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Technology, science, math, engineering (STEM) timeline
- Modern Present era - 1920
- Atomic 1860 - 1920 CE
- Industrial age 1550CE - 1860CE
- Preindustrial 1550CE - 1000CE
- City state & Agriculture
1000CE - 10 000 BCE
- Hunter Gatherer
Holocene prior 8 000 BCE
- Beginning 13.8 billion years ago BP or YA
- Top 101 inventions of all time by Meghan A.T. B. Reese
While we can never touch reality, science moves us ever closer.
When you invent the car, you create the car wreck.
STEAM knowledge is the result of years of human's global efforts to learn from our social interactions that exchange information.
Information exchanged, irrelevant of the ethics of the exchanges. Oppression, war, colonialism, capitalism, slavery, industrialization, geopolitical conflict, & unhealthy choices.
Modern (Present - 1920)
Summary of change:
Environmental: Humans and their livestock (mostly pigs and cows) now have 22 times the mass than wild mammals. Domesticated birds have two times the mass of wild birds. Plant mass has halved since civilization began.
Countries agree on a treaty to protect the biodiversity in international waters with marine protection areas (MPAs), share financial rewards from the DNA of marine organisms, create a central database for patents, papers, or products, and require new developments to do environmental impact assessments (EIA). However, there is no enforcement.
Nicole Mann becomes the first Native American woman to go to space and serves as mission commander for the SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the ISS. She is a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report warns:
Unless future plans to build more fossil fuel energy plants are not cancelled, and most existing plants are decommissioned, along with an increase of three to six times as much money on renewables by 2030, we are on track for catastrophic weather and crop failures.
First U.S. law with a focus on climate change
Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which includes funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing energy security. First major environmental law since 1990 Air Act. However, it is not expected to be enough to achieve the 50% cut target set for 2030.
CO2 (carbon dioxide) in our atmosphere continues to increase above 417 parts per million.
DeepMind announces structures of all proteins
DeepMind, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, announces the likely structures of all proteins (200 million) that make up all organisms from bacteria to humans. The program AlphaFold is able to solve protein-folding problems to determine the 3D shapes of proteins, which are made from amino acid sequences.
Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft returns to Earth ith 5 grams of the carbonaceous asteroid Ryugu (162173)
The sample includes 66 elements, 15 amino acids, a wide variety of organic molecules, and materials formed by water alterations. Suggesting these materials can be transported through-out the solar system
CO2 (carbon dioxide) in our atmosphere passes 417 parts per million. Highest since beginning of the industrial revolution.
COVID-19 vaccine developed
A messenger RNA Cozvid-19 vaccine, with 95% efficacy, is developed astonishingly fast; and production of 8 billion shots is achieved.
However, world wide distribution and acceptance of a vacination is less successful. Success hampered by:
- Public expectations of a vaccine, similar to measles, that provides a life time protection.
- Belief herd immunity could be achieved with wide vaccination.
- Spread of vaccine hesitancy, half-truths, misinformation, and a flood of lies along with the promotion of questionable unproven drugs and remedies.
- Evolution of different variants of the virus.
- Belief a specific mRNA vaccine could end the pandemic. And
- Wanting it to be over.
The future for ending the pandemic may be a long term struggle that will only be resolved with a pancoronavirus vaccine that will thwart any Sars-CoV-2.
China’s Chang’e 5 returns 1.7 kilograms of rock and soil from the moon
First since Russia’s Luna 24 in 1976. See also Apollo
RoseTTAFold & AlphaFold (artificial intelligence algorithms) are able to predict structures of protein complexes. Both are available for researchers to use for free. See 2022
NASA announces the Artemis program to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. Source
Within the program is the Artemis Accord.
First all women team to win Noble prize
Geneticist Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their groundbreaking invention of CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) for editing genes. Source The Code Breaker Walter Isaacson.
Greta Thunberg gives a Speech at the United Nations on climate and global warming.
See 1987 Global Climate Protection Act for U.S. political history related to climate change and Rachel Carson's early warnings.
Earth’ s human population is 7.6 billion
China’s Chang’e 4 lands on the dark side of the moon. Its biosphere germinates the first seeds (cotton) on the moon. January 3, 2018. Source
First image of a Black Hole is recorded with the help of Katie Bouman, who developed the algorithm necessary to create the image. The black sphere captures all light with its massive gravity. The photons (light) that surround the event horizon create the glow as matter spirals into the hole. The black hole is at the center of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy, 53 million light years from Earth. It has a mass of 6.5 billion suns with an event horizon a bit larger than our Solar System, itty-bitty by cosmic standards.
First AI (artificial intelligence) to predict people's emotional state
Kevin LaBar creates a model that uses fMRI scans to associate brain blood flow patterns to seven feelings: countentedness, amusement, surprise, fear, anger, sadness, & neutrality.
His work builds on Jack Gallant's mapping 1000's of concept words to brain locations. Numbers, body parts, principles such as truth. He found every word maps to multiple regions. He believes each region represents an idea associated with its meaning or related experience.
Source Discover. The Shape of Thought, December, 2019
Covid vaccine developed
Ozem Tureci and Uğur Sahin, co-founders of BioNTech (2008) discover mRNA vaccines that will open a new generation of treatments for viruses. Covid vaccine among them.
California Camp fire sets a record for the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history. Burns 153 336 acres, destroys 18 804 structures, displaces 52 000 people and kills 85 people.
Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft drops multiple probes onto the surface of the Ryuga Asteroid. The probes hop across the asteroid: take pictures, measure temperatures, magnetism, look for water and organic molecules. The main spacecraft will land three times, collect samples, and return to Earth in 2020. Source See Hayabusa1.
NASA announces its Mars rover found evidence for ancient life and methane in the Martian atmosphere, suggests microbes existed and still might exist today.
The B-52 bomber is still flying. By Gordon F. Sander January 20, 2018
Somalian plate is separating from the African Continent
See Africa's Big Break. by Shannon Hall in Discover magazine May 2018.
CO2 (carbon dioxide) in atmosphere passes 400 parts per million. Highest since beginning of the industrial revolution.
Wheat genome sequenced. Source
First known fatality involving an autonomous vehicle (AV) when An Uber test vehicle hits and kills a pedestrian near Phoenix, AZ.
Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico and kills 2 975 people, in September.
First artificial species created
Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn3.0 has 473 genes and is created by J. C. Venter. He starts with the living organism Mycoplasma genitalium, the smallest organism (with 525 genes) and the first organism to be sequenced, by removing and adding genes until it sustained life and reproduced.
First time police use a robot to kill a suspect
After a sniper killed 12 police officers in Dallas, police arm a small robot with a bomb and detonate it next to the shooter.
The Great Math Mystery
According to Mario Livio, all numbers (one, two, ...) are invented concepts, and humans have discovered that numbers have all kinds of intricate relationships. Humans invented the concept and then discovered the relations among the different concepts. Therefore, math is both invented and discovered. It may feel like it's already there, but it comes from the creativity of human beings. Source
Cruise ship Crystal Serenity along with 100 tourists steams from Alaska to New York through the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history.
OSIRIS-REx launched and arrives at Bennu asteroid (101955) in 2018.
It finds the surface weathered by space exposure, has abundant organic material, and evidence of past erosion by liquid water. It collects 60 g of material to arrive on Earth 2023.
Paris agreement on climate change.
Higgs boson discovered at CERN on July 4, 2012.
Peter Ware Higgs, a theoretical physicist proposes the electro weak theory and broken symmetry could explain the origin of elementary particle mass in general and W and Z bosons in particular through a Higgs mechanism.
This same mechanism was proposed by other physicists about the same time and it predicted the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson. Both discoveries add support for the Standard Model of particle physics.
On March 14, 2013, the Higgs boson was tentatively confirmed to be + parity and zero spin. Making it the first known fundamental scalar particle to be verified in nature.
Curiosity arrives on Mars and begins to sift soil and rock samples for organic molecules.
In 2015, from two different sites, it finds evidence of a goopy fossilized building block (kerogen) for oil and gas on Earth are found, sulfur bearing carbon rings, and traces of methane in the atmosphere rise and fall with the season.
Voyger I entered intersteller space on August 25, 2012. In another 40,000 years it will leave the solar system and the Sun's gravitational influence. Source Ed Stone
Google brain project created an algorithm that was capable of learning to identify a cat.
First spacecraft to land on an asteroid and return to Earth is Japan's Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa (MUSES-C).
It travels to Itokawa asteroid and brings back samples. It also is the first to use ion engines to navigate. Source
Scalbard Global Seed Vault on the island of Spitsbergen near Longyearbyen Norway opens. It is created to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds as spare copies held as a worldwide gene bank in case of a regional or global crises. Source
The number of people living in urban areas (cities) becomes greater than the number of people living in rural areas.
Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 497, in a 5-4 decision found:
- The petitioners were found to have standing. A state has a right to act in the interest of its citizens as to whether "its mountains shall be stripped of their forests and its inhabitants shall breathe pure air."
- The Court held the CAA gives the EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. The CAA defines "air pollutant" as "any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical, biological, radioactive ... substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air".
- The Court found the EPA's current rationale for not regulating to be inadequate and required the agency to articulate a reasonable basis in order to avoid regulation.
Chief Justice Roberts dissent argued the alleged injury: Massachusetts' loss of land because of rising sea levels is too speculative and without adequate scientific support and the effect of obliging the EPA to enforce automobile emissions as a solution is hypothetical at best.
Scalia's dissent found the Court has no jurisdiction to decide the case because the petitioners lack standing.
The New Horizon space probe is launched
It travels to Pluto and then Arrokoth in the Kuiper belt at the edge of the solar system. The original positional locating system is unable to center Arrokoth to photograph. Marc Huie recommends using a new star mapping system created from the Gaia satellite from mapping quasars as a reference frame. It works perfectly. Source
The craft was named with reference to the:
Gaia hypothesis, which is an Earth system science hypothesis developed by James E. Lovelock with Lynn Margulis and named by William Golding. It claims the thin layer of life on Earth, along with the enviornmenatal factors, such as air, water, and soil, collectively defines and regulates the conditions necessary to sustain life. The planet, or the biosphere, is thus a vast self-regulating organism.
Hurricane Katrina devastates the north Gulf Coast killing 1,833 people.
Identify the human genome with 32 000 genes
Vaccines have a higher approval rating in the United States than the most popular stars at the time: Dolly Parton, Tom Hanks, or Dr. Seuss.
93% Republicans and 97% Democrats believe they are effective.
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is founded
Its mission is based on the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. It will oversee the destruction of the world’s declared chemical weapons (CW) stockpiles.
In 2014 it removes and destroyed Syria’s CW stockpile and in 2022 starts to transition from disarmament to nonproliferation and threat reduction of state and non state actors who develop or use CW.
