What Happened on July 25?

  • The world's first in-vitro fertilization baby was born. (1978) Louise Brown was born in Oldham, England. Her parents, Lesley and Peter Brown, had tried for years to have a baby, but Lesley suffered from blocked fallopian tubes. The doctors, a British gynecologist named Patrick Steptoe and a scientist named Robert Edwards, successfully performed the first procedure. Though it was controversial at the time, the procedure now is considered mainstream — hundreds of thousands of babies have been conceived via IVF.

  • The Broadway musical A Chorus Line opened. (1975) A Chorus Line won 12 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It had a run of 6,137 shows, a record for its time. It still holds the record for the longest-running musical produced in the US, and it's the fourth longest-running Broadway show in history.

  • The first woman walked in space. (1984) Russian astronaut Svetlana Savitskaya performed a space walk while stationed on the Soviet space station Salyut 7. She also was the second woman in space — the first was Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, 17 years earlier.

  • The Concord Jet had its first crash. (2000) The Air France Concorde flight 4590 took off from DeGaulle Airport on its way to New York. The plane crashed into the ground immediately after takeoff and exploded, killing all 105 people on board. It was the first and only crash in the Concord Jet's 31-year history and was caused by a piece of metal dropped from a plane that had taken off earlier. The Concord hit the metal, shredding a tire which was thrown into one of the engines, causing a fire. The high-speed jets, which could fly faster than twice the speed of sound at 1,350 miles per hour (2,172 kilometers per hour), were permanently grounded in 2003.

  • Rock Hudson announced he had AIDS. (1985) Hudson was a famous American actor, most notable for his role as a leading man in romantic films. He was the first celebrity to publicly announce an AIDS diagnosis. Though he never admitted it publicly, he was thought to be gay. He died on October 2nd this same year, and his death fueled awareness for the disease, which has just started being reported in the early 1980s.

  • The US conducted the first underwater test of the atomic bomb. (1946) The bomb was detonated at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific as part of the Operation Crossroads series of nuclear bomb tests. The bomb, called Baker was detonated 90 feet (27 meters) underwater. Its explosion contaminated the target ships so badly that the Navy had to cancel the one remaining nuclear weapon test called Charlie.

  • The first General of the US Army was named. (1866) Army Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, who would later become the 18th President of the United States, was the first to hold the rank, commonly referred to as "Five-Star General."

  • California became the first US state to ban trans fats in restaurants. (2008) The law went into effect on January 1, 2010. Other US states have either followed suit, have legislation pending or are considering similar laws.

  • Bob Dylan unexpectedly plugged in his electric guitar for the first time in a public performance. (1965) Dylan's electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival surprised his audience — and not in a good way. The crowd booed, even when he played his classic song Like A Rolling Stone. Regardless, his artistic direction was the beginning of a new plugged-in era in folk and rock music.

  • Wolfgang Mozart finished Symphony Number 40 in G-Minor. (1788) Mozart, who started composing when he was five years old, composed more than 600 works in his lifetime. He is considered one of the most influential classic composers of all time.

  • Mata Hari was sentenced to death. (1917) Hari, who was an exotic dancer and courtesan, was sentenced to death for espionage in Paris, France. She was accused of spying for the Germans in World War I and was executed by firing squad on October 15, 1917.

Discussion Comments


The last bullet point brings up an interesting question. Even though Mata Hari was accused of espionage, was it true that she was a spy? After all, espionage is one of those criminal offenses that people might be a bit too paranoid about. Also, some people hide their true self so well, it's impossible to tell who they really are. This is especially true when you consider the methods people choose to undergo during their espionage training.


Even though I'm not familiar with Rock Hudson, it's a shame that he fell victim to AIDS. Speaking of which, the worst thing about the disease is that at the moment, there's no known cure for it. There may be some ways to halt the effects, but overall, if one gets AIDS, there is a little to no hope for them. However, it's enlightening to hear that his death sparked awareness of this disease, as it's something many people didn't think about unless they were to contract it.


The fourth to last bullet point is very interesting, as I didn't know that California has banned trans-fat. However, it makes perfect sense. Even though fat is good for us, there are certain fats that can contribute to long term health problems. It was a smart choice to ban these, and hopefully all other states follow suit.

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