September - 5 years ago; 90 years ago; 135 years ago; 140 years ago; 155 years ago

5 years ago 

NASA reported the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica had grown to 11.4 million square miles (more than three times the area of the US). For the first time the inhabitants of a populated city (Punta Arenas in southern Chile) were exposed to dangerous levels of UV radiation. 

90 years ago 

John Sheehan born in Michigan, US. He was the first to report the total synthesis of penicillin and its derivatives. He became a science adviser to US presidents Kennedy and Johnson.  

135 years ago 

Jean Baptiste Perrin was born in Lille, France. His work on colloidal systems verified Einstein’s theories on Brownian motion and led to his Nobel prize in 1926. He demonstrated that cathode rays are negatively charged, and accurately calculated Avogadro’s constant using several different methods. 

140 years ago 

Joseph Lister performed the first antiseptic surgery with carbolic acid at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. His methods, despite great opposition from established medical schools in London and the US, greatly reduced wound infections and saved many lives.  

155 years ago 

Eugen Goldstein was born in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia. He coined the phrase ’cathode ray’ to describe the light emitted when electric currents pass through a vacuum. He also reported the creation of ammonia when electricity passed through tubes containing hydrogen and nitrogen, eventually spawning attempts to determine the origins of life.