" Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. "
Henry David Thoreau

Back in the day


Body of Lindbergh Baby Found

In one of America's most notorious crimes, the infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped and murdered in 1932. The massive search effort included unprecedented federal involvement, and Lindbergh even met with organized crime figures in an attempt to determine the whereabouts of his son. Ten weeks after the boy disappeared, his corpse was found just miles from the Lindbergh home. Four years after the kidnapping, a riotous trial resulted in the conviction and execution of whom?




Electrical phenomena, caused by the presence and flow of electric charge, have been studied since antiquity. Static electricity was the first of them to be recognized and investigated. As early as 600 BCE, certain cultures had discovered that rubbing amber with fur caused it to attract light objects such as feathers. Some 2,200 years later, English scientist William Gilbert coined the term "electricity" to describe the electrification of substances. How did he come up with the word?

Born on a day like today


Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Hodgkin developed a passion for chemistry at an early age and went on to become a leader in the field of X-ray crystallography. In 1948, she and her colleagues made the first X-ray photograph of vitamin B12—one of the most complex nonprotein compounds—and eventually determined its atomic arrangement. Her work in determining its structure, as well as that of other biochemical compounds, won her a 1964 Nobel Prize. In 1969, Hodgkin completed a similar three-dimensional analysis of what hormone?

Last updated on Sunday, 12th May 2013

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