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This Happened

This Happened — July 25: First "Test Tube Baby" Born

Louise Brown, known as the world’s first test tube baby was born on this day in 1978 in Oldham, England. Her birth marked a significant milestone in reproductive medicine and assisted reproductive technology.

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What does it mean to be a "test tube baby"?

The term "test tube baby" was a phrase used to describe a child conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF involves the fertilization of an egg with sperm outside the body, typically in a laboratory dish or test tube, before transferring the resulting embryo to the woman's uterus for implantation.

Who were the scientists involved in Louise Brown's' conception?

Louise Brown's conception and birth were made possible through the groundbreaking efforts of British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and scientist Robert Edwards. Steptoe performed the egg retrieval procedure, while Edwards developed the IVF technique. Steptoe and Edwards dedicated years of research and experimentation to develop the IVF technique, aiming to help couples facing infertility issues conceive a child. After refining the process, they successfully implanted an embryo into Louise Brown's mother, Lesley Brown, leading to the world's first successful IVF birth.

How did Louise Brown's birth impact reproductive medicine?

Louise Brown's birth revolutionized reproductive medicine and opened up new possibilities for couples struggling with infertility. IVF has since become a widely practiced and continuously advancing technique, helping millions of couples around the world achieve parenthood.

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Inside Copernicus, Where All The Data Of Climate Change Gets Captured And Crunched

As COP28 heats up, a close-up look at the massive European earth observatory program 25 years after its creation, with its disturbing monthly reports of a planet that has gotten hotter than ever.

A photo of Sentinel-2 floating above Earth

Sentinel-2 orbiting Earth

Laura Berny

PARIS — The monthly Copernicus bulletin has become a regular news event.

In early August, amid summer heatwaves around the Northern Hemisphere, Copernicus — the Earth Observation component of the European Union's space program — sent out a press release confirming July as the hottest month ever recorded. The news had the effect of a (climatic) bomb. Since then, alarming heat records have kept coming, including the news at the beginning of November, when Copernicus Climate Change Service deputy director Samantha Burgess declared 2023 to be the warmest year on record ”with near certainty.”

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Approaching the dangerous threshold set by the Paris Agreement, the global temperature has never been so high: 1.43°C (2.57°F) higher than the pre-industrial average of 1850-1900 and 0.10°C (0.18°F) higher than the average of 2016 (warmest year so far). Burgess, a marine geochemistry researcher who previously served as chief advisor for oceans for the UK government, knows that the the climate data gathered by Copernicus is largely driving the negotiations currently underway at COP28 in Dubai.

She confirmed for Les Echos that December is also expected to be warmer than the global average due to additional heat in sea surfaces, though there is still more data to collect. “Are the tipping points going to be crossed in 2023,?" she asked. "Or is it just a very warm year part of the long-term warming trend varying from one year to the next?”

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