Abraham Lincoln Was a Science Champion

In honor of the birthday of the 16th President of the USA – Abraham Lincoln – and the recent awesome Spacex Falcon Heavy launch,  we present the following heroic post: lincoln.president.day.america.usa.astronaut

Abraham Lincoln is best known for abolishing slavery and keeping the United States together through the Civil War, but he also helped the country become the scientific and engineering powerhouse we know today.

For example, Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862, creating a system of land-grant colleges and universities that revolutionized higher education in the United States, notes famed astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson. ”Known also as the people’s colleges, they were conceived with the idea that they would provide practical knowledge and science in a developing democratic republic,” Tyson, the director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

Notable land-grant institutions include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the University of Florida, The Ohio State University, the University of Arizona and the schools in the vast University of California system.

Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, also chartered the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1863, establishing the august body that advises Congress and the president about science and technology matters to this day, Tyson observes.

Spacex Starman Heads Towards Mars & Beyond

Spacex Starman Heads Towards Mars & Beyond

Happy President’s Day!

President George Washington tries to make sense of the Metro.

President George Washington tries to make sense of the Metro. Still image from Mt Vernon’s web series of General Washington in modern DC.

Washington’s Birthday is observed the third Monday of February in honor George Washington, the first President of the United States. This date is commonly called Presidents’ Day and many groups honor the legacy of past presidents on this date.

Washington’s actual birthday, Feb. 22,  became a U.S. government holiday back in 1885. In the early 1950′s, there was a movement led by a coalition of travel organizations to create three-day weekends by moving the celebration of some holidays to Mondays. One of the suggestions was to create a Presidents’ Day between Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday, which was a holiday in some states. A few states tried the new arrangement, but it was not universally adopted across the country. Also in the early 1950′s there was a proposal to make March 4 — the original presidential inauguration day — a holiday to honor all presidents, but that went nowhere.

The National Holiday Act of 1971 passed by Congress created three-day weekends for federal employees by moving the celebration of some holidays to Mondays, although states did not have to honor them. 

General George Washington checks out the offerings at the food trucks parked near the White House.

General George Washington checks out the offerings at the food trucks parked near the White House.

Although the federal holiday is marked on the third Monday in February, there is no agreed-upon name, no universal agreement on who is being celebrated, and the use of the apostrophe in the name is varied: Sometimes it isn’t used at all (as in Presidents Day), sometimes it is placed between the last two letters (President’s Day) and sometimes it is after the last letter (Presidents’ Day).

So – wishing all a Happy Presidents’ Day, or President’s Day, or Presidents Day – or whatever.