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The Phair-Girl Who Gave Pluto Its Name

Firefly How Did You Look Half a Millennium Past and How Do You Look Now and How Will You Be in the Future: Look in the Clue for I Have Always Been a Firefly Regardless of How I Looked: University of St Andrews Travels Back in Time


|| December 20: 2017|| ά. Historic buildings at the heart of St Andrews have been digitally reconstructed to show how they looked nearly 500 years ago before the Reformation changed the face of the town forever. St Salvator’s Quad and Chapel, at the heart of the University of St Andrews, can now be seen in a virtual recreation, which shows how these historic buildings appeared before the religious changes of the Reformation. The reconstruction, created by Historians and Computer Scientists at the University, drew from images and manuscripts in the University’s Special Collections department.

This is the first phase of a wider project to digitally recreate the entire burgh of St Andrews as it appeared in 1559, just before the citizens of the town officially adopted Protestantism and set about transforming the community’s Catholic religious foundations. The St Andrews 1559 project is led by the University of St Andrews’ Professor Michael Brown, of the School of History, and Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science. The digital model of St Salvator’s was created by Ms Sarah Kennedy of the School of Computer Science, with historical advice from Dr Bess Rhodes of the Schools of History and Computer Science and with help from students.

The St Salvator’s site was chosen as the first release from the St Andrews 1559 project because of its significance in the early phases of the Scottish Reformation. In February 1528 a 24-year-old academic, Patrick Hamilton, was burnt outside the gates of St Salvator’s College for advocating support for the German Reformer Martin Luther’s criticisms of the Catholic Church. Hamilton was the first person to be executed in Scotland for voicing Protestant ideas. This year marks five centuries since the event regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses attacking the practices and doctrines of the late Medieval Catholic church in Wittenberg, a University town in Eastern Germany.

Dr Bess Rhodes said, ''We selected St Salvator's as the place to begin our reconstruction as a major landmark in the modern university and the town. It was of course, also, the scene of one of the most horrific events of the Scottish Reformation, the burning of Patrick Hamilton for his Lutheran beliefs. Particularly, chillingly, Hamilton’s death was something the university was directly involved in, playing a role in the prosecution and conviction of this very young man. Yet at the same time St Salvator’s has been the scene of fantastic academic achievement and many happy incidents in the University’s history.”

St Salvator’s College was founded in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy as both an educational and a religious institution, providing a rigorous academic training for young men, who would primarily go on to serve in Scotland’s late medieval Catholic Church. During the Middle Ages St Andrews was the religious capital of Catholic Scotland. However, in the sixteenth century many Scots turned against Catholicism, inspired by new ‘Reformed’ interpretations of Christianity coming out of continental Europe.

In 1559 the St Andrews burgh officials, inspired by the Protestant preacher John Knox, officially rejected Catholicism and set about transforming local religious buildings, smashing altars and statues, burning church furnishings and books, and ending the religious function of many sites within the city.

The St Salvator’s buildings were altered by the Reformation and by further rebuilding work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although, today only small sections of the medieval College buildings survive the glories of the medieval College can now be explored virtually.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Exist as Such That When You Cease to the Evidence and Deeds of Your Existence Go on Existing: Susannah Weynton-Hack: 1821-1901


Image:  Paul Joseph:University of British Columbia



|| September 01: 2017: University of British Columbia News || ά.

University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections has acquired a journal, believed to be the earliest first-hand account of British Columbia by an English woman, of a maritime fur trade voyage. The journal was written by Susannah Weynton, née Hack, 1821-1901, the wife of the master of the Hudson’s Bay Company supply ship Cowlitz, Captain Alexander John Weynton. “This journal is a gift to all Canadians.” said Professor Jean Barman, an expert on B.C. history and Professor Emeritus in UBC’s department of educational studies.

“Weynton’s pithy descriptions of Vancouver Island and Fort Langley in 1850, the earliest known to survive by an English woman, remind us of our long history of many peoples coming together in diverse ways.” Weynton’s hand-written journal documents her outward and return voyages from London to the Pacific Northwest via Cape Horn and Hawaii between August 04, 1849 and March 22, 1851. While the journal includes an account of the Juan Fernandez Islands and a detailed record of her lengthy stay in Hawaii, it is Weynton’s four months spent on Vancouver Island at Fort Victoria and Fort Rupert and on the mainland at Fort Langley between March and July 1850 that will be of most interest to British Columbians.

She describes the fort, newly installed Chief Factor James Douglas and family, Governor Blanshard, as well as, her observations about the Indigenous peoples she encounters, agriculture and the natural beauties of the area.

The journal was purchased for $88,000 with the support of several donors, including, the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Movable Cultural Property grant programme, the Victoria Historical Society, the Sue and Keith Mew Family Foundation, Dr Wallace B. Chung and Professor Barry Gough.

“This journal is a window into another time in B.C, providing another tool for teachers, students and the community to learn about the rich history of this province.” said Mr Katherine Kalsbeek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections. “We are thankful for the amazing support we received to bring this journal to the UBC Library.”

A digitised version of the journal is available for viewing in UBC Library’s Open Collections. The public can, also, view the journal in person by booking a tour of UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Inari Excavations of WWII German Prisoner of War Camp

Mari Olafson: Historian. Image: Oula Seitsonen

|| August 09: 2017: University of Helsinki News: Pia Purra Writing || ά. Lapland’s Dark Heritage research project, organised jointly by the Universities of Helsinki and Oulu, in association with the Sįmi Museum Siida, Inari, has started a public excavation at a Second World War German-run Prisoner of War:PoW camp in Inari, in the Finnish Lapland from August 07. The excavation activities will last till August 16. And that goes to show there is no hiding place for 'deeds', committed by humans, whether good or bad. Deeds, particularly, the dark ones, will always find ways to get to the surface.

The excavation site is a Second World War German-run PoW camp at Inari Hyljelahti. The camp housed Soviet and other PoWs and forced and slave labourers, who were involved in road building and forest working. Historian Lars Westerlund has tentatively connected the Hyljelahti camp to a German-run punishment camp, Polarstraflager, where Russian Jewish PoWs were accommodated. The excavations will, hopefully, shed light to this connection.

Pre-registered volunteers will take part in the excavations along with researchers and University students. The public, may also, visit the excavation site, driving instructions can be obtained from Siida and there will be excursion to the war historical localities in Kaamanen and along the Karigasniemi Road, built by the Germans during WWII.

In addition, the programme involves public lectures at Siida Museum in Inari. The speakers include Scottish Archaeologist Dr Iain Banks, from the University of Glasgow, who specialises in Prisoner of War camp and conflict archaeology. All these events are free for all.

The interdisciplinary research team includes archaeologists, historians, museologists and ethnologists from Finland, Norway, Scotland:University of Glasgow, Italy:European University Institute, and Canada:Athabasca University. In its previous field seasons, the Lapland’s Dark Heritage project has studied different kinds of WWII sites, including, PoW camps.

These studies have highlighted many themes underrepresented in the documentary sources, such as, information about the prisoner living conditions, relationships between the prisoners and guards and the spatial organisation of camps.

The PoW camp studies can, also, act as lenses through which, wider issues can be assessed, for instance, about the views and attitudes towards the prisoners and refugees and human-environmental relations. ω.

More on the excavation activities

More information: Excavation Director Oula Seitsonen: University of Helsinki: +35840 502 5892, oula.seitsonen at
Director of Lapland’s Dark Heritage project Vesa-Pekka Herva: University of Oulu): vesa-pekka.herva at

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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In the Name of Sojourner I Seek the Truth

Mars Image: NASA


|| July 02: 2017 || ά. As the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft approached its destination on July 04, 1997, no NASA mission had successfully reached the Red Planet in more than 20 years. Even the mission team anxiously awaiting confirmation that the spacecraft survived its innovative, bouncy landing could not anticipate the magnitude of the pivot about to shape the Space Age. In the 20 years since Pathfinder's touchdown, eight other NASA landers and orbiters have arrived successfully and not a day has passed without the United States having, at least, one active robot on Mars or in orbit around Mars. Pathfinder's rover, named Sojourner for the civil-rights crusader Sojourner Truth, became the best-known example of the many new technologies developed for the mission.

Though, Sojourner was only the size of a microwave oven, its six-wheel mobility system and its portable instrument for checking the composition of rocks and soil were the foundation for the expanded size and capabilities of later Mars rovers. The momentum propelled by Pathfinder's success is still growing. Five NASA robots and three from other nations are currently examining Mars. The two decades since Pathfinder's landing have taken us about halfway from the first Mars rover to the first astronaut bootprint on Mars, proposed for the 2030s. "Pathfinder initiated two decades of continuous Mars exploration bringing us to the threshold of sample return and the possibility of humans on the first planet beyond Earth." said Mr Michael Meyer, Lead Scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington.

"Without Mars Pathfinder, there could not have been Spirit and Opportunity and without Spirit and Opportunity, there could not have been Curiosity." Pathfinder Project Scientist Mr Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, said of the subsequent generations of Mars rovers. JPL is now developing another Mars rover for launch in 2020.

NASA planned Pathfinder primarily as a technology demonstration mission, but it also harvested new knowledge about Mars, from the planet's iron core to its atmosphere, and from its wetter and warmer past to its arid modern climate. The space agency was shifting from less-frequent, higher-budget missions to a strategy of faster development and lower budgets. Pathfinder succeeded within a real-year, full-mission budget of $264 million, a small fraction of the only previously successful Mars lander missions, the twin Vikings of 1976.

"We needed to invent or re-invent 25 technologies for this mission in less than three years, and we knew that if we blew the cost cap, the mission would be cancelled." said JPL's Mr Brian Muirhead, Flight System Manager and Deputy Project Manager for Pathfinder. "Everybody, who was part of the Mars Pathfinder Project felt we'd done something extraordinary, against the odds."

Crucial new technologies included an advanced onboard computer, the rover and its deployment system, solid-fuel rockets for deceleration, and airbags inflating just before touchdown to cushion the impact of landing. NASA re-used most of the Pathfinder technologies to carry out the Mars Exploration Rover Project, which landed Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in 2004. "On the morning of July Fourth, 1997, we were in our tiny mission-control area waiting to see the signal that would confirm Pathfinder had survived its atmospheric entry and landing and that it was transmitting from the surface of Mars." Mr Muirhead said. "We saw that tiny spike in the signal coming through the Deep Space Network, and we knew."

Pathfinder quickly provided the first fresh images from Mars directly available to the public over the still-young World Wide Web. The mission set a web-traffic record at the time with more than 200 million hits from July 4 to July 8, 1997. The lander and rover operated for three months, triple the planned mission for the lander and 12 times the rover's planned mission of one week. This longevity enabled Pathfinder to overlap the Sept. 12, 1997, arrival of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter.

