This Day In History, January 4th

What happened on this day in history: Renowned English physicist Isaac Newton is born, serial killer Ted Bundy attacks his first victim, and more on January 4th.

1643: Isaac Newton Is Born

Sir Isaac Newton, one of the fathers of modern science, is born in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, England. Newton discovered the three laws of motion that are the basis of modern physics, as well as the laws of gravity. He was a leading figure in the Scientific Revolution and was a foundational part of the Enlightenment movement in Europe.


1853: Solomon Northup Gains His Freedom

Solomon Northup is released from slavery and becomes a free man once again. Northup was born free in New York, but in 1841, two white men offered him a job as a fiddler for their traveling circus. They then kidnapped him and sold him into slavery in Louisiana, where he remained for 12 years. Northup went on to write the famous memoir 12 Years a Slave.


1974: Ted Bundy Attacks His First Victim

Ted Bundy

Bettmann/Contributor/Getty ImagesTed Bundy during his trial in 1978.

Ted Bundy attacks 18-year-old University of Washington student Karen Sparks as she sleeps. Bundy snuck into her basement bedroom, beat her with a rod from her metal bed frame, then sexually assaulted her with the weapon. Sparks survived, but she spent 10 days in a coma and suffered permanent brain damage.

In all, Bundy would go on to kill at least 20 victims before he was apprehended for good in 1978.


2010: The Burj Khalifa Opens In Dubai

On This Day

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, opens in the United Arab Emirates. Standing at 2,722 feet tall, the skyscraper stretches more than half a mile into the sky. It beat out the previous record holder, Taipei 101, by over 1,000 feet. The Burj Khalifa is a multi-use building with apartments, restaurants, a hotel, and office space.