Carl Sagan

American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences, Carl Edward Sagan was born November 9, 1934. Sagan First became interested in science and astronomy when parents took him to the 1939 New York World’s Fair when he was four years old. The exhibits became a turning point in his life. He later recalled the moving map of the America of Tomorrow exhibit which showed beautiful highways and cloverleaves and little General Motors cars all carrying people to skyscrapers, buildings with lovely spires and, flying buttresses. At other exhibits, he remembered how a flashlight that shone on a photoelectric cell created a crackling sound, and how the sound from a tuning fork became a wave on an oscilloscope. He also witnessed the future media technology that would replace radio: television.

Soon after entering elementary school he began to express a strong inquisitiveness about nature. Sagan recalled taking his first trips to the public library alone, at the age of five, when his mother got him a library card. He wanted to learn what stars were, since Nobody else could give him a clear answer. He and a close friend took trips to the American Museum of Natural History across the East River in Manhattan. While there, they went to the Hayden Planetarium and walked around the museum’s exhibits of space objects, such as meteorites, and displays of dinosaurs and animals in natural settings. His parents bought him chemistry sets and reading materials. His interest in space, however, was his primary focus, especially after reading science fiction stories by writers such as H. G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, which stirred his imagination about life on other planets such as Mars. In 1947 he discovered Astounding Science Fiction magazine, which introduced him to more hard science fiction speculations than those in Burroughs’s novels. That same year inaugurated the “flying saucer” mass hysteria with the young Carl suspecting the “discs” might be alien spaceships.

Sagan lived in Bensonhurst where he went to David A. Boody Junior High School. He had his bar mitzvah in Bensonhurst when he turned 13. In 1948, his family moved to the nearby town of Rahway, New Jersey for his father’s work, where Sagan then entered Rahway High School. He graduated in 1951. Sagan was made president of the school’s chemistry club, and set up his own laboratory at home, teaching himself about molecules by making cardboard cutouts to help him visualize how molecules were formed and also remained interested in astronomy.

Sagan attended the University of Chicago. Its Chancellor, Robert Hutchins, structured the school as an “ideal meritocracy,” with no age requirement. The school also employed a number of the nation’s leading scientists, including Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller, along with operating the famous Yerkes Observatory. Sagan worked in the laboratory of the geneticist H. J. Muller and wrote a thesis on the origins of life with physical chemist Harold Urey. Sagan joined the Ryerson Astronomical Society, received a B.A. degree in self-proclaimed “nothing” with general and special honors in 1954, and a B.S. degree in physics in 1955. He went on to earn a M.S. degree in physics in 1956, before earning a Ph.D. degree in 1960 with the dissertation “Physical Studies of Planets” submitted to the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. From 1960 to 1962 Sagan was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. he also published an article in 1961 in the journal Science on the atmosphere of Venus, while also working with NASA’s Mariner 2 team, and served as a “Planetary Sciences Consultant” to the RAND Corporation.

After the publication of Sagan’s Science article, in 1961 Harvard University astronomers Fred Whipple and Donald Menzel offered Sagan the opportunity to give a colloquium at Harvard, and they subsequently offered him a lecturer position at the institution. Sagan instead asked to be made an assistant professor. Sagan lectured, performed research, and advised graduate students at the institution from 1963 until 1968, as well as working at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, both located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cornell University astronomer Thomas Gold then asked Sagan to move to Ithaca, New York and join the faculty at Cornell. and remained a faculty member at Cornell for nearly 30 years until his death in 1996. Following two years as an associate professor, Sagan became a full professor at Cornell in 1970, and directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies there. From 1972 to 1981, he was associate director of the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research (CRSR) at Cornell. In 1976, he became the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Sagan was associated with the U.S. space program from its inception. From the 1950s onward, he worked as an advisor to NASA, where one of his duties included briefing the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. Sagan contributed to many of the robotic spacecraft missions that explored the Solar System, arranging experiments on many of the expeditions. Sagan assembled the first physical message that was sent into space: a gold-anodized plaque, attached to the space probe Pioneer 10, launched in 1972. Pioneer 11, also carrying another copy of the plaque, was launched In 1973. He continued to refine his designs; the most elaborate message he helped to develop and assemble was the Voyager Golden Record that was sent out with the Voyager space probes in 1977. Sagan often challenged the decisions to fund the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station at the expense of further robotic missions.

