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On This Day

  • 11-21-1783

    The first manned free balloon flight, launched by the brothers Montgolfier, carried Jean Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes on a flight that wafted across Paris for 25 minutes, reached a height of 500 feet, and traveled five and a half miles. The Montgolfier brothers had unmanned launches on June 5 and September 19, 1783. Among the onlookers was Benjamin Franklin, American emissary to the court of Louis XVI. When asked of what use is ballooning, Franklin replied with emphatic simplicity, "Of what use is a newborn baby?"

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    Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier
    Benjamin Franklin
  • 11-21-1811

    Gauss to Bessel: "One should never forget that the functions, like all mathematical constructions, are only our own constructions."

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    Carl Friedrich Gauss
    Wilhelm Bessel
  • 11-21-1983

    A special purpose computer built by Lee Sallows generated this self-documenting pangram (it contains each letter of the alphabet and what it asserts about itself is true): This pangram contains four a's, one b, two c's, one d, thirty e's, six f's, five g's, seven h's, eleven i's, one j, one k, two l's, two m's, eighteen n's, fifteen o's, two p's, one q, five r's, twenty-seven s's, eighteen t's, two u's, seven v's, eight w's, two x's, three y's, and one z.

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