DATES. EVENTS. PEOPLE.
On February 2nd, 1943, Soviet troops defeated the Nazi troops in the Battle of Stalingrad. 200 heroic days of the defence of Stalingrad went down in history of mankind as the bloodiest and cruellest. During the defence of the city, more than a million Soviet soldiers and officers were killed and wounded. The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest land battle during the World War II and one of the turning points in the course of hostilities, after which the German troops finally lost the strategic initiative.
On February 2nd, 1702, a decree of Peter the Great was issued, which laid the foundation for the Baltic Fleet. The main base of the fleet was located in Kronstadt. The Baltic Fleet is famous not only for its victories during military operations. It made a huge contribution to world geographical science with its expeditions, inventions, and discoveries.
On February 3rd, 1966, the Soviet spacecraft Luna-9 was the first in the world to make a soft landing on the Moon. After landing, the spacecraft oprated for 75 hours and gave seven communication sessions. Luna-9 transmitted a television panorama of the area to Earth. These images, taken from a height of about 1 metre, showed details up to 1 millimetre in size.
February 4th is World Cancer Day. This is an annual event organised by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) since 2005. The purpose of this Day is to draw public attention to this global problem, to remind about how dangerous and widespread cancer is now, and to significantly reduce cancer mortality.
On February 4th, 1808, Vintsent Dunin-Martsinkevich was born (1808-1884), a Belarusian poet, playwright, theatre figure. He was founder of new Belarusian literature, professional dramaturgy and theatre. Until now, his Idyll, Pinsk Gentry, Zalety plays are being performed on the stages of theaters. Furthermore, he created the first Belarusian national theatre.
On February 4th, 1857, Neanderthals were presented to the scientific community for the first time. In 1856, the remains of species that lived about 150,000 years ago were discovered in the Neandertal Valley in Germany. On February 4th, 1857, a presentation of the found fossil skull of an ancient man, Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis), named after the place of discovery was held at a meeting of the Lower Rhine Medical and Natural History Society in Bonn.
On February 4th, 1944, scientists proved that DNA is the carrier of hereditary information. Thus, on this day, the issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine was published in the USA with an article about one of the most important discoveries in biology. O. Avery and his collaborators K. Macleod and M. McCarthy irrefutably proved in studies conducted in the laboratory of the Rockefeller Medical Institute (New York) that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the carrier of hereditary information, the ‘material’ of genes.
On February 4th, 1945, the Crimea (Yalta) Conference began — the second (after Tehran) official meeting of the heads of the allied states of the anti-Hitler coalition — the USSR, the USA and Great Britain during the World War II. It was here that the plans for the final defeat of Germany and the end of the Second World War were agreed, as well as the basic principles of a common policy regarding the post-war order of the world were outlined.
On February 5th, 1928, vitamin D was produced artificially for the first time. The German chemist Adolf Windaus was the first to synthesise this indispensable part of the human diet. In the same year, Windaus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discovery.
On February 6th, 1900, a radio distress signal was transmitted at sea for the first time in the world. The Russian scientist Alexander Popov, the inventor of the wireless telegraphy apparatus (radio receiver), transmitted by radio a message to the icebreaker Yermak about fishermen carried away on an ice floe into the sea. This message became the first official Russian radiogram.
On February 8th, 1837, a fatal duel on pistols between the great Russian poet of the chamber junker Alexander Pushkin and Lieutenant Baron Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthes took place in Petersburg. The duel was provoked by anonymous letters hinting at the infidelity of Pushkin’s wife.