On this day in science history: 20 November

From the days of ancient technology to modern science - find out what happened on this day in the history of science.

20th November 2017
WHO announces 1st global effort to combat AIDS © Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

© Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images

1986 - WHO announces 1st global effort to combat AIDS

A disease described as "a health disaster of pandemic proportions", the World Health Organization (WHO) announces its first coordinated global effort to combat AIDS. An epidemic that started in the 70s had seen the number of reported cases of AIDS rise from 270 in 1981 to 71,751 cases in 1986. Dr. Halfdan Mahler, head of WHO at the time, announced the first global effort and said they were going to show the same money, spirit and dedication into beating AIDS as they did with the eradication of smallpox.

Today there are around 36.7 million people living with AIDS. There has been progress, with around 17 million people now receiving treatment and a 33 per cent decrease in new HIV infections since 2001.

1984 - McDonald's makes its 50 billionth hamburger

McDonald's makes its 50 billionth hamburger  © Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
© Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

The most famous fast food chain in the world, McDonald's, sells its 50 billionth hamburger. McDonald’s originated from a hot dog food stand on Huntington Drive on Route 66, and hamburgers were later added to the menu for ten cents. In 1950 Maurice and Richard McDonald opened the first McDonald’s restaurant, with its lack of heating, uncomfortable chairs and cone shaped cups making perfectly designed for fast food as there was no reason for the customers to hang around. Now MacDonald’s is found in 118 countries across the world serving 68 million people per day, more than the entire population of the UK.

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