He became known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.

Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca’s Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

Stieg Larsson

Swedish journalist and writer “Stieg” Larsson sadly died 9 November 2004. Born 15 August 1954. He is best known for writing the “Millennium series” of crime novels, which were published posthumously. Larsson lived and worked much of his life in Stockholm, in the field of journalism and as an independent researcher of right-wing extremism. He was the second best-selling author in the world for 2008, behind Khaled Hosseini. By December 2011, his “Millennium series” had sold 65 million copies; its last part, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, became the most sold book in the United States in 2010.Larsson’s first efforts at fiction writing were not in the genre of crime, but rather science fiction. An avid science fiction reader from an early age, he became active in Swedish science fiction fandom around 1971, co-edited with Rune Forsgren his first fanzine, Sfären, in 1972, and attended his first science fiction convention, SF•72, in Stockholm. Through the 1970s, Larsson published around 30 additional fanzine issues; after his move to Stockholm in 1977 he became active in the Scandinavian SF Society where he was a board member in 1978 and 1979, and chairman in 1980.

In his first fanzines, 1972–1974, he published a handful of early short stories while submitting others to other semi-professional or amateur magazines. SwedenHe was co-editor or editor of several science fiction fanzines, including Sfären and FIJAGH!; in 1978–1979 he was president of the largest Swedish science fiction fan club, Skandinavisk Förening för Science Fiction (SFSF). An account of this period in Larsson’s life, along with detailed information on his fanzine writing and short stories, is included in the biographical essays written by Larsson’s friend John-Henri Holmberg in The Tattooed Girl, by Holmberg with Dan Burstein and Arne De Keijzer, 2011.In early June 2010, manuscripts for two such stories, as well as fanzines with one or two others, were noted in the Swedish National Library (to which this material had been donated a few years earlier, mainly by the Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Foundation, which works to further science fiction fandom in Sweden). This discovery of what was called “unknown” works by Larsson also caused considerable excitement.

While working as a photographer, Larsson became engaged in far-left political activism. He became a member of Kommunistiska Arbetareförbundet (Communist Workers’ League), edited the Swedish Trotskyist journal Fjärde internationalen, journal of the Swedish section of the Fourth International. He also wrote regularly for the weekly Internationalen. Larsson spent parts of 1977 in Eritrea, training a squad of female Eritrean People’s Liberation Front guerrillas in the use of grenade launchers, but became ill and was forced to return to Sweden, Upon his return to Sweden, he worked as a graphic designer at the largest Swedish news agency, Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. Larsson’s political convictions, as well as his journalistic experiences, led him to found the Swedish Expo Foundation, similar to the British Searchlight Foundation, established to “counteract the growth of the extreme right and the white power-culture in schools and among young people.” He also became the editor of the foundation’s magazine, Expo, in 1995.When he was not at his day job, he worked on independent research of right-wing extremism in Sweden. In 1991, his research resulted in his first book Extremhögern (Extreme Right). Larsson quickly became instrumental in documenting and exposing Swedish extreme right and racist organizations; he was an influential debater and lecturer on the subject, reportedly living for years under death threats from his political enemies. The political party Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) was a major subject of his research.