That orbiter, in turn, operated at Mars for more than nine years, overlapping with arrivals of two later orbiters -- Mars Odyssey in 2001 and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2006, which are both still active and the 2004 landings of two rovers, one of which, Opportunity, is still active. Subsequent successful NASA missions of the post-Pathfinder era have been the Phoenix lander, Curiosity rover and MAVEN orbiter.

Twenty straight years of studying Mars have yielded major advances in understanding active processes on modern Mars, wet environments favourable for life on ancient Mars, and how the planet changed. These two decades of continuous robotic presence have built on the science and engineering gains from NASA's Mars Mariner and Viking missions of the 1960s and '70s. Examples of what has been learned since the day Pathfinder landed include:

Early Mars offered watery environmental conditions with all the chemical ingredients needed for life and with a chemical energy source of a type used by many microbes on Earth.
Diverse types of wet environments that, may, have been favourable for microbes existed in many locations on early Mars, including lakes, rivers, hot springs and underground water.
Mars lost much of its original atmosphere early in the planet's history.
Modern Mars holds vast reservoirs of frozen water accessible underground at middle and high latitudes, a valuable resource for future human explorers. Many fresh meteor impacts, documented by before-and-after images, have revealed ice an arm's reach or so beneath the surface.
Active processes on modern Mars include avalanches, dust storms, fresh gullies, frozen carbon-dioxide snow, sand-dune movement, geysers from seasonal thawing of carbon dioxide, meteor impacts, and streaks that extend seasonally down some slopes and may be related to possible presence of brine.
Layers in the polar caps record climate changes on the scale of thousands to millions of years related to cyclical changes in the planet's tilt. There is enough carbon-dioxide ice buried at the poles that, if released, could more than double the planet's present atmosphere.

The advances in understanding Mars during the past two decades have set the stage for even greater advances in the next two decades, particularly in efforts to determine whether life has ever existed on Mars and to put humans on Mars.

: Editor: Tony Greicius: NASA:

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Tell Me the Rhythm: Tell Me the Rhyme: Tell Me Not the Brain: Tell Me Not the Heart: Nor About the Genome Speak: For Prometheus Tells Me More: For Orpheus Sings Me Much: For When Homer Sings and Socrates Speaks I Know I am Much More Than These: For I am This Paradox Samantha You Cristoforetti Mind: An Infinity Housed in the Finite: Tell Me About Equilibrium: Tell Me About Oxymoron: And I Will Just Say Make a Handshake to Find That It is Nothing But Contradictions Making the Whole



|| June 16: 2017 || ά. ESA astronaut Ms Samantha Cristoforetti participated in the Circadian Rhythms experiment during her mission on the International Space Station in 2014-15. The sensor is a non-invasive thermometer worn on the forehead and on the sternum, that continuously monitors core body temperature. Participating astronauts track temperature for 36-hour periods, many times during their missions as well as before and after spaceflight. So this is from the past. There she was, where she was not before than nor is she there now but some other-where where, where once she was still lives in the landscape of what is, called, memory. And in, with and by those memories she is unique than all other of her colleagues in the International Space Station as much as they all are equally unique.

Because Ms Cristoforetti experienced that period being at ISS like no other as others did the same: every one being absolutely the same human being, still gathered absolutely different memories. One may have done the same space walk with others but unlike the others and she may have suddenly come to see a vineyard in glorious sun where an old man was gathering grapes and immediaately she remembers her grandfather picking grapes from their vineyard and giving them to her, that she took in her folded palms, when she was nine and he died the following day. And remembering that she cried while carrying with the space walk whilst her other colleague may have done nothing else but concentrating on the task at hand. But what is even more staggering is as to how she was able to see that image, which was not an image but an opening of a window to a whole new time and space, that she did not want to see nor did she imagine it to be. But it appeared before her and following that it took her to another memory of her, that is part of her.

Why is this so important: it is vitally important, particularly, there is a specific and alarming tendency, that is at work and being terribly copied and regurgitated and replicated, that is nothing but attempts that seeks to dehumanise us so that there are schools seeking to advance the view that we are just our brains or we are just our hearts or both combined or that we are just our genomes or these three combined and yet all of which combined will miserably and does miserably fail to explain what and who humans are. We are much more than our brains, we are much more than the arteries and capillaries, we are much more than the genome and we are absolutely much more than the biochemistry and molecular biology or their thesis or antithesis or synthesis. We are surely but physically constituted by all these but we are absolutely not this part or that part or that component or their combination.

We are that what we are: an infinity unfolding itself and because of this, and only because of this, each and every single human being can be the same while being absolutely distinct and individual. The market wants to makes us sheep so that it becomes easier to herd us into a pan. But we are not sheep nor are we Dolly the Sheep but we are that infinite potential, that can keep on learning more, being and doing more and keep on finding means to create Dolly the Sheep. And thus, in celebration of this humanity, this piece, celebrate the humanity and achievement of Ms Samantha Cristoforetti and hope she and her name will continue to inspire other young people and young women, in particular, into science. ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Apollo 16 Lands on the Moon: April 20, 1972

Image: NASA

|| April 20: 2017 || ά. This week in 1972, Apollo 16 astronauts Charles M. Duke Jr Lunar Module Pilot and John W. Young, Commander, landed on the lunar surface. This photo, taken during the mission’s second extravehicular activity, shows Young retrieving tools from the Lunar Roving Vehicle’s Hand Tool Carrier.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre designed, developed and managed the production of the lunar rover and the Saturn V rocket, that took astronauts to the moon. Today, Marshall is developing NASA's Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever built, that will be capable of sending astronauts deeper into space than ever before, including to Mars.

The NASA History Programme is responsible for generating, disseminating and preserving NASA’s remarkable history and providing a comprehensive understanding of the institutional, cultural, social, political, economic, technological and scientific aspects of NASA’s activities in aeronautics and space.

: Editor: Lee Mohon: NASA: ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Professor Louise Hill Curth Elected to Royal Historical Society Fellowship

Image: University of Winchester

|| March 14: 2017: University of Winchester News || ά.  Professor Louise Hill Curth, Professor of Medical History at the University of Winchester, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society:RHS. Founded in 1868, the RHS is the foremost British society for professional historians. While the RHS has a large regular membership, only a small number of Fellowships are awarded to academic colleagues, deemed to have made particularly original and important contributions to historical scholarship.

Professor Hill Curth specialises in Early Modern English medical history and has published extensively on, what would now be called 'self-help' books, on health and the health and illness of early modern animals. She joined the University of Winchester in 2009 after working at the Universities of Warwick, Exeter, Bath Spa and the Peninsula Medical School, Exeter and was appointed Professor of Medical History in 2015 and is also the founder and head of Winchester's Centre for Medical History.

Commenting on her election to the Royal Historical Society, Professor Hill Curth said, "I feel both privileged and delighted to be elected to its fellowship. It is a huge honour to have my research and publications recognised by such an illustrious organisation and to be able to join the ranks of the brilliant historians of the past and present who have received such a tribute."

She is the author of a number of ground-breaking books, including The Care of the Brute Beast: a social and cultural study of veterinary medicine in Early Modern England, History of Science and Medicine Library, 2009, which have been lauded by leading historical journals. One review in the Social History of Medicine praised the The Care of the Brute Beast 'for filling a void in the historiography of medicine'. A review of her following book on veterinary history A plaine and easie waie to remedie a horse: Equine medicine in early modern England, History of Science and medicine Library, 2013 was said to be 'an expansive contribution to a still-neglected field'.

Professor Hill Curth's new book The Science of the Stars: astrological medicine in early modern England looks at the major role, that astrology played in early medicine and will be published by Routledge in early 2018.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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The African American Intellectual History Society: These are Places Like Nurseries of Ideas

|| February 08: 2017 || ά. Ideas may not grow in 'democracy' as in a crowds or groups or despite what might be portrayed by think tanks, the term used these days but alone they must be conceived in the vast serenity of solitude of the human soul:mind, yet that minds:souls seeking to conceive, create, bring to life ideas must feed on others' ideas, words and thoughts; minds:souls that have gone before who had done the same; this is so to clearly grasp what the human condition has been like and how it has been developing and changing and what has not changed and why has not it changed so that one can offer something better. It may be the case, that a mind needs to read Spinoza and suddenly would find a drawing what he used to prove a point that was evidently incorrect and that evidently incorrect drawing offers this soul the light that shines another truth that Spinoza did not nor could have seen. Reading W. E. B. Du Bois, should be enough of a reward, forgetting the entire thing of what is being discussed, for the sheer majesty, the joyful flowing fluency and crystal clear clarity of thoughts and its beautiful poetry, as well as its realms of depth, height and breadth and one reads and hears a mind that makes thoughts flow as lightning and dance like light on a bubbling spring as Immanuel Kant did, as Arthur Schopenhauer did, as Bertrand Russell did, as Kierkegaard did.

And yet, these ideas have no point unless and until they are taken, as a farmer does, to the 'earth' to be planted so that they can grow and shoot up and out onto the light and onto the world so that it could see the plant, that grows and grows, until one day, it becomes such a thing as Karl Marx or Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi. And that earth, is the 'public place of discourse' where souls must go and meet and share these ideas so that they can be 'seen', discussed, debated and taken out into the world. And that is why places, like The African American Intellectual History Society:AAIHS is so much needed. These are places, like nurseries of ideas and it is wonderful to get to know that such a nursery of ideas has been opened up by some enlightened minds who are behind the Society. AAIHS is a scholarly organisation founded in January 2014 to foster dialogue about researching, writing and teaching black thought and culture. African American intellectual history is a growing and thriving subfield and and AAIHS believes that the AAIHS and its blog, Black Perspectives, can play a role in fostering that growth for years to come.

We are open to scholars in all disciplines, including but not limited to African American history, literature, philosophy, art, dance and film. We also welcome scholars working on the African Diaspora. AAIHS is run through donations which help fund the many programmess, including fellowships, conference travel grants, and the annual article prize. As a 501:C:3 educational organisation, your contributions to AAIHS is fully tax deductible.

AAIHS Founding Principles: AAIHS is committed to the following principles: Scholarship: Upholding a primary commitment to serious, academic scholarship. Interdisciplinarity: Understanding African American and African diasporic thought in its broadest terms and encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to black intellectual history. Inclusiveness: Encouraging the participation of anyone with an interest in African American and African diasporic intellectual history, including professional historians and scholars who work in other fields and also teachers, public historians, journalists, policy analysts, artists, and members of the general public. Public Engagement: Using scholarship and teaching to shed light upon and critically analyze issues of relevance to the public. Media: Using all forms of media to reach broad audiences and engender vital debate and exchange of ideas.

