The 1980s Science and Technology: Chronology

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The 1980s Science and Technology: Chronology

1980:     January 1 Physicist Luis Alvarez proposes that the extinction of the dinosaurs occurred because of a collision of an asteroid with Earth.

1980:     February 26 The nuclear containment building at Crystal River, Florida, suffers the spillage of thousands of gallons of radioactive water.

1980:     May 18 In the state of Washington, Mount St. Helens erupts, spewing forth 51 million cubic yards of volcanic ash, dirt, and rocks, leveling nearby forests and killing sixty-two people.

1981:     April 12 NASA's first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle Columbia, is successfully launched.

1981:     August 12 International Business Machines (IBM) introduces its first personal computer, with an operating system by Microsoft.

1982:     August 30 In Kenya, anthropologists report the discovery of a humanlike jawbone reportedly eight million years old.

1983:      Scientists announce the apparent discovery of one of the four assumed basic forces in nature. The "W," for weak force, assumed to be the force responsible for the radioactive splitting of atoms, joins gravity, electro-magnetism, and the strong force (which holds atomic nuclei together) as the physical constants of nature.

1983:     March 8 Apple Computer introduces a new machine, called Lisa, that features a handheld electronic pointer or "mouse."

1983:     September 14 IBM announces the development of a computer chip capable of storing 512,000 bits (512K) of information.

1984:     January 24 Apple Computer unveils its long-awaited personal computer, the Macintosh.

1984:     December 11 Astronomers at the University of Arizona at Tucson announce they have discovered the first planet outside the solar system.

1984:     December 20 A one-megabyte random access memory (RAM) chip, capable of storing four times as much information as any previous computer chip, is introduced by Bell Laboratories.

1985:      English scientists report the existence of a giant "hole" in the ozone layer over Antarctica.

1985:     March 4 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bans virtually all leaded gasolines in the United States.

1985:     September 1 Oceanographer and explorer Robert D. Ballard, leading a joint French-U.S. team, discovers the wreck of the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean 500 miles south of Newfoundland.

1986:     January 28 The space shuttle Challenger explodes following liftoff in Cape Canaveral, Florida. All crew members are killed.

1986:     April 26 An accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Kiev, Ukraine, releases radioactive fallout across much of Europe and renders thousands of acres of land near the accident site uninhabitable for thousands of years.

1986:     December 23 Pilots Richard Rutan and Jeana Yeager complete the first nonstop flight around the globe on a single load of fuel in the experimental airplane Voyager.

1987:     March 9 Scientists testifying before the U.S. Congress announce that the ozone layer has undergone a sharp depletion in the last ten years.

1987:     April 2 IBM unveils the next generation of its personal computer.

1987:     September 16 A world environmental summit in Montreal passes measures designed to reduce the presence of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere.

1988:     March 14 The U.S. Senate ratifies an international agreement to phase out the use of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons.

1988:     September 29 With the successful launch of the space shuttle Discovery, NASA resumes shuttle flights, suspended for thirty-two months following the destruction of the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

1989:     March 24 In the worst oil spill in American history, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska, spilling almost 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound.

1989:     June 21 Seven leading computer firms form U.S. Memories, Inc., a consortium to produce dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips for computers.

1989:     November 19 Scientists at the California Institute of Technology announce they have discovered the oldest and most distant object yet known: a quasar at the edge of the observable universe.

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The 1980s Science and Technology: Chronology

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The 1980s Science and Technology: Chronology