Ham the Chimp Becomes First Hominid Launched into Outer Space (1961)

Ham was chosen from 40 chimpanzee flight candidates at New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base to be the first hominid launched into outer space. He was named after an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his historic mission—the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center—and was trained to do simple tasks. In 1961, he was launched into space in a Project Mercury capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean a short time later. What became of Ham after his space flight? Discuss

Franz Schubert (1797)

One of the most gifted musicians of the 19th century, Schubert was an Austrian composer who wrote his first of nine symphonies in 1813 at the age of 16. He wrote more than 600 songs, many to the lyrics of German poets, and also composed music for the stage, overtures, choral music, masses, and piano music. He died at 31, having produced more masterpieces by that age than almost any other composer in history. Schubert was buried beside what other famous composer? Discuss

Alfred Blalock

While doing research into the nature of hemorrhagic shock, Blalock found that surgical shock results primarily from blood loss. His recommendation that blood plasma and whole blood products be administered to those suffering from shock saved many lives during WWII. His later work on “blue baby syndrome,” formally known as Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), led to the development of the Blalock-Taussig shunt, a pioneering procedure in the field of pediatric cardiology. What makes TOF patients “blue”? Discuss

Peace of Münster Signed Between the United Netherlands and Spain (1648)

In 1581, several years after the seven northern Netherlands provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Friesland, and Groningen formed the Union of Utrecht, they declared independence from Spain. Decades of conflict followed. When the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years’ War was reached in 1648, it included the Peace of Münster, a treaty between Spain and the United Netherlands that ended the Dutch Revolt. Where can an original copy of the Peace of Münster be found? Discuss

Vanessa Redgrave (1937)

Redgrave is a British actress noted for her versatility and elegant presence. The daughter of actor Michael Redgrave, she made her London stage debut in 1958 and won praise as Rosalind in As You Like It. She went on to become a powerful film actress, earning critical acclaim for her performances in films such as Blow-Up and Julia, for which she won an Oscar. She has also earned Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild awards but declined what honor in 1999? Discuss

The Underground Railroad

This informal network of safe houses and transport facilities was established by 19th century US abolitionists in the northern states prior to the Civil War. Volunteers, or “conductors,” offered sanctuary and assistance to escaped African-American slaves and helped lead the slaves to safety in the North. Conductors on the railroad included escaped slaves like Harriet Tubman, who is credited with having led more than 300 slaves to freedom. Who was the “Father of the Underground Railroad”? Discuss