People That Make AAIHS

Christopher Cameron: President and Founder

Christopher Cameron  is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He received his MA and PhD in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research and teaching interests include early American history, the history of slavery and abolition, and American religious and intellectual history. Cameron’s first book, entitled To Plead Our Own Cause: African Americans in Massachusetts and the Making of the Antislavery Movement, was published by Kent State University Press in 2014, and he is currently writing a book on African American freethinkers from the 19th century to the present.

Keisha N. Blain: Secretary and Senior Blog Editor

Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She completed an MA and PhD in History at Princeton University. Her research interests include black internationalism, radical politics, and global feminisms. She is currently a Visiting Research Scholar in Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Iowa. Her articles have appeared in Souls, the Journal of Social History, and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International. Her forthcoming book, Contesting the Global Color Line: Black Women, Nationalist Politics, and Internationalism, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018, uncovers the crucial role women played in building black nationalist and internationalist protest movements in the United States and other parts of the African Diaspora during the twentieth century. She is one of the co-editors of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence, University of Georgia Press, 2016.

Ashley D. Farmer: Treasurer

Ashley D. Farmer  is a historian of African American Women’s intellectual and political history. She completed a PhD in African American Studies at Harvard University. She is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Boston University. Her research has appeared or will be appearing in numerous venues including The Black Scholar, The Journal of African American History, and Women, Gender, and Families of Colour. She has also contributed to popular outlets including The Independent and The History Channel. She is currently working on her first monograph, What You’ve Got Is a Revolution: Black Women’s Movements for Black Power, forthcoming, UNC Press.

Jessica Marie Johnson: Publications Committee Chair

Jessica Marie Johnson  is an Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Johnson holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in History from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.A. in African & African American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis where she was also a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Her research interests include women, gender, and sexuality in the African diaspora; histories of slavery and the slave trade; and digital history and new media and has appeared in Slavery & Abolition and Meridians: Feminism, Race and Transnationalism. As a digital humanist, Johnson is interested in ways digital and social media disseminate and create historical narratives, in particular, comparative histories of slavery and people of African descent, and the power of radical media to create social change. In 2008, she founded African Diaspora, Ph.D., a blog highlighting scholars and scholarship in the field of Atlantic African diaspora history.

Brandon R. Byrd: 2017 Conference Committee Chair

Brandon R. Byrd is an Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University where he teaches courses in United States, African American, and African Diaspora History. He earned a Ph.D. from the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research in the field of black intellectual history has been supported by fellowships and grants from numerous institutions including Marquette University, the American Philosophical Society, the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass-Amherst, the Marcus Garvey Foundation, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. It has also appeared or is forthcoming in several outlets including Slavery & Abolition and The Journal of Haitian Studies. Currently, Dr. Byrd is working on a book manuscript titled An Experiment in Self-Government: Haiti in the African-American Political Imagination, 1863-1915. It examines the ways in which black public figures in the United States conceptualized the link between Haitian independence and their prospects for racial progress, communal self-determination, and full citizenship during the decades after the U.S. Civil War. The book will be published with the America in the Nineteenth Century series at the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Greg Childs: 2018 Conference Committee Chair

Greg Childs  is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Brandeis University. He completed a Ph.D. at New York University in 2012, where he specialized in the history of the African Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is particularly interested in the formation of black political life and knowledge productions by people of African descent in the Americas and the Atlantic World. He is currently completing a book entitled, Seditious Spaces, Public Politics: The Tailor’s Conspiracy of Bahia, Brazil and the Politics of Freedom in the Revolutionary Atlantic. In this work he examines the relationship between resistance by persons of African descent and the development of public opinion in the last decades of the eighteenth century. At the centre of this project is a movement to end racial discrimination and Portuguese rule that was organized and promoted in public spaces throughout the Brazilian city of Salvador da Bahia by free men of colour in 1798. The book, thus, registers a call for understanding public spheres according to critical geography and not just critical discourse analysis. He is also at work on a second project tentatively titled 'The Madness of Blackness or the Confinement of Freedom in the Post-Emancipation Era'. This project traces the development of ideas and practices that linked freedom from slavery with mental insanity across the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Brazil, Cuba, and the U.S. South. ω.

Images: AAIHS

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Captain Noel Chavasse Relative Visits Family’s Former Home at 19 Abercromby Square

How do I look, Great Grand Pa? Who Do I look like Great Uncle: Anna Sinfield stand outside
the house where great grandfather and great uncle Christopher and Noel Chavasse grew up

|| February 04: 2017: University of Liverpool News || ά. The great great niece of First World War hero, Captain Noel Chavasse, paid a visit to his former family home at 19 Abercromby Square this week, as part of a radio documentary being made to commemorate the centenary of his death. Captain Chavasse is the only person to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice for his bravery attending to wounded soldiers during the First World War. Anna Sinfield is the great grand daughter of Christopher Chavasse, Noel’s identical twin brother. She came to the city to visit 19 Abercromby Square and Liverpool College, where Noel and Christopher had gone to school.

Vocalist and radio producer Anna, who is based in London, is making a radio documentary about Noel Chavasse to mark the 100th anniversary of his death in August this year. Noel and Christopher Chavasse moved to Liverpool in 1900 when their father was appointed Bishop of Liverpool and they became residents of the Bishop’s Palace, which was at 19 Abercromby Square. After attending Liverpool College, Noel studied medicine at the University of Oxford. He returned to Liverpool to continue his medical studies here at the University and took his first placement at the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool.

During the First World War, Christopher served as a Chaplain whilst Noel served as a Surgeon Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Core. Noel was awarded his first Victoria Cross on August 09, 1916 at Guillemont, France where under heavy fire he rescued about 20 wounded soldiers from the battlefield, including three men who were 25 yards from enemy trenches.

His second Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously for braving heavy fire to attend to wounded soldiers during the Battle of Passchendaele, despite being badly injured himself. He died of his injuries on August 04, 1917 and was buried at the Brandhoek New Military Cemetery in Belgium. A statue to Noel Chavasse and fifteen other Liverpool-born Victoria Cross recipients is located in Abercromby Square. Designed by local sculptor, Tom Murphy, the bronze statue depicts Captain Chavasse and a Liverpool Scottish stretcher bearer attending a wounded soldier.

Bill Sergeant from the Noel Chavasse Victoria Cross Memorial Association accompanied Anna on her visit to Liverpool. ¯ Anna said, “This is my second visit to Liverpool, having attended the unveiling of the Chavasse statue on Abercromby Square in 2012. It is amazing to visit 19 Abercromby square which had been the family home of my great grandfather, his twin brother Noel and there other siblings when they were growing up.

Walking around the building has really brought to life some of the stories which have been told to me about Noel and Christopher and their childhood here and before they went off to war.” ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

|| Readmore ||  ‽: 050217  ||  Up  ||




The Hundred Years War

Professor Anne Curry: Image: University of Southampton

|| October 09: 2016: Universities of Southampton and Reading News|| ά. If you’ve ever wondered whether your ancestors served as a medieval soldier in the Hundred Years War, a newly launched website from historians at the universities of Southampton and Reading may have the answer. The names of over 3,500 French soldiers linked to the Battle of Agincourt, 1415, have been added to The Soldier in Later Medieval England website. They join the quarter of a million names already available for English armies who fought in a number of campaigns, including Agincourt, forming what’s believed to be the largest database of medieval people in the world. This latest stage of the Soldier in Later Medieval England project has been supported by the charity Agincourt 600 and by both universities.

Professor Anne Curry, project Director and Dean of Humanities at the University of Southampton, says: “It is fitting that this new resource has been made available following the major 600th anniversary commemorations of Agincourt in 2015, in which our university played a key role. The Medieval Soldier website has already proved an invaluable resource for genealogists and people interested in social, political and military history. This new data will help us to reach out to new users and shed fresh light on the Hundred Years War.”

Of the thousands of names of French soldiers added to the new website, 550 were killed on the battlefield. Research by Southampton’s Dr Rémy Ambühl has also shown that over 300 were taken prisoner and held for ransom. Professor Adrian Bell, fellow project Director and Head of the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School at the University of Reading, comments: “Our newly developed interface interrogates sources found in many different archive repositories in England and France. Without our site, searching for this information would require many visits to the National Archives of both England and France, the British Library and Bibliothčque nationale and all of the Archives Départementales in Normandy.”

The Medieval Solider website was first launched in 2009, resulting from a three year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council:AHRC. Names of soldiers were sourced from archive collections of muster rolls used to audit pay during military campaigns and from evidence of letters of protection, which soldiers bought from the Chancery to prevent legal actions while they were absent from home.

Now refreshed and given a new search interface by Russian postdoctoral fellow Dr Aleksandr Lobanov, the website brings together three separate databases to make them searchable as a single resource. In addition to the names of the French soldiers recently added, the database now also contains details of geographical origins of soldiers and locations of their service, enabling the local life of the medieval soldier to be illuminated more fully. People can search by surname, rank, or year of service.

For example, Professor Bell was pleased to find 58 ‘Bells’ on the database, including a John Bell from Chatham serving in Calais in 1414 and again with the royal household on the Agincourt campaign. The site provides biographies of all English captains of 1415 and further insights into the Battle of Agincourt, which was commemorated extensively in the UK and France last year.

The University of Southampton provides a free Massive Open Online Course:MOOC exploring the Battle of Agincourt which will run again from 17 October 17, 2016.

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New Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership Launched at UCL

Logo of LBS: Image: UCL

|| October 05: 2016: UCL News || ά. UCL has established a new Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership in UCL History, with the support of the Hutchins Centre at Harvard University. The Centre was formally launched at UCL on the evening of Wednesday, September 28, when an invited audience both learnt more about the plans for the Centre and had the chance to see LBS’s new database on British slave-ownership 1763-1833, which contains some 20,000 newly researched slave-owners and over 8000 estates.

The new Centre will continue the work undertaken by the earlier Legacies of British Slave-ownership:LBS projects, 2009-2012 and 2013-2015, funded by the ESRC and the ESRC:AHRC, and will provide a permanent platform for LBS’ important research into the role of slavery in the formation of modern Britain. Professor Catherine Hall, who led the two LBS projects, will remain as Chair Emerita of the Centre after her retirement, said: “I am delighted that we have succeeded in securing a permanent future at UCL for the work of LBS. The support of the Hutchins Centre has been critical to the establishment of the new Centre, and we much appreciate it.”

LBS’ earlier work has transformed the understanding of the significance of slave-ownership in Britain, highlighting thousands of elite individuals and families who owed their fortunes to slavery as well as many more ordinary people who were financially dependent on the slave-system. The research has reached a wide public audience and led to revisions in standard sources such as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to reflect LBS’ findings. The programmes made last year by LBS in collaboration with the BBC, Britain’s Forgotten Slave-owners, won the BAFTA for Specialist Factual programmes.