Among it’s most important tasks: to reinforce international norms against the use of chemical weapons (CW). And to document and confirm who is responsible for the use of CW against different populations, and the assassination of political opponents. Source Countering the future chemical weapons threat. By Tuan H. Nguyen. Science April 20. 2022
First mammal, Dolly the sheep, is cloned
Later by dogs, rabbits, pigs, and primates in 2018, with Zhongshan Zhongshan and Hua Hua.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is opened for signatures.
Nations have signed it, but not all have ratified it. However, most nations agreed to the verification procedures and are gathering and transmitting data to the CTBTO headquarters. Thus, no nuclear explosion goes undetected.
Self flying plane (autonomous vehicle)
A Boeing 737 with a Global positioning system (GPS) landed itself 110 times in a row. Source
Congress kills the Superconducting Super Collider
Confirm microwave background radiation of the big bang
The COBE ( NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite) team announced they detected the three-degree Kelvin electromagnetic background radiation in all directions of the sky that was emitted 380,000 years after the Big Bang.
Al Gore introduces legislation to create ARAPANET
ARAPANET is a public network that will became the internet, which will eventually connect anyone anywhere instantly. See 1990, 1989.
Hubble telescope launches April 24, 1990.
The Hubble telescope is capable of collecting observations of space objects far beyond any previous observations. Greatly expanding the view of our universe and the number of known objects in it. NASA has great photos and more about Hubble.
First web page
Tim Berners-Lees and Robert Cailliau utilize ideas of a server, TCP, DNS, HTTP, HTML, URL, and a browser to make the WWW and the first web page at: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html
Tim Berners-Lee designs the Distributed Information System (internet) for particle physicists to communcate more effectively and efficiently. See 1990 and 1991.
Margaret Thatcher is the first world leader who calls for action on climate change.
Treaty to ban chlorofluorocarbons, to protect the ozone layer, is ratified by 197 countries.
Nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine (Chernobyl) explodes to become the worst nuclear accident in the history of nuclear power.
Organ transplants are largely unsuccessful because the body rejectes the new organ. Thomas Starzl works for many years to improve on transplant success.
- First, with the drug cyclosporine, approved by the FDA in 1983.
- Later with tacrolimus, approved by the FDA in 1994.
Over his career he investigates: preservation, immunosuppression, infectious diseases, oncology, growth factor physiology, and immunology. The Puzzle People: Memoirs of a Transplant Surgeon. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Stanley Prusiner claims prions replicate without nucleic acids
Stanley publishes: that scrapie, a degenerative disease of the central nervous system of sheep, is cause by prions. Prions are misfolded proteins that have the ability to transmit their misfolded shape onto normal proteins without RNA, DNA, or a virus. They also cause other degenerative diseases: mad cow disease and chronic wasting disease. Shifts & drifts in prion science. Science October 2, 2020
Micro Computers hit the market
Diamond v. Chakbrabarty - Can life be patented
Asked to rule if a patent for a human-made, genetically engineered bacterium capable of breaking down crude oil, a property which is possessed by no naturally occurring bacteria, could be patented.
- At questions is: are living things patentable?
- Does a micro-organism constitute a manufactured or composition of matter?
Ruled, it was a nonnaturally occurring organism that was manufactured or a composition of matter of human ingenuity with a distinctive name and character of use.
Referenced: 1930 Plant Patent Act, allowed protection of certain asexually reproduced plants and the 1970 Plant Variety Protection Act, protected certain sexually reproduced plants.
Global positioning system (GPS)
Brad Parkinson and his team had proof of the concept for a global positioning system (GPS) . Source
Gossamer Condor, becames the first nonstop human-powered flight
The Condor designed and built by Paul MacCready stayed aloft for seven minutes and flew a figure eight course. The flight won a prize of $100,000, which was offered by British industrialist Henry Kremer 18 years earlier. The Condor now hangs in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. More about Paul and ...
Have Blue, the first stealth aircraft designed and built at Lockheed's Skunk Works took flight over Nevada. More
Voyger 1 is launched and continues its voyage
- Voyger 1 was launched Septeber 5, 1977.
- In 1990 the blue dot photo 2, is taken.
- On February 17, 1998 it becomes the most distant human made object
- In 1998 it crosses the termination shock
- On February 13, 2010 it passes the reach of the solar wind
- On August 25, 2012 in reaches interstellar space
Photo of Earth taken by Voyager 1 between Uranus and Neptune. Original: NASA JP
Carl R. Woese discovers cells whose 16S rRNA genetic materials are evolutionary older than known bacteria. This discovery results in a three-domain (archaea, bacteria, & eukaryote) biological classification system and understanding of how evolutionary differences can be used for classification. His work leads to the separation of prokaryotes into two groups: Bacteria and Archaea. Woese reasoned the differences in genes of these two groups and the eukaryotes (multicellular fungi, plants, & animals) to be classified as three separate domains.
Source The Tangled Tree by David Quammen
Earth’ s human population reaches 4 billion
First use of precision guided bombs
On July 23rd, laser-guided bombs are used to target and destroy the Than Hoa Bridge and Longbien Bridge. The Than Hoa Bridge was destroyed by a 3,000-pound laser-guided bomb dropped by an F-4 Phantom jet, and Longbien Bridge was destroyed by a 2,000-pound TV-guided bomb. Source
Blue marble photograph by Jack Schmitt 12-7-1972.
First Earth Day
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy. See 1963 and 1996
Environmental Acts ALL pass in the Senate without a single dissenting vote and signed into law by President Nixon.
- The Clean Air Act (1970),
- Clean Water Act (1972), and the
- Endangered Species Act (1973)
Eric Kandel shows short-term memory involves changes in synapse strength and long term memory creates new synapses. Source
Apollo program achieves the first Moon landing with Apollo 11
- Apollo 1 accident fire kills Virgil Gus Grissom, Edward White, & Roger Chaffee. 1, 27, 1967
- Apoll0 4 no crew Earth orbiting mission to test Saturn V as a launch vehicle. 11, 9, 1967
- Apollo 5 no crew Earth orbit with test flight of lunar module. 1, 22, 1968
- Apollo 7 first crew flight Walter Schirre, Donn Eisele, Walter Cunningham. 10, 11, 1968
- Apollo 8 takes three astronauts: Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, & William Anders to the dark side of the moon and back. 12, 21 1968
- Apollo 9 tests the lunar module for the first time while in Earth orbit. 3, 3, 1969
- Apollo 10 tests all aspects of a complete crewed lunar landing, except the landing. First crewed spacecraft to operate in lunar orbit with Thomas Stafford, John Young, & Eugene Cernan. 5, 18, 1969
- Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong is the first man to step on the moon and first broadcast from the surface with "One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind." Accompanied by Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins. Michael orbits the moon. The mission includes a two and one-half hour moon walk.
- Apollo 12 has a second lunar landing with an eight hour moon walk. Found bacteria could survive from Earth through space to the moon on an unmanned lander. 11, 14, 1969 Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon, & Alan Bean
- Apollo 13 has a third planned lunar landing, however, the lunar landing is aborted when an oxygen tank explodes two days after launch. Mission control and astronauts: Jim Lovell, Jack Schwigert, & Fraed Haise engineer a solution and return safely to Earth. 4, 11, 1970
- Apollo 14, Third lunar landing, Alan Shepart, Stuart Roosa, & Edgar Mitchell 1, 31, 1971
- Apollo 15, has a fourth lunar landing, David Scott, Alfred Worden, & James Irwin 7, 26, 1971 first use of a lunar rover.
- Apollo 16, has a fifth lunar landing John Young, Thomas Mattingly, & Charles Duke. 4, 16, 1972
- Apollo 17 has a sixth lunar landing. Harrison Schmitt, Eugene Cernan, & Ronald Evans. Longest rover exploration and returns more soil and rock samples than previous. 12, 7, 1972
It is the last mission. However, several movie legends and conspiracy theories will claim additional secret NASA missions.
- After Apollo 17 the Apollo program goes on to launch Skylab and ends with the docking of the Apollo - Soyuz vehicles.
Tragedy of the Commons
Garrett Hardin writes his Tragedy of the Commons to describe problems for common resources. He explains how herders, who seek to maximize production, can increase herd size and over graze a common range. When production exceeds the range's capacity, then livestock suffer, production falls, and the ultimate tragedy: no rancher being able to graze the field, due to overconsumption. However, persuasive forces, such as: from a collective cooperative agreement or monarch, who apply coercion or social pressure for conservation of land, could achieve a sustainable environmental with appropriate management.
The idea of tragedy of the commons can be expanded to other land uses to provide food, shelter, aesthetic value, watershed for quality water to sustain agriculture and human health; conservation of wild life; healthy oceans; a clean atmosphere with balanced amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, life sustaining climate; transportation; and intellectual knowledge rights.
Decoded how DNA is transribed into RNA to build proteins.
Har Gobind Khorana, found that DNA's four letter codes: A, T, C and G are transcribed into RNA and then translated, three at a time, to build proteins with amino acids. He studied nucleic acids, molecules that make genes, and confirmed the 64 unique three-letter words that determine the order of amino acids needed to make specific proteins.
- In 1972, Khorana made a second breakthrough, constructing the world's first synthetic gene.
- In 1976 he injected the gene into a living bacterium.
Source The Gene
Earthrise photograph by Bill Anders 12-25-1968.
First interracial kiss on television
On a Startrek, episode between Communications officer, Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Captain Kirk (William Shatner).
Nichelle Nichols, later becomes a spokesperson for NASA in recruiting women and minority astronauts. Her story is told in the documentary, entry Women in Motion.
Lynn Margulis publishes her theory that cell organelles, such as mitochondria and chloroplasts, were once independent bacteria. It is largely ignored until substantiated with genetic evidence.
Discover microwave background radiation of the big bang
Detected electromagnetic background radiation that seemed to be coming from all directions of the sky. Thought to be emitted 380,000 years after the Big Bang. See 1992
16 October 3 pm China detonates its first atomic bomb and announces its policy of no first use in a conflict.
Qian Xuesen was born in China. Received a scholarship to MIT, gained a security clearance, and worked on classified weapons research in the U.S.
During the Red scare the FBI revokes his clearance and puts him under house arrest. He returns to China and works on their nuclear weapons program, ballistic missle program, aerodynamics, and systems engineering to control social science and engineering problems (Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River). His work sets the stage for state surveillance to control reality in later years, 2016. Source
James F. Holland researches and develops combination chemotherapy to treat acute leukemia in children
His treatment is based on two key concepts:
- first, cancer cells are naturally resistant to chemotherapy, and
- second, resistance can be overcome more effectively when multiple drugs are given at the same time instead of one after another.
His research changes acute lymphoblastic leukemia from an incurable illness to one with a high survival rate.
