1953 in science
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The year 1953 involved numerous significant events in science and technology, including the first description of the DNA double helix, the discovery of neutrinos, and the release of the first polio vaccine.
- April 25 – Francis Crick and James D. Watson of U.K. Medical Research Council's Unit for Research on the Molecular Structure of Biological Systems at the Cavendish Laboratory in the University of Cambridge publish "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid" in the British journal Nature. Their work is often ranked as one of the most dramatic biological discoveries of the 20th century, because of the structural beauty and functional logic of the DNA double helix. In 1962, they will share the Nobel Prize in Medicine with Maurice Wilkins, who publishes X-ray crystallography results for DNA in the same issue of Nature in 1953. The third related article published at the same time is by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling, on "Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate".
- May 15 – Stanley Miller publishes results from the Miller-Urey experiment in the journal Science. These surprise many chemists, by showing that organic molecules present in living organisms can form easily from simple inorganic chemicals.
- Rudolph Pariser, Robert G. Parr and John Pople publish their computational quantum chemistry theory for approximating molecular orbitals.
- Tom Kilburn at the University of Manchester completes a device called MEG, which performs floating-point calculations. This machine evolves into the first transistorized computer, the Metro-Vickers MV950, ultimately leading to the mass production of computers.
- Alan Turing publishes an article describing the first 1,104 zeroes of the Riemann zeta-function, the culmination of fifteen years of work on how to use computers to tackle a fundamental problem in number theory.
- Maurice Ewing and Bruce Heezen discover the deep canyon running along the center of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an important contribution to the theory of plate tectonics.
Medicine and human sciences
- February 13 – Christine Jorgenson, the first widely known American transsexual, returns to New York after successful sexual reassignment surgery in Denmark.
- March 26 – Jonas Salk announces his polio vaccine.
- May 6 – The first successful open heart surgery on a human utilizing a cardiopulmonary bypass pump ("heart-lung machine") is performed by John Gibbon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia when he repairs an atrial septal defect in 18-year-old Cecilia Bavolek.
- August 18 – The second of the controversial Kinsey Reports on human sexuality, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, is published in the United States.
- September 4 – The discovery of REM sleep is first published by researchers Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman of the University of Chicago.
- Cincinnati psychiatrist Max Lurie and Harry Salzer coin the term antidepressant.
- B. F. Skinner publishes the book Science and Human Behavior, a controversial attempt to apply the results of behavioral studies of laboratory animals to human psychology.
- 21 November – Authorities at the Natural History Museum in London announce that the skull of Piltdown Man (allegedly an early human discovered in 1912) is a hoax.
- Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan perform the first neutrino detection experiments, constructing the first neutrino detector (a cadmium-water target) and using the Hanford Site nuclear facility in Washington State as the neutrino source. This work, first discussed with Enrico Fermi and others in 1951–2, leads to the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics.
- December 17 – The NTSC color television standard is agreed for the United States.
- J. C. Bamford of England introduce the backhoe loader.
- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory completes development of the SSM-A-17 Corporal I rocket. This is the first American surface-to-surface ballistic missile, powered by a liquid-fuelled motor utilizing nitric acid as the oxidizer.
- January 14 – "Doctors' plot": The state newspaper Pravda publishes an article alleging that many of the most prestigious physicians in the Soviet Union, mostly Jews, are part of a major plot to poison the country's senior political and military leaders.
- February 16 – The Pakistan Academy of Sciences is established.
- October 9 – As part of an extended series of publications on science, Pope Pius XII publishes "The Technician", which instructs scientists to restrict themselves to the study of physical matter and do nothing to undermine the idea of a non-material soul or a Superior Being. "The Technician" is delivered as a papal address on October 9.
- Rudolf Carnap publishes an article called "Testability and Meaning" in Readings in the Philosophy of Science, which moves away from the philosophical position of logical positivism with respect to science (particularly the heavily mathematical sciences, such as physics). Carnap instead emphasizes the idea that progress in science depends on the gradual accumulation of many small results that support human understanding of the world, a view more in line with Ludwig Wittgenstein's later philosophy and the biological sciences.
