18 February-Robert Oppenheimer

Robert Oppenheimer is often referred to as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. He was a theoretical physicist who worked at institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University. Oppenheimer was also director of the Los Alamos Laboratory where the atomic bomb was developed.

Robert Oppenheimer was born Julius Robert Oppenheimer was born in New York City on April 22nd 1904. Following graduation from Harvard University Oppenheimer moved to England in 1925 to Study at Cambridge University. A year later he moved to the University of Göttingen in Germany where he was awarded a PhD in 1927 at the age of 23. He was appointed Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1929 where he taught until 1942.

The growth in popularity of the National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) in Germany and Hitler’s rise to power had a major influence on Oppenheimer. It led him to support resistance movements and he became associated with left wing politics. He supported the letter sent by Einstein and others to President Roosevelt at the beginning of World War II which indicated that the Nazi’s had the capability to develop a nuclear bomb. Roosevelt established the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico and Oppenheimer was appointed scientific director of the project in 1942.

On July 16th 1945 the first atomic bomb was successfully exploded in New Mexico. Within a month a further two atomic bombs were exploded, one in Nagasaki, Japan, and the other in Hiroshima, effectively ending World War II.

Oppenheimer refused to support the development of the hydrogen bomb in 1949 because of his regrets at the mass destruction caused by the atomic bomb. He was accused of having communist sympathies because of his previous association with left wing politics and he resigned from his post. He was appointed Director of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton University where he remained until 1966.

Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist who is referred to as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’, died aged 62 in the year 1967 On This Day.



21 December-Louis Washkansky

Louis Washkansky was the first person in history on whom a successful heart transplant was performed. The operation was carried out in December 1967 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The heart transplant was performed by a team of surgeons led by Dr Christiaan Barnard.
At the time of the transplant Louis Washkansky was 54. He had served as a soldier during World War II and was a keen sportsman. In later years however, he suffered from ill-health and developed incurable heart disease. Washkansky agreed to undergo a heart transplant operation.
Dr Christiaan Barnard was the senior cardiothoracic surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. For several years he had carried out extensive experimentation on heart transplantation in dogs. On December 2nd 1967 a heart became available from a young woman who had been fatally injured in a traffic accident. In a nine hour operation, Barnard successfully transplanted the heart to Washkansky. Louis Washkansky survived for 18 days. He died of pneumonia as he was taking immunosuppressive drugs.
Louis Washkansky, the first person in history on whom a successful heart transplant was performed, died in the year 1967 On This Day.

30 November-Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh was a poet and novelist who was a native of County Monaghan, Ireland. His poetry influenced the writing of others including Seamus Heaney. Kavanagh’s poetry remains popular today. His poem ‘On Raglan Road’ has been recorded by several artists including Van Morrison and Sinéad O’Connor.

Patrick Kavanagh was born and raised in Mucker, Inishkeen, Co Monaghan. When he left National School in 1916 he was apprenticed as a shoemaker to his father. He also worked on the family farm. He was writing poetry from an early age and his poems appeared in such publications as the Dundalk Democrat in 1928.

Kavanagh moved to Dublin in 1939 and became a full-time writer. As well as writing poetry he worked as journalist and film critic with the Irish Press. He later worked for the Catholic magazine The Standard. The novel ‘Tarry Flynn’ and the poems ‘On Raglan Road’ and ‘The Great Hunger’ are among his best known works.

Patrick Kavanagh, poet and novelist who was a native of County Monaghan, Ireland, died aged 63 in the year 1967 On This Day.

Patrick Kavanagh

27 June-ATM

An ATM (Automated Teller Machine) is an electronic device that allows bank customers to perform financial transactions. The transactions can take place at any time at millions of locations around the world. Customers can check account balance, withdraw cash, transfer funds and perform several other banking functions.

The development of the ATM began in the early 1960’s. Luther Simjian, an Armenian inventor who was living in the USA was granted a patent for what he called a Bankograph in 1960. The Bankograph was given a 6 month trial by Citibank but was discontinued due to lack of demand. In 1967 Barclays bank installed the first successful ATM at its branch in Enfield, London. Today there are almost 3.5 million ATM’s worldwide.

The first successful ATM (Automated Teller Machine) began operating at Barclays Bank, Enfield, London in the year 1967 On This Day.


06 May-Seven Drunken Nights

Seven Drunken Nights is a humorous Irish folk song. It was recorded by the Irish folk band The Dubliners and first released on Mach 30th 1967. The song tells the story of a drunken man returning home each night to find evidence that his wife is having an affair. The last two verses were regarded as being too bawdy for broadcast

Seven Drunken Nights had its origins in similar songs from England, Scotland and Europe. The recording by the Dubliners in 1967 reached No.1 in Ireland and No. 7 in the UK charts. It was banned by the BBC. As a result the Dubliners could only sing the first five nights.

Seven Drunken Nights, a humorous folk song recorded by The Dubliners entered the UK charts in the year 1967 On This Day.