Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 21: Kindergarten Day and other, out-of-this-world stuff

The Usual Suspects are in rare accord on this one: Sunday, April 21 will be Kindergarten Day. They even seem to agree why this is so: Friedrich Fröbel, the German educator who created the concept of kindergarten, was born on April 21, 1782.

Horace Rumpole's creator was born on April 21, 1923.
Sir John Mortimer, the author of the many Rumpole of the Bailey books and screenplays was born on April 21, 1923 (he passed away in 2009).

And, as long as we're on the subject of birthdays, the City of Rome turns 2,766 on Sunday. According to tradition, Romulus and Remus established the City of Rome on April 21, 753 B.C.

This may prove to be a big deal in the years to come (at least we hope so): The discovery of the first extrasolar planets was announced on April 21, 1992 (two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. Actually, there were some earlier discoveries that have since been confirmed, but these two were the first discovery to be generally accepted in the scientific community. A third extrasolar planet has since been found in orbit around that pulsar. Not that you'd want to go there, even if you could.

But over 800 extrasolar planets have been identified in the 21 years since... and techniques have improved to the point where scientists are able to detect smaller -- and more potentially habitable -- planets in orbits around distant stars.

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