Dr Nick Draper, who will be the Director of the new Centre, commented: “Our aim has always been to re-inscribe slave-ownership in the history of Britain, from which it has been elided for almost two centuries. The new Centre will underpin the deployment of our recent research, promote the generation and communication of new material and allow the establishment of further collaborative relationships both in Britain and internationally. It is a privilege to be leading this next phase of LBS’ work.” ω.

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Space History: Yuri Gagarin

Image: DTU–M. Schlosser

|| September 06: 2016 || ά. This week one year ago, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, left, spent 10 days in space on his ‘iriss’ mission to the International Space Station. He was launched on September 02, 2015 in a Soyuz spacecraft with cosmonaut commander Sergei Volkov, right, and returned in a different Soyuz with commander Gennadi Padalka. Sergei stayed on to complete his third six-month stay on the Space Station.

Andreas and Sergei unveiled a bust of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, exactly a year after their own launch. The event commemorated Gagarin’s visit to Denmark 54 years ago during his tour of Europe after his landmark orbit of Earth on April 12, 1961.

The bust is at the Danish Technical University near Copenhagen, Denmark. The university participated in a number of experiments on the International Space Station, including Andreas imaging a newly discovered weather phenomenon. ω.

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Come and See Me; I've Got My Own Museum Now: Mary Rose

 The Mary Rose by Geoff Hunt PPRSMA

|| July 19: 2016 || ά. Visitors to the new-look Mary Rose Museum will see stunning panoramic views of the ship from all 9 galleries through floor-to-ceiling glazing on the lower and main Decks. On the Upper Deck, they will breathe the same air as Henry VIII’s warship for the first time in 23 years, with only a balcony between them and the hull. For the first time since she was raised from the Solent in 1982 visitors can now share the same space as the Mary Rose, entering the Upper Deck through an air lock, allowing you to experience the full splendour and magnitude of the Mary Rose.

The only 16th century warship on display in the world, the Mary Rose has been under-going continuous conservation since she was raised in 1982. The hull was first sprayed with a mist of fresh chilled water and then with a water soluble wax from 1994. In April 2013 the Mary Rose entered a stage of controlled air-drying. The hull has now reached a stable state within this drying process which allows the black drying ducts to be removed. This lets you to see the Mary Rose in all her glory, unobstructed for the first time in over 34 years!

Helen Bonser-Wilton, Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust said ‘We are delighted that our project works are almost complete and that visitors will be able to see stunning views of the Ship from all 9 galleries from July 20. This is the culmination of decades of hard work by the Mary Rose team and we can’t wait to share the new experience with everyone’

Mary Rose Now

The History of the Mary Rose: 1511-1545: The Mary Rose : 34 Years of Service

There's a common misconception that the Mary Rose sank on her maiden voyage. In fact, she was a successful warship, in the service of Henry VIII for 34 years, almost the entire duration of his reign, and fought in three wars.

When Henry VIII became king in 1509 he only had a handful of warships at his disposal – usually, in times of war, merchant vessels would be loaded with guns and used. However, with threats both from the Scots to the north and the French to the south, Henry knew he needed a standing navy, available at a moment's notice. Thus, he got to work building his ‘Army by Sea’, starting with two carracks, the Peter Pomegranate and her larger sister ship, the Mary Rose

Although a request for payment for two ships, ”the one ship to be of the burthen of 400 tons and the other ship to be of the burthen of 300 tons” was made on 25th January 1510, the earliest reference to the Mary Rose by name appears in a record of a payment made by Henry VIII for bringing the ship from Portsmouth to the River Thames.

While it is often claimed that the Mary Rose was named after Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's sister, there is no evidence for this. It's more likely the ship was named after the Virgin Mary, who was also known at the time as “The Mystic Rose”.

About The Mary Rose Trust: The Trust is a limited charitable trust, formed in 1979. It is responsible for conserving and displaying the Mary Rose hull and her unique collection of artefacts for this and future generations. It is also responsible for developing the museum as a world-class visitor experience and as a scientific and educational resource. For those who are unable to visit the Mary Rose Museum, the Trust offers an extensive and innovative outreach programme. The Mary Rose provides the finest insight into life 500 years ago. It tells the story of the ship and her crew through their personal possessions and their professional tools. The President of the Mary Rose Trust is HRH The Prince of Wales, who has been involved with the Mary Rose ever since his first dive on the wreck back in 1974. Prince Charles continues to follow the project with a very close interest, and has played an active role in our objective of reuniting the Mary Rose with her incredible collection of artefacts. The Trust’s vision is: To sustain the Mary Rose and her collection as a leading museum, and consistently provide a world class visitor experience.

About Mary Rose Museum: After years of planning, fundraising and building, the Mary Rose Museum opened to the public on 31st May 2013. It reunites the hull and artefacts for the first time since the excavation and recovery over 30 years ago. Packed with fascinating artefacts and plenty to enjoy, the museum is a wonderful day out for all the family. It gives people the chance to immerse themselves in the environment of a Tudor warship. The Mary Rose’s history is for everyone. The museum has been designed to be fully accessible for all our visitors. The Mary Rose museum has won over 20 awards for excellence in design, construction, exhibition, conservation, visitor experience, education and innovation. Mary Rose Archaeological Services Ltd:MRAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mary Rose Trust. The purpose of the company is to make available to the archaeological and conservation communities the facilities and experience gained by the Trust as the leading UK museum for maritime archaeology and conservation:UKMCS. ω.

Images: Mary Rose Museum


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75th Anniversary of Operation Barbarossa That Would Leave 27 Million Soviet Citizens Dead: The Unfathomable Suffering

1941: Operation Barbarossa launched Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union. Image: Picture Alliance: Mary Evans Picture Library

|| July 04: 2016 || ά.  75 years ago Hitler launched his war of annihilation against the Soviet Union. "We must never forget what Germans did in the Soviet Union," declared Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a remembrance ceremony in the German Bundestag. Peace in Europe is inextricably bound up with German-Russian relations, he said.

June 22 was the 75th anniversary of the German Reich’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Under the code name Operation Barbarossa, Hitler unleashed his campaign eastwards. It would leave at least 27 million Soviet citizens dead, most of them civilians. "The war unleashed by Nazi Germany on June 22, 1941 brought unfathomable suffering to millions of people in what is today Russia, Ukraine and Belarus," said deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer at the government press conference in Berlin. "The German government will always be acutely aware that the peoples of the Soviet Union and the soldiers of the Red Army sustained the highest death tolls."

Remaining in dialogue

"Seventy-five years ago today all hell broke loose," said Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during the remembrance ceremony in the German Bundestag. "We must never forget what Germans did in the Soviet Union."

Germany’s responsibility for peace is Europe is inextricably linked to its responsibility for relations between Germany and Russia, he continued. "We must ensure that this history of extremes is not followed by a future of extremes," warned Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

But there can only be lasting security for Russia with – and not against - Europe. "We must strengthen contacts between individuals," said the Federal Foreign Minister. To this end, he and his Russian counterpart recently opened the German-Russian Year of Youth Exchange, he reported.

Sharing information on prisoners of war

Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov also want to give the many unknown German and Soviet prisoners of war their names back. A joint project is to help search and digitalise archived documents, they announced in a joint statement. The information obtained is to be compiled in an electronic database. Both sides hope that "the names of prisoners of war who died in captivity can be matched with their graves as far as possible".

During the Second World War more than 5.7 Soviet officers and troops were taken prisoner by German forces. For many citizens of the former Soviet Union that meant suffering and death in Nazi Germany. More than three million individuals died as German prisoners of war. Between 1941 and 1945, a total of 3.15 million Wehrmacht solders became Soviet prisoners of war. 1.11 million of them did not survive.

New exhibition in Berlin

A new exhibition at the Potsdamer Platz, in the tourist heart of Berlin, looks at the perpetrators and the victims of the war of annihilation. Plaques provide information about the preparation and planning of the 1941 campaign. At the opening ceremony, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters reminded her audience of the eternal duty to keep alive the memory of the atrocities committed by the National Socialists. ω.


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Sally Ride Made History in 1983 by Becoming the First American Woman to Fly in Space

Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathryn Sullivan and Rhea Seddon in 1978 Outside Their Class

|| June 19: 2016|| ά. This week in 1983, space shuttle Challenger and the STS-7 crew launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre. With the launch, Mission Specialist Sally Ride became the first American woman to fly in space.

The STS-7 crew, the first five-member crew, deployed two communications satellites and conducted experiments from the Shuttle Pallet Satellite. Ride, shown here floating in the Challenger flight deck, later described the launch as "exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time."

The NASA History Program is responsible for generating, disseminating, and preserving NASA’s remarkable history and providing a comprehensive understanding of the institutional, cultural, social, political, economic, technological, and scientific aspects of NASA’s activities in aeronautics and space.

For more pictures like this one and to connect to NASA’s history, visit the History Program’s webpage . ω.

:Editor: Lee Mohon:NASA:


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Hiroshima, How Do You Read: From the Archive of Times

There is Forever Going to Be a Human Soul That Will Always Fail to Follow Those That Ask It to Defy Its Humanity


|| May 30: 2016|| ά. New research has found the University of Reading was the first institution to respond to Hiroshima University's:HU global call for support after it was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945. In 1951 HU President Tatsuo Morito sent letters to universities world-wide, asking for support to re-establish the university by donating books for a peace library, as well as seeds to bring the charred grounds back to life. Previously unseen documents from both universities' archives reveal Reading was the first to respond, a decision that remained a secret for 60 years.

Intriguingly, in the post war environment of economic gloom and emergent details of the war in the Far East, the research suggests that the decision may not have been sanctioned by senior management. Records show that is was not discussed, or at least minuted in any formal meeting, by senior figures at the University. A letter from Mary Kirkus, University Librarian from 1941 to 1959, to President Morito suggests she may have made the decision alone. The University of Reading was inscribed on the donations in acknowledgment of ‘the contribution' and ‘good will', and remain in the Peace Library today.

Dr Jacqui Turner, from the University of Reading's Department of History, has led the research. She said: "6 August 1945 is a date that changed the world. The atomic bomb decimated Hiroshima and completely destroyed its university, killing all students and staff. With post-war tensions still running high the world was slow to respond to President Morito's request. However five UK institutions did send donations in 1951 - and the University of Reading led the way. Momentum for the peace library steadily grew and it now forms part of the main library at Hiroshima University.

Morito's request was for books or pamphlets that reflected what was ‘considered valuable by your university or of note in your country' or books concerning ‘peace problems'. The University of Reading sent:

John W. Wheeler-Bennett, Disarmament and Security since Locarno 1925- 1931 (1932)
Aristophanes, The birds and the frogs - a translation into English of Aristophanes comedies
Handbrucher der praktischen Vogeschictsforschung (A full set of Journals of Pre-Historical Research)

Dr Turner continued: "Why did Reading respond? It's likely this was a personal decision by Mary Kirkus, although we may never know for sure. Amazingly this decision remained secret until 2011 when our previous Vice-Chancellor received a thank you letter from his counterpart at Hiroshima - along with a surprising and remarkable gift; a collection of roof tiles, complete with safety certificate, collected from the riverbed.

