On this day in science history: 30 May

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

30th May 2017
The original text of the ESA Convention, as kept in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, and the Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries (open at the signature page) © ESA

The original text of the ESA Convention, as kept in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, and the Final Act of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries (open at the signature page) © ESA

1975 – The European Space Agency established

The ESA convention sees the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) merge with the European Launch Development Organisation (ELDO) to form the European Space Agency.

ESA’s nine founding member states, including the UK, joined forces to pursue space research and compete with the US and USSR superpowers. Its first major mission was the launch of Cos-B in August 1975, a space probe to study gamma-rays. There are now 22 European states that are members of the Agency.

1990 – France illegally bans British beef

Control of beef imports at Calais © Jean Bernard Vernier/Sygma via Getty Images
Control of beef imports at Calais © Jean Bernard Vernier/Sygma via Getty Images

France becomes the first country to ban British beef and cattle imports amid BSE fears.

The ban went against EU law, yet France was joined by Germany and Italy a few days later, before all three bans were lifted after negotiation in Brussels on 7 June. A worldwide ban on all British beef exports was put in place in 1996, when the UK government finally acknowledged the link between BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and the human form of the disease, Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (CJD), ten years after BSE was first identified in cattle. This ban was lifted in 1999, but again France illegally kept its ban in place until 2002.

Listen: Science View - Variant CJD and BSE

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