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Science In My Life is maintained by John R. Hoffman, Professor of Biology and a scientist examining the recovery of the nervous system after injury.

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4/18 Great San Francisco Earthquake, Hitchings, Houdry, and National Park Week

Great San Francisco Earthquake (1906)
At  5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, the northernmost 296 miles (477 kilometers) of the San Andreas fault ruptured causing one of the most significant earthquakes of  recorded time.  The earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay area and was felt as far away as Oregon, Los Angeles and central Nevada.  The United States Geological Survey site on the earthquake indicates that it had a magnitude of between 7.7 and 8.3 on the Richter scale.   The destruction to the buildings and the subsequent fire devastated the city.  (Photograph Looking Down Sacramento St., 1906. [verso:] “San Francisco: April 18, 1906.” taken by Arnold Genthe and retrieved from Wikimedia Commons).

Albert Einstein died (1955)
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) was a German physicist and later researcher at Princeton University.  He received the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the photoelectric effect, but is more commonly known for his general theory or relativity (E = mc2).

George H. Hitchings born (1908)
George Hitchings (1908 – 1998) was an American doctor who received a share of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine with James Black and Gertude Elion for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment.  He developed many different drug treatments, but he is best known for the development of chemotherapy for the treatment of cancers.  He also contributed to the knowledge used to develop antiviral drugs such as those used to treat AIDS.

Eugene Houdry born (1892)
Eugene Houdry (1892 – 1962) was a French mechanical engineer who invented the Houdry process of using a catalyst to “crack” petroleum into shorter carbon chains in the formation of gasoline.  Prior to the development, it was expensive to heat the petroleum to produce gasoline.  His process was revised slightly and is still in use in refineries today.

National Park Week April 16 – 24, 2011
Get out and discover something new about our 394 national parks. This year’s focus, Healthy Parks, Healthy People, highlights the connection between human and environmental health and the vital role America’s national parks play in both.

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