No. 447: Thunderbolts and lasers, featuring Adelphi’s all-world dean and the Father of Rock ’n Roll

The heart of rock and roll: Called "the greatest pure rock 'n roll writer who ever lived" by Bruce Springsteen, the late, great Chuck Berry would have been 93 years old today.


Blow me down! The crazy nor’easter gales have abated, dear readers, and we’ve made it to the precipice of a windblown and well-earned weekend. Nicely done.

Bottoms up: They didn’t look like this in 1776.

It’s Friday, Oct. 18, and here’s a barroom tale you can raise a glass to: Some say the “cocktail” was invented on this date in 1776 in Westchester, feathers included.

Persons of interest: For certain, the landmark Canadian constitutional case determining that women can sit on the Canadian Senate was decided on Oct. 18, 1929, making this Persons Day in the Great White North.

Tie one on: It’s also National Necktie Day in Croatia, which sounds silly until you realize it’s knot.

It’s who Juneau: Happy Alaska Day, marking the formal transfer of the sprawling territory from Russia to the United States on Oct. 18, 1867 (for the low, low price of $7.2 million).

For the record, The Last Frontier wouldn’t earn statehood until 1959.

Best invention since sliced bread: Frustrated by the burned buns served by his factory cafeteria, Minnesota tinkerer Charles Strite patented his revolutionary bread-toaster on Oct. 18, 1921.

Other patents issued on Oct. 18 include one in 1881 for Thomas Edison’s breakthrough electro-magnetic brake.

BBC B-day: The British Broadcasting Corp., the world’s largest broadcaster (by number of employees) and oldest national broadcasting organization, was founded on this date in 1922 in London.

It never gets old: So, we pause this and every Oct. 18 to salute one-time Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Director (and longtime CSHL benefactor) James Watson, the molecular biologist who on Oct. 18, 1962, shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine with fellow American Francis Crick and Englishman Maurice Wilkin for their senses-shattering discovery of DNA’s double-helix structure.

Presidential seal: It was this date in 1971 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced its original agency seal, established by Richard Nixon via Presidential Executive Order.

Stop, in the name of the lung: And it was that same date – Oct. 18, 1971 – when the EPA, invoking the Clean Air Act of 1970, petitioned a federal judge for a temporary restraining order to shut down heavy industries in Alabama.

Granted one month later, the TRO marked the agency’s first-ever air pollution injunction.

As Goode as it gets: Musial icon Chuck Berry (born Charles Edward Andersen, 1926-2017) – whose guitar-infused transformation of classic rhythm and blues into toe-tapping rock ’n roll still resonates – would be 93 today.

Also born on Oct. 18 were American engineer Robert Livingston Stevens (1787-1856), who invented the railroad spike; German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868), who discovered ozone; American humanitarian Florence Dahl Walrath (1877-1958), who founded The Cradle Society, one of the first U.S. adoption agencies; German theoretical physicist Pascual Jordan (1902-1980), remembered as a cofounder of quantum mechanics; and American aerospace pioneer Robert Gilruth (1913-2000), first director of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center.

Grand slam: Happy birthday, Martina Navratilova.

What a racket: And take a bow, Martina Navratilova – the Czechoslovakian-born American tennis great (and only professional ever to hold the top world tennis ranking in both singles and doubles for more than 200 weeks) turns 63 today.

Wish the swinger, the spaceman, the rocker and the rest well at – and show off your ace serve with a story tip or calendar suggestion, please and thank you.


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Sophomoric strategy: A $2 million federal grant will bolster both student services and faculty development at the State University of New York at Old Westbury, with a particular focus on second-year students.

The grant, from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title III: Strengthening Institutions program, will fund peer tutoring and proactive advising efforts, as well as programs at SUNY Old Westbury’s faculty-focused Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and student-support initiatives directed specifically at sophomores.

“The sophomore year is a challenging year in college,” notes grant projects co-director Barbara Hillery, dean of SUNY Old Westbury’s School of Arts and Sciences. “Our campus provides phenomenal support for first-year students, but they often come back the following fall and are left to find their own way. [This] will better position the college to show them the way.”

Waste not: But you’ll want to get in on “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” an eye-opening documentary anchoring the Gold Coast International Film Festival’s new series spotlighting social issues relevant on Long Island and beyond.

Produced by the late Anthony Bourdain and told through the eyes of celebrity chefs including Bourdain, Mario Batali and Massimo Bottura, “Wasted” examines food waste’s contributions to climate change and how we all can make small corrections (many of them delicious) to help address one of the 21st century’s great social concerns.

The Gold Coast International Film Festival, Island Harvest Food Bank, the Long Island Community Fund and Nonprofit Data Solutions have scheduled a special screening of “Wasted” for Nov. 6 at the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills, followed immediately by a panel discussion featuring New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Rockville Centre), Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket), Island Harvest CEO Randi Shubin Dresner and others. More information here.



Laser focus: Intelligent Product Solutions’ design expertise has delivered a beam-blasting body sculptor with virtually no side effects.

Bolt action: A fresh $48 million deal for A-10 Thunderbolt II wing assemblies will keep CPI Aerospace and Boeing flying in formation for decades to come.

Global study: Diversity-dedicated Adelphi University is welcoming a multicultural-minded VP with a long résumé of international endeavors.   



Marcum marketing for a STEM-ed startup; white coats for LI’s future doctors.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational innovations from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-towners

From California: Glendale-based AI software engineer Beyond Limits teams up with ROBOMIX for a full-stack Japanese incursion.

From New Jersey: Montclair-based oral-care expert Hello Products is all smiles with hemp-infused toothpaste, mouthwash and more.

From New York City: Audio technologist Voxnest connects its Spreaker podcasting system to Italian digital book distributor StreetLib.



Pennie Turgeon

+ Pennie Turgeon has been hired as vice president for information technology and CIO at the Old Westbury-based New York Institute of Technology. She previously served in the same roles at Clarkson University in Massachusetts.

+ Fadi El Baba has been hired as an ophthalmologist for medical diseases of the retina, vitreous and macula at OCLI in East Setauket. He previously served as vice chairman of the Ophthalmology Department at Stony Brook University.

+ Veronique Bailey has been hired as director of STEM education in the Riverhead Central School District. She is the founder and president of See Exceptional Expectations and previously served as assistant principal for secondary education in the Roosevelt Union Free School District.

+ Donald Crotty, a senior manager at Woodbury-based Mazars USA, has been promoted to partner.

+ Matthew Whalen has been named president and chief executive officer of Forest Hills-based Cord Meyer Development Co. He most recently served as senior vice president of development at Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities.



Skull set: Hard to beat.


Heads: The hard hat turns 100.  

Tails: The four-legged triumph at the first Pet Innovation Challenge.

Hearts: The tech-heavy future of cardiology.

Minds: Dedicated Private Clouds and Hybrid IT management are just two of the topflight tech services at Webair, one of the amazing companies that support Innovate LI. Check them out.