On Dec. 2, 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.
On this date:
In 1697, London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was consecrated for use even though the building was still under construction.
In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.
In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.
In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile that replaced its Model T.
In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.
In 1954, the U.S. Senate passed, 67-22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., saying he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”
In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., began operations. (The reactor ceased operating in 1982.)
In 1967, Cardinal Francis Spellman died in New York at age 78.
In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors under its first director, William D. Ruckelshaus.
In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.
In 1997, the film drama “Good Will Hunting” starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck was released by Miramax Films.