However soon after Larsson’s death, the manuscripts of three completed, but unpublished, novels – written as a series – were discovered. He had written them for his own pleasure after returning home from his job in the evening, and had made no attempt to get them published until shortly before his death. The first was published in Sweden in 2005 as Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – literally – Men who hate women. It was titled for the English-language market as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and published in the United Kingdom in February 2008. It was awarded the Glass Key award as the best Nordic crime novel in 2005. His second novel, Flickan som lekte med elden (The Girl Who Played with Fire), received the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award in 2006, and was published in the United Kingdom in January 2009. The third novel in the Millennium series, Luftslottet som sprängdes (“The air castle that was blown up”), published in English as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, was published in the United Kingdom in October 2009, and the United States in May 2010. Larsson left about three quarters of a fourth novel on a notebook computer, now possessed by his partner, Eva Gabrielsson: synopses or manuscripts of the fifth and sixth in the series, which he intended to contain an eventual total of ten books, may also exist. Gabrielsson has stated in her book, “There Are Things I Want You to Know” About Stieg Larsson and Me (2011) that finishing the book is a task that she is capable of doing.

The Swedish film production company Yellow Bird has produced film versions of the Millennium series, co-produced with the Danish film production company Nordisk Film, which were released in Scandinavia in 2009.Larsson Sadly passed away on 9 November 2004 in Stockholm at the age of 50 of a heart attack after climbing seven flights of stairs to his office because the lift was not working. There were rumours that his death was in some way induced, because of death threats received as editor of Expo, but these have been denied by Eva Gedin, his Swedish publisher. Stieg Larsson is interred at the Högalid church cemetery in the district of Södermalm in Stockholm. Novellist David Lagencrantz has written a fourth novel The Girl in the Spiders Web which continues the Millenium Saga and remains faithful to Steig Larsson’s original novels. This was released August 2015.

McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Av-8B Harrier

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AV-8B Harrier II made its maiden flight 9 November 1981. The Harrier AV-8B is a single-engine ground-attack aircraft that constitutes the second generation of the Harrier Jump Jet family. Capable of vertical or short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), the aircraft was designed in the late 1970s as an Anglo-American development of the British Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational V/STOL aircraft. Named after a bird of prey, it is primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance. The AV-8B is used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Spanish Navy, and the Italian Navy. A variant of the AV-8B, the British Aerospace Harrier II, was developed for the British military, while another, the TAV-8B, is a dedicated two-seat trainer. The AV-8B project started in the early 1970s as a cooperative effort between the United States and United Kingdom (UK), aimed at addressing the operational inadequacies of the first-generation Harrier. Early efforts centered on a powerful revamped Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine to dramatically improve the capabilities of the Harrier. Due to budgetary constraints, the United Kingdom abandoned the project in 1975.

Following the withdrawal of the UK, McDonnell Douglas extensively redesigned the earlier AV-8A Harrier to create the AV-8B. While retaining the general layout of its predecessor, the aircraft incorporates a new wing, an elevated cockpit, a redesigned fuselage, one extra hardpoint per wing, and other structural and aerodynamic refinements. The aircraft is powered by an upgraded version of the Pegasus, which gives the aircraft its V/STOL ability. TheAV8B entered service with the USMC in January 1985. Later upgrades added a night-attack capability and radar, resulting in the AV-8B(NA) and AV-8B Harrier II Plus, respectively. An enlarged version named Harrier III was also studied, but not pursued. The UK, through British Aerospace, re-joined the improved Harrier project as a partner in 1981, giving it a significant work-share in the project. After corporate mergers in the 1990s, Boeing and BAE Systems have jointly supported the program. Approximately 340 aircraft were produced in a 22-year production program that ended in 2003.

Typically operated from small aircraft carriers, large amphibious assault ships and simple forward operating bases, AV-8Bs have participated in numerous military and humanitarian operations, proving themselves versatile assets. US Army General Norman Schwarzkopf named the USMC Harrier II as one of the seven most important weapons of the Gulf War. The aircraft took part in combat during the Iraq War beginning in 2003. The Harrier II has served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan since 2001, and was used in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya in 2011. Italian and Spanish Harrier IIs have taken part in overseas conflicts in conjunction with NATO coalitions. During its service history, the AV-8B has had a high accident rate, related to the percentage of time spent in critical take-off and landing phases. USMC and Italian Navy AV-8Bs are to be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, with the former expected to operate its Harriers until 2025.

