02 September-First Human Heart Transplant

Christiaan Barnard was a cardiac surgeon who was a native of South Africa. He performed the first successful heart transplant operation on December 3rd 1967. The operation ushered in a new era of life extending surgery.

Christiaan Neethling Barnard was born in Beaufort West, Cape Province, South Africa on November 8th 1922. He studied medicine at University of Cape Town Medical School and graduated in 1945. He later studied at the University of Minnesota where he was awarded a PhD in 1958. He returned to South Africa in 1958 as senior cardiothoracic surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

For several years Barnard carried out extensive experimentation on heart transplantation in dogs. On December 3rd 1963 he performed the world’s first human heart transplant. The operation was performed on 54 year old Louis Washkansky who had incurable heart disease. The heart came from a young woman who had been fatally injured in a traffic accident.

Louis Washkansky survived for 18 days. He died of pneumonia as he was taking immunosuppressive drugs. As time went on transplant operations carried out by Barnard became more successful. In 1971 Dirk van Zyl received a new heart. He survived for over 23 years. Barnard developed rheumatoid arthritis in his hands and retired in 1983.

Christiaan Barnard who performed the first successful human heart transplant operation on December 3rd 1967, died aged 78 in the year 2001 On This Day.

Groote Schuur Hospital Innovation Hub

02 September-Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian calendar was adopted in Britain and Ireland in 1752. It had been adopted in most of mainland Europe 150 years previously. The Gregorian calendar which is called after Pope Gregory XIII is the most widely used international calendar.

Until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar the Julian calendar was in use in Ireland and Britain. The Julian calendar was introduced by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 BC. It calculated the year at 365 days and 6 hours. However the actual length of the year is 365 days, five hours, forty-eight minutes, forty six seconds.

During the centuries following the introduction of the Julian calendar the discrepancy led to a slippage of days. Easter for instance was being celebrated later each year. This led Pope Gregory to introduce the new calendar.

By the time the Gregorian calendar was introduced in Great Britain and Ireland in September 1752, in the Julian calendar there was a difference of 12 days. It is reported that people protested at the loss of 12 days from their lives. The Gregorian calendar was not introduced in Greece until 1924, Iran 1925 and Turkey 1926.

The introduction of the Gregorian calendar caused September 2nd to be followed by September 14th in the year 1752 On This Day.

Issuing of the Gregorian Calendar



01 September-Bee Gees Barry Gibb

Barry Gibb together with his twin brothers Maurice and Robin formed the pop group The Bee Gees. . The group, which was formed in 1958, became one of the world’s best-selling and most successful music groups of all time.

Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb CBE was born 1946 in Douglas Isle of Man. When Robin and Maurice was four years old the Gibb family moved to Manchester. Always interested in music and singing, the three Gibb brothers began performing in public from an early age. Following the formation of the Bee Gees, Barry was the lead vocalist and played the guitar.

The Bee Gees had their first international hit in 1967. During the 1970’s they enjoyed success with songs such as ‘Staying Alive’ and ‘How Deep Is Your Love’. The three brothers continued to record and perform until Maurice died in 2003.

Barry Gibb, of the music group, The Bee Gees, was born in Douglas, Isle of Man in the year 1946 On This Day.

Bee Gees Barry Gibb

31 August-von Zeppelin

Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship in which the structure is supported by a framework usually made of aluminium. They are named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who was a native of Germany.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born in Konstanz, Grand Duchy of Baden on July 8th 1838. He served as army officer from 1855 to 1890. In 1895 he was given a patent for his navigable balloon. He made his first flight in a ‘lighter than air’ aircraft over Lake Constance on July 2nd 1900.

Over 100 Zeppelins were used during World War I. However the widespread use of Zeppelins came to an end with Hindenburg Disaster in 1939.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, designer and manufacturer of airships, was granted a patent for his navigable balloon in the year 1895 On This Day.




30 August-Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was an author who was a native of England. She is best known for her horror novel ‘Frankenstein’. She was the wife of the English poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born in London in 1797. She received most of her education at home. In 1816 she married Percy Bysshe Shelley is one of the most highly regarded Romantic poets in the English language. She published her most famous novel, ‘Frankenstein’ in 1818. She went on to publish several other books including, ‘The Last Man’ and ‘Lodore’.

Mary Shelley, who is best known as the author of the horror novel ‘Frankenstein’ was born in the year 1797 On This Day.