TODAY is the feast day of Saint Isidore the Husbandman, patron saint of Madrid, born in the 11th century of poor Spanish parents. His devotion to prayer frequently made him late for his farm labouring job. One day his irritated bosses approached him to complain, but two snow-white oxen and an extra ploughman appeared by divine intervention to help. Another day, taking grain to be milled, he came across some hungry birds to whom he gave half his sack. On reaching the mill the bag produced twice the usual amount of flour.
15 May, 1859: Pierre Curie, French physicist, born in Paris. One of those rare men best known as the husband of a famous wife, Pierre shared the 1903 Nobel prize for physics with Marie Curie for their work on radioactive elements. As a young reseacher studying magnetism he gave physics the Curie law, the Curie point and the Curie scale. Marie, whom he married in 1894, drew him into the search for radium and they took equal credit for their discoveries. Pierre died in 1906. Marie won another Nobel prize in 1911, and their daughter, Irene, shared one with her husband, Philippe Joliot, in 1935.
1860: Giuseppe Garibaldi defeated the Neapolitan army at Calatafimi.
1972: attempted assassination of Governor George Wallace of Alabama.
BIRTHDAYS: Ted Dexter, former England cricket captain, 59; Brian Eno, rock musician, 46.
DEATHS: George Peppard, actor, aged 65.
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