December 10, 2020
Day 345 of 366
December 10th is the 345th day of the year. It is Alfred Nobel Day or Nobeldagen in Sweden, a celebration of both the Nobel Prize and the man who bequeathed his fortune to start that prize, Alfred Nobel, on the anniversary of his death in 1896.
At sunset today, Hanukkah begins. It runs until December 18th.
Historical items of note:
- In 1684, Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, was read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley.
- In 1768, the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published.
- In 1815, English mathematician and computer scientist Ada Lovelace was born. She is chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She is believed by some to be the first to recognize that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first to recognize the full potential of computers and as one of the first to be a computer programmer.
- In 1830, poet Emily Dickinson was born.
- In 1884, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published.
- In 1901, the first Nobel Prize ceremony was held in Stockholm on the fifth anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
- In 1906, United States President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize.
- In 1909, Selma Lagerlöf became the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
- In 1919, composer Alexander Courage was born.
- In 1928, Canadian actor John Colicos was born.
- In 1941, Irish actress and producer Fionnula Flanagan was born.
- In 1952, actress Susan Dey was born.
- In 1957, actor Michael Clarke Duncan was born.
- In 1960, Northern Ireland-born English actor director, producer, and screenwriter Kenneth Branagh was born.
- In 1978, Superman: The Movie premiered, making us all believe that a man could fly.
- In 1984, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the Convention against Torture.
- In 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiered. It was the first of the franchise’s anthology films and the first non-episodic live action film in the franchise.
December 10th is Human Rights Day.
The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. The declaration was the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.
The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the General Assembly on December 4, 1950. The day itself is normally marked both by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues.
It is also, traditionally, on December 10th that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. Many governmental and non-governmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day, as do many civil and social-cause organizations.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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