#OnThisDay1908 Willard Frank Libby was born on a farm in Grand Valley, Colorado. Libby, a physical chemist, won the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of the technique known as radiocarbon dating #AceHistoryDesk report

#AceHistoryRepoort – Dec.17: Willard Frank Libby was born on a farm in Grand Valley, Colorado. Libby, a physical chemist, won the 1960 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of the technique known as radiocarbon dating. This technique uses the decay of an unstable isotope of carbon, radioactive carbon-14 (C14), to determine the age of organic materials—anything composed of matter that was once living. Carbon-datable items, generally ranging from a few hundred to 60,000 years old, can be as varied as the sole of an ancient sandal, glacial ice cores, the Dead Sea Scrolls, or mummies from an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb. Radiocarbon dating has had such a profound impact on many branches of the human sciences—including archaeology, geology, history, geophysics, and preservation—that its discovery has been called “the radiocarbon revolution.”

#OnThisDay 1908: Willard Frank Libby was born on a farm in Grand Valley, Colorado and won the 1960 Nobel Prize and began the Radiocarbon Revolution

Sandal A. Leather, 1st century B.C.E.-1st century C.E. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Scrolls From the Dead Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship

By the 1940s, researchers already knew that when cosmic radiation enters the earth’s upper atmosphere it collides with the gases present there to produce neutron showers: They also knew that a few of these free-floating neutrons are in turn absorbed by nitrogen atoms, which in the process are transformed into C14 (the more common isotope is carbon-12). C14 is unstable and will decay back to nitrogen over time—the emission of beta particles during this second transformation is the process that makes it radioactive:

Libby’s achievement was to recognize that C14 moves from the atmosphere to the biosphere through a series of additional steps:

  • newly produced C14 oxidizes to form carbon dioxide (CO2), a common component of the atmosphere;
  • plants absorb carbon dioxide molecules through photosynthesis, converting the carbon atoms into sugar while releasing the oxygen back into the air;
  • plants, directly or indirectly, are digested by all living organisms.

Therefore, Libby concluded, all living organisms contain a small amount of C14. But he also recognized that carbon uptake ceases when an organism dies. Because C14 decays over time, organic items that are no longer living contain increasingly smaller percentages of C14 the older they get. Libby was able to compare the amount of C14 remaining in an item to the amount originally found in the atmosphere to determine that item’s age:

The Enoch Scroll. Parchment. Copied ca. 200-150 B.C.E. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Scrolls From the Dead Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship.

During the 1950s, Libby and others built increasingly sensitive Geiger counters to measure the radioactivity of organic objects: Age calculations were based on the half-life of C14: after 5,730 years about 50 percent of the original amount of C14 will still be present in an object. Among the items that Libby tested and successfully dated were prehistoric sloth dung, charcoal from Stonehenge, and the parchment wrappings of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Libby was able to further verify his theory by performing radiocarbon tests on items whose date was already known from other sources:

Willard Libby received a PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1933 and stayed on to teach there until joining the Manhattan Project when the U.S. entered World War II: Following the war, Libby became a professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago, where he conducted his groundbreaking research; his book Radiocarbon Dating was published in 1952. Libby was appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1954. Shortly before winning the Noble Prize, he returned to teaching and research at UCLA; he died in 1980:

Jesse Younger in the Chemistry Lab. University of Nebraska, Lincoln. John Vachon, photographer, May 1942. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives. Prints & Photographs Division

With additional research, scientists have continued to refine the techniques of radiocarbon dating: In reality, C14 levels in the atmosphere have been similar, but not fully constant, over time. Changes in the magnetic fields of the earth and sun can affect the intensity of cosmic radiation, while carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere also fluctuate naturally or due to the burning of fossil fuels. Nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and early 1960s raised the amount of C14 in the atmosphere to a high of almost twice its natural level. To account for such fluctuations, calibration curves based in dendrochronology (tree ring dating) have been created, going back thousands of years:

