What Happened on February 28?

  • Watson and Crick announced the discovery of the structure of DNA. (1953) It was only ten years after DNA's role in genetics had been confirmed. The discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA revolutionized science and genetics, as well as the role of forensic evidence in convicting criminals.

  • The ATF raided the Waco, Texas, compound of the Branch Davidians. (1993) ATF agents had been in a standoff for two months trying to arrest the Davidian's leader, David Koresh. The raid led to a shoot out and a massive fire, during which 80 Davidians died and four federal agents were killed.

  • The Republican party formed. (1854) The party was initially founded by anti-slavery activists in Ripon, Wisconsin, to compete with the Democratic party, which was in power at the time. The Republicans had their first major political victory with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president.

  • The first vaudeville theater opened in Boston, Massachusetts. (1883) Vaudeville was an extremely popular form of entertainment in the 19th century, and clearly influenced the early years of radio and movies. Most vaudeville performances were somewhat risque, and often featured freak shows, dime museums, and burlesque.

  • The Han Dynasty began. (202 BC) Emperor Gaozu ascended the throne on this day, founding the Han dynasty. The Han was the second imperial dynasty in China, and lasted for almost four centuries. It was considered a golden period in Chinese history, particularly as far as art and technology, and even today, many Chinese consider themselves "Han."

  • The word "dord" was discovered in the New International Dictionary. (1939) The word was a great source of embarrassment for the G. and C. Merriam Company, since it's not actually a word. It was a typo, as the entry was meant to read "D or d," an abbreviation for density.

  • The first NATO military action took place. (1994) Two US planes shot down Serbian aircraft that were on a bombing mission over Bosnia. It was the first military action of the organization, despite the fact that it was founded in 1949.

  • The final episode of M*A*S*H aired. (1983) The extraordinarily popular sitcom ended an unprecedented 11 season run with a finale watched by over 77 million people. It was the highest amount of viewers for a single episode up to that time.

  • College basketball was televised for the first time. (1940) The game was played at Madison Square Garden, and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers beat the Fordham University Rams 57-37.

  • Linus Pauling was born. (1901) Multiple Nobel Prize winner Pauling was one of the first to work with quantum physics, and molecular biology as well as a peace activist. He is one of the two people who have won two Nobel Prizes in two different fields.

Discussion Comments


@RoyalSpyder - Yeah, I saw it, and to be honest, it was an OK movie. Though I like how the documentary was more realistically portrayed than others, I didn't like how it ended on such a sad note. We find out that Arthur isn't able to finish college, and he never fulfills his basketball dream. However, I guess I can appreciate how it breaks cliches. A lot of these "Hollywood Drama" type movies always have a happy ending, with no exceptions. This wasn't the case here.


I find it very interesting that around that time (February 28th), college basketball was televised for the first time. Generally, it's the one that started it all. In fact, this reminds me of a movie called Hoop Dreams. Has anyone heard of it? It's a documentary that follows the life of Arthur Agee as he tries to pursue his college dream of basketball.

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