1. 1941: Ford writes to Gandhi
“You are one of the greatest men the world has ever known” said Henry Ford in a letter he wrote to Mahatma Gandhi on this day in 1941. Ford was a great admirer of the life, and message, Gandhi had lived by. He also fully supported his campaign to push the British out of India. Ford asked the London based editor of the United Press of India, T.A. Raman, to hand delivered the message to Gandhi to make sure it wasn’t lost. However, Gandhi didn’t receive the message until almost 5 months later on December 8th, which happened to be the day after the attack on Pear Harbor. It was reported that Gandhi was very pleased with the message, and in return sent back one of his old-fashioned, portable spinning wheels that he used to make his own clothing. Just like Ford, Gandhi wanted to make sure his gift made it safely. So he also asked Raman to hand deliver the wheel, over 12,000 miles away, to Greenfield Village, Michigan where it was personally received by Ford himself.
2. 2000: The mighty Concorde jet crashes.
It was on this date in 2000 that the worlds fastest commercial jet crashed for the first time in the planes 31 year history. The Concorde utilized four Rolls Royce Turbojet engines to travel at over 1,350mph which made trips across the Atlantic take less then three and a half hours. That is more than twice the speed of sound, which when you put it like that makes it sound straight out of a Sci-Fi movie. Just after Air France Flight 4590 departed from Degaulle Airport heading towards New York, it came careening down to the ground which erupted into a huge fireball. It was determined that the plane that departed just before the Concorde had dropped a piece of metal on the runway. When flight 4590 went to take off, it apparently ran over this metal causing one of the tires to shred apart and some of that debris got into one of the engines causing the accident. It was reported that none of the 105 people on board at the time survived the crash. All Concorde planes were grounded for over a year until they went back into service November of 2001. However it wasn’t for long. A string of minor complications caused the British Airways and Air France to ground the planes indefinitely in 2003.
3. 1978: First test tube baby is born
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) becomes a reality on this date in 1978 when Louise Joy Brown is born as a healthy five pound 12 ounce baby girl become the worlds first “test tube baby”. IVF gave females the opportunity to conceive children that may not have been due to health complications. The female eggs were fertilized outside the body, then implanted into the uterus a few days later. The process was created by scientist Robert Edwards and gynecologist Patrick Steptoe over the course of a decade. To date, hundreds of thousands of children have been conceived through this process and is now considered a mainstream treatment for infertility. But at the time many were concerned that the babies born in this way would not grow up to be healthy, fully functioning adults. However in 1999 Louise’s sister Natalie, who was also born via the IVF process, gave birth to her own baby that was conceived naturally. This put to rest any concerns about “test tube babies” not being able to reproduce on their own.