Heavy D

Jamaican-born American rapper, record producer, singer, actor, and former leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, Dwight Errington Myers (AKA Heavy D) sadly died on November 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 44. He was born May 24, 1967 in Mandeville, Middlesex, Jamaica. In the early 1970s, his family moved to Mount Vernon, New York, where he was raised. In an interview, his mother stated that he spent most of his childhood hanging out with his brother Floyd and his childhood friend Mo.

He formed Heavy D and the Boyz a hip hop group with dancers/background vocalists G-Whiz (Glen Parrish), “Trouble” T. Roy (Troy Dixon), and Eddie F (born Edward Ferrell). Heavy D & the Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records, with Heavy D as the frontman and only rapper. Eddie F was his business partner in the group, DJ, and one of the producers. The other two members, T-Roy and G-Wiz were the dancers. Their debut, Living Large, was released in 1987. The album was a commercial success; Big Tyme was a breakthrough that included four hits. “Trouble T. Roy” died at age 22 in a fall on July 15, 1990, in Indianapolis. Dixon’s death led to a tribute on the follow-up platinum album, Peaceful Journey. Pete Rock & CL Smooth created a tribute to Trouble T. Roy called “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” which is regarded as a hip hop classiy

In 1989 Heavy D performed a guest rap on Janet Jackson’s hit single “Alright”. It and Blondie’s “Rapture”, recorded in 1980, were notably the first pop singles to feature a rapper, setting the trend for future hip-hop and pop collaborations. In 1992 he appeared on Michael Jackson’s single “Jam” and sang the theme song for the television program In Living Color and also MADtv. Heavy D then began focusing on his acting, appearing in various television shows before returning to the music charts with Nuttin’ But Love. After appearing in the off-Broadway play Riff Raff at Circle Repertory Company, Heavy D returned to recording with the hit Waterbed Hev.

In 1997, Heavy D collaborated with B.B. King on his duets album Deuces Wild, rapping in the song “Keep It Coming”. Heavy D was referred to in the song “Juicy” by the Notorious B.I.G., and appeared in his music video for “One More Chance. Heavy D was also partly responsible for giving Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jodeci their first big break in the music business. Heavy D also became the president of Uptown Records. During this time, and also developed the boy band Soul for Real, and was the executive producer and principal writer of several songs on the group’s breakout album, Candy Rain and became senior vice president at Universal Music. Heavy D and Eddie F also performed at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards on October 11, 2011 which was their first televised live performance in 15 years and would be his final live performance.

Myers died after collapsing outside his home in Beverly Hills, California, and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His death was initially thought to be connected to pneumonia An autopsy report, released on December 27, 2011, stated that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism (PE). The coroner’s office found that Myers died of a PE that had broken off from a deep vein thrombosis in the leg. He also suffered from heart disease. Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, said that the blood clot that resulted in the PE was “most likely formed during an extended airplane ride”. Heavy D had recently returned from a trip to Cardiff, Wales, where he performed at a tribute to Michael Jackson. Shortly after his death, MC Hammer and others led tributes for Heavy D on Twitter. Hammer tweeted, “We had a lot of great times touring together. He had a heart of gold. He was a part of what’s good about the world.” His funeral was held in his hometown of Mount Vernon, NY at Grace Baptist Church. He was then laid to rest in Hartsdale, NY.

John Milton

Best known for the epic poems “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained”, the English poet & polemicist, John Milton sadly passed away 8 November 1674 (aged 65) Bunhill, London, England. He was born on Bread Street, London, on 9th December 1608. He was a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, Milton’s poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica, (written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship) is among history’s most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press.

