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ZOOM Back in Time 
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A "pandemic" is an outbreak of a disease that effects a large number of people worldwide. Over eighty years ago, a flu pandemic killed more than 20 million people in one of the worst flu outbreaks ever. Today, approximately 35 million Americans still get the flu every year, but thanks to amazing advances in science, technology and medicine, the flu rarely results in death.

ZOOM back 82 years through the ZOOMflu Time Warper to learn more about cool science advances, inventions and other happenings since the flu pandemic of 1918-1919.


1918-1919: A flu pandemic kills more than 20 million people worldwide.

1920: The American Rancine Universal Motor Company invents the hair dryer.

1921: Germany builds the world's first highway, the Avus Autobahn in Berlin.

1923: Garrett Augustus Morgan invents the first traffic light.

1926: John Logie Baird demonstrates the first television.

1927: The first talking movie, the Jazz Singer, is produced in the US.

1928: Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin on an old, discarded petri dish.

1931: Ernst Ruska invents the electron microscope.

1932: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

1935: Carlton Magee invents the parking meter.

1937: The first grocery carts are developed.

1938: Chester Carlson invents the first photocopier.

1939: Ernst Chain, Edward Abraham and Howard Florey pioneer ways of manufacturing a flu vaccine.

1941: Dr. Howard Florey purifies and tests penicillin.

1944: Howard Aiken invents the automatic calculator.

1945: Percy Spencer invents the microwave oven.

1946: John Eckert and John Mauchly invent the first successful, automatic, general purpose computer.

1947: Gerty T. Cori becomes the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize (in physics).

1950: Gertrude Elion develops the first drug to treat leukemia.

1952: Jonas Salk produces a polio vaccine.

1954: First successful kidney transplant performed in Boston.

1955: Bill Gates is born.

1957: The first space satellite is launched by the former Soviet Union.

1961: Squibb and Company invents the electric toothbrush.

1962: The first commercial skateboards become available.

1967: Dr. Christiaan Barnard performs the first human heart transplant.

1968: Swedish inventor Gideon Sundback invents the zipper.

1969: Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step on the moon.

1970: IBM invents the first floppy disk.

1972: The original ZOOM show debuts on PBS and runs for 9 seasons.

1973: The first mountain bikes are made in US.

1975: The first commercial personal computer, the Altair 8800, is invented.

1978: The world's first test tube baby, Louise Joy Brown, is born in England.

1979: Sony invents the first personal stereo or "Walkman (tm)," and the compact disc and cellular telephone are also invented.

1981: The Space Shuttle, the first reusable space vehicle, is launched for the first time.

1982: Robert K. Jarvik invents the first artificial heart.

1989: The first Gameboy (tm) is invented by Nintendo.

1990: Virtual reality (computer simulation) is created.

1992: Tim Berners-Lee invents the original software and components for the World Wide Web.

1998: WGBH Interactive begins building the ZOOMweb site.

1999: The new ZOOM debuts on PBS, and Fannee Doolee celebrates her return to television with piZZa and cOOkies.

2000: The ZOOM web site receives its millionth submission.

2010: A ZOOMer develops a cure for the flu?