MARCH 23: THIS DAY IN HISTORY

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IN THE WORLD:

* The World Meteorology Day (marked since 1961). The convention of the World Meteorology Organization, a UN intergovernmental specialized institution, came into force on March 23, 1950.

* The Islamic Republic of Pakistan marks a national holiday, Pakistan Day (1956).

* French astronomer, mathematician, physicist Pierre Simon LAPLACE (1749-1827), a classic representative of mechanic determinism, was born 255 years ago. He is the author of classic works on the probability theory and celestial mechanics. In 1796 he proposed a cosmogonical hypothesis (the hypothesis of Laplace).

* English engineer, geodesist and geologist William SMITH (1769-1839), a founding father of biostratigraphy, was born 235 years ago. He drew up the first geological map of England using the principles of fossil succession.

* 197 years ago, in 1807 the British parliament passed the law prohibiting slave trade.

* German rocket developer Werhnher von BRAUN (1912-1977) was born 92 years ago. He supervised the development of the V-2 ballistic missile, Saturn launch vehicles and Apollo spacecraft in the USA.

* 85 years ago, in 1919 former socialist Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in Italy.

* Barney Clark, the first man who survived 112 days with an artificial heart, died in Salt Lake City (USA) 21 years ago, in 1983.

IN RUSSIA:

* Pilot Anatoly LYAPIDEVSKY (1908-1983) was born 96 years ago, in 1908. He is one of the first seven Heroes of the Soviet Union, who were honored with this highest title for the rescue of the Chelyuskin expedition in the Chukchi Sea in 1934 (A year before the Chelyuskin crew attempted to sail from Murmansk (the Kola Peninsula) to Vladivostok (Russia's Pacific gate).

* Aircraft engine designer Arkhip LYULKA (1908-1984) was born 96 years ago. He supervised the construction of the first Russian turbo-jet engine.

* The Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (today Bashkortostan, a constituent republic in the Russian Federation) was founded 85 years ago, in 1919.

* First tractors K-701 with 300 hp engine were produced at Kirov plant in Leningrad 30 years ago, in 1974.

* The Russian orbital station Mir, a unique research object of the 20th century, was brought down from orbit and sunk in the Pacific Ocean three years ago, in 2001.

* The referendum on the Chechen Constitution was held a year ago, in 2003.

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