First stop motion photograph taken
Dr. Edgerton, invents the stroboscope and uses it to capture photographs of rapid motion. Pictures that seem to stop time. His first photos include a bullet shot through an apple, a milk drop above a splash wave, and many more.
Treaty to ban atmospheric nuclear testing to eliminate radioactive fallout as a source of pollution is signed.
First live instant replay on TV is run in the third quarter of the Army v. Navy football game, December 7, 1963.
Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman to orbit Earth.
Ermal Cleon Fraze invents the pull-tab opener. First used on beer and soft drink cans.
Fian Fossey begins her life long study of gorillas. See her story
Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring
In it she claims everything is connected, we all share the same molecules, and humans have the capacity to destroy nature.
PBS Rachel Carson video 2017 (1:53:11) and Life & Legacy of Rachel Carson
- Creates the environmental movement
- At 10 she wins a prize for her story published in St. Nicholas Magazine 1918.
- Graduates Parnassus, PA High School 1925
- Graduates Pennsylvania College for Women (Chatham University) 1929
- Employed at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory
- Earns an MA in zoology at Johns Hopkins University in 1932.
- Writes 52 short radio programs on marine life: Romance Under the Waters in 1935.
- Undersea Atlantic Monthly article in 1937
- Works at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a fish & aquatic marine biologist 1939-1951
- Notes the subartic growing season is longer, growth rings are fatter, and cod are migrating farther north. She concludes: "The long trend is toward a warmer earth." 1951
- Reader's Digest turns down her article on DDT effects on the environment because it is thought to be too controversial. Chemical companies claim it is only harmful to bugs.
- The Sea Around Us becomes a prize winning book, published in 1952, a study of the oceans. Followed by The Edge of the Sea in 1955.
- Japanese seamen on board the Lucky Dragon die of radiation exposure 1954. She asks: How much radiation does it take to harm life? How much to kill? Strontium 90. leukemia, birth defects ...
- Help Your Child to Wonder. 1956
- Our Ever-Changing Shore. 1957
- Silent Spring published 1962 Relates pesticide effects to radioactive build up. What is a wise use of pesticides?
- CBS Reports with Eric Sevareid airs The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson on national television 1963 in spite of the fact all sponsers with draw commercial support.
- Who does the land, air, forest, water belong to? What is the commons?
- She set out to save a species ... Us.
Big box store architecture
The big box stores arrive when Walmart, Target, and Kmart open their first stores a few months apart. Stores with huge areas of undivided retail space for customers to purchase large supplies of retail goods and outside big parking lots with easy access to highways to attract shoppers.
Two Telstar communication satellites are launched.
- The first in July 1962 and
- the second in May 1963.
They enable the first TV signals, telephone calls, fax images and live transatlantic feed to be relayed from space.
December 1961. President Kennedy authorizes the use of defoliants in Vietnam
Earth’ s human population reaches 3 billion
The Green Revolution, and Norman Borlaug develop new strains of wheat and rice for developing countries to produce higher yields. He first developes a short strain of wheat and other varieties for Mexico, which increases wheat production three times.
Later, India and Pakistan ask him to help their countries with their agricultural revolution.
He developes techniques to create mutations for finding new hybrids, which he uses to develop different strains of wheat, rice, sorgum, millet, cassova, triticale, maize, and tubers. It is estimated these varieties were able to save billions of people from starvation. The down side is the large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides required to maintain high yields. Source
Jane Goodall begins her life long study of chimpanzees.See her story
Over 90% of homes in the USA have a television
Laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is invented
Laser is a device that amplifies coherent light by energizing electromagnetic radiation.
The first laser is built by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on ideas by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.
Later applications include: laser pointers, laser surgery, tatoo removal, cutting materials, welding, fiber-optics, optical disk drives, laser printers, barcode scanners, DNA sequencing instruments, instruments to mark targets, instruments to measuring range and speed, laser lighting displays ...
First SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) experiment
Frank Drake turns the telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory toward Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani (close stars) to search for interstellar communications (project Ozma). A high altitude plane signals a false alarm. However, it demonstrates such a search is reasonable and feasible.
America enters space age
ARPA launches America's first communication satellite (SCORE) into orbit with an American Atlas rocket. A previously recorded meassage is onboard and on December 19, 1958, with a second attempt with a radio signal from Earth, it is turned on and President Eisenhower's pre recorded speech is broadcasted on a short-wave radio frequency from outer space. Message below: Source
This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you from a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one. Through this unique means, I convey to you and all mankind, America's wish for peace on earth and good will to men everywhere.
NASA launces its first satellite, Explorer 1, into space on January 31, 1958 aboard a Jupiter C rocket developed by the team headed by Dr. Wernher von Braun. The primary scientific purpose is to measure cosmic ray radiation in Earth orbit.The experiment, conducted by Dr. James Van Allen, measures a lower cosmic ray count than expected. This leads to the discovery of the Van Allen Belts of charged particles concentrated in space by Earth's magnetic field. Source
Alan Shepard is the first American to reach space on a suborbital flight on May 5, 1961. Three weeks after the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
In 1962 astronaut John Glenn orbits the Earth three times in the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7, re-enters the Earth's atmosphere, and splashes down in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Female mathematicians, or human computers, support the engineers. Among them is Katherine Johnson. She develops precise trajectory calculations for human spaceflights and lunar orbits. Margot Lee Shettelry writes about her in the book Hidden Figures, which the movie of the same name is based.
ARPA funds research to investigate the possibility of creating an electron shield, to destroy enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), by exploding atomic bombs in the atmosphere. The funding includes an actual ICBM launch with an atomic bomb that is exploded in the atmosphere to test feasibility (ARGUS test). Source
Investigate the creation of a space vehicle powered by hundreds of nuclear bombs (Orion).
Lego bricks are invented by the family company found by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in 1932. The word Lego was shortened from Danish leg godtz - meaning: play well. In 2018 the company moves to make environmentally responsible bricks with a small environmental footprint. Source
Anthropocene Epoch (present - .01 mya)
Anthropocene Epoch (present - .01 mya) can be identified by the measurement of radioactive traces in organic materials that was alive during the atomic bomb tests of the 1950's and 60's. Might be considered as a sign post, along with the introduction of plastic into the environment, for the extinction of many species. Will humans be among them?
The start of the Space Age
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the Earth's first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957
Shortly after, two more Soviet satellites are launched into space, one with a dog. The satellites orbit Earth approximately once every 90 minutes. See America enters space race 1958 & V2 rocket
Strategic Air Command (SAC) south of Omaha, NE under the command of General LeMay employs nearly a quarter of a million men and its hangars contained over 2,000 strategic aircraft, including over 700 B-52s.
Federal Aid Highway Act passes Congress
Construction of the U.S. Interstate Highway System, with controlled access highways propossed by Dwight D. Eisenhower, starts.
Shipping container is invented, designed, and patented for more efficient and faster intercontinental trade by Malcolm Mc Lean, a trucker who owns and operates a large fleet of trucks.
AI (artificial intelligence) is used by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky extending the questions: Can machines think? Later explored in films such as: 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Terminator. They coined the term to focus discussion on the programming of machines as opposed to the philosophical ideas associated with the term used in the 1948 book Cybernetics by Norbert Wiener.
On April 25, 1954, Bell Labs announces the invention of the first practical silicon solar cell. Based on the photoelectric effect that light generates an electric current. First described by Aleksandr Stoletov in 1894. Source Timeline solar cells
See article on how variation of Sun angle, duration effects the amount of Solar radiation energy (insolation).
Stanley Miller creates amino acids
His experiment put an electrical charge in a flask with methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water. The results may explain how organic materials were created on Earth billions of years ago.
By The original uploader was Carny at Hebrew Wikipedia (Transferred from he.wikipedia to Commons.)
DNA first identified
James Watson and Francis Crick demonstrate a model for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as a double helix twisted ladder. It is essential to understand how genes control the chemical processes in living organisms.
They are assisted when Maurice Wilkins shows James a X-ray crystallography image of DNA made by Rosalind Franklin. Watson recognizes a double helix and he and Francis Crick publish it, and win a Nobel Prize for it in 1962.
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin spends years perfecting the X-ray crystallography technique, for which she wins a Nobel Prize in 1964. She also determines the structures of penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin.
The 4 Level Freeway Stack opens in Los Angles. It is 32 lanes of traffic to change directions 8 ways.
Maria Tharp discoveres the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from mapping data.
When Maria transfers data from a 5000 foot scroll onto sheets of white linen to map the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a long rift valley appears.
Such a ridge is suggested by Wegner's theory of continental drift & plate tectonics.
However, most people believe continents are permanently attached to the surface of the Earth or they are too massive to drift so she is told by her superior to redo her work. After she does, the results are compared to another map by Bruce Heezen, and both maps describe rift valleys in the mid-ocean ridge. The results are published in 1957.
The article is read by the ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau. He doubts Tharp's conclusions. Determined to prove her wrong he tacks her map to the dining room wall of his ship. However, when he views film he takes of the Atlantic Ocean floor, he sees a deep valley ridge where Tharp had mapped it. Source "Connect the Dots: Mapping the Seafloor and Discovering the Mid-ocean Ridge" by Marie Tharp, Chapter 2 in Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia
- Check out Mary Sears, another interesting person in oceanography and her Pioneering Ocean Research …
Great London Fog or Big Smog
A five day air-pollution event in the United Kingdom; caused by cold weather and a lack of wind to move massive amounts of smoke created by the burning of coal and other fossil fuels for home use, transportation, and industry; is believed to have killed 12,000 and sickened 25,000. It leads to the Clean Air Act in 1956. Source
First amino acid sequence of a protein
Frederick Sanger finds a protein is a genetically created sequence of amino acids. He uses this ideas to determine the complete amino acid sequence of two polypeptide [protein] chains - bovine insulin A (1951) and bovine insulin B (1952). Next he determines how amide groups are distributed, and the location of the disulphide linkages which complete his deduction of the structure of insulin, in 1954. Source
Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer on October 4, 1951, at age 31
Her cells are taken from her body and used to create the HeLa cell line. These cells are found to grow quickly, are very hardy, and survive longer than usual human cells. They became widely used in thousands of medical research experiments (cancer, polio vaccine, HIV, effects of toxins and radiation on cells, gene mapping, testing sensativity of cosmetics and other substance on cells, invitro fertilization, ... ). Since the cells were taken without her or her families permission their use and ownership eventually began discussions on ethical and legal use of peoples cells and genetic material. Source
Jack St. Clair Kilby invents an integrated circuit
Turned down by MIT to study electronics. He later says: it was because he didn't know it wasn't supposed to work that he tried it and found that it did. Serendipity?
