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1977 In Science: 10 Advancements That Changed The World

On July 2nd of 1977, Kentucky Science Center officially moved into its new home at 727 West Main Street. On February 3rd of 2018, we're celebrating 40 years of science on Main at our Science With a Twist gala: "Science Since '77." Our move was pretty fantastic, but there are a bunch of other incredible scientific advancements from 1977 to celebrate. Here are 10.

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Apple II

Musée Bolo, EPFL / Via

Apple Computer launched the Apple II on July 10th 1977, a year which marked the advent of home computer use. Along with the Commodore PET and TRS-80, the Apple II was deemed part of the "1977 Trinity." This was Apple's first attempt at marketing to families and homes rather than businesses, almost exactly thirty years before Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007.

The rings of Uranus


A team comprised of James L. Elliot, Jessica Mink, and Edward W. Dunham observed the rings of Uranus on March 10, 1977 at the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. Initially 5 rings were observed, and then 4 more. 2 more rings were observed by Voyager 2 in 1986, and then 2 more by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005. They've been named: 1986U2R/ζ, 6, 5, 4, α, β, η, γ, δ, λ, ε, ν, μ.

The Atari 2600

Evan-Amos / Via

The Atari Video Computer System, later called the Atari 2600, was released on September 11, 1977. It cost $199 (about $800 today), and came with two joysticks. Nine titles accompanied the release, but the console's library grew over time to 565 different games.

First complete genome sequencing


In 1977, biochemist Frederick Sanger and team sequenced a bacteriophage called ΦX174, with 5386 base pairs. In that year, Sanger and team also introduced the "Sanger method" of DNA sequencing, a major breakthrough for which he earned his second Nobel prize.

Last natural infection of smallpox

CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy; Sylvia Whitfield / Via

Three years before the World Health Organization announced the global eradication of smallpox, and seven years after doubling efforts to eradicate the disease, the last natural infection was diagnosed in Somalia. Vaccination for smallpox was discovered in 1798.

First multichannel cochlear implant


The cochlear implant was invented in 1961, but the modern multi-channel cochlear implant didn't come around until Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair developed it in the seventies. It was first implanted in December of 1977.

The Voyager program


In 1977, Voyager 1 and 2, both built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, were launched from Cape Canaveral. Voyager 2 launched first, on August 20th, and remains the only spacecraft to visit either of the ice giants. 16 days later, Voyager 1 launched, and is the farthest spacecraft from Earth.

The Golden Record


Each Voyager spacecraft carries a Golden Record: a time capsule of sorts intended for extraterrestrial life. The record's contents were curated by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. Images of the solar system and life on Earth, music of all types, sounds of the earth, from Morse code to crickets, and a variety of greetings in different languages are all included in the record.

Hydrothermal vents


On February 17 of 1977, a team of marine geologists from Stanford University discovered submarine hydrothermal vents and their ecosystem near the Galapagos archipelago. Hydrothermal vents are cracks in the earth's crust that expel warm water. Geysers and hot springs are two examples of hydrothermal vents on land.

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