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OpenLearn Live: 15th July 2016

Updated Friday 15th July 2016

A pioneer in the sky, an expert in reading it, and preserving our journey into it. Then more free learning across the day.

OpenLearn Live brings free learning and the things you care about together. This page will be updated across the day.

Yesterday, we heard how researchers are discovering new ways to check gorilla health

On this day last year, Harper Lee's second (first) novel was published and Mhairi Black's debut speech was celebrated

See the complete collection of OpenLearn Live

Today's posts

Preserving space history

We've been lobbing stuff into space for quite a while now. And while it's easy to think of space in terms of the future and science, we've been doing it so long, some people are starting to think of space-related questions of heritage and preservation. SciFri considers how we ensure that future generations will be able to understand what we did to take those first steps off our home planet.

Discover astronomy at The Open University

The couples that work together...

Husband-and-wife teams can sometimes work incredibly well together. Sometimes, less so. AnOther Magazine suggests that history leans towards success more than failure, profiling ten couples whose artistic union was strengthened by their personal entanglement. They include Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes (which won't go down well with some of Plath's admirers); June Carter and Johnny Cash and Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock

They also profile Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin:

Inez and Vinoodh met in 1983, while studying fashion design at the Vogue Academy in their hometown of Amsterdam. In the early 1990s, the photographer duo began their professional collaboration with a series of innovative, digitally manipulated images. Seen as controversial and innovative figures in the art world, the pair soon became involved with the fashion industry, their breakthrough editorial piece coming in 1994 for The Face. Since then, the prodigious couple has shot some of the most famous fashion campaigns and magazine covers, including that for AnOther Magazine’s A/W10 Fashion Superstar issue. 

Read the full article at AnOther: Top Ten Famous Couple Collaborations

Try our free course on Working relationships

St Swithin's Day

There's dogrell which will use today to predict the weather for the coming weeks. But if you really want to know about the weather, you should ask an expert...

Theresa week: Thérèse Peltier

This week, we've been marking the first ever Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to be called Theresa by celebrating others who share Mrs May's first name.

So far this week:

We're rounding off the week with Thérèse Peltier. Thérèse Peltier Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Public domain

Born in 1858, Peltier's fame has often hung on a misconception. She was, by profession, a sculptor and her work had led her to develop a friendship with Leon Delagrange. He, too, made sculpture - but he had another passion. The new science of flight.

On the 8th July 1908, Pletier sat in a plane piloted by Delagrange as he flew, 656 feet (200 metres) above the ground. She was, it was believed, the first female ever to fly in a plane.

The claim, though, turns out to be wrong - in May 1908, another woman, P. Van Pottelsberghe, had clambered into a plane and into the history books on a flight piloted by Henri Farman. The earlier claim, though, is less important. Because Peltier wasn't content to be a passenger.

In the summer of 1908, Delagrange and Peltier went to Italy to demonstrate their mastery of the new technology. It was here that Therese would learn how to operate the controls, and on or around September 21st, she became the first woman to pilot a heavier-than-air powered flight. Historic Wings describes the event:

As it happened, she flew 200 meters in a straight line, never rising more than 2.5 meters above the ground before she set the machine back down.  Her aeroplane was Delagrange’s Voisin boxkite, a plane that carried no ailerons or wing warping.  To turn, it skidded around flatly on the basis of rudder input alone.  She had not yet conquered the art of steering.

In January 1910, Delagrange suffered a fatal accident when his plane crashed. Peltier, who had been training to take part in a flying challenge, abandoned aviation forever.

How do planes leave the ground? Explore in-flight science

Meet more amazing women: The real wonder women


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