1828: Jules Verne is born
Jules Verne | Étienne Carjat, c. 1884
Jules Verne, a French poet, novelist, and playwright, was born in Nantes, France on February 8, 1828. Verne is best known for his bestselling science fiction novels Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872). He is often referred to as “the father of science fiction,” as his works largely pioneered the genre. Astronomy and space exploration were major themes in many of his novels, and his writing helped generate an interest in the sciences among both children and adults. Verne has been the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, ranking between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare.
1879: Elizabeth Langdon Williams is born
Elizabeth Langdon Williams | Unknown, Public Domain
Elizabeth Langdon Williams was born on February 8, 1879 in Putnam, Connecticut. She was an American human computer and astronomer whose work helped lead to the discovery of Pluto, then referred to as Planet X. Williams was hired to work by Percival Lowell to work from his Boston office in 1905. She was initially tasked with editing Lowell’s publications, ...