World Metrology Day

World Metrology Day takes place annually on the 20th of May. The date commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875 which standardised the International System of Units. Metrology is the science of measurement. It establishes a common understanding of units, crucial in linking human activities. Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution’s political motivation to standardise units in France, when a length standard taken from a natural source was proposed. This led to the creation of the decimal-based metric system in 1795, establishing a set of standards for other types of measurements. Several other countries adopted the metric system between 1795 and 1875; to ensure conformity between the countries, the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) was established by the Metre Convention. This has evolved into the International System of Units (SI) as a result of a resolution at the 11th Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) in 1960.

Metrology is divided into three basic kinds: the definition of units of measurement, the realisation of these units of measurement , and traceability, which is linking measurements made in practice to the reference standards. These overlapping activities are used in varying degrees by the three basic sub-fields of Metrology. The sub-fields are scientific or fundamental metrology, which is concerned with the establishment of units of measurement, Applied, technical or industrial metrology, the application of measurement to manufacturing and other processes in society, and Legal metrology, which covers the regulation and statutory requirements for measuring instruments and the methods of measurement.

In each country, a national measurement system (NMS) exists as a network of laboratories, calibration facilities and accreditation bodies which implement and maintain its metrology infrastructure. The NMS affects how measurements are made in a country and their recognition by the international community, which has a wide-ranging impact in its society (including economics, energy, environment, health, manufacturing, industry and consumer confidence. The effects of metrology on trade and economy are some of the easiest-observed societal impacts. To facilitate fair trade, there must be an agreed-upon system of measurement.

The history of measurement dates back to at least 2900 BC when The first record of a permanent standard, The royal Egyptian cubit was used. The cubit was decreed to be the length of the Pharaoh’s forearm plus the width of his hand, and replica standards were given to builders. The success of a standardised length for the building of the pyramids is indicated by the lengths of their bases differing by no more than 0.05 percent.

Other civilizations produced generally accepted measurement standards, with Roman and Greek architecture based on distinct systems of measurement. The collapse of the empires and the Dark Ages which followed them lost much measurement knowledge and standardisation. Although local systems of measurement were common, comparability was difficult since many local systems were incompatible. England established the Assize of Measures to create standards for length measurements in 1196, and the 1215 Magna Carta included a section for the measurement of wine and beer.

Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution. With a political motivation to harmonise units throughout France, a length standard based on a natural source was proposed. In March 1791, the metre was defined. This led to the creation of the decimal-based metric system in 1795, establishing standards for other types of measurements. Several other countries adopted the metric system between 1795 and 1875; to ensure international conformity, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (French: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures, or BIPM) was established by the Metre Convention. Although the BIPM’s original mission was to create international standards for units of measurement and relate them to national standards to ensure conformity, its scope has broadened to include electrical and photometric units and ionizing radiation measurement standards. The metric system was modernised in 1960 with the creation of the International System of Units (SI) as a result of a resolution at the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures (French: Conference Generale des Poids et Mesures, or CGP)

Metrology has wide-ranging impacts on a number of sectors, including economics, energy, the environment, health, manufacturing, industry, and consumer confidence.The effects of metrology on trade and the economy are two of its most-apparent societal impacts. To facilitate fair and accurate trade between countries, there must be an agreed-upon system of measurement. Accurate measurement and regulation of water, fuel, food, and electricity are critical for consumer protection and promote the flow of goods and services between trading partners. A common measurement system and quality standards benefit consumer and producer; production at a common standard reduces cost and consumer risk, ensuring that the product meets consumer needs. Transaction costs are reduced through an increased economy of scale. Several studies have indicated that increased standardisation in measurement has a positive impact on GDP. In the United Kingdom, an estimated 28.4 percent of GDP growth from 1921 to 2013 was the result of standardisation; in Canada between 1981 and 2004 an estimated nine percent of GDP growth was standardisation-related, and in Germany the annual economic benefit of standardisation is an estimated 0.72% of GDP.

Legal metrology has reduced accidental deaths and injuries with measuring devices, such as radar guns and breathalyzers, by improving their efficiency and reliability. Measuring the human body is challenging, with poor repeatability and reproducibility, and advances in metrology help develop new techniques to improve health care and reduce costs. Environmental policy is based on research data, and accurate measurements are important for assessing climate change and environmental regulation. Aside from regulation, metrology is essential in supporting innovation, the ability to measure provides a technical infrastructure and tools that can then be used to pursue further innovation. By providing a technical platform which new ideas can be built upon, easily demonstrated, and shared, measurement standards allow new ideas to be explored and expanded upon.

