First test tube baby born
25 July 1978
Louise Brown is born at Oldham General Hospital. No ordinary baby, she was the first human conceived by in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in a petri dish. Since her birth, there have been over 5 million babies born using this fertility treatment.
© Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
First cross channel flight
25 July 1909
French aviator Louis Bleriot touches down in Dover having made the first cross-channel flight from Calais in his Bleriot VI monoplane. This feat won Bleriot £1,000 as part of a Daily Mail competition and paved the way for future aviation endeavours.
© Bob Thomas/Popperfoto/Getty Images
First space walk by a woman
25 July 1984
Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya becomes the first women to perform a space walk, outside the Soviet Salyut 7 space station. Savitskaya’s walk was partly instigated by NASA’s plans to have a woman spacewalk, causing yet another space race between the two space superpowers, the USSR and the USA. See more famous space firsts.
© Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images
First geosynchronous satellite launches
26 July 1963
NASA launches Syncom 2, the first geosynchronous satellite with an orbit that exactly matches that of the Earth’s. The space agency facilitated the first live two-way call between government heads of state via satellite (US President John F Kennedy and Nigerian Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa).
© Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Insulin successfully isolated
27 July 1921
Canadian scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolate the insulin-a hormone from canine test subjects. Within one year insulin treatments were being give to those with diabetes, which had previously been regarded as a fatal disease.
© Universal History Archive/Getty Images
Total solar eclipse first photographed
28 July 1851
Johann Berkowski snaps the first correctly exposed photograph of a total solar eclipse at the Royal Observatory in Konigberg. Berkowski was a skilled daguerreotypist, using a polished silver-plated copper sheet to take this early type of photograph.
By Berkowski [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
First artificial respirator installed
29 July 1927
Bellevue Hospital in New York has the first iron lung respirator. Developed by Harvard University, the iron lung surround the patient’s body and alternated between negative and ambient pressure to artificially expand and contract the chest cage, facilitating respiration.
Demonstration of an Iron Lung, photograph around 1930 (© Imagno/Getty Images)
Dwarf planet discovery announced
30 July 2005
Astronomers announce the discovery of the dwarf planet Eris. Slightly smaller than fellow dwarf Pluto, Eris was quantified as the tenth-most-massive body orbiting the sun, measuring in at 0.27 per cent of the Earth’s mass.
Henry Ford born
30 July 1863
The American industrialist Henry Ford is born in Michigan, United States. Ford revolutionised the automobile industry by developing the efficient moving assembly line, where workers built cars one piece at a time using the world’s first automatic conveyer belt.
© Apic/Getty Images
Compensation awarded to thalidomide families
30 July 1973
Pharmaceutical company Distillers agrees to pay more than £20 million in compensation to children whose mothers took the drug thalidomide when pregnant. It was prescribed to treat morning sickness but led to physical abnormalities in over 10,000 children. In 2012 British victims received a further £80 million from the government.
© Paul Fievez/BIPs/Getty Images
Apollo 15 astronauts ride lunar rover
31 July 1971
The crew of the Apollo 15 mission become the first to ride a rover on the Moon. Described as the most successful mission to date, the crew used the Lunar Roving Vehicle to explore large areas of terrain and collected 77 kilograms of surface material.
© Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images