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1473

Copernicus is born

On this day in 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Torun, Poland. The father of modern astronomy, he was the first to propose that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun. Prior to the publication of his ‘Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs’ in 1543, European astronomers argued that the Earth lay at the centre of the universe, the view held by most ancient philosophe... Read more >

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1878

Edison patents phonograph

Thomas Edison patents the phonograph on this day. The machine, which Edison had developed the previous year, used needles to read tin cylinders. The first song recorded on the phonograph was "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

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1952

Amy Tan's birthday

Novelist Amy Tan is born on this day in 1952 to Chinese immigrants who came to Oakland in 1949. Tan studied English at San Jose State and Berkeley. Although she planned an academic career, she grew bored with university life and turned to technical writing, business writing, and publishing. At age 26, she learned that her mother had three daughters from a previous marriage and journeyed to Chin... Read more >