International Museum Day

International Museum Day takes place annually around May 18. The purpose of International Museum Day is to raise public awareness on the important role museums play in the development of society at an international level. Museums are non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society which are open to the public, and acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

International Museum Day is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The International Council of Museums is a non-governmental organisation which was Created in 1946, to maintain formal relations with UNESCO and consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. ICOM also partners with entities such as the World Intellectual Property Organizatio INTERPOL, and the World Customs Organization in order to carry out its international public service missions, which include fighting illicit traffic in cultural goods and promoting risk management and emergency preparedness to protect world cultural heritage in the event of natural or man-made disasters. Members of the ICOM get the ICOM membership card, which provides free entry, or entry at a reduced rate, to many museums all over the world

International Museum Day also provides the opportunity for museum professionals to meet the public and alert them as to the challenges that museums face. The ICOM, (The International Council of Museum) are the main organisation of museums and museum professionals and have a global scope, and are committed to the promotion and protection of natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.

Each year, International Museum Day highlights a different theme which is considered important to the international museum community. Museums around the world are invited to participate in International Museum Day to promote the role of museums, and to create, enjoyable and free activities around a different theme each year to advertise their work using a theme chosen by the ICOM.

Since it was created in 1977, International Museum Day has gained increasing attention. In 2009, International Museum Day attracted the participation of 20,000 museums hosting events in more than 90 countries. In 2010, 98 countries participated in the celebration, with 100 in 2011, and 30,000 museums in 129 countries in 2012. In 2011, the official IMD poster was translated into 37 languages. In 2012, this number Increased to 38. ICOM’s commitment to culture and knowledge promotion is reinforced by its 31 International Committees dedicated to a wide range of museum specialities, who conduct advanced research in their respective fields for the benefit of the museum community. The organisation is also involved in fighting illicit trafficking, assisting museums in emergency situations, and more. ICOM created International Museum Day in 1977.

More National and International holidays and events happenning on 18 May

  • I Love Reese’s Day
  • Accounting Day
  • Emergency Medical Services for Children Day
  • Mother Whistler Day
  • National Cheese Soufflé Day
  • National Employee Health and Fitness Day
  • National No Dirty Dishes Day
  • National Visit Your Relatives Day
  • Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

World Information Society Day

World Information Society Day (World Telecommunication Day) takes place on 17 May to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union in 17 May 1865  by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU; French: Union Internationale des Télécommunications (UIT)), originally the International Telegraph Union (French: Union Télégraphique Internationale), is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards. The ITU is active in areas including broadband Internet, latest-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, convergence in fixed-mobile phone, Internet access, data, voice, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks. The agency also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums, such as ITU Telecom World, bringing together representatives of government and the telecommunications and ICT industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology.

The ITU, is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a member of the United Nations Development Group, and has 12 regional and area offices in the world. ITU has been an intergovernmental public–private partnership organization since its inception. Its membership includes 193 Member States and around 800 public and private sector companies, and academic institutions as well as international and regional telecommunication entities, known as Sector Members and Associates, which undertake most of the work of each Sector.

.It was introduced by a United Nations General Assembly resolution, after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis called upon the United Nations General Assembly to declare May 17th as World Information Society Day. The Main Objective of World Information Society Day is to focus on the importance of Computerised Information Technology, to raise global awareness of changes brought about by the Internet and new computerised Technologies, to raise awareness concerning other issues relating to the Information Society and to help reduce the digital divide. In March 2006 The General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/60/252) stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May. The first World Information Society Day took place on Wednesday, 17 May 2006.

Frank Hornby (Hornby, Meccano, Airfix)

Visionary toy manufacturer, inventor, business man and politician Frank Hornby was born 15 May 1863 in Maghull. At the age of sixteen, Hornby left school and started working as a cashier in his father’s business. On 15 January 1887 he married a schoolteacher Clara Walker Godefroy, the daughter of acustoms officer and they had two sons, Roland and Douglas, and a daughter, Patricia. When his father died in 1899, his father’s business was closed and Hornby became a book keeper in Liverpool.

