August - 35 years ago; 65 years ago; 95 years ago; 145 years ago; 230 years ago

35 years ago
Californian chemist George Pimentel announced that the infrared spectrometer that he designed had detected methane and ammonia during a fly past Mars on Mariner 7, implying that life existed on the red planet. Pimentel retracted this statement a few weeks later suggesting that the readings were instead due to lattice imperfections in CO2 ice.

65 years ago
Albert Einstein expressed his concerns about the military implications of atomic energy in a letter to US President Franklin Roosevelt. The letter was written following discussions with physicist Leo Szilard, who was also the Manhattan project initiator. Szilard believed that Nazi Germany might gain an unbeatable lead in developing atomic weapons.

95 years ago
German chemist Paul Ehrlich, now known as a founder of chemotherapy, cured syphilis in rabbits by injecting them with chemical ’606’. A year later the drug Salvarsan was released to treat human syphilis.

145 years ago
John Queeny, who founded the original Monsanto Company with the product saccharine, was born. Two years later a growing company, Coca-Cola, bought the entire saccharine output.

230 years ago
Joseph Priestley focused sunlight through a lens to heat mercuric oxide. The resulting gas supported the burning of a candle, and kept a mouse alive under glass. Priestley had discovered dephlogisticated air - later called oxygen.

Sallie Robins