April Fools

April 1, 1582

April Fools Day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, yet its origins are unclear. Historians speculate that it began in France in 1582 when the New Year was changed from April 1 to January 1. Those who continued to celebrate the New Year in April became the butt of practical jokes. A common prank was to fix a paper fish on their backs and call them a “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person. Other origins of the custom are linked to “Hilaria” from Roman times when people dressed up in disguises to trick one another.

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Robert Bunsen, Creator of Bunsen Burner, Born

March 30, 1811

Robert Bunsen is born in Göttingen, Germany. Bunsen goes on to investigate emission spectra of heated elements and is credited with the discoveries of caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861). He is perhaps most well known for his development of the Bunsen burner, an improvement on the laboratory burners then in use. The Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award for spectroscopy is named after Bunsen and Kirchhoff.

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