Today

Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (1853)
A Dutch physicist and professor at the University of Leiden, Onnes founded in 1884 a cryogenic laboratory that would become a renowned research center for low-temperature physics. He was the first to produce liquid helium, and in the process produced a temperature within a degree of absolute zero. He also discovered superconductivity—the abnormally high electrical conductivity of certain materials at very low temperatures. When did he receive the Nobel Prize in Physics? Discuss

Maxwell Perkins (1884)
After joining the publishing firm of Charles Scribner's Sons, Perkins became an enormously well-regarded editor with a genius for recognizing and fostering new talent. Though best known for the intensive editorial work that shaped Thomas Wolfe's sprawling manuscripts into publishable form, he also edited and published early works by then-unknown writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Erskine Caldwell. How many words did Perkins persuade Wolfe to cut from his first novel?

Lajos Kossuth (1802)
Now considered a national hero, Kossuth was a Hungarian revolutionary who favored dissolving the union between the Hungarian and Austrian crowns. The fiery orator was a principal figure of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. Appointed provisional governor, he soon became virtual dictator. In 1849, Russian armies intervened in favor of Austria, forcing him to resign. He fled to Turkey and later to Italy, where he watched as Hungary reconciled with the Austrian monarchy. What did he do while in exile?

This Day in History

James Meredith Is Barred from the University of Mississippi (1962)
After a US federal court ruled that colleges could not deny admission to qualified students on the basis of race, civil rights activist James Meredith prepared to enter the segregated University of Mississippi. On the day of Meredith's enrollment, Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett stood in the doorway of the admissions office, physically blocking Meredith's entry, and informed him that his application was denied. Ten days later, Meredith returned—with 500 federal marshals. What happened then? Discuss

Ötzi the Iceman Is Discovered by German Tourists (1991)
In 1991, two hikers discovered a well-preserved corpse trapped in ice near the border between Austria and Italy. It proved to be that of a man who lived about 5,300 years ago—making it the oldest natural mummy ever found. He was nicknamed Ötzi, for the Ötztal Alps where he was found. Also recovered were clothes, shoes, tools, weapons, fire-starting materials, and medicine. Scientists have since determined that Ötzi ate about eight hours before his death. What did he eat, and how did he die?

First Issue of the New-York Daily Times, now The New York Times, Is Printed (1851)
Originally sold for a penny a copy, the New-York Daily Times was founded by journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond in 1851 and has been controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family since 1896. The paper shortened its name to The New York Times in 1857. Perhaps the most respected newspaper in the world, it has been awarded more Pulitzer Prizes than any other. In 2006, the newspaper announced that it would save how much money by narrowing its page width by 1.5 inches (4 cm)?

Quote of the Day

Willa Cather
When we look back, the only things we cherish are those which in some way met our original want; the desire which formed in us in early youth, undirected, and of its own accord. Discuss

Jonathan Swift
I have always a sacred veneration for any one I observe to be a little out of repair in his person, as supposing him either a poet or a philosopher; because the richest minerals are ever found under the most ragged and withered surface of the earth.

Edith Wharton
The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.

Word of the Day

prophylactic
Definition: (adjective) Acting to defend against or prevent something, especially disease; protective. Synonyms: preventative. Usage: The doctor prescribed a prophylactic antibiotic to the nervous patient. Discuss

feeder
Definition: (noun) A branch that flows into the main stream. Synonyms: confluent, tributary, affluent. Usage: This stream in which he stood was a feeder to the Coppermine River, which in turn flowed north and emptied into Coronation Gulf and the Arctic Ocean.

politic
Definition: (adjective) Smoothly agreeable and courteous with a degree of sophistication. Synonyms: bland, smooth, suave. Usage: He was too politic to quarrel with so important a personage.