"The tiles are from the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, the only surviving structure near the hypocentre of the blast and now part of the famous Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. It was a hugely emotive gesture. Letters highlight how the Japanese believe that each tile ‘contains the souls of the people whose lives were regretfully taken away by this tragedy'. In the immediate aftermath of the bomb many rushed into the rivers of Hiroshima and died in the water before being washed away - ‘the roof tiles have absorbed the blood and body fluids' of those who died that day."

Reading and Hiroshima's unique bond is growing stronger and stronger. Earlier this year the University held a symposium to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. During the event Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir David Bell, read a letter sent by the Mayor of Hiroshima who asked attendees ‘in response to the desire of all hibakusha (survivors of the bomb) to continue to strive with us to eliminate the absolute evil of nuclear weapons and achieve a peaceful world. He also received thanks from President Ashara, current President of HU with thanks for an "outstanding example of peace."

Dr Turner said: "The legacy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs reverberates around the world, not more so than in the cities themselves. It has been an emotional and fascinating journey to uncover this story - Reading is very proud to be a friend of Hiroshima University."

The tiles are an integral part of the Department of History's innovative teaching programmes and are used actively in its leading research projects.

From the Archives of Times: University of Reading. ω.


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Kitty Joyner: NASA Electrical Engineer in 1952















Image: NASA on The Commons

||April 12, 2016|| Kitty Joyner - Electrical Engineer, electrical engineer, at Langley Research Center in 1952. Image # : L-74800: Date: April 7, 1952


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Email from Page Harrington: Why Today Matters for Women's History

Women suffragists picketing in front of the White House. Image: The White House

||April 12, 2016|| Today the President will designate the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, a site that has been central to the fight for women's equality for over a century, as America's newest national monument. Page Harrington, the site's Executive Director, wrote this message to the White House list to talk about what this designation means for women's history.

One day in 1917, a dozen women gathered in front of the White House. They were staging a silent protest to call for women’s right to vote.

Spectators yelled at them, kicked them, and spit on them. They ripped the women’s banners from their hands and threw them onto the ground.

Undaunted, these women brought those tattered banners back to a house across town. They cleaned them – sometimes carefully re-stitching them – and carried them back out the next day, and the next, and the next.

A hallway inside the newly-designated Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument. Image: The White House

Now, it’s my job to preserve those same banners, alongside an extensive collection of other artifacts that showcase the struggle and accomplishments of the movement for women’s equality. I do it all from a house that became their final headquarters in Washington, D.C., known as the Sewall-Belmont House.

Today, on Equal Pay Day, President Obama is permanently protecting this house by designating it as America’s newest national monument.

From this house, members of the National Woman's Party led the movement for women’s equality, authoring more than 600 pieces of federal, state, and local legislation in support of equal rights.

The President's designation will preserve an extensive archival collection that documents the history of the movement to secure women’s suffrage and equal rights in the United States and across the globe.

We’ve come a long way since those protests almost a century ago. For me, preserving this site isn’t just about remembering the suffragist movement. It’s also about celebrating our spirit as Americans – the idea that if we work together and empower one another, we can make our government work better for all of us.

So I hope you'll take a moment today to celebrate this moment and watch the President speak about protecting a site that holds a significant place in our history.



Page Harrington
Executive Director
Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument

Report By Melanie Garunay: The White House


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Hangar S: America's Cradle of Human Space Exploration

Bob Granath Writing

Hangar S: Image: NASA

March 18, 2016: During America's first human spaceflight program, Project Mercury, the eyes of the world often focused on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida where the nation's first astronauts were taking their first steps into space. A centerpiece facility in this effort for astronaut training, crew quarters and early spacecraft processing was Hangar S at the Cape.

Throughout the early 1960s, NASA engineers and technicians developed capabilities that enabled revolutionary advances in exploration, enhancing knowledge well beyond what could have been imagined at the time. Much of that work took place in Hangar S.

Following ceremonies at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Hangar S on Feb. 23, 1962, astronaut John Glenn, left, describes his Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft to his wife, Annie, center, and President John F. Kennedy. Credits: NASA

Built by the U.S. Air Force in 1957, Hangar S originally served as an aircraft maintenance and storage hangar. Soon after, it housed operations of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Project Vanguard. The 75-foot-tall rocket was part of the nation's earliest efforts to launch Earth orbiting satellites.

From 1959 to 1963, the 61,300-square-foot facility was crucial to NASA's early human spaceflights and became a hub of activity as America prepared to send its first persons into space.

NASA was established in 1958 and the next year the new agency announced the selection of seven military test pilots who would become America's first astronauts.

Later, in 1959, NASA acquired Hangar S through an agreement with the Department of Defense and modified it for use by the Space Task Group's Pre-Flight Operations Division. This is where the Mercury spacecraft capsules were received and tested.

Based at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, the Space Task Group managed Project Mercury. About 50 experts from the organization moved to Cape Canaveral in 1958. Joining them were nearly 80 technicians from St. Louis-based McDonnell Aircraft Corp., which designed and built the spacecraft. Together, they set up new offices and testing areas in Hangar S,

By the end of 1960, NASA referred to Hangar S as the “nerve center” of Project Mercury, and the workforce grew to over 400 technicians and contractors preparing the Mercury capsules for flight.

According to Don Phillips, an aerospace technologist for Project Mercury, being a part of the early space program was rewarding.

"I would have to say that nothing was more exciting than work on the Mercury Program, because we were doing things for the first time," said Phillips. "It was new."

The processing of the Mercury spacecraft began with its arrival at the Cape Canaveral Skid Strip aboard a transport aircraft. It then was transferred to Hangar S for a capsule “shake-down.”

The hangar contained all the necessary facilities, storage and work areas required to prepare the capsule, including the “white room,” a clean capsule checkout area located in the northeast corner of the high bay. Across the bay from the white room was an altitude chamber used for Mercury capsule environmental control system checkout in a high-altitude environment.

The altitude chamber allowed engineers and technicians to test the leakage rate of the capsule’s pressure shell and verify that the spacecraft's environmental control system and other equipment all worked as designed.

Once all assembly, checkouts and testing were complete, the Mercury spacecraft was transported a short distance to one of Cape Canaveral's launch pads. At Pad 5, the capsule would be mated to a Redstone rocket for suborbital flights, or at Launch Pad 14, it would be placed atop an Atlas for the missions to Earth orbit.

While astronauts prepared for their eventual trips into space, a group of chimpanzees also were undergoing training in Hangar S to ensure humans could withstand the physical rigors of spaceflight.

The first chimp, named Ham, launched on Mercury Redstone-2 on Jan. 31, 1961. The 16-minute flight helped pave the way for an astronaut to follow into space about four months later.

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to fly in space during a 15-minute suborbital flight.

Inside Hangar S at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a Gemini spacecraft is processed during 1964 for an upcoming spaceflight. Credits: NASA

Recalling the fact that the United States was in the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, Ike Rigel felt Shepard's trip into space was crucial.

"So this was a very significant flight, because the country needed this," said Rigell, Electrical Network Systems chief for Project Mercury. "The whole free world needed this flight at that time."

Throughout Project Mercury, Hangar S served as not only a spacecraft preparation facility, but it also was the base of operation by the astronauts when they were at the Cape, especially in the days and weeks just prior to a launch.

The astronauts often spent long 12-hour days at Hangar S, rehearsing their missions in the “procedures trainer,” an exact mock-up of the Mercury capsule’s interior.

Astronaut Scott Carpenter felt the extensive training was a key part of being prepared for the actual missions and was well worth it.

"Climbing into that spacecraft and sitting on the top of the rocket was something we had simulated time and time and time again," said Carpenter, who flew America's second piloted orbital mission. "So, in a certain sense, it was just another day at the office, except this time, your realized that it was for real."

While the hangar also housed facilities for the Mercury spacecraft preparations and astronauts’ pre-flight training, it also was the location of the crew quarters situated on the second floor of the hangar.

Looking something like a college dormitory, the crew quarters included beds and lounging areas for quiet reading or spending some time with a last minute review of the flight plan.

The astronauts slept, ate and underwent medical examinations there in the days and weeks before flight. On launch day, the pilot was assisted with the complex process to don his spacesuit that would protect him in the event of a spacecraft depressurization.

When all was ready, the astronaut departed Hangar S in the glare of television lights for the transfer van. The specially outfitted truck would make the trip to Launch Pad 5 or 14.

Following John Glenn’s historic three-orbit mission on Feb. 20, 1962, President John F. Kennedy visited Cape Canaveral to tour facilities and congratulate America's first person to circle the Earth in a special ceremony at Hangar S.

After the Mercury missions, the spacecraft would be returned to Hangar S for post-flight inspections. Key parts would be removed for study so lessons learned could be applied to future designs.

Following the 22-orbit mission of Gordon Cooper aboard Mercury Atlas-9 on May 15 through 16, 1963, America's first human spaceflight program came to an end.

The next year, the first unpiloted flight of the two-man Project Gemini missions lifted off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Pad 19.

The first Gemini spacecraft also were processed for flight in Hangar S. But as NASA began opening news facilities at the Kennedy Space Center on adjacent Merritt Island, Gemini processing moved to the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building, now known as the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building.

The interior of the Hangar S high bay then was modified later in 1965 with the construction of a satellite processing area. Spacecraft processed in the new facility included those for NASA's Biosatellite program and the agency's Lunar Orbiter probe that mapped the moon prior to the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and 1970s.

As the space shuttle era began in 1981, work at Hangar S supported the new program. The clean room was used to process small shuttle payloads and other orbiter experiments. Much of the operational area was used to maintain equipment used in the retrieval of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.

During the Space Shuttle Program, Hangar S also served as a maintenance facility for Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensembles, better known as SCAPE suits. The rubber-coated garments protect technicians in the event of exposure to toxic chemicals such as rocket propellants.

The final space shuttle mission, STS-135, took place in July of 2011. With that, work inside Hangar S came to an end.

Cape Canaveral's Hangar S was America's starting point for the birth of the nation's efforts in human space exploration. But, in the words of Russian space pioneer, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, "The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever."

NASA at the Kennedy Space Center now has grown from a historically government-only launch facility to a multi-user spaceport for both federal and commercial customers. The agency's team on Florida's Space Coast continues to work toward meeting the nation's spacefaring needs for the 21st century.

These advances will include the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System super rocket to allow humans to walk on distant destinations such as Mars and beyond.

