A Brief History
On March 31, 2017, lab rats, chemistry students, and scientists will be celebrating Bunsen Burner Day, that ubiquitous lab fixture often seen heating secret potions in science fiction film labs. Of course, March is home to International Women’s Day (March 8th) and is Women’s History Month, but the month named after Mars, the Roman God of War, also has some other nifty days you may or may not have noticed over the past few weeks.
Robert Bunsen, a German chemist, invented his famous gas burner in 1852, but that was not the only invention named for him. Also named in his honor are the Bunsen Cell (a type of battery), the Bunsen Crater (on the Moon), Asteroid 10362 Bunsen, the Bunsen Reaction (a step in producing Hydrogen), and of course the Bunsen-Kirchhoff Award (for spectroscopy).
March has other notable days and anniversaries, including my own wedding anniversary (39 years this year!) and my mother’s birthday (87 this year) as well as St. Patrick’s Day. What you may not know is that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was an Englishman. His special day, March 17, is supposedly the anniversary of his death, although some theories have 2 men being combined by legend into 1 St. Patrick. Documentation of his life and deeds is sparse, and full of facts debated by scholars. There is some evidence Patrick was a sort of flim-flam man who cheated rich people out of money. In any case, he is said to have had some sort of financial wrongdoing blamed on him. Oh, and he chased all the snakes from Ireland.
Some other cool days celebrated in March include Ear Muff Day on March 13, and Pi Day on March 14 (3:14, get it?). In fact, Pi shares the 14th with National Potato Chip Day (bet you can’t have just one potato chip day!). March 20 brings International Day of Happiness, which I would celebrate if I finally won the Power Ball. World Puppetry Day falls on March 21, and on March 23 we celebrate National Puppy Day. Puppets or puppies, March has you covered.
A terribly important day in March is the 20th (this year), the Vernal Equinox which marks the beginning of Spring. Sometimes Spring starts on March 19, if it is in a hurry. Finally, March begins March Madness each year, the 64 team NCAA Basketball Tournament upon which billions of dollars are bet, and billions of more dollars are lost in negative productivity from workers distracted from their jobs! (Google it, it’s not a joke.)
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you have a favorite day in March? If so, please share with us why that date is so important in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Carlson, Chad, Chris Snee, et al. Making March Madness: The Early Years of the NCAA, NIT, and College Basketball Championships, 1922-1951 (Sport, Culture, and Society). University Press Audiobooks, 2019.