only effective treatment for people with Type 1 diabetes today.