( Editor: Bob Granath:NASA)


P: 180316


Mathematician Katherine Johnson at Work 1966

Image Credit: NASA

NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson is photographed at her desk at Langley Research Center in 1966. Johnson began her career in 1953 at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the agency that preceded NASA, one of a number of African-American women hired to work as "computers" in what was then their Guidance and Navigation Department, just as the NACA was beginning its work on space. Johnson became known for her training in geometry, her leadership, and her inquisitive nature; she was the only woman at the time to be pulled from the computing pool to work with engineers on other programs.

Johnson worked at Langley from 1953 until her retirement in 1986, making critical technical contributions which included calculating the trajectory of the 1961 flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space. "The early trajectory was a parabola, and it was easy to predict where it would be at any point," Johnson said. "Early on, when they said they wanted the capsule to come down at a certain place, they were trying to compute when it should start. I said, 'Let me do it. You tell me when you want it and where you want it to land, and I'll do it backwards and tell you when to take off.' That was my forte."

Johnson is also known for verifying the calculations made by electronic computers of John Glenn’s 1962 launch to orbit and the 1969 Apollo 11 trajectory to the moon. She also worked on the space shuttle program and the Earth Resources Satellite and encouraged students to pursue careers in science and technology. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama on Nov. 24, 2015.

(Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)


P: 260216


Film: To Celebrate Nancy Astor's Maiden Speech at The House of Commons as the First Woman MP on February 24, 1920

The Lone but Courageous, Determined and Resolute Woman Standing Among Hostile Men on February 24, 1920 in the composure and person of Nancy Astor and began speaking: I know that it was very difficult for some hon. Members to receive the first lady M.P. into the House. It was almost as difficult for some of them as it was for the lady M.P. herself to come in. Hon. Members, however, should not be frightened of what Plymouth sends out into the world.


February 24, 2016: A new short film about Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons, is released today on the anniversary of her maiden speech in 1920.

Astor was elected to Parliament on 15 November 1919. She took her seat on 1 December 1919. She gave her maiden speech in a debate on Liquor Traffic (Restrictions), a subject close to her heart, on 24 February 1920. She started her speech traditionally with reference to her election and to Plymouth:

“I know that it was very difficult for some hon. Members to receive the first lady M.P. into the House. It was almost as difficult for some of them as it was for the lady M.P. herself to come in. Hon. Members, however, should not be frightened of what Plymouth sends out into the world. After all, I suppose when Drake and Raleigh wanted to set out on their venturesome careers, some cautious person said, "Do not do it; it has never been tried before. You stay at home, my sons, cruising around in home waters." I have no doubt that the same thing occurred when the Pilgrim Fathers set out. I have no doubt that there were cautious Christian brethren who did not understand their going into the wide seas to worship God in their own way. But, on the whole, the world is all the better for those venturesome and courageous west country people, and I would like to say that I am quite certain that the women of the whole world will not forget that it was the fighting men of Devon who dared to send the first woman to represent women in the Mother of Parliaments.”


But at the heart of her speech was her concern for women and children: “I am simply trying to speak for hundreds of women and children throughout the country who cannot speak for themselves”, and the damage that she believed alcohol caused to communities. Her passion was clear not only in the speech but in the frequent interjections she made during the whole debate.

In 1923 Astor introduced the first Private Member’s Bill sponsored by a women. When the bill was debated in the House of Lords, Lady Astor’s husband, Viscount Astor introduced the debate. It passed and became the Intoxicating Liquor (Sale to Persons under Eighteen) Act 1923.

The film and a leaflet has been produced in partnership with Dr Jacqui Turner, University of Reading and the Vote100 project to accompany the portrait relief.


P: 250216


Looking Back: Astronaut Dr Mae Jemison Suits Up For Launch

NASA Astronaut Mae Jemison waits as her suit technician, Sharon McDougl Checks Everything: Image: NASA

On Sept. 12, 1992, launch day of the STS-47 Spacelab-J mission on space shuttle Endeavour, NASA astronaut Mae Jemison waits as her suit technician, Sharon McDougle, performs a unpressurized and pressurized leak check on her spacesuit at the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center. Dr. Jemison was the science mission specialist on the eight-day joint mission with Japan's space agency, which included 24 materials science and 20 life sciences experiments. She was the first African-American woman to fly in space. McDougle said of her role as Dr. Jemison's suit tech, "I just wanted it to be a good experience for her. I’m sure it was probably a little scary for her being the first African-American woman to go into space, so I wanted to do my part in making it special for her too. And for me, because I was excited about being a part of history."

( Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)


P: 200216




The Phair-Girl Who Gave Pluto Its Name

Venetia Phair (Burney)

NASA Editor's Note: Mrs. Phair died on April 30, 2009 at her home in Epsom, England, at age 90.

A Tribute to Venetia Phair (Burney)

Venetia Phair Venetia at 89 (Photo courtesy of Martin George 2009).

The team guiding the first mission to Pluto is fondly remembering Venetia Burney Phair, the "little girl" who named Pluto when it was discovered nearly 80 years ago. Mrs. Phair died 30 April 2009 at her home in Epsom, England, at age 90.
Color image of a man and a woman reading a plaque.
New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern presents a plaque to Venetia Burney Phair in December 2006, commemorating the name "Venetia" for the New Horizons Student Dust Counter.

"Venetia's interest and success in naming Pluto as a schoolgirl caught the attention of the world and earned her a place in the history of planetary astronomy that lives on," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

In June 2006, the New Horizons team renamed the spacecraft's Student Dust Counter instrument in her honor, calling it the "Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter" (VBSDC, or just "Venetia" for short). Six months later, in a small ceremony in Mrs. Phair's home, Stern and SDC Principal Investigator Mihaly Horanyi presented her with a plaque, certificate and spacecraft model to commemorate the renaming. "She was a thoroughly intelligent, likable and endearing woman," Stern says. "The entire New Horizons team is saddened by her passing."

The New Horizons dust counter is the first the first science instrument on a NASA planetary mission to be designed, built and operated by students, and by late next year it will be operating farther out in the solar system than any dust measurement instrument in history. Stern and the SDC team members thought it fitting to name instrument built by students after Mrs. Phair, who was just an 11-year-old student herself when she made her historic suggestion of a name for Pluto in 1930.

"Her death deeply saddens the former and current crew of the VBSDC instrument," says Horanyi, who, like the dust counter student team, is from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "Her contribution will be lasting, not only by naming Pluto, but also by giving an example to young people of the value of intellectual curiosity and the rewards of a lifelong interest in science and discovery."


This interview was recorded shortly before the January 2006 launch of NASA's New Horizons mission to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons made a successful flyby of Pluto on 14 July 2015. Edward Goldstein with NASA Public Affairs

Hi, this is Edward Goldstein with NASA Public Affairs. I'm talking to Venetia Phair, the lady who 76 years ago had the distinction of suggesting the name for Pluto, the newly discovered ninth planet. Venetia is currently a retired school teacher in Epsom, England.

At NASA we're very excited because next Tuesday, hopefully, we're going to launch the first robotic mission to Pluto. And given that you had the historic role of naming the planet, I wonder if you are quite excited about that?

Yes I certainly am.

Venetia, can you tell us a little bit about the circumstances that happened in 1930 that brought you to suggest the name of Pluto?

Yes, I don't quite know why I suggested it. I think it was on March the 14th, 1930 and I was having breakfast with my mother and my grandfather. And my grandfather read out at breakfast the great news and said he wondered what it would be called. And for some reason, I after a short pause, said, "Why not call it Pluto?" I did know, I was fairly familiar with Greek and Roman legends from various children's books that I had read, and of course I did know about the solar system and the names the other planets have. And so I suppose I just thought that this was a name that hadn't been used. And there it was. The rest was entirely my grandfather's work.

And your grandfather (Falconer Madan) was a librarian I understand who had a lot of friends who were astronomers.

That's exactly right. He was retired He had been Bodleian's Librarian, which is the head librarian in the Bodleian at Oxford, which is the university library of course.

And he suggested the name to the astronomer Herbert Hall Turner, who then in turn cabled the idea to the American astronomers at the Lowell Observatory. Is that correct?

That is correct, yes. Professor Turner had been Astronomer Royal in the past and was a professor at Oxford. On the day it was suggested-my grandfather dropped a note to him-he was, on that day, attending a meeting in London of the Royal Astronomical Society. They were all thinking about names, but for some reason, none of them thought of Pluto.

And you thought about it because of the Greek and Roman mythology about Pluto being the god of the underworld?

I don't think...I doubt if I was as subtle as that. I just thought it was a name that hadn't been used so far, and might be an obvious one to have.

And was it also because the first two letters PL have a connection with Percival Lowell?

No, I certainly didn't realize that or appreciate that at the time. But I quite see it would be a major factor in their deciding it would be a good name. And it is certainly appropriate.

What happened once the planet was named? I understand it was named in May of 1930. Were you thrilled when you heard that your suggestion was the one; that Pluto would be the name?

Yes, I certainly was thrilled. It was very exciting for a small girl really at the time.

How were you informed about it?

I think my grandfather told me. I'd heard nothing you see. I'd just really forgotten about it for the intervening months. But he was fairly active.

Was there any great fanfare when the name was announced?

Well a limited extent. I think the newspapers were mostly occupied by the exploits of the woman pilot Amy Johnson at the time (Amy Johnson was the pioneering English aviatrix who in May 1930 became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia). Anyway, there was a certain know a few papers I think. My grandfather collected any information there was through a press agency and put it into two scrapbooks that I have, which I treasure, and from which I can refresh my memory at times.

Well we hope you have that scrapbook out next week when we launch New Horizons.

Yes, I expect so. What I know is, I've just been by the way sent rather a nice little badge by Johns Hopkins University, which I think is probably the badge I would have been wearing if I'd been able to go to the launch. So I think I'll wear it from now until after the launch.

Wonderful. Now I understand your great uncle Henry Madan named the moons of Mars Phobos and Deimos. So you come from a family of people who name heavenly bodies?

Yes, I think that is one of the nicest things about the whole story. I'm so very pleased because he had done that from a much more knowledgeable base that I came upon the name Pluto. It's all been very nice for me really.

I would imagine so. Have you ever seen Pluto through a telescope?

I don't think I have. I've just seen a photograph of Pluto, I think the first photograph that Clyde Tombaugh was looking at, and the next picture showing that the same little pinpoint had moved a certain degree. I have been to Flagstaff, and they were very kind. And they showed us around and they showed us the telescope through which it was first seen.

Did you ever meet Clyde Tombaugh?

No, never, sadly.

Did you ever correspond with him?


I understand that some school kids here in America recently corresponded with you from the St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis. That must have been nice.

