Schoolmaster and amateur mathematician William Shanks (1812-82) spent the greater part of his life calculating the value of pi to 707 decimal places. 60 years after his death, mathematician D.F. Ferguson used a mechanical calculator to show that he had got the last 180 of these decimal places wrong.
First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between King John and a group of rebel barons, the Magna Carta promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown.
Wever and Bray removed the skull and most of the brain of a live cat and connected its auditory nerve to an electrode. When one researcher spoke in the cat's ear, the sound was seemingly converted, among the cat's neurons, into an electrical signal that was transmitted through the electrode and a connecting wire to a telephone in a separate room.
Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BC - c. 425 BC) was the first writer to make a conscious attempt to discover and explain past events. He is generally considered the "father of history". However, his contemporary Thucydides (c. 460 BC - c. 400 BC) is credited with having first approached history with a well-developed historical method in his work the History of the Peloponnesian War.
The first European explorer to discover New Zealand was Abel Janszoon Tasman on 13 December 1642. Captain James Cook, who reached New Zealand in October 1769 on the first of his three voyages, was the first European to circumnavigate and map New Zealand.
The fall of Constantinople followed a 53-day siege that had begun on 6 April 1453. Almost 500 years of Turkish domination of the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East would follow.