On this day in science history: 23 May

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

23rd May 2017
Benjamin Franklin, holds a paper with his drawing for his invention © Bettmann/Getty Images

Benjamin Franklin, holds a paper with his drawing for his invention © Bettmann/Getty Images

1785 – Benjamin Franklin announces invention of bifocals

Benjamin Franklin writes to his friend George Whatley describing his ‘double glasses’.

Franklin made his first pair of bifocals by cutting the lenses of two pairs of spectacles in half and mounting them in the same frame.

Listen: Melvyn Bragg discusses the life and work of Benjamin Franklin in Radio 4's In Our Time

1962 – World’s first successful reattachment of limb

Red Knowles holds a baseball in his left hand, as his reattached right arm continues to heal © Massachusetts General Hospital
Everett Knowles holds a baseball in his left hand, as his reattached right arm continues to heal © Massachusetts General Hospital

Everett Knowles, 12, has his right arm successfully reattached, after it was torn off when he tried to catch a ride on a freight train.

It took eight and a half hours of surgery, but Eddy’s arm was saved by Dr Ronald Malt, in Massachusetts General Hospital. Eddy made a good recovery and became a truck driver and garage mechanic.

1995 – First version of Java released

Woman programming in Java © Getty
© Getty

The programming language Java is released in its first public implementation.

Java was created by James Gosling of Sun Microsystems (later acquired by Oracle). He sought to develop C++ programs that were compatible with the widest possible variety of platforms, leading to a mantra of ‘write once, run anywhere’. Java is now one of the most popular programming languages in the world, used to create desktop apps, mobile apps, and even some games such as Minecraft.

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