Yes, it was a great joy. I quite suddenly had 62 letters. I think they all sat down, all the eight and nine year olds, with instructions to write a letter to me. This must have been an English essay or something. But they were very charming letters. And I enjoyed each and every one of them.

Do people in your home town know you have this role in history?

Not to any great extent. Some of them may know because I believe that the BBC when it does it's coverage of the launch, which I'm sure will be fairly thorough, may slip in a bit, a small interview with me. But on the whole, it doesn't arise in conversation and you don't just go around telling people that you named Pluto. But quite a lot of friends know and are interested.

You mean you've never had that temptation at a holiday gathering to tell your friends that?

Well not really, but sometimes it's nice, sometimes I'm glad to have them know.

What if anything would you like to tell all the scientists and engineers and all the people who worked on this New Horizons mission? What would you say to them?

I would say, I think, "The best of luck." And I can only hope that they discover all that they want to discover from this probe which must be one of the most exciting things that has happened astronomically recently.

When you look back at your life, isn't it exciting that there you were an 11 year old school girl who named this planet, and we've come so far technologically that now we can send a spacecraft all this distance in the solar system to this planet Pluto?

Yes, it is absolutely amazing, but it is paralleled by almost everything that has happened in the world, hasn't it. I mean we have stepped so far into the future as it were since the 1920's and 1930's. It leaves one absolutely stunned.

Do you like to look up at the stars?

Very much. Sadly it gets increasingly difficult to (do this). It's so well lit around here that only the brightest stars really get a look-in unless we have a power outage of course. But occasionally if one is in the country, and it is a good clear night, it is absolutely wonderful.

Now I understand you were a teacher. What did you teach?

I taught economics, which had been my subject in university and a little elementary math.

And at no time had you ever told your students that you had named Pluto?

I don't think so. No. It didn't really come to mind much. There had been years and years when I never really thought about it. I think its only since Patrick Moore wrote an article in Sky and Telescope in 1984, and I should think that since then there has been an increasing amount of interest in it, especially in America, which has been delightful for me because as one gets older one's horizons narrow. And it's been very nice have to have say these letters from St. Mary's in Memphis, or this chat right now shall we say.

It's been very nice for you to talk with us too. And on behalf of NASA we really thank you for your enthusiasm and all you've done to help advance the exploration and discovery of the universe around us.

Well that's very nice of you. I have my kind invitation from NASA, and I treasure that too. I shall put it on the mantelpiece, I think, conspicuously, to look at. And I just wish everybody concerned with the launch that the whole thing will be the success that they hope.

NASA People


P: 10.01.16


The Human Desire for Exploration Leads to Discovery

By Bob Granath
(NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida)

On July 20, 1969, exploration reached another world as U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. With the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, in the background, Aldrin sets up the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package. Credits: NASA/Neil Armstrong

Throughout history, humankind has shared an innate trait – the desire to explore. Prehistoric men and women may have stood curiously at the opening to caves and wondered what was over the next hill. Centuries later, a teenager in New England envisioned a trip to a distant planet.

In the autumn of 1899, 17-year-old Robert Goddard climbed a tall cherry tree at his home in Worcester, Massachusetts. As he gazed into the sky, Goddard recalled how he was inspired by the works of authors such as H. G. Wells.

"I looked toward the fields at the east," he said, "imagining how wonderful it would be to make some device which had even the possibility of ascending to Mars."

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to explore is to "conduct a systematic search or to travel over new territory for adventure or discovery."

Goddard was not alone in his desire. Over millennia, human ventures have led to navigating the seas, discovering new lands, conquest of the skies and, now, the exploration of space.

In his high school graduation address, Goddard expressed his belief that a vision for the future can be captured.

"It has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow," he said.

Goddard dedicated his life to inventing that "device" that could, one day, reach the Red Planet. On March 16, 1926, he successfully launched the world's first liquid propellant rocket. What followed was his development of basic rocket technology used by NASA for decades.

Building on Goddard's research and that of those willing to explore over the next hill, NASA today is closing in on his dream of a trip to Mars.

Navigating the Seas

Throughout human history, the spread of civilization has been led by people who wanted to explore. Ancient voyagers included the Phoenicians, whose tin artifacts indicate they may have traveled as far as Britain. The Carthaginians explored the western coast of Africa. Greek travelers were the first to circumnavigate Britain and explore what is now Germany.

Among the greatest early explorers were Chinese mariners six centuries ago. A massive armada of nine-mast ships navigated west to Ceylon, Arabia and East Africa.

The leading Chinese pioneer was Zheng He who sailed using a magnetic compass invented in China centuries earlier. During his seven expeditions, he established a broad web of valuable trading routes from Taiwan to the Persian Gulf.

By the early 1500s, however, the Chinese navy was reduced to one-tenth of its size. As the policies of China's government turned inward, the navy was ordered to destroy the larger classes of ships, sending the nation into a centuries-long policy of isolation. Over time, the expertise to construct and navigate large ships was lost along with advances in technology.

In 1492, the European Age of Exploration began when the king and queen of Spain financed a voyage by Italian mariner Christopher Columbus. His expedition was to sail west from Europe seeking a more efficient route to India. His commitment to venture into the perils of the unknown has been shared by explorers throughout history.

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore,” Columbus said.

His willingness to do so resulted in the discovery of a "new world."

This Age of Exploration has been hailed by many historians as one of the most important periods of geographical findings. From the 15th century until the 17th century, the voyages of explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan, Juan Ponce de León and James Cook resulted in the exploration and discovery of vast areas of North and South America, Africa, Asia and islands of the Pacific Ocean.

"I imagined how wonderful it would be to make some device which had even the possibility of ascending to Mars," thought 17-year-old Robert Goddard in 1899. In the Massachusetts snow on March 16, 1926, he took the first step by developing and launching the world's first liquid propellant rocket.
Credits: NASA

Discovering New Lands

Among the early settlers to the "new world" of North America were the Pilgrims who established a colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. Following a treacherous 66-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower in 1620, the pioneers arrived to begin a new life.

William Bradford, who served as the Plymouth Colony's governor, echoed Columbus' statement.

"All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage," he said.

Almost 200 years later, the United States had been established as a nation, but exploration continued. Those who traveled into what is now Ohio or Tennessee were considered as venturing into the "wild frontier."

Not long after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned a select group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Capt. Meriwether Lewis and his close friend 2nd Lt. William Clark. Their expedition began in May 1804 and was the first to cross what is now the western portion of the nation. Beginning near St. Louis on the Mississippi River, they made their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast. Returning to their starting point in September 1806, Lewis and Clark established an American presence in previously unexplored territory.

Conquest of the Skies

By the turn of the 20th Century, most of the lands of the Earth had been explored and eyes began to turn to the skies.

“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who traveled across trackless lands in prehistoric times," said Orville Wright. "They looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles on the infinite highway of the air.”

Together with his brother, Wilbur, the bicycle builders from Dayton, Ohio, designed the world's first successful airplane. On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

While the age of aviation had begun, initially some thought it would have its limitations.

“No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris," Orville Wright once said. "No known motor can run at the requisite speed for four days without stopping.”

As aircraft became larger, more powerful and more efficient, a new age of exploration began and proved there were few limitations to the new technology.

One of those prepared to prove this notion was a former U.S. Air Mail pilot named Charles Lindbergh. On May 20 and 21, 1927, he flew a small, single engine aircraft from Roosevelt Field in New York to Le Bourget Airport in Paris.

A trait that continues to define explorers is a willingness to accept the inherent hazards.

"I believe the risks I take are justified by the sheer love of the life I lead," Lindbergh said.

The 1920s and 1930s were filled with news of aviation pioneers and explorers such as Richard Byrd, Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes. During the World War II years, aircraft became larger, traveled farther, flew faster and climbed higher. Soon after, a new breed of explorer, known as test pilots "pushed the envelope" even farther –- again willing to accept the risks.

"You don't concentrate on risks," said U.S. Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager. "You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done."

On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager flew the X-1 rocket plane faster than the speed of sound –- over 700 mph --- at Muroc Air Force Base, now Edwards Air Force Base, California. In doing so, he accomplished another feat once thought impossible.

Exploration of Space

By the late 1940s, a team of German-born rocket engineers and scientists were exploring beyond the skies into the edges of space, believing Goddard's dream of a trip to Mars was achievable.

"I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution," said Wernher von Braun who was leading what came to be known as the Rocket Team.

The history of exploration took the next logical step –- venturing into outer space. The new explorers of the 20th century embraced the sentiment of Russian space pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

"The Earth is the cradle of humanity," he said, "but one cannot live in a cradle forever."

On Oct. 3, 1957, scientists and engineers in the Soviet Union were the first to take a small step out of the "cradle" when they launched the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1.

The United States orbited its first satellite, on Jan. 31, 1958. It was appropriately named "Explorer 1." It was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida using a Redstone rocket developed by von Braun's team.

A few weeks later, von Braun was interviewed by Time magazine about the possibility of humans traveling into space.

"Don't tell me that man doesn't belong out there," he said. "Man belongs wherever he wants to go and he'll do plenty well when he gets there."

A Soviet was the first to get there in the spring of 1961.

Visionaries such as Robert Gilruth, who headed NASA's Space Task Group at the Langley Research Center in Virginia, saw the achievement coming.

"I can recall watching the sunlight reflect off of Sputnik as it passed over my home on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia," he said. "It put a new sense of value and urgency on things we had been doing. I was sure that the Russians were planning for man in space."

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became that first person to travel in orbit on April 12, 1961.

A few weeks later, American astronaut Alan Shepard blasted into space atop one of von Braun's Redstone rockets. He flew aboard a Mercury spacecraft designed by Gilruth's team at Langley.

With humans showing they could "do plenty well" in space, President John Kennedy asked Americans to join in the boldest mission of exploration to date –- "landing a man on the moon and returning him safety to Earth."

Kennedy spoke eloquently about space as an unexplored ocean to be navigated.

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people," he said on Sept. 12, 1962, in a speech at Rice University in Houston. "But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal?"

In answering his own hypothetical question, Kennedy explained why we explore.

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard," he said, "because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."

That goal was achieved on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon's Sea of Tranquility. Through December 1972, five more Apollo crews landed on the lunar surface, exploring and returning to Earth.

In 1992, then NASA Administrator Dan Goldin noted that the point of exploration isn't just the destination, it's the journey.

"It's not about going someplace, it's about what you find along the way," he said. "Walk into any hospital and look at the technology. CAT scans, magnetic resonance, intensive care monitoring equipment --- all derivatives of Apollo. No wonder Newsweek called Apollo 'the best return on investment since Leonardo da Vinci bought himself a sketch pad.'"