Main articles: List of Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, List of Nobel laureates in Physics and List of Nobel laureates in Chemistry
- 1953 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Hans Adolf Krebs and Fritz Albert Lipmann
- 1953 Nobel Prize in Physics: Frits Zernike
- 1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Hermann Staudinger
- January 2 – Vincent Racaniello, American virologist.
- January 17 – Ingeborg Hochmair (née Desoyer), Austrian electrical engineer.
- May 14 – Martin Page, English botanist.
- May 17 – Maria Petrou, Anglo-Greek artificial intelligence researcher (d. 2012).
- February 25 – Sergei Winogradsky, Russian microbiologist (b. 1856).
- April 17 – Sven Gustaf Wingqvist, Swedish engineer, inventor and industrialist (b. 1876).
- April 22 – Jan Czochralski, Polish-German discoverer of the Czochralski process for growing crystals (b. 1885).
- August 15 – Ludwig Prandtl, German physicist (b. 1875).
- September 28 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer (b. 1889).
- November 13 – Herbert E. Ives, American optical engineer (b. 1882).
- Watson, J. D.; Crick, F. H. C. (1953). "Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid". Nature 171 (4356): 737–738. Bibcode:1953Natur.171..737W. doi:10.1038/171737a0. PMID 13054692. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- "Scientists describe 'secret of life'". On This Day. BBC. April 25, 1953. Archived from the original on December 22, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
- Wilkins, M. H. F.; Stokes, A. R.; Wilson, H. R. (1953). "Molecular Structure of Deoxypentose Nucleic Acids". Nature 171 (4356): 738–740. Bibcode:1953Natur.171..738W. doi:10.1038/171738a0. PMID 13054693. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- Franklin, Rosalind E.; Gosling, R. G. (1953). "Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate". Nature 171 (4356): 740–741. Bibcode:1953Natur.171..740F. doi:10.1038/171740a0. PMID 13054694. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- Miller, Stanley L. (1953). "A Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions". Science 117 (3046): 528–9. Bibcode:1953Sci...117..528M. doi:10.1126/science.117.3046.528. JSTOR 1680569. PMID 13056598.
- Pariser R.; Parr R. G. (1953). Journal of Chemical Physics 21 (5): 767. Bibcode:1953JChPh..21..767P. doi:10.1063/1.1699030.
- Pople, J. A. (1953). Transactions of the Faraday Society 49: 1375. doi:10.1039/tf9534901375.
- Turing, Alan M. (1953). "Some calculations of the Riemann zeta-function". Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society 3: 99–117. doi:10.1112/plms/s3-3.1.99.
- Ewing, Maurice; Heezen, Bruce C.; Ericson, D. B.; Northrop, John; Dorman, James (July 1953). "Exploration of the Northwest Atlantic Mid-ocean Canyon". Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 64 (7): 865–868. Bibcode:1953GSAB...64..865E. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1953)64[865:EOTNAM]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0016-7606. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Cohn, Lawrence H. (May 2003). "Fifty years of open-heart surgery". Circulation 107 (17): 2168–70. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000071746.50876.E2. PMID 12732590. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- Aserinsky, Eugene; Kleitman, Nathaniel (1953). "Regularly Occurring Periods of Eye Motility, and Concomitant Phenomena, During Sleep". Science 118 (3062): 273–274. Bibcode:1953Sci...118..273A. doi:10.1126/science.118.3062.273. JSTOR 1680525. PMID 13089671.
- Healy, D. (2001). "The Antidepressant Drama". In Weissman, M.M. The treatment of depression: bridging the 21st century. American Psychiatric Pub. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-88048-397-1. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
- Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and Human Behavior. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0-02-929040-6.
- Weiner, J. S.; Oakley, K. P.; Le Gros Clark, W. E.. "The Solution of the Piltdown Problem". Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geological Series 2 (3).
- "End as a Man". Time. 30 November 1953. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Reines, F.; Cowan, C. L., jr (November 1953). "Detection of the Free Neutrino". Physical Review 92 (3): 830–831. Bibcode:1953PhRv...92..830R. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.92.830.
- "Professor Maria Petrou". The Daily Telegraph. November 11, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2012.