Despite having no formal engineering training, Hornby decided to start experimenting with new ideas for toys in his home workshop, And began making toys for his sons in 1899 with pieces he cut from sheet metal. He built models of bridges, trucks and cranes, although the pieces they were made from were not interchangeable. Hornby then realised that if he could make separate, inter changeable parts that could be bolted together in many different ways, any model could be built from the same components. The key inventive step was the realisation that regular perforations in the structural pieces could be used, not only to join them together with nuts and bolts, but be used as a bearing for – axles and shafts. This made the construction of complex mechanisms relatively simple. He started making metal strips by hand from copper sheets. The strips were half an inch wide with holes for bolts spaced at half inch intervals these became known as Meccano.

Hornby patented his invention in January 1901 as “Improvements in Toy or Educational Devices for Children and Young People”. Hornby began looking for companies to manufacture his product, but it was poorly finished. Fortunately, his employer saw potential in what Hornby was doing and offered him some vacant premises next to the office where he worked to pursue his ideas. With this move, Elliot and Hornby became partners.Hornby now called his construction oy “Mechanics Made Easy” and after receiving a positive endorsement from professor Henry Selby Hele-Shaw, then Head of the Engineering Department at Liverpool University, Hornby secured contracts with outside manufacturers to supply the parts for his construction sets. With the financial assistance of his partner, “Mechanics Made Easy” sets went on sale in 1902. Each set had only 16 different parts with a leaflet detailing the construction of 12 models. In 1903, 1,500 sets were sold, and new parts were continually being introduced until in 1904, six sets, packed in tin boxes with instruction manuals in French and English, became available. In 1905 two new sets were introduced and By 1907 Hornby’s part suppliers could not meet the demand. So Hornby quit his job with Elliot and secured a three year lease on a workshop in Duke Street, Liverpool, and they were manufacturing their own parts by June 1907.

In September 1907, Hornby registered his famous “Meccano” trade mark and used this name on all new sets. This led to the formation of Meccano Ltd on 30 May 1908 and in 1910 the famous “MECCANO” logo was commissioned. Meccano was exported to many countries and in 1912, Hornby and his son, Roland, formed Meccano (France) Ltd in Paris to manufacture Meccano. An office was also opened in Berlin, Germany and Märklin began to manufacture Meccano under licence. Hornby also started importing clockwork motors from Märklin.In order to keep pace with demand, a new factory was built in Binns Road, Liverpool. By September 1914 the Binns Road Factory was in full production and became the company headquarters for over 60 yeaers in addition to Meccano, Hornby developed and manufactured a number of other model kits and toys, including:1909 – “Hornby System of Mechanical Demonstration”, an educational set. In 1916, Hornby launched a monthly publication, Meccano Magazine, which remained in circulation for over sixty years, and in 1930 he formed the Meccano Guild, an amalgamation of Meccano clubs from all over the world.

The first clockwork train was produced in 1920 and Clockwork lithographed tinplate O scale trains we’re produced in. 1927 –. Even though the export models were often painted in ‘foreign’ liveries, Hornby trains looked very British. Hornby attempted to break into the American market by setting up a factory in 1927 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to make American-style trains. These were colourful and attractive, but low market and only clockwork. They probably would have failed in the marketplace because several established U.S. firms could undercut them and Hornby offered no better-class goods or electric models, but the Wall Street Crash precipitated matters. In late 1929, Meccano Ltd. sold its New Jersey factory to the A. C. Gilbert Company and Hornby trains had vanished from the U.S. market by 1930. The leftover inventory was sold in Canada and in the UK and some of the tooling was reused for products in other markets.

In 1934 Hornby introduced Dinky Toys, die-cast miniature model cars and trucks and Hornby Dublo 00 gauge model railway system in 1938 .Hornby was at first a tradename for the railway productions of Meccano Ltd and based inLiverpool, which released its first train, a clockwork 0 gauge (1:48) model, in 1920. An electric train soon followed but was under-designed and the few that were made were sold out in France. In 1925, a much more successful electric model was introduced, operating on the high voltage of 110 volts AC power. Safety concerns saw low voltage 4V and then 6V motors introduced, followed by a reliable 20V AC system, which was developed in the early 1930s. However, clockwork remained the mainstay of the Hornby 0 gauge trains until 1937 and became the only power available in Liverpool-made 0 gauge trains from 1949. Competitors in the UK were Leeds Model Company and Bassett-LowkeA factory was established in France, which developed its own range of French outline trains, but Liverpool dominated export activity elsewhere, with large numbers of Hornby trains exported to Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Scandinavia.

