Enrico FermiNov. 16, 1942:  Construction begins on a makeshift lab beneath the grandstand at the University of Chicago football field.  Enrico Fermi (at right) leads his team to the first successful nuclear chain reaction on Dec. 2.

Nov. 16, 1973:  U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act, clearing the way for large-scale oil drilling on Alaska’s North Slope.  The pipeline opens in 1977.

Nov. 16, 1994:  The U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty takes effect.  The European Union and 159 other nations have ratified the treaty, but the U.S. has not.   The Law of the Sea Treaty sets guidelines for managing the oceans outside of nations’ territorial waters, providing guidelines for fisheries, shipping, deep sea mining, and other commercial activities.

Nov. 16, 2011:  Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that worldwide clean-energy investment could double by 2020, to nearly $400 billion annually.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.