Currents
It’s a Snap
Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

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    The 1976 hit song by the Spinners, The Rubberband Man, was not written about rubber band inventor Stephen Perry.
    IMAGE: Jiri Hera | Shutterstock.com
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    At 97, John Goodenough in 2019 became the oldest person to win a Nobel Prize.
    IMAGE: Marsha Miller | UT Austin

Rubber bands were invented 175 years ago, and we’ve been having a ball with them ever since. University of Texas scientist John Goodenough has had a blast for many decades devising batteries that change our lives. The Nobel laureate is still at it.

 

The Box Tops Are Back

A theater from the 1940s brings a soul band from the 1960s to a 2020s Texas audience.

The Box Tops of Memphis, Tennessee, who released a string of hit singles in the late 1960s, are back on the scene and play a show March 13 at the Brauntex Theatre in downtown New Braunfels.

The Box Tops’ heyday was short-lived, but they became a sensation with hit singles The Letter, Cry Like a Baby and Soul Deep.

The Brauntex has a storied history, opening a month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor with a showing of Birth of the Blues, starring Bing Crosby and Mary Martin. Today, it is a regular stop for touring and Texas acts. Call (830) 627-0808 or visit brauntex.org/tickets.html for more information.

 

175 Years Ago

Congress passed a joint resolution annexing Texas on March 1, 1845, and on December 29 that year, Texas joined the union as the 28th state.

 

Rangers Are Made in the Shade

Plenty of Texas Rangers fans will tell you it was the best catch they’ve ever seen. During a game at then-Ameriquest Field in Arlington on July 1, 2006, Mike Lamb of the Houston Astros sent a shot barreling toward the wall in center field. The Rangers’ Gary Matthews gave chase, leapt and snagged the ball with his back to home plate, twisting in the air to rob a home run.

“People are always bringing it up,” Matthews told the Los Angeles Times a year later. “A few days ago, I was on deck in Cincinnati, and I heard a guy in the crowd say, ‘That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen.’ ”

Over the course of 26 seasons, sunny Globe Life Park in Arlington saw scores of big moments, including a perfect game pitched by Kenny Rogers on July 28, 1994.

But when the Rangers take the field for the start of the season March 31, players—and fans—will no longer have to contend with the sun. The new $1.1 billion Globe Life Field, just across the street, features 40,000 seats under a retractable roof.

 

By the Numbers: 700,000

The largest rubber band ball ever made used 700,000 rubber bands and stood 6 feet, 7 inches tall. It was made by a Florida man. Some things aren’t always bigger in Texas.

Did You Know?
The rubber band was patented 175 years ago. British inventor Stephen Perry received his patent March 17, 1845. More than 30 million pounds of rubber bands are sold in the U.S. every year.

 

Powering the World

The average Texan retires when they’re about 64 years old.

John Goodenough passed that mark back in 1986, the same year he joined the University of Texas, after decades spent developing lithium-ion batteries.

He hasn’t stopped.

  • The 1976 hit song by the Spinners, The Rubberband Man, was not written about rubber band inventor Stephen Perry.
    IMAGE: Jiri Hera | Shutterstock.com
  • At 97, John Goodenough in 2019 became the oldest person to win a Nobel Prize.
    IMAGE: Marsha Miller | UT Austin

Now, Goodenough, who’s 97, is the oldest person to win the Nobel Prize—for his battery breakthroughs that power the smartphones, laptops and cars we use every day. He shares the prize with two other scientists.

Of course, Goodenough is still going. He still works 8–10 hours a day, according to his assistant at UT, and just last year announced a breakthrough: nonflammable, glass powder-based lithium-ion batteries with twice the energy density of traditional lithium-ion cells.

Maybe he’ll retire at 100. We hope not.

TAGS: Currents, Music, People, Science, Sports


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