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William Smith, born on March 23, 1769, in Oxfordshire, England, was an English geologist whose revolutionary work led him to become known as the “Father of English Geology.” From an early age, Smith had a keen interest in exploring and collecting fossils, and by the age of 18 he started work as a surveyor, which would see him spend years traveling all over England working on canal construction. This work gave him the opportunity to study rocks and fossils in much greater detail and provided the starting point for his most important work.
The first airplane to fly with its own power was a steam-powered airplane invented by French engineer Clement Ader in 1890. Because of the heavy weight of the steam engines, however, it lacked control and was incapable of sustained flight. It was able to take off and fly for only 50 meters before it crashed. Although Ader failed to build a more successful machine, other inventors continued to pursue the dream of sustained flight.
Before the nineteenth century, time of day was a local matter as people measured time based on the position of the sun. Towns would set their clocks by their assumption that it was noon when the sun was at its highest point in the sky. “Official time” was provided by a clockmaker or town clock, and people would adjust their watches and clocks accordingly. As a result, every town would be on a slightly different time.
Since the early 1940s, humans have been able to control pests with pesticides. This was made possible by the development of DDT, the first organic insecticide. In 1939 Paul Muller, a Swiss chemist, discovered its effectiveness in destroying pests. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his effort. After World War II, DDT was used globally to kill mosquitoes that spread malaria and lice that carried typhus.
The Inca were a Native American tribe from the desert-like region of the Southern Sierra. Between 1100 and 1300 AD, the Inca migrated to fertile Cuzco, which is situated in the Peruvian highlands. From there they expanded to incorporate parts of neighboring countries, such as present-day Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina. At its height, between 1450 and 1532 AD, the Inca population was between 3.5 and 7 million.