On this day in science history: 5 June

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

5th June 2017
Voder demonstration by Bell Labs on 1939 New York World's Fair

Voder demonstration by Bell Labs on 1939 New York World's Fair

1938 – First machine to produce speech exhibited

Bell Telephone scientists display the Voder (Voice Operating Demonstrator) at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.

The machine synthesised speech by piecing together the acoustic components of human speech, and could also imitate farm animal sounds. Voder had to be manually operated using a keyboard, with the vocal pitch controlled using foot pedals. It was later demonstrated the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

1981 – AIDS epidemic officially begins

Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, Dir. Of Health for the City and County of San Francisco, displays poster and leaflets meant to educate people to the health risks posed by AIDS, June 1983 © Bettmann/Getty Images
Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, Dir. Of Health for the City and County of San Francisco, displays poster and leaflets meant to educate people to the health risks posed by AIDS, June 1983 © Bettmann/Getty Images

A disease, which would later be named AIDS, is described in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention newsletter.

An unusual cluster of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in five homosexual men in Los Angeles was the first sign of the epidemic. The disease, caused by an infection with HIV, affects the immune system and received its name Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome by August 1982.

Watch: BBC Horizon’s Killer in the Village

1995 – Bose-Einstein condensate created

By NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder (NIST Image) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder (NIST Image) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

At the University of Colorado, Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman cool a gas near to absolute zero, producing the first Bose-Einstein condensate.

Cornell and Wieman received the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. The condensate forms when atoms are cooled extremely close to absolute zero (0 kelvin or -273.16 degrees Celsius) using lasers. The atoms have no free energy, which causes them to clump together and enter the same energy states. At this point the atoms are physically identical and the group behaves like a single atom. It is not possible to truly reach absolute zero, but we can get pretty close to it, with the lowest temperature achieved being 100 picokelvins, or 0.000,000,000,1 of a kelvin.

Listen: Science in Action - Physicists observe a new State of Matter

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