This Day In History : October 13

1773 France

The Whirlpool Galaxy discovered by French astronomer Charles Messier

In 1773, French astronomer Charles Messier discovered the Whirlpool Galaxy, cataloged as Messier 51 (M51). This spiral galaxy, located in the constellation Canes Venatici, has since become one of the most studied and photographed galaxies in the night sky, known for its prominent spiral arms and interacting companion galaxy.

Also on This Day in History October 13

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

Births on This Day, October 13
  • 1820 John William Dawson

    Canadian geologist who made numerous contributions to paleobotany and extended the knowledge of Canadian geology.

  • 1776 Peter Barlow

    English mathematician and engineer who invented two varieties of achromatic (non-colour-distorting) telescope lenses.

  • 1787 William Brockedon

    English writer, painter and inventor. In 1819 a patent was granted to William Brockedon for a diamond wire drawing die.

  • 1821 Rudolf Virchow

    Rudolf Virchow was a German physician generally regarded as the greatest pathologist of all time and frequently referred to as the founder of cellular pathology.

  • 1932 John Griggs Thompson

    John Griggs Thompson is an American mathematician at the University of Florida noted for his work in the field of finite groups. 

Deaths on This Day, October 13
  • 1945 Milton Snavely Hershey

    American manufacturer who founded the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.

  • 2003 Bertram N. Brockhouse

    Canadian physicist who developed neutron diffraction techniques used for studying the structure and properties of matter for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1994.

  • 1987 Walter H. Brattain

    Walter Houser Brattain was an American physicist at Bell Labs who, along with fellow scientists John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the point-contact transistor in December 1947. 

  • 2016 Bhumibol Adulyadej

    Bhumibol Adulyadej, conferred with the title King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, was the ninth king of Thailand from the Chakri dynasty, titled Rama IX, from 1946 until his death in 2016.

  • 1963 A.A. Griffith

    A.A. (Alan Arnold) Griffith was a British engineer who made significant contributions to the field of aerodynamics and turbine design.


The first U.S. cellular network in Chicago is launched by Ameritech Mobile Communications

On October 13, 1983, Ameritech Mobile Communications launched the first U.S. cellular network in Chicago. This marked the beginning of widespread mobile phone services in the United States, revolutionizing communication and paving the way for the modern cellular industry.

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) Founded in Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) was founded in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 13, 1885. This institution has since become a renowned public research university known for its programs in engineering, computing, sciences, and business, contributing significantly to education and innovation in the state and beyond.

First public screening of a motion picture in New Zealand

On October 13, 1896, the first public screening of a motion picture took place in New Zealand. This event marked the introduction of cinema to the country, showcasing the early days of film entertainment and setting the stage for the growth of the film industry in New Zealand.

STS-41-G Mission Lands at Kennedy Space Center

On October 13, 1984, the Space Shuttle Challenger, mission STS-41-G, successfully landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This mission was notable for deploying the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) and conducting various scientific experiments in space.
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