During Milton’s life their were many major historical and political divisions in Stuart Britain. Under the increasingly personal rule of Charles I and its breakdown in constitutional confusion and war, Milton studied, travelled, wrote poetry mostly for private circulation, and launched a career as pamphleteer and publicist. Under the Commonwealth of England, the shift in accepted attitudes in government placed him in public office, and he even acted as an official spokesman in certain of his publications. Milton’s views developed from his very extensive reading, as well as travel and experience, from his student days of the 1620s to the English Revolution. Very early on, though, he was championed by Whigs, and decried by Tories: with the regicide Edmund Ludlow he was claimed as an early Whig, while the High Tory Anglican minister Luke Milbourne lumped Milton in with other “Agents of Darkness” such as John Knox, George Buchanan, Richard Baxter, Algernon Sidney and John Locke.

The Restoration of 1660 deprived Milton, of his public platform, but this period saw him complete most of his major works of poetry.including Paradise Lost, and once this was published, Milton’s stature as epic poet was immediately recognised. He cast a formidable shadow over English poetry in the 18th and 19th centuries; he was often judged equal or superior to all other English poets, including Shakespeare. By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life, yet famous throughout Europe and unrepentant for his political choices.William Hayley’s 1796 biography called him the “greatest English author”, and he remains generally regarded “as one of the preeminent writers in the English language”; though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death (often on account of his republicanism). Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as “a poem which…with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind,” though Johnson (a Tory and recipient of royal patronage) described Milton’s politics as those of an “acrimonious and surly republican”. Milton is buried in St Giles-without-Cripplegate.

PARADISE LOST

Milton’s epic poem is separated into twelve “books” or sections, and the length of each book varies greatly (the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines, and the shortest Book VII, having 640). The Arguments at the head of each book were added in subsequent imprints of the first edition. Originally published in ten books, in 1674 a fully “Revised and Augmented” edition with a new division into twelve books was issued. This is the edition that is generally used today.The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being recounted later.Milton’s story has two narrative arcs: one being that of Satan (Lucifer) and the other being that of Adam and Eve. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished to Hell, or (as it is also called in the poem), Tartarus. In Pandæmonium, Satan employs his rhetorical skill to organise his followers; he is aided by Mammon and Beelzebub. Belial and Moloch are also present. At the end of the debate, Satan volunteers to poison the newly-created Earth and God’s new and most favoured creation, Mankind.

He braves the dangers of the Abyss alone in a manner reminiscent of Odysseus or Aeneas. After an arduous traverse of the Chaos outside Hell, he enters God’s new material World, and later the Garden of Eden.At one point in the story, an Angelic War over Heaven is recounted. Satan’s rebellion follows the epic convention of large-scale warfare. The battles between the faithful angels and Satan’s forces take place over three days. The final battle involves the Son of God single-handedly defeating the entire legion of angelic rebels and banishing them from Heaven. Following the purging of Heaven, God creates the World, culminating in his creation of Adam and Eve. While God gave Adam and Eve total freedom and power to rule over all creation, He gave them one explicit command: not to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death.

The story of Adam and Eve’s temptation and fall is a fundamentally different, new kind of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are presented for the first time in Christian literature as having a full relationship while still being without sin. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan, disguised in the form of a serpent, successfully tempts Eve to eat from the Tree by preying on her vanity and tricking her with rhetoric. Adam, learning that Eve has sinned, knowingly commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his flesh, they are bound to one another so that if she dies, he must also die. In this manner, Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure, but also as a greater sinner than Eve, as he is aware that what he is doing is wrong.

A fter eating the fruit, Adam and Eve have lustful sex, and at first, Adam is convinced that Eve was right in thinking that eating the fruit would be beneficial. However, they soon fall asleep and have terrible nightmares, and after they awake, they experience guilt and shame for the first time. Realizing that they have committed a terrible act against God, they engage in mutual recrimination. Eve’s pleas to Adam reconcile them somewhat. Her encouragement enables Adam and Eve both to approach God, to “bow and sue for grace with suppliant knee”, and to receive grace from God. Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden, and Michael says that Adam may find “a paradise within thee, happier far”.