During three decades, NASA's Space Shuttle Program flew 135 missions to not only utilize the benefits of microgravity in Earth orbit, but to learn how to live and work in space. The continuing legacy of the shuttle is the International Space Station where astronauts from around the world are learning what we need to know for the next giant leap -– an expedition to the Red Planet.

As President Barak Obama spoke on space exploration in the 21st century in an address at Kennedy on April 15, 2010, he called for another exploration challenge. This time, the mission is to embark on a 58-million-mile trip almost losing site of the shores of Earth.

"By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth," he said. "And a landing on Mars will follow."

NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket now are being built to achieve that goal to expand human presence in deep space and enable exploration of new destinations in the solar system.

At the Humans to Mars Summit on May 5, 2015, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden explained America's reasons for the journey. He noted that by looking back, we look forward.

"Because what we learn about the Red Planet may tell us more about our own home planet’s history and future," he said, "and because it might just help us unravel the age-old mystery about whether life exists beyond Earth ... Mars matters."

The primary objective is the one envisioned by Robert Goddard as he looked into the sky during his youth and envisioned a trip to Mars. As Goldin noted, the journey will be worth the effort.

"Every time America has gone to the frontier, we've brought back more than we could ever imagine," he said. "As NASA turns dreams into realities, and makes science fiction into fact, it gives America reason to hope our future will be forever brighter than our past."


P: 170216


Bernard Harris and Michael Foale Ready For a Spacewalk: Feb. 9, 1995

Image Credit: NASA

STS-63 astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr., payload commander (right), and C. Michael Foale, mission specialist (left), are ready to exit space shuttle Discovery's airlock for a spacewalk on Feb. 9, 1995. The pair would test modifications to their spacesuits to keep spacewalkers warmer in the extreme cold of space. The astronauts were also scheduled to practice handling the approximately 2,500-pound (1,134-kilogram) SPARTAN spacecraft to rehearse space station assembly techniques, but this task was cut short by Mission Control after the men reported feeling very cold in their suits.

On this extravehicular activity (EVA), which lasted 4 hours and 38 minutes, Bernard Harris became the first African-American to walk in space.

( Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA)


P: 110216


Apollo 14 Demonstrated Spaceflight Challenges Are Solvable

A front view of the Apollo 14 lunar module, Antares, reflects a circular flare caused by the brilliant sun. It was photographed during the first moon walk. At the extreme left the lower slope of Cone Crater can be seen. Credits: NASA


By Bob Granath: NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida

"It's been a long way, but we're here," said Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard as he stepped from the lunar module, or LM, onto the regolith of the moon's Fra Mauro highlands.

When Apollo 14 touched down on the moon on Feb. 5, 1971, it was more than a 240,000-mile trip – it was a hard-fought return to flight for NASA's Apollo Program and America's first person in space.

Fra Mauro had been the intended landing site for Apollo 13 in April 1970. However, that mission became a struggle to safely return the crew when their Apollo spacecraft was crippled by an oxygen tank explosion.

Two days after the April 11, 1970 launch of Apollo 13, with the spacecraft approximately 205,000 miles from Earth, the astronauts heard a "loud bang." One of two electricity producing fuel cell oxygen tanks in the service module had exploded. Damaged Teflon insulation on the wires to the stirring fan inside oxygen tank No. 2 allowed the wires to short-circuit and ignite the insulation.

The lessons learned from the lunar landing program now are helping the agency pave the way for the journey to Mars. As was the case during Apollo 14, NASA experts already are at work solving the challenges for human missions to the Red Planet.

In the nine months following Apollo 13, several modifications were made to the service module electrical power system, including redesign of the oxygen tanks and addition of a third tank.

After becoming the first NASA astronaut to travel in space on May 5, 1961, Shepard was grounded in 1964 by Méničre's disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance. But, like NASA solving the problems posed by Apollo 13, Shepard found a way back.

A U.S. Navy aviator and one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, Shepard's condition prevented him from flying one of the Gemini missions. After surgery, however, he was returned to flight status. At age 47, Shepard would be the oldest space flyer to date and the only Mercury astronaut to walk on the moon.

Edgar Mitchell moves across the lunar surface as he looks over a traverse map during exploration of Fra Mauro. Lunar dust can be seen clinging to the boots and legs of the space suit. Credits: NASA/Alan Shepard

Speaking about Shepard before the Apollo 14 flight, Kennedy Director Kurt Debus praised America's first astronaut for his efforts to return to flight status.

"He's an expert pilot and flier and he's working very hard preparing for this mission," Debus said. "I'm happy he's getting the opportunity to go to the moon. I envy him."

Joining Shepard were two first-time flyers from NASA's fifth groups of astronauts, U.S. Air Force pilot Stuart Roosa, serving as command module pilot, and Naval aviator Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot.

Apollo 14 launched on a nine-day mission Jan. 31, 1971. Once in Earth orbit, Roosa commented that the crew was "thoroughly impressed" by the performance of the Apollo Saturn V vehicle that was assembled and launching from the Florida spaceport.

Soon after liftoff, though, the mission hit its first "bump in the road."

After one and a half orbits of the Earth, the Saturn V third stage was fired a second time to boost Apollo 14 on its path to the moon. Roosa separated the command-service module, or CSM, – named Kitty Hawk -- from the upper stage to turn around and dock with the lunar module, Antares.

The CSM had difficulty docking with the LM. Several attempts to dock took place for 1 hour and 42 minutes. At that point Mission Control recommended Roosa hold Kitty Hawk against Antares using its thrusters, then the docking probe would be retracted, thus triggering the docking latches. This approach worked.

Apollo 14 arrived in lunar orbit on Feb. 4. The next day, Shepard and Mitchell boarded Antares and separated from Kitty Hawk in preparation for the landing. Soon after, the LM developed a problem.

First, the lander's computer received an "abort" signal from a faulty switch. If the problem recurred after the descent engine began firing, the computer would respond as if the signal was real and initiate an automated abort. The ascent stage would separate from the descent stage and the LM would return to orbit.

NASA and the software experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology scrambled to find a work-around. They decided that the solution would involve reprogramming the Antares computer flight software to ignore the erroneous signal. The software modifications were radioed up to the crew. Mitchell entered the changes just in time, allowing the crew to be given a "go" to begin the powered descent.

"It's a beautiful day to land at Fra Mauro," Shepard said in response.

But a second problem soon occurred. The LM landing radar failed to automatically lock onto the moon's surface, preventing the computer from being updated with crucial information on altitude and vertical descent speed.

Mission Control told Shepard and Mitchell to cycle the landing radar breakers.

"Okay, cycled," Shepard said and he was told to check the radar again.

"Breakers, go, great, great," he said as the unit began receiving a signal at about 18,000 feet, again, just in time.

As Antares pitched over and the two astronauts could see the lunar surface, landmarks and the landing point appeared precisely as planned.

"There it is," Shepard said

"Right on the money," Mitchell added.

Shepard then manually landed the LM with Mitchell giving a quick description.

"It's really a wild looking place here," he said.

After landing at Fra Mauro, Shepard and Mitchell took two moonwalks. During the first, an Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package was set up and they used a modular equipment transporter, a pull cart for carrying equipment and rock samples they collected.

During the second traverse on the surface, the pair planned to reach the rim of the 1,000-foot wide Cone Crater. Mitchell noted that the terrain made walking more difficult

"We're starting uphill now," he said. "It's definitely uphill."

Stopping 150 feet from the rim of the Cone crater, they collected more rocks and soil. Scientists believed the samples could have originated from deep beneath the moon's surface, ejected from the impact that created the crater.

As they walked along, Shepard referenced the powder-like soil that was kicked up from the moon's soil and regolith

"Nothing like being up to your arms in lunar dust," he said.

Scientists in the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory at the Kennedy Space Center are developing ways to mitigate the dust problem for future explorers. Emerging technologies, such as new space suits, also should aid astronauts as they travel to destinations such as Mars.

For Apollo 14, Shepard's spacesuit was the first to use red stripes on the arms and legs and on the top of his helmet's sunshade. This made it easier to distinguish between the commander and LM pilot on the surface. In some photographs from Apollo 12, it was difficult to differentiate between the two astronauts. This identifier was used for the remaining Apollo missions, spacewalks during space shuttle missions, and now are used on the International Space Station.

During Apollo 14, Shepard also set another space first. Toward the end of the second session on the surface, he stopped in front of the television camera and produced a makeshift golf club.

"Houston, you might recognize what I have in my hand as the handle for the contingency sample return," he said. "It just so happens to have a genuine six iron on the bottom of it. In my left hand, I have a little white pellet that's familiar to millions of Americans."

An avid golfer, Shepard dropped a golf ball and took a swing.

"Unfortunately, the suit is so stiff, I can't do this with two hands," he said, "but I'm going to try a little sand trap shot here."

Lunar dust flew.

"Hey, you got more dirt than ball," Mitchel said.

"That looked like a slice to me, Al," added spacecraft communicator Fred Haise, lunar module pilot on Apollo 13.

"Here we go again," Shepard said as he took another swing. "Straight as a dime. Miles and miles and miles."

During the two moon walks, about 94 pounds of rocks were collected, and several scientific experiments were performed. Shepard and Mitchell spent 33.5 hours on the moon, with almost 9.5 hours walking on the lunar surface.

While Shepard and Mitchell worked at the landing site, Roosa orbited the moon aboard the Kitty Hawk. He performed scientific experiments and photographed the moon, including the landing site of the upcoming Apollo 16 mission.

Apollo 14 returned to Earth on Feb 9, 1971, splashing down approximately 760 miles south of American Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean. The astronauts were soon recovered by the crew of the USS New Orleans recovery ship.

On March 23, 1971, the Apollo 14 crew spoke to Kennedy Space Center employees in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building where their Apollo Saturn V rocket was stacked and checked out prior to rollout to the Launch Pad 39A.

"We had a fantastic, resounding success on Apollo 14," Shepard said.

It was a triumphant return for both Shepard and Apollo.

During post-mission analysis, scientists determined that the Apollo 14 rock samples were found to be generally richer in aluminum and sometimes richer in potassium than other lunar basalts. The Apollo 14 basalts were formed 4 to 4.3 billion years ago, older than the volcanism observed at any of the other locations studied during the Apollo program.

"We're extremely proud of Apollo 14, and each of you played a vital part in it," Mitchell said. "As we watch the results come in from the scientists, we are more and more gratified."

( Editor: Bob Granath: NASA)


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NASA astronaut Dr Mae Jemison waits as her suit technician, Sharon McDougle, performs a unpressurized and pressurized leak check on her spacesuit at the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center: September 12, 1992. Image: NASA. P: 200216 Readmore






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The Humanion Online Daily from the United Kingdom for the World: To Inspire Souls to Seek

At Home in the Universe : One Without Frontier. Editor: Munayem Mayenin

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First Published: September 24: 2015