In 1931 he entered politics when he was elected as a Conservative MP for the Everton constituency. He left the running of the company to his co-Directors and staff. But he did not stay in politics long – he resigned his parliamentary seat before the 1935 General Election.Hornby died of a chronic heart condition complicated by diabetes in Maghull, near Liverpool, on 21 September 1936. He is buried in the grounds of St Andrews Church, Maghull. His elder son Roland took over as Chairman of Meccano Ltd.

In 1964, Lines Bros Ltd., the parent company of rival Tri-ang Railways, purchased Meccano Ltd., and merged Hornby and Tri-ang into Tri-ang Hornby. The former Hornby line was discontinued in favour of Tri-ang’s less costly plastic designs. The Hornby Dublo tooling was sold to G & R Wrenn, which continued to make most of the loco range and ‘superdetail’ rolling stock. Remaining stocks of 0 gauge were either scrapped or sold to the local retailer Hattons and the Tri-ang group was disbanded in 1971 when Meccano Ltd’s owner Lines Bros. filed for bankruptcy Meccano took over The former Tri-ang, becoming Hornby Railways in 1972.

In the 1970s Hornby released a steam-powered 3½” gauge model of the Rocket and a BR standard class 9f. However by 1976 Hornby was facing challenges from Palitoy and Airfix, both of which were producing high quality detailed models. Detail on the models was upgraded to make the product line more attractive to adults A 16 channel command control system named Zero 1 was introduced in late 1979 and Advertisements claimed that 16 locomotives could be operated independently at the same time although it was expensive, with clean track and well serviced locos the system worked well The system is still used today by many modelers and Second hand items are still in great demand on eBay. In 1964, Hornby and Meccano were bought by their competitor Tri-Ang, and sold on when Tri-ang went into receivership. In the 1980s Hornby Railways became independent

in 2006 a Cotswold Rail Class 43 HST power car was introduced carrying a livery advertising Hornby which has since been repainted.In 1980 Hornby became Hornby Hobbies. By the early 1990s Hornby again faced competition from newcomers like Dapol and established foreign manufacturers, including Lima and Bachmann Industries. Train sets based on Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends and Harry Potter (the “Hogwarts Express”) Were introduced and becam popular.In September 2003 Hornby released its first steam-powered 00 gauge locomotive, a model of the record-breaking Mallard. Several other “Live Steam” locomotives have also now been produced. Since then Hornby has bought Lima, an Italian model railway equipment manufacturer that had previously acquired Jouef, a French manufacturer. Some of the ex-Lima models appear in the main Hornby products list. This range is known as Hornby International. Hornby Railways produce a large range of highly detailed British steam and diesel locomotives, such as the BR 9F, LNER Class A4, SR Merchant Navy, class 60, Class 50, Class 31 and Class 08. In November 2006, Hornby Hobbies acquired Airfix and Humbrol paints July 2010 also saw the opening of the Hornby Shop And Visitor Centre. Hornby and Meccano continue to be successful. Hornby’s legacy lives on today with thousands of enthusiasts all over the world still building Meccano models, running Hornby Train sets and collecting Dinky Toys. In his homeplace of Maghull there is a local pub named after him ‘The Frank Hornby’.

Lucy Wills LRCP

leading English hematologist and physician researcher Lucy Wills, LRCP was born May 10 1888 in Sutton Coldfield. Generations of the Wills family had been living in or near Birmingham, England, Her paternal great-grandfather, William Wills, had been a prosperous Birmingham attorney from a Nonconformist Unitarian family (see Church of the Messiah, Birmingham). One of his sons, Alfred Wills, followed him into the law and became notable both as a judge and a mountaineer. Another son, Lucy’s grandfather, bought an edge-tool business in Nechells, AW Wills & Son, which manufactured such implements as scythes and sickles. Lucy’s father continued to manage the business and the family was comfortably well off.