World Urbanism Day

World Urbanism Day is celebrated annually on November 8th. it was instigated by The international organisation for World Urbanism and is also known as “World Town Planning Day”. The International Organisation for World Urbanism was founded in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires, a graduate at the Institut d’urbanisme in Paris, to advance public and professional interest in planning.

Urbanism is the study of the characteristic ways of interaction of inhabitants of towns and cities (urban areas) with the built environment. It is a direct component of disciplines such as urban planning (the physical design and management of urban structures) and urban sociology (the study of urban life and culture). However, in some contexts internationally Urbanism is synonymous with Urban Planning, and the Urbanist refers to an Urban Planner. Many architects, planners, and sociologists investigate the way people live in densely populated urban areas. There are a huge variety of approaches within urbanism.

Urbanism’s emergence in the early 20th century was associated with the rise of centralized manufacturing, mixed-use neighborhoods, social organizations and networks, and what has been described as “the convergence between political, social and economic citizenship”. Urbanism can be understood as placemaking and the creation of place identity at a citywide level, however as early as 1938 Louis Wirth wrote that it is necessary to stop ‘identifying urbanism with the physical entity of the city’, go ‘beyond an arbitrary boundary line’ and consider how ‘technological developments in transportation and communication have enormously extended the urban mode of living beyond the confines of the city itself.’

World Urbanism Day is celebrated in more than 30 countries on four continents each November 8th. It is a special day to recognise and promote the role of planning in creating livable communities. World Urbanism Day presents an excellent opportunity to look at planning from a global perspective, an event which appeals to the conscience of citizens and public authorities in order to draw attention to the environmental impact resulting from the development of cities and territories.

International Day of Radiology

International Day of Radiology (IDoR) is celebrated annually on November 8th to promote the role of medical imaging in modern healthcare and mark the anniversary of the discovery of x-rays on November 8th 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who effectively layed the foundation for the new medical discipline of radiology.

It was first introduced in 2012, as a joint initiative, by the European Society of Radiology (ESR), the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR). The International Day of Radiology is a successor to the European Day of Radiology which was launched in 2011. The first and only European Day of Radiology was held on February 10, 2011 to commemorate the anniversary of Röntgen’s death. The European day was organised by the ESR, who later entered into cooperation with the RSNA and the ACR to establish the International Day of Radiology.

The International Day of Radiology marks the anniversary of Röntgen’s discovery of x-rays and the main theme was medical imaging in oncology. The day was celebrated with events in many countries, mostly organised by national professional societies which represent radiologists. Many public lectures on the role of imaging in oncology took place across Europe. In the UK, the Royal College of Radiologists organised a free public lecture at the Wellcome Collection by Dr. Phil O’Connor, who served as head of musculoskeletal imaging at the London 2012 Olympics. The ESR also published two booklets to mark the occasion, ‘The Story of Radiology’, which was created in cooperation with the International Society for the History of Radiology, and ‘Making Cancer Visible: the role of cancer in oncology’

World Radiography Day also takes place to mark the anniversary of the discovery of X-rays in 1895. The purpose of this day is to raise public awareness of radiographic imaging and therapy, which play a crucial role in the diagnosis and the treatment of patients and, most importantly, ensuring radiation is kept to the minimum required, hence improving the quality of patient care. The day is celebrated worldwide by various national radiographers’ associations and societies, including Nigeria’s Association of Radiographers of Nigeria, United Kingdom’s Society of Radiographers (SoR), among others. [1]The International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists have celebrated 8 November as World Radiography Day since 2007.


