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October 8, 2015 – October 14, 2015

Prizes Bequeathed

This week, as the 2015 Nobel Prize winners are being announced, look back at some of Washington's esteemed Nobel laureates, beginning with Tonasket native Walter Brattain, who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for helping to invent the transistor. Other Washington recipients include University of Washington physicist Hans G. Dehmelt, UW pharmacist Edmond H. Fischer and biochemist Edwin G. Krebs, bone-marrow-transplant pioneer E. Donnall Thomas, and geneticist Lee G. Hartwell and biologist Linda Buck, both of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

A variety of factors have stimulated scientific inquiry and achievement in Washington. Boeing and other technology pioneers recruited skilled engineers and supported scientific and technical education. During World War II, work at Hanford on developing the first nuclear weapons similarly attracted a critical mass of scientific talent, including William R. Wiley, in whose honor Richland dedicated the Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory in 1996. In more recent years Microsoft and other high-tech ventures have spawned a virtual science suburb around Puget Sound, just as biomedical pioneers have staked claims on the south shore of Seattle's Lake Union.

What Lies Beneath

October is Archaeology Month, and we invite you to delve deep into Washington's past. The earliest human remains so far discovered in the state belong to the so-called "Marmes Man" -- actually a whole community -- which predate the more controversial remains of Kennewick Man. Other finds in Washington that have intrigued archaeologists include a cache of Clovis points found near East Wenatchee, the remains of a Klallam village near Port Angeles, what may be the oldest continuously occupied human habitation in the state, and, of more recent vintage, fur trader Jaco Finlay's grave at old Spokane House.

Our essays go even further back in time, beginning in the late Mesozoic era when the Okanogan terrane docked against the North American continent. From there we fast-forward 100 million years to the end of the Ice Age about 11,000 years ago, when retreating glaciers that carved out much of the Pacific Northwest unearthed some interesting items.

News Then, History Now

Trails to Blaze: On October 10, 1805, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their Corps of Discovery became the first non-Indians to enter the future state of Washington overland. Once here, the explorers pressed westward, following the Snake and Columbia rivers to the Pacific Ocean.

A Visit from Hayes: After coal was discovered in Newcastle in October 1863, the mining town became so successful that even Rutherford B. Hayes dropped by, on October 11, 1880, during his tour as the first U.S. president to travel west of the Rockies. Hayes later that day attended a reception at Squire's Opera House in Seattle.

Cod To Be Canned: On October 14, 1891, the schooner Lizzie Colby landed the first load of Bering Sea cod in Anacortes, ushering in a new industry for the Skagit County city. For more than half a century schooners based in Seattle, Poulsbo, and Anacortes fished cod in the Bering Sea and Alaskan waters and returned home with their catch.

Not Like They Planned: On October 12, 1918, Camp Lewis attempted to raise a massive flag atop a 314-foot-tall Douglas fir pole, billed as the world's tallest.Weighing in at a hefty 257 pounds, the flag was too large and it shattered the pole the moment it unfurled. After another failed attempt, during which the pole held but the flag shredded, a smaller flag was raised in its place.

Aerial Display: On October 8, 1921, the first military plane landed at Sand Point in Seattle. On the same day in 1966 the Grant County Airport opened in Moses Lake at what used to be Larson Air Force Base.

Blown Away: On October 12, 1962, the Columbus Day Storm wreaked havoc throughout Western Washington. And 10 years ago this week the Seattle Storm wiped out the competition and became the Women's National Basketball Association 2004 champions, an honor the team achieved again in 2010.

Quote of the Week

I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.

                                   --Alfred Nobel

Image of the Week

Kirkland incorporated 110 years ago this week on October 12, 1905.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Military airplane lands at Sand Point for the first time on October 8, 1921.

Spokane Children's Home excludes African American orphans on October 8, 1936.

Meredith Mathews is named executive secretary of the Seattle YMCA's East Madison branch on October 8, 1957.

Group Health Cooperative dedicates new hospital on Seattle's Capitol Hill on October 8, 1960.

Grant County Airport in Moses Lake opens on October 8, 1966.

White construction workers rally in Seattle against minority hiring and training on October 8, 1969.

Seattle Police Chief Frank Ramon resigns amidst scandal on October 8, 1969.

E. Donnall Thomas named co-recipient of Nobel Prize in Medicine on October 8, 1990.

The Seattle Mariners win their first playoff series with a dramatic comeback against the New York Yankees on October 8, 1995.

Dr. Leland H. Hartwell is named recipient of the Nobel Prize for "Medicine or Physiology" on October 8, 2001.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

Lake Forest Park incorporates on June 20, 1961.

McDonald, Lucile S. (1898-1992)

"Lucile McDonald Day" is proclaimed on March 9, 1991.

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