Wills’ father, William Leonard Wills (1858–1911), was a science graduate of Owens College (later part of the Victoria University of Manchester, now part of the University of Manchester). Her mother, Gertrude Annie Wills née Johnston (1855–1939), was the only daughter (with six brothers) of a well-known Birmingham doctor, Dr. James Johnston. The family had a strong interest in scientific matters. Lucy’s great-grandfather, William Wills, had been involved with the British Association for the Advancement of Science and wrote papers on meteorology and other scientific observations. Her father was particularly interested in botany, zoology, geology, and natural sciences generally, as well as in the developing science of photography. Her brother, Leonard Johnston Wills, carried this interest in geology and natural sciences into his own career with great success. Wills was brought up in the country near Birmingham, initially in Sutton Coldfield, and then from 1892 in Barnt Green to the south of the city. She went at first to a local school called Tanglewood, kept by a Miss Ashe, formerly a governess to the Chamberlain family of Birmingham.

At the time she was born English girls had few opportunities for education and entry into the professions until towards the end of the nineteenth century. Wills was able to attend Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Newnham College Cambridge, and the London School of Medicine for Women In September 1903 Lucy Wills went to the Cheltenham Ladies’ College, which had been founded in 1854 by Dorothea Beale. Wills’s elder sister Edith was in the same house, Glenlee. She passed the ‘Oxford Local Senior, Division I’ exam in 1905; the ‘University of London, Matriculation, Division II’ in 1906; and ‘Part I, Class III and Paley, exempt from Part II and additional subjects by matriculation (London), Newnham entrance’ in 1907.

In 1907, Wills began her studies at Newnham College, Cambridge, a women’s college. Wills was strongly influenced by the botanist Albert Charles Seward and by the paleobiologist Herbert Henry Thomas who worked on carboniferous paleobotany. Wills finished her course in 1911 and obtained a Class 2 in Part 1 of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1910 and Class 2 in Part 2 (Botany) in 1911, however she was ineligible as a woman to receive a Cambridge degree.

Sadly in February 1911, Wills’s father tragically died at the age of 53 then In 1913, her elder sister Edith also died at the age of 26. In 1913 Wills and her mother traveled to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. A friend from Newnham, Margaret (Margot) Hume, was lecturing in botany at the South African College, then part of the University of the Cape of Good Hope. She and Wills were both interested in Sigmund Freud’s theories. Upon the outbreak of World war One in August 1914, Gordon enlisted in the Transvaal Scottish Regiment. Wills spent some weeks doing voluntary nursing in a hospital in Cape Town, before she and Margot Hume returned to England, arriving in Plymouth in December. In1915, Wills enrolled at the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women. Which had a number of students from India, including Jerusha Jhirad, who became the first Indian woman to qualify with a degree in obstetrics and gynecology in 1919.

Wills was awarded the oLicentiate of the Royal College of Physicians London in May 1920 (LRCP Lond 1920), and was also awarded the University of London degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery awarded in December 1920 (MB BS Lond), at age 32 becoming a legally qualified medical practitioner and decided to research and teach in the Department of Pregnant Pathology at the Royal Free. There she worked with Christine Pillman (who later married Ulysses Williams OBE),

Wills left for India in 1928 and began research work on macrocytic anemia in pregnancy. This was prevalent in a severe form among poorer women with dietary deficiencies, particularly those in the textile industry. Dr Margaret Balfour of the Indian Medical Service had asked her to join the Maternal Mortality Inquiry sponsored by the Indian Research Fund Association at the Haffkine Institute in Bombay, now Mumbai. In 1929, she moved her work to the Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor (where Sir Robert McCarrison was Director of Nutrition Research). In early 1931 she was working at the Caste and Gosha Hospital in Madras, now the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children of Chennai. During the summers of 1930-32 she returned to England and continued her work in the pathology laboratories at the Royal Free.By 1933 she was back at the Royal Free full-time.

