This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
February 13 is the 44th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 321 days remaining until the end of the year (322 in leap years).
On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.
Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly known as Galileo, was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the Father of Modern Science”. Stephen Hawking says, “Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science.”
The motion of uniformly accelerated objects, taught in nearly all high school and introductory college physics courses, was studied by Galileo as the subject of kinematics. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.
Galileo’s championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime, when a large majority of philosophers and astronomers still subscribed to the geocentric view that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. After 1610, when he began publicly supporting the heliocentric view, which placed the Sun at the centre of the universe, he met with bitter opposition from some philosophers and clerics, and two of the latter eventually denounced him to the Roman Inquisition early in 1615. In February 1616, although he had been cleared of any offence, the Catholic Church nevertheless condemned heliocentrism as “false and contrary to Scripture”, and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it-which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
1503 – Disfida di Barletta – famous challenge between 13 Italian and 13 French knights near Barletta.
1542 – Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed for adultery.
1575 – Henry III of France is crowned at Rheims, marrying Louise de Lorraine-Vaudemont on the same day.
1633 – Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.
1668 – Spain recognizes Portugal as an independent nation.
1689 – William and Mary are proclaimed co-rulers of England.
1692 – Massacre of Glencoe: About 78 Macdonalds at Glen Coe, Scotland are killed early in the morning for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange.
1815 – The Cambridge Union Society is founded.
1867 – Work begins on the covering of the Zenne, burying Brussels’s primary river and creating the modern central boulevards.
1880 – Thomas Edison observes the Edison effect.
1881 – The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne is first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert.
1894 – Auguste and Louis Lumiere patent the Cinematographe, a combination movie camera and projector.
1914 – Copyright: In New York City the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is established to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.
1920 – The Negro National League is formed.
1931 – New Delhi becomes the capital of India.
1934 – The Soviet steamship Cheliuskin sinks in the Arctic Ocean.
1935 – A jury in Flemington, New Jersey finds Bruno Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby, the son of Charles Lindbergh.
1945 – World War II: The siege of Budapest concludes with the unconditional surrender of German and Hungarian forces to the Red Army.
1945 – World War II: Royal Air Force bombers are dispatched to Dresden, Germany to attack the city with a massive aerial bombardment.
1951 – Korean War: Battle of Chipyong-ni, which represented the “high-water mark” of the Chinese incursion into South Korea, commences.
1954 – Frank Selvy becomes the only NCAA Division I basketball player ever to score 100 points in a single game
1955 – Israel obtains 4 of the 7 Dead Sea scrolls.
1960 – With the success of a nuclear test codenamed “Gerboise Bleue”, France becomes the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons.
1960 – Black college students stage the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.
1961 – A 500,000-year-old rock is discovered near Olancha, California, US, that appears to anachronistically encase a spark plug.
1967 – American researchers discover the Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci in the National Library of Spain.
1970 – Black Sabbath, arguably the very first heavy metal album, is released.
1971 – Vietnam War: Backed by American air and artillery support, South Vietnamese troops invade Laos.
1975 – A fire breaks out in the World Trade Center in New York City, New York.
1978 – Hilton bombing: a bomb explodes in a refuse truck outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, Australia, killing two refuse collectors and a policeman.
1979 – An intense windstorm strikes western Washington and sinks a 1/2-mile-long section of the Hood Canal Bridge.
1981 – A series of sewer explosions destroys more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky.
1982 – Rio Negro massacre in Guatemala.
1984 – Konstantin Chernenko succeeds the late Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1990 – German reunification: An agreement is reached on a two-stage plan to reunite Germany.
* 1991 – Gulf War: Two laser-guided “smart bombs” destroy the Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad.
Allied forces said the bunker was being used as a military communications outpost, but over 400 Iraqi civilians inside were killed.
2000 – The last original “Peanuts” comic strip appears in newspapers one day after Charles M. Schulz dies.
2001 – An earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale hits El Salvador, killing at least 400.
2004 – The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announces the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers named this star “Lucy” after The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.
2007 – Taiwan opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou resigns as the chairman of the Kuomintang party after being indicted by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office on charges of embezzlement during his tenure as the mayor of Taipei; Ma also announces his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election.
2008 – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations.
* Christian Feast Day:
o Polyeuctus (Roman Catholic church)
o Castor of Karden (Roman Catholic church)
o See also February 13 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* The first day of Lupercalia (Roman Empire)