This Day in History

  • U.S. figure skating team killed in plane crash
    by History.com Editors on April 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    On this day in 1961, the entire 18-member U.S. figure skating team is killed in a plane crash in Berg-Kampenhout, Belgium. The team was on its way to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Among those killed in the crash was 16-year-old Laurence Owen, who had won ... […]

  • USS Maine Sinks, Prompting the US to Declare War on Spain (1898)
    on February 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

    In January 1898, the USS Maine was sent to protect American interests in Cuba, where an anti-Spanish insurrection was taking place. It sank weeks later, after an onboard explosion. Fueled by the conspiracy theories of American yellow journalism, outrage over the deaths of 260 of the ship's crew members helped push the nation toward the Spanish-American War. Several investigations into the sinking have since taken place, including one that was conducted in 1998. What were its findings? Discuss […]

  • ENIAC, Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, Unveiled (1946)
    on February 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

    ENIAC was an early electronic digital computer built in the US by engineers J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly. The massive ENIAC weighed 30 tons, filled an entire room, and used some 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, and 10,000 capacitors. After its official unveiling in 1946, it was used to prepare artillery-shell trajectory tables and perform other military and scientific calculations. ENIAC solved its first problem in December 1945, making calculations for what? […]

  • Thomas Edison Observes the Edison Effect (1880)
    on February 13, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Known as "the Edison Effect," thermionic emission is the emission of electrons or ions by substances that are highly heated. The charged particles that are emitted are called thermions, and their number rapidly increases with the temperature of the substance. If the heated substance that emits thermions carries a charge, the thermions will carry the same charge. The effect was observed by Edison in 1883 when he was working on what invention? […]