July 9-15 will be a busy week in science history. This week sees the anniversary of a patent that changed the world—and that's just the beginning.
The week, we also commemorate several space milestones, from the first close-up picture of Mars to the publication of a bizarre (and famously wrong) theory of the solar system. It's also an explosive week for Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, who appears twice on the list.
What else in science history happened this week? Check out the slideshow for all the landmark events.
The Father Of Radio
Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi received U.S. patent number No. 586,193 for his wireless telegraph on July 13, 1897. Credited as the inventor of the radio, Marconi would go on to develop this into a device that would change communication forever.
Get Ready For Your Close-Up, Mars
NASA's space probe Mariner 4 sent back the very first close-up photo of Mars on July 14, 1965. Orbiting 10,500 miles from the Red Planet, the photos revealed that there were craters on Mars.
On July 10, 1908 Dutch physicist Kamerlingh Onnes (1853-1926) made a chemical breakthrough when he liquified helium by bringing it to a temperature of 4.2 K (about -269 ºC). At the time, this was the coldest temperature reached on Earth. Today, liquid helium is used as a coolant for the superconducting magnets found in MRI machines.
Hughes' Historic Flight
Famous aviator and business magnate Howard Hughes set a new record on July 10, 1938, when he flew around the world in only 91 hours. Departing from and arriving in New York City, Hughes' Lockheed Super Electra flew him right into the annals of aviation history.
The discovery of Nobelium, element 102, was announced by physicists at the Nobel Institute in Sweden on July 9, 1957. Named after Alfred Nobel, the synthesized element still remains largely mysterious to scientists.
The 'Genesis Planet' was discovered on July 10, 2003. The planet, named PSR B1620-26 b (but also nicknamed 'Methuselah') is 12,400 light-years away from Earth, located in the constellation Scorpius. Believed to be about 12.7 billion years old, it is the oldest known extrasolar planet.
On July 11, 1811, famous Italian physicist Amedeo Avogadro published seminal essays on his molecular theory of gases. Although his ideas weren't accepted by the scientific community at the time, he has been acknowledged as an important figure in physics and chemistry. You may know him as the namesake of Avogadro's number, learned in elementary chemistry classes as 6.022 x 10^23, the number of particles in 1 mole of a substance.
Skylab Ignites A Commotion
The first U.S. space station reentered Earth's atmosphere with a bang on July 11, 1979. Skylab, which had been in orbit since 1973, created an international media event when it burned (unmanned) through the atmosphere over Western Australia. Several newspapers even offered prizes to people who found falling debris.
On July 9, 1595, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) published his<em> Mysterium cosmographicum</em>, or Mystery of the Cosmos. In it, Kepler described what he thought was an invisible underlying geometric structure that explained the relationships of the planets. Although his calculations were very accurate, his theory was later proven wrong.
Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) demonstrated his new invention, dynamite, on July 14, 1867 at a quarry in Surrey, England. Nobel used nitroglycerin to produce an explosive that was contained and manageable. However, concerned with his posthumous reputation as the father of dangerous explosives, Nobel arranged his famous prize to be awarded to advancements in esteemed subject areas each year.