557 – Constantinople is severely damaged by an earthquake.
835 – Sweet Dew Incident: Emperor Wenzong of the Tang dynasty conspires to kill the powerful eunuchs of the Tang court, but the plot is foiled.
1287 – St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuiderzee sea wall in the Netherlands collapses, killing over 50,000 people.
1542 – Princess Mary Stuart becomes Mary, Queen of Scots.
1900 – Quantum mechanics: Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law. Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck was a German theoretical physicist whose work on quantum theory won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918
Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
1902 – The Commercial Pacific Cable Company lays the first Pacific telegraph cable, from San Francisco to Honolulu.
1903 – The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1939 – Winter War: The Soviet Union is expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.
1940 – Plutonium (specifically Pu-238) is first isolated at Berkeley, California.
1972 – Apollo program: Eugene Cernan is the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final extravehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 17 mission.
1896 – Jimmy Doolittle, American general and pilot, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1993)
1908 – Morey Amsterdam, actor, singer, and screenwriter (d. 1996)
1911 – Spike Jones, singer and bandleader (d. 1965)
1922 – Don Hewitt, journalist and producer, created 60 Minutes (d. 2009)
1946 – Patty Duke, actress (d. 2016)
1788 – Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, pianist and composer (b. 1714)
1799 – George Washington, First President of the United States (b. 1732)
1873 – Louis Agassiz, Swiss-American zoologist and geologist (b. 1807)
1943 – John Harvey Kellogg, physician and businessman, co-invented corn flakes (b. 1852)
1980 – Elston Howard, American baseball player and coach (b. 1929)
1985 – Roger Maris, American baseball player and coach (b. 1934)
2006 – Ahmet Ertegün, Turkish-American composer and producer, co-founded Atlantic Records (b. 1923)
2013 – Peter O’Toole, British-Irish actor (b. 1932)
2014 – Bess Myerson, American model, activist, game show panelist and television personality; Miss America 1945 (b. 1924)
2015 – Lillian Vernon, German-American businesswoman and philanthropist, founded the Lillian Vernon Company (b. 1927)