30 September-Richter Scale

Charles Richter was a seismologist who developed the famous Richter Scale. Known as Richter’s magnitude scale, it measures the strength of earthquakes. The scale was first developed by Richter in 1935 in association with Beno Gutenberg.

Charles Francis Richter was born in Overpeck, Ohio on April 26th 1900. He studied physics at Stanford University and was awarded a PhD by the California Institute of Technology in 1928. Richter worked at the Carnegie Institute in Washington where the Richter scale was developed.

In 1937 Richter began teaching at the California Institute of Technology. He was appointed professor of seismology at Caltech in 1952. Apart from developing the Richter scale Richter developed building codes for buildings in areas prone to earthquakes.

Charles Richter, physicist and seismologist who developed the famous Richter scale in 1935, died aged 85 in the year 1985 On This Day.

Īnangahua Earthquake, 1968



29 September-Diesel

The Diesel engine was the invented by Rudolf Diesel. His invention has had a major impact on the powering of today’s transportation methods. Diesel engines were used initially as stationary engines and in agricultural machines. As the engine was developed however it became widely used in trains, trucks and in modern automobiles.

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel was born to German parents in Paris, France on March 18th 1858. He was educated in his father’s home town of Augsburg in southern Germany. He later studied at the Royal Bavarian Polytechnic of Munich. Diesel graduated with distinction in engineering in 1880. Following graduation he worked for a time in the refrigeration industry in France.

In 1890 Diesel moved to Berlin to work in the area of research and development for the same refrigeration company. While working in Berlin, he began developing the diesel engine. He was granted a patent for the engine on February 28th 1893.

Rudolf Diesel, who invented the diesel engine, disappeared form the ship on which he was travelling to London for a meeting, in the year 1913 On This Day.



29 September-Biro

László Bíró was the inventor of the ball point pen. He was granted a patent for the first successful ballpoint pen on June 10th 1943. Bíró was a journalist and other than the pencil the predominant writing instrument at the time was the fountain pen which had been designed by L.E. Waterman in 1884.

Biro experimented with the ink used by printers but found it would not flow properly in the fountain pen. His brother György who was a chemist, improved the viscosity of printing ink. This, together with a new tip which consisted of a tiny ball bearing. As the ball bearing rolled in a socket it picked up ink from a cartridge enabling the user to write smudge free.

Biro first presented his ball point pen at the Budapest International Fair in 1931 and filed for patent in 1938. However the pen was still not working successfully. The ball bearing in the tip sometimes failed to turn consistently and the ink sometimes still dried out too quickly.

The outbreak of World War II forced the Biro brothers, who were of the Jewish religion, to leave Hungary. They moved to Argentina where they continued to improve their invention until it was ready for production. They filed for a patent and established a company called the Bíró Pens of Argentina in 1943.

The British Government bought 30,000 of the biros for the Royal Air Force in 1944. It was found that the biro worked much better than a fountain pen at high altitude. Shortly after the end of World War II French manufacturer Marcel Bich bought the patent for the pen from Bíró. Marketed under the slogan ‘write first time, every time’ the pen soon became the main product of the Bic Company. Since production began in 1950 over 100 billion Bic pens have been sold.

László József Bíró, inventor of the ball point pen, was born in Budapest, Hungary in the year 1899 On This Day.

Bic Biro



28 September-Pasteur

The town of Dole in France was twinned with the town of Carlow in Ireland in 1992. Dole which is the birthplace of scientist Louis Pasteur lies in the Dijon Region of eastern France. The twinning of the two towns was arranged under the European Town Twinning project. The European Parliament established the Town Twinning scheme in 1989. The aim of the project is to foster new links between local authorities and local communities in Europe.

Louis Pasteur was a chemist and microbiologist who came up with a process that destroyed the bacteria which caused the souring of wine, beer and milk. The process, which is known as pasteurisation involves heating liquid food and then allowing it to cool. Pasteur was also responsible for the creation of vaccines for anthrax, rabies, cholera, TB and smallpox. Often referred to as the ‘father of microbiology’ the discoveries made by Pasteur are responsible for saving countless lives.

Having attended secondary school in Besançon about 50km from Dole, Louis Pasteur graduated with a baccalauréat (BA) degree from the Collège Royal de Besançon in 1840. He was awarded a doctorate from the École Normale in Paris in 1847. Having spent some time doing research and teaching at Dijon Lycée, Pasteur was appointed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in 1848. He was appointed professor of Physics and Chemistry at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1862 and established the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1887.

Louis Pasteur, a chemist and microbiologist who came up with a process that destroyed the bacteria which caused the souring of wine, beer and milk (pasteurisation), died aged 72 in the year 1895 On This Day.


Sorcha’s Birthday


27 September-Hefner

Hugh Hefner was a native of Chicago, Illinois. He was a journalist and founder of Playboy Magazine. The magazine is famous for its centrefolds of nude and semi-nude models who are called Playmates. Hefner founded Playboy Magazine on October 1st 1953. Today it is a global publication with a circulation of almost 700,000.

Hugh Marston Hefner was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 9th 1926. He was educated locally and served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. Following military service he studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He graduated with a BA in psychology and creative writing in 1949. Following graduation he worked for a time with Esquire Magazine.

In 1953 Hefner raised $8,000, which included $1,000 from his mother, to establish Playboy Magazine. The first issue had Marilyn Monroe as a centrefold. The publication was a success and today Playboy is one of the world’s best known brands. Hugh Hefner became a multi-millionaire. He was also a political activist and philanthropist.

Hugh Hefner, journalist and founder of Playboy Magazine died at his home in Los Angeles, California in the year 2017 On This Day.