First protein structures (myoglobin & hemoglobin) are determined with X-ray crystallography. Later Christian B. Anfinsen Jr. suggests that since a protein is thermodynamical stable it will make it possible to predict the structure of a protein based on the the sequence of its amino acids. Which will be solved in 2021
January 1, 1950 is designated as BP (before present) or YA (years ago)
Willard Libby, invents carbon-14 dating around 1950. Therefore, scientists agree to use January 1, 1950 as the reference date for before present (BP or YA years ago) when dating.
Barbara McClintock publishes, The origin and behavior of mutable loci in maize
By observing the patterns of coloration of maize kernels over generations of plants, Barbara determines that genes can move within and between chromosomes. Her findings aren't accepted and mostly ignored so she turns her study to the origins of maize in South America.
In the 1970's and early 1980's improvement in molecular science confirms her theory and these jumping genes are found in other microorganisms, insects and even humans. McClintock is awarded a Nobel Prize in 1983.
First Bikini swim suit made
French textile engineer fashion designer Louis Reardé designs a two piece swim suit, the bikini. Named for the Bikini Atoll where atomic bombs were tested. It is modeled by Micheline Bernardini on July 5, 1946.
- Bikini like clothing is carved on a statue in Turkey about 5,600 BCE. and
- Paintings and other artifacts from Greece and Rome also show bikini style clothing.
Manhattan Project's Trinity test is successful with the detonation of the first atomic bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m.
Views of photos and videos of atomic test explosions. Compiled by Gregg Spriggs, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California for the public to see the destructive power.
George Polya studies and identifies a heuristic to systematically solve problems
His classical book: How to Solve It, has been been found by students and educators as an authority for solving problems. In it he suggests four steps for solving mathematical problems:
- Understand the problem
- Make a plan
- Carry out the plan
- Look back on your work and ask, How could it be better?
Frozen food developer Clarence Birdseye learns from the Inuit that trout caught through holes in the ice can be frozen instantly in the air (which is 30 degrees below zero) tastes like fresh trout when it is cooked later. Unlike when food is frozen in the more usual slower way.
This leads him to develop a flash freezing method to create better tasting frozen meals and vegetables, which changes the way the world eats and provides people with quality food when it isn't in season. Source and more.
Erwin Schrodinger publishes What Is Life? In it he seeks answers to
... how can the events in space and time, which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?
This book is credited by many of the pioneers in the study of genetics and DNA as inspiring their work.
First digital speech encryption system, SIGSALY or The Green Hornet
is developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories and built by Western Electric. It is used to communicate from Washington to London during WWII. Communications such as confidential talks between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Roosevelt. The system uses the highly-secure One-Time Pad (OTP) encryption. Source
The V-2 rocket or missile fires successfully from Peenemund island off Germany's Baltic coast. Directed by German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun.
Howard Florey and Ernst Boris Chain isolated, purified, and create an injectable form of penicillin to use as an antibiotic.
Bacteria resistant antibiotics
A study shows bacteria could develop a resistance to penicillin even before penicillin is used to treat infections. However, the idea of killing bad bacteria and an increase in the discovery of antibiotics would accelerate the use of antibiotics in ways to contribute to resistant microbes rather than considering a more targeted and efficient use of antibiotics to reduce the evolution of drug resistant organisms.
DDT is found to kill insects and it begins to be used extensively as an insecticide. Sprays attached to mowers to spray yards before picnics, shelf paper with DDT embedded, paint, varnish, there were no limits on its use. Thought it would raise the standard of living, rid the world of malaria, fire ants and other pests that caused disease and harmed crops.
Tasmanian tiger extinct
1936 - 1938
City planning for green space and community ...
Greenbelt, Maryland, is constructed from 1936 to 1938 by thousands of laborers, through the New Deal programs.
Clarence S. Stein is a consultant and creates design guidelines. Later Stein works to preserve the town as an example of a socially and environmentally responsible community design that can be used as a prototype for future desgins. Designs that combine superblocks of houses and apartments with pedestrian walkways through communal green space which join to a central area with commercial and recreational structures separate from roads for automobile travel.
In addition, the federal government promotes cooperative enterprises and associations in Greenbelt as a way to foster affordable housing and an enduring sense of community. While the cooperative nature of the towns are deemed a failure, the physical layout of the town is replicated by private developers. Source
More information related to the political aspects of this social experiment.
Sulfa drug and antibiotics
Sulfa, also called sulfonamide, a synthetic antibiotic with a sulfanilamide molecular structure is the first chemical substance systematically created to treat and prevent bacterial infections in humans.
These effects are first observed in 1932, by Gerhard Domagk who notices that red dye Prontosil kills Streptococcus infections in mice.
Later researchers find the active agent is sulfanilamide, or para-aminobenzenesulfonamide, a metabolic product of Prontosil.
Leo Szilard patents the nuclear fission reactor
Edwin P. Hubble' measurements of shifting spectral lines of light emitted from distant galaxies supports the expansion of the universe.
Alexander Fleming accidentally (serendipity) contaminates colonies of bacteria with mold, penicillium, and notices there is no bacteria growing around the areas of the mold. He isolates the mold, grows it, and finds it contains a substance capable of killing many bacteria that infect humans.
Later Gladys Hobby, Martin Henry, and Karl Meyer relize the importance of this and perfect penicillin ( See 1941) and later Hobby perfects Terramycin.
Dirac and the electron wave equation and the positron
Dirac presents to the Royal Society of London a relativistic wave equation for the electron. His equation requires four wave functions and introduces spins. It includes an extra set of solutions with negative values of energy.
In 1931 Dirac suggests this implies the existence of the antielectron, or positron. Later discovered in cosmic rays by Carl Anderson.
The Dirac equation as a path to the concept of quanta, and its role in quantum electrodynamics. by Mario Bacelar Valente
Holland Tunnel opens
It is the first vehicle tunnel, under the Hudson River, between Lower Manhattan in New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey.
Plans to bridge the Hudson River are first suggested in 1906.
However, in 1919 it is decided to build a tunnel under the river. Construction starts in 1920 to build, what is at the time, the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in the world.
Clifford Milburn Holland is the chief engineer until his death in 1924. The problem of supplying breathable air to motorists in a closed system with running gasoline engines is solved by Ole Singstad, who designs the first mechanical ventilation system and supervises the tunnel's completion.
Hans Berger invents the EEG (electroencephalograph). It records brain waves. He also discovers the alpha wave.
Earth’ s human population reaches 2 billion
First evidence to support Einstein's Theory of General Relativity
May 29, 1919, during a solar eclipse, the path of star light is measured as it travels past our Sun. The measurement finds the star's light bends by the amount predicted by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, of how light interacts with mass which warps time and space.
Atomic (1920 - 1860)
Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919
An influenza (Spanish flu H1N1) pandemic from 1918-1919 becomes the deadliest in modern history. It infects around 500 million people worldwide (one-third of the Earth's present population) kills 18-20 million in India, 40 million in Japan and between 50-100 million worldwide. In Nebraska 20,000 people were infected and 1,500 died The Chautauqua Reader 2018.
The first case is identified at the U.S. Army infirmary in Fort Riley, Kansas on March 4 and by the end of the month there are 1,100 cases. The point of origin is a farm in Haskell County, Kansas.
Troops embark to Estaples, France and take the virus with them. The virus spreads quickly through Europe and to the rest of the world.
The story of how this epidemic changes the world is in Pale Rider.
More people died from this epedemic than died in World War I.
It is the most devastating epidemic in recorded history. See vaccination fact sheet
See also Pandemic related Pod casts with first person accounts and more: Going Viral: The Mother of all Pandemics
Chemistry: fertilizer, chlorine gas, & zyklon B gas
Fritz Haber and his team weaponized chlorine gas, with the first large scale use in, Ypres France, in 1915.
Haber and Jeroen Bosch creates the Haber process, which makes ammonia fertilizer (NH3) from atmospheric nitrogen and hydrogen gas (1909). It is the first agricultural fertilizer not from animal sources. This process increases the food supply and saves millions of people from starvation and earns Haber the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918.
Haber left Germany for Switzerland and died in exile in 1933. Nazi scientists found his notes that describe a gas called Zyklon B, which Haber's team developed as a pesticide. The Nazis use this gas to kill millions in the Holocaust. Source
A commercial video on the social and ethical consequences of scientific work related to Haber's decisions. (35:00 minutes)
Later, in early 1920's when the Geneva Convention considered a ban of chemical weapons, General Amos Fries looked for other uses for these chemicals and the use of tear gas on civilian crowds is popularized to maintain the production of these gases. Source
The passenger pigeon is extinct
Niels Bohr theorizes electrons circle a nucleus in unique orbits depending on their unique energy levels, which are proportional in size to the frequency of the radiation it represents. Electrons jump from one level to another when they absorb or emit this packet of energy called a quantum. These particles only exist at a level, never in between, and with quantum leaps from level to level that are instantaneous and random.
Los Angeles Aquaduct is completed
Chief Engineer William Mulholland oversees construction of the 233 mile long aquaduct that brings water from the Owens River to Los Angeles. It is an engineering feat comparable to the Panama Canal. Source
William Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg. Design a process that uses X-rays to reveal the crystal structure of salt and diamonds. Later, in late 1951, the process is extended to discover the structures of proteins and later protein complexes.
Blood vessel suture
Alexis Carrel and Charles Guthrie solve the problem of how to sew (suture) two blood vessels together.
Blood vessels being tubular are difficult to sew together for several reasons, which they solved by their triangular suture method. Source
Hudson & Manhattan Tunnel opens
The construction of these tunnels are engineering marvels. Tunneling under the river, providing breathable air, and of course tunneling. The tunnel system lets railroads travel under the Hudson river to Pennsylvania Station in New York City.
Previously, all rail service terminated on the west shore of the Hudson River, in Weehawken, New Jersey. To go to Manhattan everything is transfered by ferries, weather permitting. Source
Also 1927 Holland Tunnel
Vitamins, as essential for health, is recognized by Casimir Funk, who collects information about human diseases: beriberi, scurvy, and pellagra. His information leads him to conclude they are caused by a chemical deficiency of amine compounds. Thus, he called them vital amines. Which is later shortened to vitamin when it is found not all vitamins contain amines. See the discovery stories five vitamins:
Forest management and forest fires and the Big Burn
The summer found the mountains hot, dry and highly combustible, which feed more than 1,000 fires in northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana, with most created by lightening.
On August 20, 1910, winds that exceeded 72 mph spread the small fires into big ones. 36 hours burnt an area the size of Connecticut (3 million acres). Kills at least 85, changes forest management, and leads to the creation of Smokey the Bear (voice by Sam Elliot). Other American devastating fires.
Ford assembly line
Henry Ford uses standardized parts and an efficient assembly line to create an affordable car for the common man. A car every 22 seconds rolled off the line.
