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1953

Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes. Though DNA - short for deoxyribonucleic acid - was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn't demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were o... Read more >

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1994

First NATO military action

In the first military action in the 45-year history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, U.S. fighter planes shoot down four Serbian warplanes flying a bombing mission in violation of Bosnia's no-fly zone. Founded in 1949 to combat Soviet aggression, NATO volunteered in 1994 to enforce United Nations resolutions enacted to end three years of conflict in the former Yugoslavia. In 1995, NAT... Read more >

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1944

Test pilot Reitsch pitches suicide squad to Hitler

Hannah Reitsch, the first female test pilot in the world, suggests the creation of the Nazi equivalent of a kamikaze squad of suicide bombers while visiting Adolf Hitler in Berchtesgaden. Hitler was initially put off by the idea, only because he did not think it an effective or efficient use of resources. But Reitsch's commitment persuaded him to investigate the prospect of designing such plane... Read more >

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1982

Getty Museum Endowed

On February 28, 1982, the J. Paul Getty Museum becomes the most richly endowed museum on earth when it receives a $1.2 billion bequest left to it by the late J. Paul Getty. The American oil billionaire died in 1976, but legal wrangling over his fortune by his children and ex-wives kept his will in probate until 1982. During those six years, what was a originally a $700 million bequest to the mu... Read more >