40 years ago today, English born Louise Joy Brown became the first human to be born after conception by in vitro fertilization. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years after maternal complications from blocked fallopian tubes. The year before giving birth at Oldham General Hospital, she underwent a procedure developed by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards—who was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work. Although the media referred to Brown as a “test tube baby”, her conception actually took place in a Petri dish. (1978)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Neil Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash on stage for the first time, playing at The Fillmore East in New York, a collaboration that would continue on and off for the next 30 years (1969)
  • Another section of the Sinai Peninsula was peacefully returned by Israel to Egypt (1979)
  • Diana, the Princess of Wales opened a new AIDS Center in London (1989)
  • After generations of hostility, Jordan’s King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Washington Declaration formally ending 46 years of bloodshed and sorrow, due in part to the initiative and personal involvement of President Bill Clinton and his tireless work for peace in the Middle East. (1994)
  • Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France, after being given grave diagnosis of testicular cancer (1999)
  • Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India’s first woman president (2007)

And, on this day in 1997, K.R. Narayanan was sworn in as President of India–fulfilling Gandhi’s dream as the first leader from an “untouchable” caste.

In his inaugural, after receiving 95 percent of the votes in the electoral college, he said, “That the nation has found a consensus for its highest office in someone who has sprung from the grassroots of our society and grown up in the dust and heat of this sacred land is symbolic of the fact that the concerns of the common man have now moved to the center stage of our social and political life.

And, on this day in 1965, folk singer Bob Dylan walked onstage at the Newport Folk Festival, plugged in his 1964 Fender Stratocaster and “went electric,” tearing into the song “Maggie’s Farm” in one of the most pivotal moments in music history. Although some folkie audience members booed, nothing would stop the leather-clad Dylan from becoming one of rock’s rebel geniuses. Dylan, who was expected by fans to ‘save’ folk music from being overtaken by rock-and-roll, would later say that he was already a fan of The Beatles and the first time he heard them he knew “they were pointing to the direction where music had to go.” …WATCH the moment below… (Learn More in these books and videos.)


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