Critical discovery to measure the size of the universe with variable stars
Henrietta Swan Leavitt observes Cepheid variable stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud and discovers their brightness is greater the longer it takes them to complete one cycle. This period-luminosity function of Cepheid variable stars provides a way to move beyond the use of parallax to measure distances to stars.
The pure food and drug act is the first consumer protection law to protect the American food supply. American women, doctors, and editors work together to convince Congress to pass the bill.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair kept public attention on the importance of food inspection laws to insure a safe meat supply from meat packing plants.
Later congress creates the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban foreign and interstate traffic in contaminated and mislabeled food and drug products. To achieve this:
- It directed the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry to inspect products and refer offenders to prosecutors.
- It required labels to identify active ingredients.
- Required products to be within purity levels established by the United States Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary.
- Today the FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs/medications, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, cosmetics, animal foods & feed, and veterinary products. Source
The Poison Squad is a book that tells the story of how its first chief chemist: Harvey Washington Wiley, citizens, and government can work together in meaningful ways for consumer protection.
Nettie Stevens Discovers male chromosome determines sex
Stevens observed a difference between female and male mealworm sex cells. She notices the sperm has two versions of their 20th chromosome: a smaller version and a largeer one. She then concludes the spermatozoa, which contains the smaller chromosome, determines a male mealworn, while spermatozoa that contains 10 equal sized chromosomes determines a female mealworm. She did not call them X and Y chromosomes. That terminology was coined later. Source
Thomas Robins gets a patent for an improved conveyor belt when he starts a company to move coal for the Thomas Edison Ore-Milling Company.
A previous patent for a modern industrial conveyor belt is given in 1896.
Orville Wright pilots the first heavier than air craft to fly over 120 feet in 12 seconds. Orville and Wilbur Wright design, build, and fly a propeller driven biplane powered by gasoline at Kitty Hawk, NC.
Source of their lives, building their planes, creation of the aerospace industry, and government involvement, read: The Wright Brothers: How they invented the airplane by Russell Freedman.
Chemical fertilizer (Nitrogen)
Haber develops an economical process that uses nitrogen (N2) and methane (CH4) gas to make ammonia (NH3).
Bosch conducted more than 20 000 experiemnts to find a catalyst and industrialize the process. It has been used to produce so much fertilizer that about 50% of all nitrogen atoms in humans today come from the Haber-Bosch process.
Wilhelm Ostwald used the ammonia (NH3) from Haber's process and developed an additional process to produce nitric acid (HNO3).
Nitric acid ammonia can be mixed to make a more neutral compound ammonium nitrate. It is a high concentration of nitrogen and can be stored and blended with other fertilizer components. Source
Mt. Pelee on the Caribbean island of Martinique erupts and kills around 30,000 islanders within minutes, leaving two survivors. A citizen group meet a few days before the eruption and decides the smoke and ash does not require an evacuation.
The era of big oil begins ( January 10, 1901, ) when a well at Spindletop (Beaumont, Texas) struck oil at a depth of 1 139 ft. The Lucas Gusher goes 150 feet in the air and blew 100,000 barrels (4 200 000 gallons) per day for nine days before it was capped. Beaumont became a boomtown as its population grows from 10 000 to 50 000 in three months.
One in 38 railroad employees are injured on the job - and 1,399 die this year. Source Doctors Derailed: How Railway Surgeons Advanced Medicine. Discover Magazine. July/ August 2016.
Chicago River is reversed
As Chicago, IL grows its sewage and industrial waste flows into the Chicago River, which flows into Lake Michigan. As Chicago grows, this becomes a problem since Lake Michigan is the source of the cities drinking water. The pollution carries diseases like typhoid and cholera, which enters the water supply. Ellis Chesbrough, engineer, suggests to reverse the flow of the river, so it flows south into the Mississippi River and towards St. Louis. The job is the largest earth moving project by any city government. Source
The Chlorine Revolution starts in Jersey City, NJ
When the water supply from the Passaic River is contaminated, the city contracts Patrick H. Flynn to find a new source for a clean water supply. Twenty-three miles west of the city, on the Rockaway River, a dam is built to create a reservoir.
However, after the contstruction there are several times a year when rain would cause the sewage system to overflow and contaminate the water. The city claims the engineer should have planned better and refuses to pay for the construction.
Flynn consults with Dr. John L. Leal who believes bacteria is contaminating the water and suggests it could be treaated with chloride of lime (chlorine).
The water is treated succesfully, the judge accepts the soution, and orders the city to pay for the construction. Source The Chlorine Revolution: Water Disinfection and the Fight to Save Lives, by Michael McGuire, 2013.
Purified water has saved millions of lives and raises life expectancies by some estimates, forty years. See Chlorination and public health
America's food supply is expanded
David Fairchild is a botanist, financed by Barbour Lathrop who convinces James Wilson, the Secretary of Agriculture, to accept seeds and plant cuttings that David ships to DC to distribute to farmers to diversify American food production.
He ships magoes and dwarf oranges from Jamaica, avocadoes from Santiago, Chile, fava beans and broccoli from Venice, Italy along with seedless grapes: purple sultanina, and light-green varieties to become raisins. Kale from Croatia and hops from Polepy, Czech Republic. He also brought Cherry trees from Japan as ornamentals for his garden that became the inspiration for the DC tidal basin cherry blossoms that is a gift from the city of Tokyo.
Source The Food Explorer: The true adventures of the globe-trotting botanist who transformed what America eats. by Daniel Stone
The U.S. Navy issues slip-on white cotton undergarments with no buttons a crew-neck and short-sleeves to wear under uniforms.
Sailors ware them without their uniforms in submarines and tropical climates. Later T-shirts became popular for workers in industries, agriculture, and young boys because they are easily cleaned, inexpensive, and fit well.
T-shirt appears in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 1920 and becomes more popular in 1947 when Marlon Brando wears one in A Streetcar Named Desire. After which it becomes a fashionable garment.
The 25th Infantry Regiment Bicycle Corps, composed of Black buffalo soldiers, rode bikes 1,900-miles from Montana to Missouri to test the use of bicycles for military transportation.
First Ecology book
Eugene Warming visits the Brazilian savanna between 1863-1866 and later writes several books about plant communities. Including, Plantesamfund (Oecology of Plants). It's the first book with a title specifically about ecology.
Guglielmo Marconi, an electrical engineer explores long-distance radio transmission, and develops Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system.
Often credited as the inventor of radio, an entrepreneur, businessman, and founder in Britain in 1897 of The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company. Later the Marconi's company, built on the work of previous experimenters and physicists, and becomes a commercial success in radio.
First fiber glass.
Charles V. Boys uses a cross bow, with a hot glass rod as an arrow, that he heats to the point of melting, and then fires it. The result is a few microns diameter thread 30 m long. He finds it to be very strong and uses it to build devices to measure radiation and gravity. Unknown to him it was the first fiber glass. Source
First book on soap bubbles: Soap -Bubbles and the Force which mould them
An insect, Icerya, is killing orange trees in California and threatening the existence of the orange industry
Charles Valentine Riley sends Daniel Coquillett and Albert Koebele to Australia to find a natural enemy for this invasive pest. They return with a ladybug variety. It is studied, released, and controls the infestation. The introduction of the Novius ladybug to California becomes the standard against which all biocontrol efforts will be measured. Source
American Bison number to about 300
William Temple Hornaday, a taxidermist, travels to Montana to collect American bison to display in the National Museum. He is shocked to learn the large herds he saw years before are gone. He collects his specimans, and also some live bison, and ships them to Washington, DC. Where he displays them at the Smithsonian Castle. His exhibit is very popular, but the live animals are more popular, which becomes the start of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. His work helps save this species. Source
First use of the term scientist
The British philosopher, William Whewell, at the British Association for the Advancement of Science, suggestes that since the practitioners of art are called artists, then the practitioners of science ought to be called scientists. Suggesting they should no longer be called philosophers.
Eugenics is the ideas of nature vs. nurture and concludes nature can be used to improve a population.
Francis Galton believes eugenics can be used to increase the amount of people deemed desirable and to reduce the number of undesirable or defective people. Increase desirables by encouraging physically and mentally superior people to choose partners with similar traits. And reduce undesirable births through sterilization of undesirables.
First modern vending machines
- First vending machine see 50BCE
- 1883 In England Percival Everitt invents a machine that dispenses postcards, envelopes, and paper in railway stations and post offices.
- 1884 In the U. S. William Henry Fruen patents an Automatic Liquid-Drawing Device that dispenses drinks.
- 1888 the Thomas Adams Gum Company build machines to sell gum at New York City train platforms.
- 1897 Pulver Manufacturing Company adds animation of small figures to encourage people to buy gum from their machines.
Pullman Company town
Pullman's philosophy is, happy workers make more productive workers so the quality of his company owned and maintained houses is very good for worker housing compared to typical worker housing. As a result the majority of Pullman employees live in his houses, which contain two to seven rooms with each having direct access to a private yard, woodshed and paved alley. A variety of housing types are designed and available in each block throughout the town to meet different income, status, and family makeup. Source
Light bulb and electrical systems
Joseph Swan instals light bulbs in homes and landmarks in England in the early 1880's. His house is the first in the world to be lit by a lightbulb and the first house in the world to use hydroelectric power.
Others who worked on the light bulb include: Henry Woodward, Matthew Evans, William Sawyer and Albon Man.
The home of Lord Armstrong at Cragside is also among the first houses to be lit by electricity. He starts his company and lit the Savoy Theatre in the City of Westminster, London making it the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity.
Around the same time Edison found how to make longer burning light bulbs using:
- a more effective incandescent material,
- creating a higher vacuum in the bulb, and
- using a high resistance. Higher resistance also allowed power to be distributed from a central source, making an economical sytem.
This lead to a completly integrated system of electric lighting with a centrally located massive generator and a parallel-distribution system. All built by the Edison Illuminating Company of New York that could supply electricity to 59 customers in a square-mile area of lower Manhattan. Thus Edison's genius was not only the light bulb, but the system to make it work in a community.
Treaty of the meter in Paris, May 20, 1875
is attended by 17 countries who create the international bureau of weights and measures, which adopts the metric system internationally. See also metric system history and U.S.
First American steel mill
Andrew Carnegie returns from England in 1872 having learned about the Bessemer process for making steel. He increases the scale of the furnace and builds his first steel mill, Edgar Thomson Steel Works, in 1875 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, (near Pittsburgh).
For the first time steel is mass produced inexpensively; making it so successful Carnegie is able to use the profits to buy other Pittsburgh steel mills and create the Carnegie Steel Company in 1892.
Watson is freeing a spring on the transmitter and causes a click that is heard by Bell at the receiver in another room. A serendipity discovery which leads to the telephone.
Study of History of Twins is published.
