" We (Americans) are the lavishest and showiest and most luxury-loving people on the earth; and at our masthead we fly one true and honest symbol, the gaudiest flag the world has ever seen. "
Mark Twain

Back in the day


First Nobel Prizes Awarded

The Nobel Prizes, named after Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, are awarded to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to fields including physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. Nobel is said to have been inspired to create the prizes after reading his own prematurely published obituary, which condemned his invention of dynamite. Why did Nobel decide not to create a prize for advances in the field of mathematics?



The Antonine Plague

Lasting from 165 to 180 CE, the Antonine Plague was a pandemic, either of smallpox or measles, brought to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East. The epidemic killed off entire towns and claimed the lives of two Roman emperors—Lucius Verus and his co-regent Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose family name was given to the plague. It resurged again nine years later and had drastic social and political effects throughout the empire. What was its estimated death toll?

Born on a day like today


Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron, has been called the world's first computer programmer for her description of Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. Biographers debate the extent of her contributions, but she remains a celebrated figure in the field, and her image can be seen today on what company's holographic product authenticity stickers?

Last updated on Thursday, 10th December 2009

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