16 December, 1947 – Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA
A plastic triangle equipped with two separated gold foils makes contact with a semiconductor, a sheet of Germanium. The first point-contact transistor is born and will go on to revolutionize electronics.
24 March, 1948 – Havana, Cuba
56 nations sign the Havana Charter establishing the International Trade Organization and an International Clearing Union paving the way for a supranational currency, the bancor. Neither the charter nor the bancor came into force, failing approval from the US Congress.
24 March – Hotel Commodore, New York City, NY, USA
Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon and John von Neumann give successive speeches during a special session on “Advances Significant to Electronics” at the national convention of the Institute of Radio Engineers. The respective titles of their speeches are “Cybernetics”, “Information Theory”, and “Computer Theory”.
21 April - Haifa, Palestine
In an operation by the Jewish Haganah, the port of Haifa is seized along with its refineries and its terminal to the British Haifa-Mosul pipeline. The capture is met with an Iraqi workers’ strike at the K3 pumping station near Haditha. Just two points of connection in the battle geography of resource commerce and colonial history amidst the escalations of the 1948 Palestine War and only weeks before the establishment of the State of Israel.
26 May - South Africa
The National Party is elected on a platform of “apartheid” – a form of bureaucratic governance that would sort people based on perceived race using registries and identification techniques that excluded “non-white” people from economic and political participation.
1 June – Mayak plant near Chelyabinsk, USSR
The first nuclear reactor for the industrial creation and refining of weapons-grade plutonium commences production. A year later, the first Soviet bomb explodes, spurring a period of excessive nuclear weapons testing together with its associated radioactive contamination of vast areas of land and global fallout of radioactive material.
1 June - New Delhi, India
The only Indian national ever to hold the office as Governor General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, takes over amidst violent clashes between Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus responding to the 1947 partition of the subcontinent and the complexities of re-organizing newly independent Pakistan and India.
21 June – Victoria University, Manchester, UK
The first stored-program computer, the “Small Scale Experimental Machine,” runs its first program.
19 July – General Electric Company, Schenectady, NY, USA
Irving Langmuir publishes the results of his cloud seeding experiment: “The growth of particles in smoke and clouds and the production of snow from supercooled clouds.” This article ignites weather modification experiments and schemes throughout the world.
20 August - Black Mountain, North Carolina, USA
John Cage premiers one of his first “prepared piano” pieces during a summer session at the Black Mountain College. Unlike other, more compositional, approaches to music at that time, this piece started from the structure of the instrument itself; something that could also be said about the BMC’s own approach to education.
30 July – Nuremberg, Germany
The second of three trials of leading industrialists ends with the conviction of 13 directors, leading researchers and planners of IG Farben. The conglomerate of chemical firms was responsible for the production of Zyklon B and crimes against humanity in territories occupied by Germany during the Second World War. IG Farben was also in charge of the synthesizing of gasoline and rubber from coal, greatly contributing to Germany's ability to wage a war despite having been cut off from all major oil fields.
5 October – Fontainebleau, France
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is founded.
20 October – Moscow, USSR
The USSR Council of Ministers decree Stalin’s Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature.
22 October– Rochester, NY, USA
The Haloid Company makes the first public announcement of xerography. A year later, the company ships the first commercial photocopier: the XeroX Model A Copier.
4 December – Barnhill, Scotland
George Orwell sends the final manuscript of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” to his publisher.
10 December - Paris, France
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.