- In it Galton coins the term nature versus nurture.
- The study provides strong evidence for genetic heritability of many traits.
- He writes:
- Unfortunately Galton uses his findings for the basis of his theory of eugenics.
Provides strong evidence for the importance of twin studies for understanding development.
Twins have a special claim upon our attention; it is that their history affords means of distinguishing between the effects of tendencies received at birth, and of those that were imposed by the special circumstances of their after lives.
Joseph Glidden is granted a patent for barbed wire on November 24, 1874.
He goes into partnership with a merchant, Isaac Ellwood, and they form The Barb Fence Company. Read How Joseph invents his wire and the history of barb wire by the Kansas Barbed wire museum.
Barbed wire is first used to enclose cattle and other domesticated animals.
Later it is used to enclose private property, prisoners within prisons, battlefields, and stop migration.
DDT is synthesized in 1874. However, it is not until 1939 when it is discovered that it could be used as an insecticde.
First bridge across the Mississippi River, south of the Missouri River, opens
The Eads Bridge, named for James Buchanan Eads, the bridge's designer and builder, is a highway and railway bridge that connects St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois, near the present day Gateway Arch.
A caison is build in the river to construct a 100 foot deep pier anchored to bed rock. Air is pumped to workers who must take precautions to avoid the bends.
The structure is the longest steel arch bridge. When it was finished some people are afraid it will collapse so 14 locomotives were lined up across it to show its strength.
National Weather Service established
Transcontinental railroad is open for through traffic on May 10, 1869 with the ceremonial driving of the last spike. The spike, referred to as the golden spike, is driven with a silver hammer, at Promontory Summit, Utah.
Periodic Table of Elements is created by Demitri Mendeleev. Source
Demitri Mendeleev presents to the Russian Chemical Society in March, 1869 his Periodic Law.
He states, ... elements arranged according to the value of their atomic weights [today atomic mass or number is more accurate] present a clear periodicity of properties.
His version has 70 elements with gaps where he believes unknown elements belong. Using the properties of periodicity he successfully predicts properties for three of the gap elements. Source
First Planned suburb
Riverside, Illinois is the first planned commuter suburb. It is a suburb of Chicago Illinois accesible by train.
Although at the time it isn't known as a suburb, but as a town near the downtown. While towns were designed in a familiar checker board fashion, Riverside is the first where roads were curvalinear and didn't meet with 90 degree angles. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Source
First Canned meat
Deviled ham meat spread is first canned in 1868 by the Underwood Deviled Ham company. The company is found in 1822 by William Underwood who was packing food in glass containers. In 1836 he changes to steel cans coated with tin.
Underwood's Devil logo is thought to be the oldest food trademark. Source
John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge opens
Across the Ohio River connecting Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. It is the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet (322 m) main span made from the first iron rope cable. Later in 1883 Roebling's most famous, Brooklyn Bridge is longer at 1,595.5 feet.
is measured as 298 000 km/s by Leon Foucault who designs a more accurate method to measure the speed of light.
First American use of balloons in war
In the American Civil War the Intrepid and Union balloons for the Union and the Gazelle for the Confederate are used for reconnaissance. They could reach 1,000 feet and communicate reconnaissance information with signal flags or telegraphs. Thaddeus Lowe is named chief aeronaut of the newly created Balloon Corps. Source Earlier use in Europe see 1794
Maxwell's electric and magnetic equations:
James Clark Maxwell's publishes equations to describe how electric and magnetic fields are generated, interact, and are changed by each other and their charges and currents.
At the Battle of Philippi, Virginia, the first amputation is performed on James Edward Hanger (18). Since his leg is removed just below his hip, a solid prosthetic makes walking cumbersome and nearly impossible.
James invents a hinged limb that revolutionizes the field of prosthetics. He goes on to patent his invention and start the J.E. Hanger Artificial Limbs company. Source
Industrial 1860 - 1500
The first successful oil well is drilled in northwestern Pennsylvania. Known as the Drake Well, after Colonel Edwin Drake. It begins an international search for oil and energy use. Source
Charles Darwin publishes: On the Origin of Species.
He and Alfred Wallace share their ideas on how life changes and adapts: evolution. Darwin writes his ideas before Wallace, but did not publish them.
Ideas related to Darwin:
- Evidence for Darwin's ideas on evolution go back to at least when he draws a sketch of the Tree of life in his notebook in 1837.
- His only statement in On the Origin of Species that relates to humans being shaped by evolution is the statement: Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.
- Ten years later, he publishes two books: The Descent of Man and Selection in Relations to Sex, and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals does he focus more on humans and evolution.
- In Descent he makes statements at one point that are racist, when he claims differences are based on race. However, he also claims natural selection does not differentiate between the races. And supports it by writing, that any traits used to characterize any racial differences appear to be unrelated to any capacity for success.
- The text also includes sexist statements.
- Unfortunately instead of his ideas on evolution being used to support how fragile life is, because each organism is dependent on a sustainable ecosystem for survival. Evolution is used to focus on survival and fitness and will be use to justify colonialism, monopolistic economics, racism, and other ideas that benefit individualistic sources of power at the expense of communities, families, other groups, and a sustainable world.
By mistakenly elevating the idea that power is most important for survival; devaluing the importance of living in harmony in a caring community with kinship to maintain an interdependence to sustain a healthy environment.
First Trans Atlantic Cable completed ...
It connects N. America to Ireland. The first message is sent by Queen Victoria to US president James Buchanan congratulating him on the successful completion of this great international work. The message travels through 2 500 miles of cable and takes 16 hours. It's Accomplished by Cyrus Field with grit, determination, and persistence for over ten years.
Can opener invented
Ezra J. Warner invents and receives a patent for the first can opener in 1858. It used by the US military in the civil war.
In 1866 William Lyman improved it with a wheel that rotates along the top rim of the can and receives a patent for it in 1870. Source
1855 + -
A lifting devices with ropes and pulleys is described and used by Archimedes, in the Roman Colosseums, Louis XV, and others. However, they were slow and unreliable with the use of ropes, which could wear out and fail.
In 1852, Elisha Graves Otis invents a safety break that changes that. If there is a cable break, a spring would push pawls on the car into position racks on the sides of the shaft and hold the car in place. Such a devise is installed at a five-story department store in New York City in 1857.
Commercial passenger elevators allow the building of the world's first skyscrapers opening cities to an explosion of population and real estate value as building rose literally hundreds of floors. The Otis Elevator Company, is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of vertical transport systems. Source
Cholera source identified with data analysis
Dr. John Snow investigates the death of over 500 people, in the Golden Square neighborhood of London.
He collects data on where the dead people had lived, maps it, and his analysis leads him to discover a geographic relationship that indicates the source of the cholera epidemic as a local well.
He recommends the removal of the pump handle, which the St. James Parish orders done and the epidemic abates.
Invention of potato chip
George Crum (born George Speck of Native and African American descent) is a chef at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York.
When Cornelius Vanderbilt, unsatisfied with his order of fried potatoes returns them to the kitchen because they were too thick. Crum, a a joke, slices a batch of potatoes as thin as he can, fries them to a crisp, and serves them to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is overjoyed. Crum continues to make the chips, puts them on every table, and the potato chip is invented.
Great Auk extinct in the Falkland Islands
Ice making machine
Dr John Gorrie, finds that when yellow fever patients were cooled with ice, they had a better chance of recovering. Being in the south ice is only available when it was imported from New England. To make ice available all year he explores how to make ice with refrigeration and cool rooms with air conditioning. His invention is granted a patent for a machine that made ice by compressing and cooling air. Source
A Drop of London Water, from Punch, 1850
Modern sewing machine
Elias Howe receives a patent for the lockstitch sewing machine which joins thread from a needle with its hole in the tip where it goes into the fabric and joins thread from a bobbin below the material. Also added an overhanging arm, and an automatic feed for the fabric for a modern day sewing machine. Out of the box thinking.
First complete computer program
Ada Lovelace publishes an algorithm or sequence of steps to perform a computational task with a computing machine designed by Charles Babbage, which is never made, to calculate Bernoulli numbers. Source
Guano (bird droppings) as fertilizer
Europe and other countries, with depleated soils, seek ways to keep their soils fertile. One is to add manure to the soil.
On Peru's Chincha Islands explorers find mountains of bird excrement hundreds of feet deep. The guano deposits are high quality. And with a high demand for manure, the idea that a fortune could be made sends investors to the region to mine and sell the guano as fertilizer. Soon countries are exploring the world for other areas rich in guano and claim mining rights. Wars and territorial disputes develop.
Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel uses parallax to calculate the distance to star, 61 Cygni, and concludes it is 10.3 light years away from Earth.
First iron plow is made by John Deere.
Robert Brown, looks at plant pollen (Clarkia pulchella) placed in water and sees particles jiggling randomly in the water. Claims subatomic motion causes the pollen's movement.
England deliberately exterminates beavers in the Oregon Bridge Creek area to keep trappers (particularly U.S.) from going into Oregon and claiming the Territory for the United States.
Construction begins to create a water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. It is created as the New York State Canal System. It begins in Albany, New York and extends 363 miles to Buffalo, upstream of Niagra Falls, on Lake Erie. Before rail travel, 60% of all goods traveling east and west travel on the Erie Canal. Source
So noteworthy Thomas S. Allen wrote a song for it: Erie Canal - five verses worth (3:53). More history on the song.
Renѐ Laennec is a muscian and physician who invents the stethoscope. He records his first observations of the heart as musical notation and pioneers listing to chest sounds to diagnose various medical conditions.
Alexander von Humboldt publishes: Views of the Cordilleras
He links science with the human experience to include science, art, culture, geography, history, and linguistics. His ideas include:
- All diverse people of the world are one species.
- No one group of people is superior to or dominant over others.
- Opposes colonialism, imperialism, & slavery.
- Claims science is not perfect, but necessary, but not sufficient to develop a healthy relationship with the living world and its environment.
- Introduces the concept of isotherm: a region defined by its average mean temperature of 6 degrees C for its growing season, which matches the global tree line. An area that supports more diverse life than any other terrestrial system.
Preservation of food
Nicolas Appert investigates the peservation of food and discovers: that boiling and storing fruits, vegetables, meats, soup, and milk in airtight glass containers preserves them. It is developed so Napoleon can feed his troops in the field. Source
Robert Malthus publishes An Essay on the Principle of Population.
He argues population will increase at a rate greater than food production. He bases his conclusion on a finite limit of land for crops, a geometric rate of population growth, and an arithmetic rate of increasing food production. His theory influences Darwin and his theory of natural selection; and years later Keynes and his Keynesian economics.
The metric system
To standardize measurement across France, the metric system is adopted on April, 7, 1795.
