This is the ninth, and last, in a series of articles looking back over ‘Geek Facts’. Today’s topic is ‘Geek Firsts’.
Each day last year, I posted a Geek Fact for that day. A Geek Fact is something geeky that happened on that day in history. I have to say that it was a pretty interesting exercise. I learned many things that I ordinarily wouldn’t have. For the 366 days of 2012, 464 Geek Facts were posted. On average, that’s roughly one each day with an extra posted each 4th day.
Many people had ‘firsts’ that made their way into the Geek Facts. Most, though not all, are space-related. No small wonder with the Space Race of the ‘60s and the success of the Space Shuttle program.
Some of the more notable ‘firsts’ are:
• August 1, 1818 – Maria Mitchell, America’s first woman astronomer, was born.
• November 26, 1832 – Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, the first female surgeon in the U.S. Army, was born.
• October 14, 1947 – Chuck Yeager made the first supersonic flight.
• May 18, 1953 – Jacqueline Cochrane became the first woman to break the sound barrier.
• October 31,1956 – George Dufek became the first American to land by air at the South Pole.
• May 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first American in space, aboard Freedom 7.
• April 12, 1961 – Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth.
• February 20, 1962 – John H.Glenn Jr., aboard Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit the Earth.
• June 19, 1963 – Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, returned to Earth.
• July 20, 1969 – Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon.
• September 18, 1980 – Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez became the first person of color sent into space.
• June 18, 1983 – Aboard Challenger 2, Sally Ride became the first U.S. woman in space.
• August 30, 1983 – NASA Astronaut Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first African American to go into space.
• April 3, 1984 – Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian in space.
• July 26,1989 – Robert Tappan Morris became the first person to be indicted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
As I said earlier, this is the last look back at last year’s Geek Facts. I found it to be a very interesting and educational experience.
To read earlier installments in the Geek Facts Retrospective series: