This Sunday is a unique day because according to reports today is the first palindrome date in over 900 years. This means that today's date which is February 2, 2020, or 02/02/2020 reads the same backward or forward, irrespective of the date format that is used. Be it Month/Day/Year or Day/Month/Year.
Palindrome means that the numbers read the same forwards and backwards, the last Palindrome date was 11/11/1111 which was 909 years ago and the next one will be on 12/12/2121 which is after 101 years. In another interesting fact, today is the 33rd day of the year and there are exactly 333 more days left in the year, this is made possible due to the fact that this year is a leap year meaning February has one extra day.
Today is also groundhogs day in America and Canada. On this day people in these two countries have a tradition of using a groundhog to determine how many more weeks of winter is left.
Today is special for another reason as well, on this day Google is celebrating the achievements of the Scottish science writer Mary Somerville with a Doodle today. On this day, in the year 1826, Somerville's experimental physics papers were read by the Royal Society of London. It is Britain's National Academy. Somerville was born on December 26, 1790.
Somerville made history by becoming the first female author to be published in the Philosophical Transactions. The Philosophical Transactions is the world's oldest science publication and is still active today.
Somerville's essay The Mechanism of the Heavens in 1831 completely changed the way the solar system was understood and also laid the groundwork for her book The Connection of the Physical Sciences which was published in 1834.
According to sources, The Connection of the Physical Sciences was one of the best selling books of the 1800s and it is believed that it helped astronomer John Couch Adams locate Neptune.
Mary Somerville was also according to sources a great advocate for equal rights for both men and women and was also the first person to sign the 1866 women's suffrage petition. In 2016, in honour of all the work that Somerville had done in the field of astronomy and for paving the way for more women to join the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, they decided to introduce the Mary Somerville Medal and Prize for scientists who engage the public through their work.