It is a measurement system based on the decimal system, uses the meter for length, liter for volume, and the kilogram for mass. It is later dropped by Napoleon in 1812 and readopted in 1840. Source
The first recorded use of balloons by military forces
Balloons are used for reconnaissance during the French Revolutionary Wars by the French Corps d’ Aerostiers. See later 1862
British citizens board the Hankey and two other ships and set sail to West Africa
They want to start a colony to undermine the Atlantic slave trade by hiring, rather than enslaving Africans. Poor planning and tropical diseases, especially yellow fever, decimate the colonists. They give up their efforts, depart, and return to England by way of the Caribbean Islands. Taking yellow fever with them, which creates an epidemiological tragedy, transforming North America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean islands. See more.
Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin and effects slavery
Whitney had a genius ability to reconize and develop innovations. In South Carolina he observes how hard it is to remove seeds from cotton so he invents the cotton gin, a machine that could clean ten times as much cotton as a slave by hand. Source
James Madison recognizes that a census could be a scientific method to decide how to distribute political power. If a census is conducted every ten years, the data can be used to determine how many representatives each state would have. Therefore, a way to guarantee the House of Representatives would equably represent future population changes.
- His idea is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.
- The first census of the United States records the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790.
- A scientific accurate census can provide information to make wise social, economic, health, medical research, technological, and other important decisions.
- If conducted well it becomes a valuable source to create representative samples for quality research.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Philosopher
Kant claimed that everything we know is a construction by our perceptions, which are shaped by our minds abilities and lack of abilities, of what we percieve as our observations of the world. It is our empirical intuition and subjective reasoning about these perceptions that we synthesize and recognize as our consciousness and existence and understanding of the world with our observation and reasoning.
That pure reasoning (rationalism) without observable data would lead to illusion about the world. Understanding is a function of imagination that bridges thought and perception of observable data to allow us to believe our consciousness exists and there are objects and events in our world which we can discover and understand with our reasoning.
Critique of Pure Reason (1781).
First English language Encyclopaedia Britannica published in Edinburgh, Scotland Source
Joseph Priestly discovers many gases
- Hydrogen, 1766, and shows water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen.
- Hydrochloric acid, 1772.
- Laughing gas, 1772
- Oxygen, 1774
- How to make carbon monoxide and ammonia.
- Worked on combustion and photosynthesis.
- Nitrogen is credited to first be discovered by Daniel Rutherford in 1772, who called it noxious air. However, Scheele, Cavendish, Priestley, and others worked with it also.
James Watt improves Thomas Newcomen's version of the steam engine, created in 1712 to pump water from coal mines. He adds a separate condenser so the cylinder can be kept heated with each stroke, a shaft that rotates instead of moving up and down, and other improvements to make it available to work for many practical uses and begin the industrial age.
It changes our understanding of energy, economics, and our social institutions by speeding production. It leads to an increased standard of living, consumption, and waste that affects all life systems necessary for survival for the benefit of some and at the expense of others.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - (1712 -1778)
Wrote and published Emile or a Treatise on Education.
The book is considered the first educational philosophy book as well as the first child psychology book.
Rousseau claims children have a natural goodness and can become critical life long learners and educated citizens if they can survive a corrupted society.
Rousseau is sometimes referred to as the father of modern child psychology.
Also: Education timeline - Rousseau
George Washington experiments with crop rotation on a three year cycle and five year cycle. He draws elaborate charts that show how he divided his fields and the amounts of crops is equalized with flax, hay, clover, buckwheat, turnips, and potatoes being rotated through different fields. Later he expands to a seven year cycle as shown in the table. See also Townshend crop rotation.
Carl Linnaeus creates a systematic framework for the classification of animals and plants based on visual observation of related properties among organisms.
Any classification system, opens debate to how general or specific the differences between the relationships used for classification should be. Deciding if properties should be widened or narrowed to include more or less species of organisms in a group.
Ben Franklin flies a kite
An American polymath, Founding Father, writer, printer, philosopher, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, statesman, and diplomat.
- Experiments with electricity and demonstrates it has positive and negative charges in experiments with Leyden Jars and a kite. The kite is not struck by lightning but it drew electricity to the key and Leyden jar.
- It appears that he knew enough about grounding to protect himself from being electro shocked. Source
- Uses his knowledge that clouds have electric charges and combine to create lightening leads him to create lightening rods to protect buildings.
- Claims the Aurora borealis are created with electrical charges.
- Collects weather data.
- Maps the Gulf Stream.
- Ben Franklin is an anti-vaxer until his child dies of small pox, then he became an advocate for vacination and made sure his family and friends got vacinated.
- Claims colds are passed from person to person usually within close contact.
- Links the metal lead to health problems.
- Makes a flexible urinary catheter.
- Invents bifocals.
- Creates the Franklin stove to increase heat distribution inside and decrease smoke.
- Experiments with swim fins. Finds they work on his hands, but ones for his feet aren’t as successful, Finds wood doesn’t make good swim fins.
- Invents the armonica a musical instrument made with glass and works with vibrations by rubbing glass.
Graphs theory as topology is first introduced
Leonhard Euler, of Switzerland, solves the Königsberg bridge problem with graph theory.
Graph theory, is the study of the relationship or connection between things. The things, are represented as points, vertices, vertexes, or nodes; and their connections are represented with lines or edges. Source
Earth’ s human population reaches 600 million
Charles Townshend, investigates a crop rotation based on Dutch and Flemish farming practices. His experiments find crops grow better with fewer weeds, fewer pests, and return nutrients to the soil when he rotates crops through four years: wheat in the first year, clover (or ryegrass) in the second, oats or barley in the third, and turnips or rutabagas in the fourth. See also Washington crop rotation
- Published Principia Mathematica
- First claimed ... Forceg = G * ((M1 * M2) / d2)
- 1660's demonstrated white light is all colors.
- Newton's laws of motion
Maria Sibylla Merian publishes first proof a butterfly, caterpillar, & larvae; are one organism
Maria Sibylla Merian, a German naturalist and illustrator observes insects from a young age. She raises silk worms as a teenager, learns illustration from her stepfather, and publishes her first book in 1675. In 1679 she publishes the first of two volumes on caterpillars and the second in 1683, where she documents metamorphosis and life cycles of 186 European insect species. Source
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek uses a simple magnifying glass to observe the quality of fabric. He later grinds lenses and refines his method for better magnification.
He left 247 microscopes and 172 lenses, nine microscopes are known to have survived with a magnification of up to 200 times. The best microscopes of the time. He is the first to observe and take notes about: protozoa, bacteria, red blood cells, spermatozoa, and close observations of other organisms. The microscope provides the technology necessary for microbiology and cell biology. Thanks ... Antonie van Leeuwenhoek Source
Boyle's Gas law and a vacuum
Robert Boyle and Charles Hooke use a vacuum pump, invented by Otto von Guericke (1649), to investigate the properties of air and properties of a vacuum. Finds: sound does not travel through a vacuum, but magnetism does, liquids vaporized quicker in a vacuum, animals died in a vacuum (see famous public bird demonstrations), and animals could be frozen in a vacuum. The importance of the relationship of temperature and pressure isn't realized until much later with refrigeration and heat pumps.
Their first discovery of air properties is Boyle's Law. They use a glass tube and fill it with different amounts of mercury to vary the pressure on a fixed weight of air. They discovere that pressure times volume equals a constant (p * v = c), if temperature is constant. In other words, when you increase the pressure on a gas, the gas's volume shrinks proportionally. A few years later, 1787, Charles discovers the next gas law.
Dodo extinct in the Mauritius
Robert Boyle publishes The Skeptical Chymist in which he claims everything (matter) is composed of bound atoms (corpuscular, particles, atomism) of a single kind of matter, distinguishable only by their motion and shape.
Christiaan Huygens invents the pendulum clock
It is the most precise time piece until mid 1900’s.
William Harvey mistakenly claims: all living things come from an egg.
First vacuum & first barometer
Evangelista Torricelli uses a suggestion by Galileo and fills a 4 foot glass tube with mercury and inverts it into a dish of mercury. He observes some mercury flow out of the tube and leaves a space in the tube above the mercury. Being sealed he concludes the empty space is a vacuum.
From his day to day observations, and observations from moving it up a moutain side, he concludes the variation of the height of the mercury is caused by changes in the amount of air above the dish of mercury pushing down on it, atmospheric pressure.
His experiments on air and vacuums explain why water pumps, at the time, are unable to raise water more than about 33 feet. His ideas would related to Boyles Gas law and engines.
First printing press in the American Colonies is assembled at Harvard College
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) published his Novum Organum, where he describes a system of logic he believes is superior to Aristotle's syllogism (360 BCE ) or deductive reasoning. It becomes known as the Baconian method, inductive reasoning, and the scientific method. Bacon may have been inspired by Ibn al-Haytham's Optics (Kitab al-manazir).
He believes it is the best way to draw conclusions about the natural world. An inductive approach of skeptical observation and experimentation with facts and explanations leading to conclusions. Because of this he has been called the father of empiricism and the father of the scientific method.
"British - Francis Bacon - Google Art Project" by British (School, Details of artist on Google Art Project) - UwEFEzZpMHs4JA at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) Publishes Starry Messenger
- Turns his telescope upward and observes the mountains of the moon, additional stars, planets orbiting the Sun, and four moons orbiting Jupiter; then wrote about it in Starry Messenger.
- His stance, that facts should govern life, not belief; and support of the Copernican theory (Earth orbits the Sun) got him put under house arrest, forbade him to write any more, and wasn't allowed visits by mathematicians. 1633. Source
- Drops different sized canon balls off the Tower of Pisa and demonstrates that heavy and light objects fall at the same rate.
- Explores inertia and friction. Source
Pre industrial revolution (1550 - 1 000)
CO2 (carbon dioxide) in atmosphere is 270 parts per million
The Gregorian calendar or Western calendar or Christian calendar, is named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduces it in October 1582.
Nicolas Copernicus uses his calculations to support the idea: the Sun is the center of the solar system with planets orbiting around it.
In the late 1400's on the Murano island, (Venice) glassmakers develop cristallo, a transparent colorless plate glass, that is polished, and backed with lead and antimony to make a rough surface with a dim reflection (mirror).
In 1507 Andrea & Domenico d'Angelo del Gallo brother glassmakers on Murano improve the method by applying a mercury-tin amalgamon to the backside of the high quality transparent glass. This revolutionary technique is so valuable the Republic of Venice forbids any glassmaker from leaving the island. Eventually the technique makes its way to France and beyond.
The production of high quality mirrors leads to study and experimentation with light in new ways as well as by artist who can study their own images and create, for the first time, self-portraits.
Horses arrive in America since their extinction
Hernan Cortes reintroduces horses to America after their extinction about 14 000 YA, along with other megafauna saber-toothed tigers, mammoths, camels, by hunting and climate changes.
