Thursday, March 31st is the 90th day of 2011. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year (268 days until Christmas, 24 days until Easter). If March 31st is your birthday, your zodiac sign is Aries.
Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, inventor of the Bunsen burner, was born 200 years ago on March 31, 1811, in Gottingen, Germany. Bunsen Burner Day honors his creation of one of the most indispensable instruments in the laboratory. The Bunsen burner allows chemists (and chemistry students) the ability to regulate the proportions of flammable gas and air to create an efficient flame for use in their experimentation. Bunsen was a professor of chemistry at the universities at Kassel, Marburg, Breslau and Heidelberg in Germany.
On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower's designer.
The French government planned an international exposition to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution. A design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris was held in preparation for the planned exhibition. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel's plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and become the world's tallest man-made structure.
Some argued that the structure would be structurally unsound. Others thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Eiffel, though, was a master of metal construction with an impressive resume. For example, he had recently designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor. He completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low number of casualties for a project of that magnitude.
The Eiffel Tower remained the world's tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Although it came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece, was almost demolished when the International Exposition's 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909. Luckily, its value as an antenna for radio transmission, however, saved it.
Annually, March 31st is Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday in eight U.S. states. Born on March 31, 1927, Chavez was an American farm worker and labor leader who became the best known Latino civil rights activist in the United States. He initiated the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, attracting attention to the migrant farm workers' plight by organizing boycotts of products including grapes and lettuce. His supporters say that his work led to numerous improvements for union laborers. In addition to this holiday, many parks, cultural centers, libraries, schools, and streets have been named in his honor.
Annually, March 31st is Transfer Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands. On March 31, 1917, the Virgin Islands were transferred to the United States for a purchase price of $25 million.
On March 31, 1831, Quebec and Montreal were incorporated as cities in Canada.
On March 31, 1918, U.S., Daylight Saving Time went into effect for the very first time.
On March 31, 1940, La Guardia airport in New York officially opened to the public.
On March 31, 1943, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!" opened on Broadway.
On March 31, 1985, ABC-TV aired the 200th episode of "The Love Boat."
On March 31, 1995, singer and songwriter Selena was murdered in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the founder of her fan club at the young age of 23.
On March 31, 2004, Google Inc. announced that it would be introducing a free e-mail service called Gmail.
Rene Descartes (French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher - "I think, therefore I am") - 1596 (would have been 415 years old)
Franz Joseph Haydn ("Father of the Symphony) - 1732 (would have been 279 years old)
Jack Johnson (boxer) - 1878 (would have been 133 years old)
Gordie Howe (hockey star) - 1928 (83 years old)
Richard Chamberlain (actor) - 1934 (77 years old)
Shirley Jones (actress - "The Partridge Family") - 1934 (77 years old)
Herb Alpert (musician) - 1935 (76 years old)
Patrick Leahy (U.S. senator) - 1940 (71 years old)
Barney Frank (U.S. congressman) - 1940 (71 years old)
Christopher Walken (actor) - 1943 (68 years old)
Gabe Kaplan (actor) - 1945 (66 years old)
Al Gore (former U.S. vice president) - 1948 (63 years old)
Rhea Perlman (actress) - 1948 (63 years old)
Ewan McGregor (actor) - 1971 (40 years old)
select one here...