Developed in the 1980s, accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is a method that separates the atoms of a sample of carbon by atomic weight. This means that the percentage of C14 in a sample can be measured directly, rather than on the basis of radioactive decay. AMS permits the measurement of very small samples, which allows for the dating of museum and library objects without destroying them:

#AceHistoryDesk report …………………..Published: Dec.17: 2020:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#OnThisDay in 1979: In his Hanukkah remarks, President Carter tied the Jewish wintertime holiday to the triu mph of religious freedom over adversity in the ‘ National Menorah Lighting ‘ that has since become an annual event #AceHistoryDesk report

#AceHistoryReport – Dec.17: President Jimmy Carter walked to Lafayette Square from the White House to participate in the first National Menorah Lighting, in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah: Initiated that year by the Washington, D.C. office of the Jewish organization Chabad-Lubavitch, the National Menorah Lighting has since become an annual event:

#OnThisDay In History On December 17: 1979: Jimmy Carter in his Hanukkah speech …..

Jimmy Carter Lighting the Menorah . [December 17, 1979]. Carter White House Staff Photographers Collection. National Archives and Records Administration.

In his Hanukkah remarks, President Carter tied the Jewish wintertime holiday to the triumph of religious freedom over adversity:

It’s a real honor for me to come from the White House here to this ceremony celebrating the commencement of Chanukah, last night, the Feast of Lights…

As many of you know, the season of Chanukah commemorates the victory of religious freedom. At the commencement of the celebration of this annual event, this season of thanksgiving and closeness to God, there was a miracle within which the candle which was supposed to only burn a short time burned for 8 days and nights…

This season, religious season, commemorates the perpetuation of age-old dreams and the hunger of men and women down through the ages to maintain a spirit committed to life under the most difficult circumstances, the most difficult persecutions, the most difficult dangers, and under the most difficult suffering. It also commemorates humankind’s commitment to be free.

“Chanukah Remarks at the Lighting of the National Menorah.” Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, December 17, 1979. The American Presidency Project.

This first menorah lighting ceremony included not only the lighting of wax candles in a 36″ sterling silver menorah, but also the lighting of electric “flames” in a 36 foot gold-painted stainless steel menorah that had been under construction for several years. The National Menorah remained in Lafayette Square until 1987 when it was moved to its current location on the Ellipse. The President or a representative of the Administration participates in the lighting of the Menorah each year.

The Hanukkah (Chanukah) holiday, which is celebrated over eight days, commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BCE, after the Jews, led by Judas Maccabeus, freed themselves from the oppressive regime of Antiochus IV, the Seleucid king, who had desecrated the Temple: Following the Jewish lunar calendar, the start of the celebration varies from year to year. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah recalls the Talmudic story of the Temple’s one-day supply of oil miraculously burning for eight days:

Hanukkah. Arthur Syzk, artist; reproduction by Louis F. Dow Co., c1950. Prints & Photographs Division

Hanukkah is celebrated primarily in the home rather than the synagogue, often along with the evening meal, often in the company of friends as well as family: Foods fried in oil such as potato latkes (pancakes) and jelly doughnuts, and games such as dreidel (a four-sided top), are associated with Hanukkah celebrations. In the United States, especially, it has become customary to exchange gifts and children often receive one small gift for each night of the celebration:

The Hebraic Section of the Library of Congress has long been recognized as one of the world’s foremost centers for the study of Hebrew and Yiddish materials. Established in 1914 as part of the Division of Semitica and Oriental Literature, it grew from Jacob H. Schiff’s 1912 gift of nearly 10,000 books and pamphlets from the private collection of a well-known bibliographer and bookseller Ephraim Deinard. The section houses works in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Persian, Judeo-Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, and Amharic. Holdings are especially strong in the areas of the Bible and rabbinics, liturgy, responsa, Jewish history, and Hebrew language and literature:

#AceHistoryDesk report …………….Published: Dec.17: 2020:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#Featured Blogger: Ordnance – M4 Sherman Tank in the Pacific War #AceHistoryDesk report

Once again, we come upon a piece of ordnance that is more well-known in the European Theater, but did get use in the Pacific – the M4 Sherman Tank, named by the British for the American General William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891).