Between 1937 and 1938 she visited the Haffkine Institute Travelling by an Imperial Airways Short ‘C’ Class Empire flying boat Called the Calypso. Herjourney began at Southampton landing on water for refuelling at Marseilles, Bracciano near Rome, Brindisi, Athens, Alexandria, Tiberias, Habbaniyah to the west of Baghdad, Basra, Bahrain, Dubai, Gwadar and Karachi, with overnight stops at Rome, Alexandria, Basra and Sharjah (just outside Dubai). The five-day flight was the first Imperial Airways flight to go beyond Alexandria. In Bombay Wills was on dining terms with the governors and their wives at Government House – Sir Leslie Wilson in 1928 and Sir Frederick Sykes in 1929. In 1929 she visited Mysuru and met Sir Charles Todhunter, the Governor of Madras and secretary to the Maharaja of Mysuru. Here Wills observed a correlation between the dietary habits of different classes of Bombay women and the likelihood of their becoming anemic during pregnancy. Poor Muslim women were the ones with both the most deficient diets and the greatest susceptibility to anemia (pernicious anemia of pregnancy). However, itdiffered from true pernicious anemia, as the patients did not have achlorhydria, an inability to produce gastric acid and did not respond to the ‘pure’ liver extracts (vitamin B12) which had been shown to treat true pernicious anemia. It was named Mycrocytic Anaemia and was characterized by enlarged red blood cells which is life-threatening. She postulated another nutritional factor was responsible for this macrocytic anemia other than vitamin B12 deficiency. This was later discovered to be folate, of which the synthetic form is folic acid.

Wills investigated possible nutritional treatments for Anaemia by studying the effects of dietary manipulation on a macrocytic anemia in albino rats at the Nutritional Research Laboratories at the Pasteur Institute of India in Coonoor. Which involved Rats being fed the same diet as Bombay Muslim women. The rat anemia was prevented by the addition of yeast to synthetic diets which had no vitamin B. This work was later duplicated using rhesus monkeys. Back in Bombay, Wills conducted clinical trials on patients with macrocytic anemia and discovered that it could be both prevented and cured by yeast extracts, of which the cheapest source was Marmite. Wills returned to the Royal Free Hospital in London from 1938 until her retirement in 1947. During the Second World War she was a full-time pathologist in the Emergency Medical Service. Work in the pathology department was disrupted for a few days in July 1944 (and a number of people were killed) when the hospital suffered a direct hit from a V1 flying bomb. By the end of the war, she was in charge of pathology at the Royal Free Hospital and had established the first hematology department there. After her retirement, Wills traveled extensively, including to Jamaica, Fiji and South Africa, continuing her observations on nutrition and anemia. Until she sadly passed away in April 16 1964)

Cystinosis Awareness Day

Cystinosis Awareness Day takes place annually on 7 May The first annual Cystinosis Awareness Day took place on 7 May 2018 and was sponsored by the Cystinosis Research Network. Cystinosis is a rare multisystem genetic disorder which causes abnormal accumulation of the amino acid cystine in organs and tissues of the body. The purpose of Cystinosis Awareness Day is to educate the public concerning this condition which most frequently affects the eyes and kidneys, but left untreated, it can eventually affect all tissues of the body. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to mitigating its affects.

Cystine is the oxidized dimer form of the amino acid cysteine and has the formula (SCH2CH(NH2)CO2H)2. It is a white solid that is slightly soluble in water. It serves two biological functions: a site of redox reactions and a mechanical linkage that allows proteins to retain their three-dimensional structure. It is common in many foods such as eggs, meat, dairy products, and whole grains as well as skin, horns and hair. It was not recognized as being derived of proteins until it was isolated from the horn of a cow in 1899. Human hair and skin contain approximately 10–14% cystine by mass. It was discovered in 1810 by William Hyde Wollaston.

Cystine is formed from the oxidation of two cysteine molecules, via the formation of a disulfide bond. In cell biology, cystine (found in proteins) can only exist in non-reductive (oxidative) organelles, such as the secretory pathway (ER, Golgi, lysosomes, vesicles and ECM). Under reductive conditions (in the cytoplasm, nucleus, etc.) cysteine is predominant. The disulfide link is readily reduced to give the corresponding thiol cysteine. Due to the facility of the thiol-disulfide exchange, the nutritional benefits and sources of cystine are identical to those for the more-common cysteine. Disulfide bonds cleave more rapidly at higher temperatures. Cystine also serves as a substrate for the cystine-glutamate antiporter. This transport system, which is highly specific for cystine and glutamate, increases the concentration of cystine inside the cell. In this system, the anionic form of cystine is transported in exchange for glutamate. Cystine is quickly reduced to cysteine.

Treatments can include Cysteine prodrugs, e.g. acetylcysteine, these induce release of glutamate into the extracellular space. Cysteine supplements are sometimes marketed as anti-aging products with claims of improved skin elasticity. Cysteine is more easily absorbed by the body than cystine, so most supplements contain cysteine rather than cystine. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is better absorbed than other cysteine or cystine supplements.

