Taunton School at Dusk

On this day in history – 23rd February

Posted: 23rd February 2018

The Persecution of the Christians by the Emperor Diocletian 303

The Diocletianic Persecution or ‘Great Persecution’ was the final and most severe persecution against Christianity, in the Roman Empire. The Christians in the Empire had always been subject to local discrimination, however all emperors before Diocletian had been reluctant to issue general laws against the sect. Diocletian issued a series of laws taking away Christians’ legal rights and demanded for them to join traditional Roman religious practices. However the persecution failed to check the rise of the church and by the year 324, Constantine was the ruler of the empire and Christianity had become his favoured religion so the prosecution ended. 

Rudolf Diesel 1893

Rudolf Diesel, a German inventor and mechanical engineer, invented the engine which bears his name. The diesel engine has the benefit of running more fuel-efficiently than gasoline engines because of much higher compression ratios and longer time of combustion. This means that the temperature rises more slowly, allowing more heat to be converted. His first prime model was a single 10 foot cylinder with a fly wheel at the bottom of it, which ran on its own power for the first time ever. It was an efficient, slow burning, compression ignition, internal combustion engine. Diesel was interested in using coal dust or vegetable oil as fuel and his engine was run on peanut oil. 

The Discovery and Isolation of Plutonium 1941

Plutonium is a radioactive chemical element with the symbol Pu. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, and forms a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation states. It is manmade and was used in the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2. It was discovered by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg in 1941.

Plutonium is created in a reactor when uranium atoms absorb neutrons. Nearly all plutonium is man-made and is used for making bombs. The plutonium available today is found only in trace amounts within uranium deposits and is extracted by burning the uranium, which is the process used in nuclear reactors.  Plutonium-239, the isotope found in the spent MOX fuel, is much more radioactive than the depleted Uranium.

Sophia Elsmore, Kate Blackmore-Greasley, Aryan Sharma, Max Workman, Alan Wang, Daisy Jacobi, Trystan Davies and Georgia Greenway


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