Today's Birthday

  • Elizabeth Kenny (1880)
    Elizabeth Kenny (1880)

    After breaking her wrist as a young girl, Kenny developed an interest in medicine and eventually became a nurse. While treating polio victims in her native Australia, she devised a treatment using hot compresses and passive exercise that differed drastically from the usual approach of immobilization. Kenny later brought her controversial treatment to the US, where it was initially met with skepticism but was ultimately accepted. What actor attributes his recovery from polio to these treatments?

  • Emil Zátopek (1922)
    Emil Zátopek (1922)

    Zátopek, the "Czech Locomotive," was a long-distance runner who won three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He won gold in the 5,000-m and 10,000-m runs, and he amazingly earned gold yet again after deciding at the last minute to compete in the first marathon of his life. His wife, competing in the javelin toss, added a gold medal to the family collection at the same Olympics. Zátopek's success was likely due to his grueling training methods. What did he wear while training?

  • Jean Bernard Léon Foucault (1819)
    Jean Bernard Léon Foucault (1819)

    Foucault, a French physicist, invented the Foucault pendulum and used it to provide experimental proof that the Earth rotates on its axis. He improved astronomical instruments, especially the telescope, and with Armand Fizeau took the first clear photograph of the Sun. Foucault is also known for determining the speed of light with extreme accuracy and showing that light travels slower in water than in air. He had originally studied medicine but abandoned it for physics due to a fear of what?