Radio Day (Alexander Popov)

Radio Day is celebrated in the Russian Federation and some Eastern European countries on 7 May. Radio Day commemorates the pioneering work of Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov who presented a paper on a self built wireless lightning detector on 7 May 1895.

Russian physicist Alexander Stepanovich Popov (sometimes spelled Popoff; Russian: Алекса́ндр Степа́нович Попо́в; was Born in Krasnoturinsk, Sverdlovsk Oblast in the Urals on March 16 [O.S. March 4] 1859. He was the son of a priest and became interested in natural sciences when he was a child. His father wanted Alexander to join the priesthood and sent him to the Seminary School at Yekaterinburg. However he developed an interest in science and mathematics and instead of going on to Theology School in 1877 he enrolled at St. Petersburg university where he studied physics. After graduation with honors in 1882, he stayed on as a laboratory assistant at the university. However the salary at the university was inadequate to support his family, and in 1883 he took a post as teacher and head of laboratory at the Russian Navy’s Torpedo School in Kronstadt on Kotlin Island.

Popov’s work as a teacher at a Russian naval school led him to explore high frequency electrical phenomena. Along with his teaching duties at the naval school Popov pursued related areas of research. Trying to solve a problem with the failure in the electrical wire insulation on steel ships (which turned out to be a problem with electrical resonance) led him to further explore oscillations of high frequency electrical current His interest in this area of study (including the new field of “Hertzian” or radio waves) was intensified by his trip in 1893 to the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in the United States where he was able to confer with other researchers in the field.

Popov also read an 1894 article about British physicist Oliver Lodge’s experiments related to the discovery of radio waves by German physicist Heinrich Hertz 6 years earlier. On 1 June 1894, after the death of Hertz, British physicist Oliver Lodge gave a memorial lecture on Hertz experiments. He set up a demonstration on the quasi optical nature of Hertzian waves (radio waves) and demonstrated their transmission at distances up to 50 meters. Lodge used a detector called a coherer, a glass tube containing metal filings between two electrodes. When received waves from an antenna were applied to the electrodes, the coherer became conductive allowing the current from a battery to pass through it, with the impulse being picked up by a mirror galvanometer. After receiving a signal, the metal filings in the coherer had to be reset by a manually operated vibrator or by the vibrations of a bell placed on the table nearby that rang every time a transmission was received. Popov designed a more sensitive radio wave receiver that could be used as a lightning detector, to warn of thunderstorms by detecting the electromagnetic pulses of lightning strikes using a coherer receiver.

On May 7, 1895, he presented a paper “On the Relation of Metallic Powders to Electric Oscillations”, which described his lightning detector, to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society in St. Petersburg which demonstrated the principal of the wireless lightning detector he had built that worked via using a coherer to detect radio noise from lightning strikes. This day is celebrated in the Russian Federation as Radio Day. In a March 24, 1896, demonstration, he used radio waves to transmit a message between different campus buildings in St. Petersburg. His work was based on that of another physicist – Oliver Lodge, and contemporaneous with the work of Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi had just registered a patent with the description of the device two months after first transmission of radio signals made by Popov.

In 1900 a radio station was established under Popov’s instructions on Hogland island (Suursaari) to provide two-way communication by wireless telegraphy between the Russian naval base and the crew of the battleship General-Admiral Apraksin which had run aground on Hogland island in the Gulf of Finland in November 1899. Although The crew of the Apraksin were not in immediate danger, the water in the Gulf began to freeze. However help did not arrive until January 1900 although By February 5 messages were being received reliably and the Apraksin was freed from the rocks by the icebreaker Yermak. Then Over 50 Finnish fishermen, who were stranded on a piece of drift ice in the Gulf of Finland, were also saved by the icebreaker Yermak following distress telegrams sent by wireless telegraphy. In 1901 Alexander Popov was appointed as professor at the Electrotechnical Institute, which now bears his name. In 1905 he was elected director of the institution.

Sadly In 1905 Popov became seriously ill and died of a brain hemorrhage on January 13, 1906. However his valuable contributions have been remembered: A minor planet, 3074 Popov, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1979, is named after him. At ITU Telecom World 2011, Igor Shchyogolev, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation alongside Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General of the ITU, inaugurated the “Alexander Stepanovich Popov” conference room at ITU’s headquarters in Geneva.