Like the 80s without hairspray, the world just wouldn’t be the same place without the contributions of Massachusetts. We’ve produced some amazing people, incredible inventions, and game-changing scientific advancements. From pioneering social progress to basically being the reason the NBA exists, this state has left its footprint on the planet in a big way.
1. You owe that phone in your pocket to Massachusetts.
Alexander Graham Bell first tested the earliest version of a telephone on March 10, 1876. He called his assistant....in the next room. Later that year, Bell upped the impressiveness by telephoning between Boston and Cambridge.
2. We invented basketball in Springfield.
Gym teacher Dr. James Naismith created the game of basketball in 1891 at Springfield College. The story goes that he was seeking to keep his class active on a rainy day and came up with the idea of tossing soccer balls into peach baskets nailed to the walls. Dribbling was not part of the original game, though one could "bounce pass" to teammates.
3. Your favorite beach sport has its roots here, too.
Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William Morgan in Holyoke.
4. American radio began right here.
I bet lots of you remember taking a field trip to Marconi beach at the Cape Cod National Seashore. On 18 January 1903, Guglielmo Marconi's radio station in South Wellfleet sent a message of greetings from Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. It was the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States. Marconi shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics.
5. We invented rocket science.
Well, sort of. The first successful liquid fuel rocket was launched in Auburn by Dr. Robert Goddard in 1926.
6. No chocolate chip cookies without Massachusetts!
The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield. She owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman. Her 1938 cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes, was the first to include a recipe for the American favorite.
7. We gave the world Amy Poehler.
Born in Newton in 1971!
8. And Conan O'Brien.
Brookline-born as of 1963.
9. Not to mention Leonard Nimoy.
Born 1931 (on Earth) in Boston.
10. And throw in Ben Franklin, John Adams, Edgar Allen Poe, and Jack Kerouac for good measure.
11. We brought snacking to new heights. And heats.
Massachusetts residents Percy Spencer patented the first microwave in 1945 after he noticed that standing near a radar set had melted a chocolate bar in his pocket.
12. You have Massachusetts to thank (or blame) for spreadsheets.
MIT graduates Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston developed VisiCalc, the first computerized spreadsheet system. You're...welcome?
13. We make the world a more brilliant place.
Harvard. MIT. Northeastern University. Boston College. Boston University. Brandeis University. You can't throw a stone without hitting a world-class center of learning. Massachusetts is also home to three of the top five U.S. News and World Report's best liberal arts colleges: Williams (#1), Amherst (#2), and Wellesley (#4).
14. And, oh yeah, we're basically the birthplace of the nation.
Massachusetts was a hot-spot of anti-British sentiment before the American Revolution and the site of the first battles against the British at Lexington and Concord. Boston became known as "The Cradle of Liberty" due to its central role in the war for independence.
And there you have it: fourteen ways that Massachusetts has shaped history and the modern world. Do you know of any other ways that Massachusetts has had global influence? Share with your friends and let us know in the comments!