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On this day September 29, 1954

Eleven countries signed a convention establishing the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), currently the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

Blue founding members

Blue founding members

The acronym CERN originally stood, in French, for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research), which was a provisional council for setting up the laboratory.

The organization was established by the following 11 European governments; Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands and United Kingdom.

Today the organization has twenty European member states, and is currently the workplace of approximately 2,600 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers (representing 580 universities and research facilities and 80 nationalities). Read More…

On this day July 25, 1909

French aviator Louis Blériot crossed the English Channel in a heavier-than-air flying machine, flying from near Calais, France, to Dover, England receiving a prize of 1000 offered by the London Daily Mail for a successful crossing of the English Channel.Avion_Bleriot_XI_1909

Blériot was a pioneer of the sport of air racing and also is credited as the first person to make a working monoplane.

Blériot had two rivals for the prize, both of whom failed to reach the goal. The first was Hubert Latham, a French national of English extraction. He was favored by both the United Kingdom and France to win. Read More…

On this day July 22, 1894

First ever motorized racing event is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The race is won by Jules de Dion.

Motor racing was started in France, as a direct result of the enthusiasm with which the French public embraced the motor car.[8] Manufacturers were enthusiastic due to the possibility of using motor racing as a shop window for their cars.

The first motor race took place on July 22, 1894 and was organised by Le Petit Journal, a Parisian newspaper. It was run over the eighty mile (128 km) distance between Paris and Rouen. The race was won by Jules de Dion, although he was not awarded the prize for first place as his car required a stoker and the judges deemed this outside of their objectives. The de Dion Bouton that Jules piloted was a steam powered vehicle, and thus did not meet the intent of the competition.

On this day July 11, 1789

Jacques Necker is dismissed as France’s Finance Minister sparking the Storming of the Bastille.

Jacques Necker

Jacques Necker

Louis XVI, acting under the influence of the conservative nobles of his privy council, dismissed and banished his finance minister, Jacques Necker, who had been sympathetic to the Third Estate, and completely reconstructed the ministry.

The marshal Victor-François, duc de Broglie, la Galissonnière, the duc de la Vauguyon, the Baron Louis de Breteuil, and the intendant Foulon, took over the posts of Puységur, Armand Marc, comte de Montmorin, La Luzerne, Saint-Priest, and Necker. Read More…

On this day June 15, 1667

French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys, eminent physician to King Louis XIV of France, administered the first fully-documented human blood transfusion, giving the blood of a sheep to a 15-year old boy he partially recovered, but then he died.

There have not been since, it appears, any subsequent successful blood transfusion operations between species of such widely divergent taxonomic rank..

Denys performed another transfusion into a labourer, who also survived. Both instances were likely due to the small amount of blood that was actually transfused into these people. This allowed them to withstand the allergic reaction. Read More…

Five masterpieces stolen from Paris Musée d’Art Moderne

The museum reported the overnight theft of five paintings from its collection.

Le pigeon aux petits pois by Picasso

The paintings taken were Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso, La Pastorale by Henri Matisse, L’Olivier Près de l’Estaque by Georges Braque, La Femme a l’Eventail by Amedeo Modigliani and Nature Morte aux Chandeliers by Fernand Léger.

The paintings were valued at €100 million ($123 million). A window had been smashed and CCTV footage showed a masked man taking the paintings.

The thief is claimed to have acted alone. The man cut the paintings from their frames, which he left behind.

The theft is being investigated by the Brigade de Répression du Banditisme specialist unit of the French Police. It is unclear why the alarm systems in the museum failed to detect the robbery, staff only noticing when they arrived at the museum just before 7 am.

The museum was closed today for “technical reasons”. The theft follows the $162 million heist of masterpieces by Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh and Monet from Zurich museum in February 2008 and could be one of the biggest art thefts in history (by value) and has been described as the “heist of the century”.

On this day May 11, 1995

In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

Participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, was opened for signature on July 1, 1968.

There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council). Read More…