This Day In History : December 13

1962 United States

Relay 1 communication satellite launched

On December 13, 1962, the Relay 1 communication satellite was launched into orbit. It was one of the first satellites designed to relay telecommunications signals, providing an important milestone in satellite communication technology. Relay 1 facilitated early experiments and advancements in global communication networks, laying the foundation for future satellite communications.

Also on This Day in History December 13

Discover what happened on December 13 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, December 13
  • 1910 Charles Alfred Coulson

    British theoretical chemist known for the application of molecular orbital theory to chemical bonding, the electronic structures of molecules and the concept of partial valency.

  • 1904 William McCrea

    He was an Irish theoretical astrophysicist whose early work was in quantum physics, relativity and pure mathmatics, but he gradually turned to applying theoretical physics in astronomy.

  • 1816 Werner von Siemens

    German electrical engineer who played an important role in originating the modern electrical industry.

  • 1805 Johann von Lamont

    Scottish-born German astronomer noted for discovering (1852) that the magnetic field of the Earth fluctuates with a 10.3-year activity cycle, but does not correlate it with the period of the sunspot cycle.

  • 1923 Philip W. Anderson

    Philip Warren Anderson was an American physicist who shared  the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physics for his research on semiconductors, superconductivity, and magnetism.

Deaths on This Day, December 13
  • 1955 António Egas Moniz

    Portuguese neurologist and statesman who was the founder of modern psychosurgery.

  • 1930 Fritz Pregl

    Austrian chemist awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for developing techniques in the microanalysis of organic compounds.

  • 1935 Victor Grignard

    Victor Grignard was a French chemist and corecipient and corecipient (with Paul Sabatier) of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1912, for his development of the Grignard reaction.

  • 1999 Allen K. Breed

    American engineer and inventor of the "ball-in tube" or electromechanical crash sensor (EMS).

  • 1250 Frederick II

    Frederick II of Hohenstaufen was a German emperor and ornithologist who was a German ruler, residing in Sicily.


Measurement of star size

In 1920, first U.S. measurement of the size of a fixed star was made on Betelgeuse, the bright red star in the right shoulder of Orion, which was found to be 260 million miles in diameter - 150 times greater than the Sun.

Tragedy of the Commons

In 1968, the influential essay "Tragedy of the Commons" by Garrett Hardin was published in the journal Science. The essay discusses the concept of overexploitation of shared resources, where individuals acting in their self-interest can deplete common resources, leading to detrimental consequences for society. Hardin's work sparked discussions on environmental conservation and resource management strategies, influencing policy and academic debates worldwide.

2001 Attack on Indian parliament

The 2001 Indian Parliament attack was a terrorist attack on the Parliament of India in New Delhi, India on 13 December 2001. The attack was carried out by five armed assailants that resulted in the deaths of six Delhi Police personnel, two Parliament Security Service personnel, and a gardener. All the five terrorists were killed by security forces.

Meteorite crashes into Wold Newton in Yorkshire, England

The stone fell at around 3 o'clock, on 13 December 1795, landing within a few yards of ploughman John Shipley. It created a crater approximately 1 yard (0.91 m) across, and embedded itself in the underlying chalk rock to a depth of 7 inches (180 mm), passing through 12 inches (300 mm) of topsoil. The fall was observed by several people, who described a dark body passing through the air.
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