The M4 Sherman pilot unit was assembled by Lima Locomotive works in February 1942 varying from the T6 mainly in the removal of the hull side doors. Total manufacturing in 3 factories, Lima, Pressed Steel, and Pacific Car & Foundry began the next month, every one of these original manufacturing models being cast hull tanks, named M4A1.

In the Pacific Theater, the Japanese fought fanatically, but were hampered by obsolete and inferior weapons of all types, the Shermans clearly outclassed enemy light tanks.

Japanese Type 97 Chi-Ha tank

The M4 Sherman in the Pacific Theater first saw combat was at Tarawa Atoll in 1943 where it fought against Japanese tanks such as the Type 97 Chi-Ha. In this area of operations, the Shermans were better than the Chi-Ha due to the Sherman’s armor was thicker and the M4 Sherman also had better firepower. The Japanese Army began develop countermeasures to take out Shermans such as the Towed 47mm Guns that were capable to penetrate certain parts of its armor at shorter distances, however, other methods were used under extreme measures such as soldiers who voluntarily used Type 99 hand-thrown Mines or Lunge Mines.

The M4Could be easily be adapted for a variety of different uses, such as: the Mark 1 flamethrower which could throw napalm 150 yards; fitted with floatation screens for amphibious landings; plows; additional firepower; steel teeth to push through hedgerows and Sherman ‘Crab’ fitted with rotating chains to detonate land mines.

While only a bit over 49,000 M4’s being produced, half of that production and the other variants were given to other Allied Nations, including Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union under the Lend Lease Program.

American Heritage Museum, Korean War tank

Later, in the Korean War, an astute soldier realized that 1950 was the Chinese Year of the Tiger.  Word went out for tanks crews to paint tiger faces on the front of their tanks instead of the usual camouflage.  The idea was that “superstitious” Chinese would not shoot at them for fear of ‘bad luck’ or

Tiger Tank, Korean War

the very least hesitate long enough for the tankers to get the first shot off.

The 5th Regimental Combat Team, known as the Bobcats got the most frightening and complete tiger scheme.  But once the Chinese New Year passed in March 1951, the tanks were painted over, so the results of this psychological scheme is difficult to find.

The American Heritage Museum has been restored and re-painted, by Dan Wrightington, exactly as the 5th RCT’s M4A3 appeared in combat January 1951 near Inchon.

Sherman in the Pacific 1943-1945

For further data on the Sherman in the Pacific, the book by Raymond Giuliani, shows the extraordinary metamorphosis of the famous American tank, its first disastrous engagement on “Bloody Atoll” Tarawa, in the island of Okinawa, the last bastion of the Rising Sun. The terrible experience of fire against an enemy, as brave as fanatical, required Americans to adapt and transform the Sherman to resist and win the war.

Resources: WWII History magazine, The Collins Foundation & the American Heritage Museum yearly report; and WWII Weapons.com

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elwood Culp – Hazelton, PA; US Navy, WWII, PC-491, radarman

Arthur ‘Jerry’ Hamilton Jr. – UT; US Army, Japanese Occupation

Irene Ladish – Knoxville, TN; US Navy WAVES, WWII

John Le Carre (David Cornwell) – Poole, ENG; British Army, Intelligence Group, German Occupation / MI5

Jack Robinson – Fort Wright, KY; US Army, WWII

John Stevenson – Paris, TX; US Navy, WWII

Patricia Truitt – Kelso, WA; Cadet Nursing Corps, WWII

Merl Utsler – Winterset, IA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Norman Winterhoff – Asheville, OH; US Army, WWII / US Navy, Chaplin, Commander (Ret. 22 y.)

James Yeatts – Chesterfield, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Cpl., Forward Observer, 188th Field Artillery Battalion

Source: Ordnance – M4 Sherman Tank in the Pacific War