German mechanical engineer and physicist Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen was born 27 March 1845. He attended high school in Utrecht, Netherlands. However In 1865, he was expelled from high school and Without a high school diploma, Röntgen could only attend university in the Netherlands as a visitor. In 1865, he tried to attend Utrecht University without having the necessary credentials required for a regular student. Upon hearing that he could enter the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich (today known as the ETH Zurich), he passed its examinations, and began studies there as a student of mechanical engineering. In 1869, he graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich; once there, he became a favorite student of Professor August Kundt, whom he followed to the University of Strassburg.

In 1874, Röntgen became a lecturer at the University of Strassburg. In 1875, he became a professor at the Academy of Agriculture at Hohenheim, Württemberg. He returned to Strassburg as a professor of physics in 1876, and in 1879, he was appointed to the chair of physics at the University of Giessen. In 1888, he obtained the physics chair at the University of Würzburg, and in 1900 at the University of Munich, by special request of the Bavarian government. Although Röntgen accepted an appointment at Columbia University in New York City the outbreak of World War I changed his plans and he remained in Munich for the rest of his career.

During 1895, Röntgen was investigating the external effects from the various types of vacuum tube equipment — apparatuses from Heinrich Hertz, Johann Hittorf, William Crookes, Nikola Tesla and Philipp von Lenard — when an electrical discharge is passed through them.[5][6] In early November, he was repeating an experiment with one of Lenard’s tubes in which a thin aluminium window had been added to permit the cathode rays to exit the tube but a cardboard covering was added to protect the aluminium from damage by the strong electrostatic field that produces the cathode rays. He knew the cardboard covering prevented light from escaping, yet Röntgen observed that the invisible cathode rays caused a fluorescent effect on a small cardboard screen painted with barium platinocyanide when it was placed close to the aluminium window. It occurred to Röntgen that the Crookes–Hittorf tube, which had a much thicker glass wall than the Lenard tube, might also cause this fluorescent effect.

On 8 November 1895, Röntgen decided to test his idea. He carefully constructed a black cardboard covering similar to the one he had used on the Lenard tube. He covered the Crookes–Hittorf tube with the cardboard and attached electrodes to a Ruhmkorff coil to generate an electrostatic charge. Before setting up the barium platinocyanide screen to test his idea, Röntgen darkened the room to test the opacity of his cardboard cover. As he passed the Ruhmkorff coil charge through the tube, he determined that the cover was light-tight and turned to prepare the next step of the experiment. It was at this point that Röntgen noticed a faint shimmering from a bench a few feet away from the tube. To be sure, he tried several more discharges and saw the same shimmering each time. Striking a match, he discovered the shimmering had come from the location of the barium platinocyanide screen he had been intending to use next.

Röntgen speculated that a new kind of ray might be responsible. 8 November was a Friday, so he took advantage of the weekend to repeat his experiments and made his first notes. In the following weeks he ate and slept in his laboratory as he investigated many properties of the new rays he temporarily termed “X-rays”, using the mathematical designation (“X”) for something unknown. The new rays came to bear his name in many languages as “Röntgen rays” (and the associated X-ray radiograms as “Röntgenograms”). At one point while he was investigating the ability of various materials to stop the rays, Röntgen brought a small piece of lead into position while a discharge was occurring. Röntgen thus saw the first radiographic image, his own flickering ghostly skeleton on the barium platinocyanide screen. He later reported that it was at this point that he determined to continue his experiments in secrecy, because he feared for his professional reputation if his observations were in error.

Nearly two weeks after his discovery, he took the very first picture using X-rays of his wife Anna Bertha’s hand. When she saw her skeleton she exclaimed “I have seen my death!” Röntgen’s original paper, “On A New Kind Of Rays” (Ueber eine neue Art von Strahlen), was published on 28 December 1895. On 5 January 1896, an Austrian newspaper reported Röntgen’s discovery of a new type of radiation. Röntgen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Würzburg after his discovery. He published a total of three papers on X-rays between 1895 and 1897. Today, Röntgen is considered the father of diagnostic radiology, the medical speciality which uses imaging to diagnose disease. A collection of his papers is held at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.