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The Big Q: Defining Dates

Members of the BYU community weigh in on a question of the day.

A purple box that reads

In 622 AD Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina and was recognized as a prophet outside of his own hometown. Islam, the world's fastest-growing religion (now approaching 2 billion practitioners), dates its sacred calendar from that year.

—D. Morgan Davis (BA ’94), director of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative

Johann Gutenberg perfected movable type and printed the Gutenberg Bible in 1454. Although movable type wasn’t unprecedented, his Latin Bible ushered in the age of the book and forever changed the history of the West.

—Eric A. Gillett (BFA ’91), Design Department

On March 10, 1302, Dante Alighieri was tried in absentia and sentenced to death in his hometown of Florence. But calamity turned to catalyst as Dante spent his remaining days in exile, focused on completing his epic masterpiece, Divine comedy.

—Jennifer Peterson Haraguchi (BA ’92), assistant professor of Italian

In dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the United States engaged a number of scientific, moral, social, and economic issues. Nuclear research has resulted in the most destructive power we know, yet it has also provided energy for the most populous countries in the world.

—Roger G. Harrison, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department associate chair

On Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, giving women the right to vote and conceding that women’s opinions and voices matter in our nation. A few countries had preceded the United States in granting women’s suffrage, and many have followed, but much work lies ahead throughout the world to assure that women can exercise their human rights.

—Valerie Hegstrom (BA ’82, MA ’86), coordinator of Women’s Studies and associate professor of Spanish literature

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