202 BC – Liu Bang is enthroned as the Emperor of China, beginning four centuries of rule by the Han dynasty.
1784 – John Wesley charters the Methodist Church.
1827 – The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.
1849 – Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, four months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor.
1935 – DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invents nylon.
1942 – The heavy cruiser USS Houston is sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed, along with HMAS Perth which lost 375 men.
In 1962 Watson and Crick and Wilkins jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their 1953 determination of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid DNA. Wilkins’s colleague Franklin who died from cancer at the age of 37 was not so honored.
The reasons for her exclusion have been debated and are still unclear. There is a Nobel Prize stipulation that states “in no case may a prize amount be divided between more than three persons.”
The fact she died before the prize was awarded may also have been a factor although the stipulation against posthumous awards was not instated until 1974.
She was born into a prominent London banking family, where all the children-girls and boys-were encouraged to develop their individual aptitudes. She attended Newnham College, one of the women’s colleges at Cambridge University. She completed her degree in 1941 in the middle of World War II and undertook graduate work at Cambridge with Ronald Norrish, a future Nobel laureate. She resigned her research scholarship in just one year to contribute to the war effort at the British Coal Utilization Research Association. There she performed fundamental investigations on the properties of coal and graphite. She returned briefly to Cambridge, where she presented a dissertation based on this work and was granted a PhD in physical chemistry.
1953 – James Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA;
1983 – The final episode of M*A*S*H airs, with almost 106 million viewers.
1986 – Olof Palme, 26th Prime Minister of Sweden, is assassinated in Stockholm.
1993 – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raid the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four ATF agents and six Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.
2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since Pope Gregory XII, in 1415.
1901 – Linus Pauling, American chemist and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1994)
1903 – Vincente Minnelli, American director and screenwriter (d. 1986)
1906 – Bugsy Siegel, American gangster (d. 1947)
1929 – Frank Gehry, Canadian-American architect, designed 8 Spruce Street and Walt Disney Concert Hall
1940 – Mario Andretti, Italian-American race car driver
628 – Khosrow II, king of the Persian Empire
1967 – Henry Luce, co-founded Time Magazine (b. 1898)
2007 – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. American historian and critic (b. 1917)