• • The first nuclear power plant in the U.S. goes online at Shippingport, Pa.

    "the world’s first full-scale atomic electric power plant devoted exclusively to peacetime uses," (though the British Magnox reactor at Calder Hall was first connected to the grid on 27 August 1956, it also produced plutonium for military uses)[1] was located near the present-day Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station on the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, USA, about 25 miles (40 km) from Pittsburgh. The reactor went online December 2, 1957, and was in operation until October, 1982.
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  • • Transistor is invented, spurring growth in computers and electronics

    In 1947, scientists at Bell Telephone Laboratories invented the first transistor, a tiny circuit device that amplifies, controls, and generates electrical signals. The transistor could do the work of a much larger vacuum tube, but took up less space and generated less heat. The transistor could be used in radios, computers, and other electronic devices, and greatly changed the electronics industry. Because of the transistor, giant machines that once filled whole rooms could now fit on a desk.
  • • Harry Truman becomes the first president to address the nation on TV from the White House.

    The broadcast, via then-state-of-the-art microwave technology, was picked up by 87 stations in 47 cities, according to CBS. In his remarks, Truman lauded the treaty as one that would help "build a world in which the children of all nations can live together in peace." As communism was threatening to spread throughout Pacific Rim nations such as Korea and Vietnam, the U.S. recognized the need to create an ally in a strong, democratic Japan.
  • • President Eisenhower and Congress add the words “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance

    with President Eisenhower sitting in Lincoln's pew, the church's pastor, George MacPherson Docherty, delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address titled "A New Birth of Freedom." He argued that the nation's might lay not in arms but its spirit and higher purpose. He noted that the Pledge's sentiments could be those of any nation, that "there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life." He cited L
  • • Polio vaccine announced to the world by Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Thomas Francis.

    In the five years before 1955, when mass inoculations with the vaccine began, cases of paralytic polio averaged about 25,000 a year in the United States. A few years after polio vaccination became routine, the annual number of cases dropped to a dozen or so, sometimes fewer. In 1969 not a single death from polio was reported in the nation, the first such year on record, and now the disease is on the verge of being eradicated worldwide.
  • nasa

    NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union's October 4, 1957 launch of its first satellite, Sputnik I. The 183-pound, basketball-sized satellite orbited the earth in 98 minutes. The Sputnik launch caught Americans by surprise and sparked fears that the Soviets might also be capable of sending missiles with nuclear weapons from Europe to America. The United States prided itself on being at the forefront of technology, and, embarrassed, immediately began developing a response, signaling the