Saturday, December 21, 2013

International Geophysical Year 31.5.1958

This is a International Geophysical Year 1958 First Year Issue Stamp. It is postmarked May 31st, 1958 from Chicago, Illinois.

U.S. 1958 3¢ International Geophysical Year stamp design was based on a photograph of the Sun, taken during the International Geophysical Year, an international scientific project. During the 18 months of the project, the Sun gave off tremendous bursts of energy – an event that was observed by project members during the study. That was just one of the highlights during project’s time. Others included the launching of Sputnik I, the first man-made satellite sent into orbit around the Earth. The U.S. soon followed with the Explorer I satellite – the country’s first successful launch.

Also shown on this stamp is part of Michelangelo’s famous painting, “The Creation of Adam,” located on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The rest of the image shows God breathing life into Adam. The stamp shows the portion of the mural where God’s hand reaches out to touch Adam’s hand – with a tiny space in between. It was described by Ervine Metzl, the stamp’s designer, as an attempt to “picture man’s wonder at the unknown, together with his determination to understand it and his spiritual inspiration to further his knowledge.”

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West had been seriously interrupted. Joseph Stalin's death in 1953 opened the way for this new era of collaboration. Sixty-seven countries participated in IGY projects, although one notable exception was mainland China, which was protesting against the participation of the Republic of China (Taiwan). East and West agreed to nominate the Belgian Marcel Nicolet as secretary general of the associated international organization. Other significant achievements of the IGY included the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts and the discovery of mid-ocean submarine ridges, an important confirmation of plate tectonics. Also detected was the rare occurrence of hard solar corpuscular radiation that could be highly dangerous for manned space flight.
The IGY encompassed eleven Earth sciences: aurora and airglow, cosmic rays, geomagnetism, gravity, ionosphericphysics, longitude and latitude determinations (precision mapping), meteorology, oceanography, seismology, and solar activity.
Thank you Merja.

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