Today in History: Light Edition

Here’s a new feature we’re going to be doing, looking at historical events and pointing out out convergences (or divergences). We’ll start things off light, as in Light Theory. On this day, 1827, William Rowan Hamilton, an Irish astronomer/mathematician affiliated with Trinity College, first described wave theory in his work, Theory of Systems of Waves. So he’s basically responsible for everything we know about light, and who paved the way for the theory of quantum mechanics. Fast forward exactly 182 years later, and scientists out of NASA’s SWIFT mission, capture Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) 090423 in their sights,which currently holds the record for most distant and oldest object ever detected by scientists. This Gamma Ray Burst is important because it started combusting at a time prior to when scientists could confirm that the materials needed for combustion existed – without Hamilton’s work, the SWIFT mission might not have even existed, so how’s that for some synchronicity?

Earlier this month, SWIFT recorded its 500th image. You can watch a video showing every GRB it’s captured in its five years of service at SWIFT’s News Page. A montage of the actual images would be cooler, but at least this way you know where it was pointing stuff.

Furthermore, happy birthday to Kal Penn, who was recently robbed in DC (on 4/20 of all days!), William Shakespeare, and Jamie King (Bulletproof Monk, Sin City).

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Filed under Celebrities, News, Science, Technology, This Day In History

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