In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado has hundreds of horses on his expedition through New Mexico and into Kansas.
In the next 100+ years horses will range across the southwest and north into Nebraska. Arriving most likely with indigenous trade before other Europeans introduce them. This dispersal is efficient enough that around the mid 1650’s horses are an integral part of the culture of the Pawnee, Comanche, Lakota Sioux, and others. Source Science March 31, 2023.
Spanish arrive in Santo Domingo (Hispanola Island. Today the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic), which is inhabited by Taino Indians.
Printing with movable type
Johannes Gutenberg, invents the printing press with movable type. It uses small metal prisms (lead) that are precisely cast in large quantities so they can be set into a grid, used, reset, and used again.
He also uses a new press, similar to those used in wine making, new papermaking and bookbinding techniques, and an oil-based printing ink. All improvements to Chinese, Korean printing, and current European printing of stamping letters on a surfaces or woodblock. Source
First European artifacts are brought to North America via Alaska
Blue beads from Italy travel west along the Silk Road and across the Bering Strait before being dropped in North Alaska. Twine found with them dates to 1397 - 1488. Source
Black Death wipes out half of the Europe population
The Black Death or bubonic plague, is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that is transferred from wild rodents to humans.
Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci) is the first to use a horizontal fraction bar to write a fraction like three fourths on three lines.
In 1748 Manuel Antonio Valdes is the first to use a curved line to write a fraction on one line (3 curved line 4) in his book Gazetas de Mexico. In fact, it is the Spanish mathematician Antonio y Oliveres who first uses a straight oblique line like (3/4). This makes it possible to write a fraction on one line instead of three lines.
Glass making becomes industrialized when the Venetian Republic, thought the 1 000 degree furnaces might be a fire hazard for the cities mostly wooden buildings, To prevent the city from buring down, the glassmakers are ordered to move their foundries to the small nearby island Murano. The move brings many glassmakers together and Murano becomes a hot spot for glassmakers to develop and maintain their craft and art of quality glass making through today. Source
Bhaskaracharya (Bhāskara means the teacher) an Indian mathematician and astronomer who introduces the mathematical concept of infinity with the idea:
If any finite number is divided by zero, the result is infinity.
He writes the Siddhānta Shiromani, which has four sections: arithmetic, algebra, mathematics of the planets, and spheres. Also writes the Karna Kautoohala. Source
Hildegard of Birgen is a nun and humanitarian in Germany who teaches and believes microscopic organism contaminate water and food. Long before the invention of the microscope and discover of microbes. She works to find ways to purify water and food.
Chinese scholars discover a needle could be heated till red, held in a north south orientation, cooled, then floated in liquid or suspended on a silk thread, and it would point north and south. Therefore, it is valuable for navigation and used by the Song Dynasty, China, for military navigation areound 1040 and for maritime navigation around 1111.
Earlier, around 206 BC, magnetic devices are used to divine wisdom in the Han Dynasty. Source Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions
Optics is written between 1028 & 1038
Ibn al-Haytham's most important work: Optics (Kitab al-manazir).
- Described scientific discovery as observation reasoned with induction in a cautious manner to make conclusions without being swayed by opinion. Later influences Roger Bacon
- Combines experiments with mathematical reasoning.
- Includes an accurate model of the eye and vision, laws of reflection, refraction with the relationship between angles of incidence and refraction, and describes motion in mediums with different densities.
See: 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham and A Journey of Science from Darkness into Light.
Vikings arrive at L’Anse aux meadows, Newfoundland
They bring bronze and iron artifacts and build a longhouse using fir and juniper.
Mississippi culture begins in North America
Cities are built with mounds in the center and surrounded by defensive barriers.
Cities like Holly Bluff (Lake George), Mississippi and Toltec in Arkansas, and Cahokia (east side of Saint Louis with a population of 10 000 plus with another 20 000 plus in its suburbs), Mississippi, Spiro, Oklahoma, Aztalan, Wisconsin. Also includes Muskogee, Caddo, Crow, Pawnee, and Ho-Chunk.
Large corn fields to feed the large populations along with pigweed, and sunflowers. They forage for other plants, fruit, and nuts and fish and hunt. Their networks of trade provide copper, shells, pearls, stone, mica, and wood. They make jewelry, pipes, textile, pottery, stone, and shell art. Large amounts of art with statues of humans and animals. Two famous pieces are the Piasa a mythical animal painting and the Rattlesnake Disk carved stone. They last till European contact by DeSoto in 1539.
Workshop, in Israel, make soap by mixing olive oil with ashes from saltwort plants, heat for seven days, pour into shallow pans, let harden for ten days, slice it into bars, and left it dry for two months. Source
Algorithm Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi invents algebra in Arabia
His most noted work is: Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala. In it he introduces natural numbers, focuses on how to solve equations: linear or quadratic, with units, roots and squares. He explains the solutions with words and uses no symbols of algebraic notation.
In Latin his name is Algorismus, therefore, he is given credit for inventing the algorithm.
Before the algorithm merchants and scholars use the abacus for calculation. The new system, along with a dust board, made computation more accessible. In the Renaissance, in Europe, those who know how to multiply and divide with algorithms are guaranteed a professional career.
- In 1621 the first slide rule is made.
- The first mechanical calculator in 1642 by Pascal and
- The first handheld calculator 1967.
Canals in North America
In the Middle Woodland period among the many waterways and footpaths cross Southeast U.S. are a few canals:
- One in Alabama from Oyster Bay to Little Lagoon,
- Another at Pine Island, in southwest Florida, and
- Another at Mound Key, Florida.
These transportation canals are different from irrigation canals such as those built by the Hokoham culture in Arizona and northern Mexico.
City state and Agriculture: 1 000 CE - 10 000 BCE
Mysterious fog plunges Europe, the Middle East, & west Asia into darkness for 18 months.
For the sun gave forth its light without brightbness, like the moon, during the whole year.
- Temperatures fall and lower temperatures cause snow in the summer, crop failure, people starve, Irish record wheat failure from 536-539. Later in 541 a plague in Pelusiam, Egypt (known as the Plague of Justinian) kills 33-50% of the eastern Roman empire population, contributing to its collapse.
- Tree ring research in 1990 supports that summers around 540 are unusually cold.
- In 2018 ice from Swiss glaciers suggest a cataclysmic volcano erupts in Iceland in 536 and two more massive eruptions in 540 and 547. It is believed these eruptions cause economic problems that reduce trade and manufacturing until around 640, where ice samples indicate an increase of airborne lead from silver smelting. Source
Mouth harp is lost in the Altai Mountains in Russia. It measures about 4.3 inches long and 3.3 inches wide and will still make music in 2018. Source
300 - 400
Nomadic tribes of Northern Asia invade China, eastern Asia, and Europe. With their superior horse skills and the stirrup; they destroy villages, the current political structures, and change peoples lives.
Earth’ s human population reaches 200 million.
The most commonly used positional decimal numeral system for the symbolic representation of numbers is invented by Indian mathematicians. It is known as the
- Base ten number system
- Hindu–Arabic numeral system
- Indo-Arabic numeral system
- Arabic numeral system
- Hindu numeral system
It is invented between the 1st and 4th centuries by Indian mathematicians. The system is adopted by Arabic mathematics by the 9th century. It becomes widely known through the writings of the Persian mathematician Al-Khwārizmī.
Mount Vesuvius is active
Mount Vesuvius, near the Bay of Naples in Italy, erupts and buries Pompeii in ash preserving artifacts to be found later to discover how Romans lived during this time. Source
The ancient Roman town of Baia, a fashionable resort for Romans, on the shore of the Gulf of Naples, sinks into the sea, also as a result of Vesuvius volcanic action.
CE (current era) -------------------- BCE (before current era)
Cement - Romans make cement and use it to make concret for water pipes, docks in harbors and more ... Source
First vending machine in recorded history is in Alexandria, Egypt.
It is invented by a Greek mathematician and engineer Hero of Alexandriato. It dispenses holy water at Egyptian temples. See 1880's
Hero writes on a variety of topics that include mathematics, engineering, physics, and pneumatics. The writings include the first record of a wind powered machine (a windwheel), steam powered machines, machines that use sound and light, syringe for liquid and air, a fountain, and how to calculate square root.
Xiongnu combine their horse technology with military skill and become fierce mounted archers. They roam the Mongolian steppes for hundreds of years and engage civilizations from Iran, Central Asia, and China. Collecting artifacts from these areas as well as Roman glass, Persian textiles, and Greek silver. They are so successful China builds the Great Wall to try to stop their raiding.
Source Archeological evidence supports this as well as DNA evidence that shows multiethnic DNA in their remains from all the empires they raid.
Eratosthenes measures the Earth with shadows, figures out Earth's tilt, & seasons
And becomes known as the father of geography
Eratosthenes, hears of a well in Syene, Egypt that on summer solstice (June 21) the Sun shines on the water at the bottom of the well and casts no shadow on the sides (meaning the sun is directly overhead [zenith]). On the same day, in Alexandria, the Sun is 7 degrees off the zenith (point directly overhead).
He uses observation, logic, and geometry to calculate the Earth's diameter as 12,800 km or about 28,ooo miles around the poles and equator. Source
He also calculates the tilt of the Earth, at 23.5 degrees, and uses it to explain the seasons.
Math & science activity to measure and calculate Earth's circumference
Hopewell culture ranges from Kansas to New York and Florida to Canada after the Adena.
They trade, art, jewelry, ceramic, and stone figures. Construction uses horizon based astronomy and circle square combinations. Between 400 CE - 500 CE they stop mound building and their trade network collapses.
Around 450 CE the bow and arrow arrives from Canada and corn from the southwest, but probably not a common crop until 700 or 800 CE. They build small farmsteads and villages with a central plaza. Evidence of violent deaths increases and palisades are build around villages. Build effigy mounds in the shapes of animals (birds, panthers, lizards, turtles) for burials till 1 000 CE when Mississippi culture begins
Euclid writes his Geometry book, Elements
Euclid lives in Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt. He is known as the Greek mathematician who found geometry. It is said that King Ptolemy I of Egypt told him he wants to learn geometry. Euclid replies, he would have to study long hours and memorize a large book of information. The King demands a shortcut, to which Euclid replies, "There is no royal road to geometry."
Earth rotates once a day
Heraclides Ponticus proposes the Earth rotates on its axis, from west to east, once every 24 hours.
Sun centered solar system
Aristarchus of Samos, built on Herakleides Sun centered theory and describes accurate orbits of Earth and the Sun's other planets encircling it and the orbit of the Moon around the Earth.
This symbolically marks the end of Greek scientific philosophy, because those who come after stick to the myths that claim the Earth at the center of the solar system and universe.
Alexander the Great founds Alexandria, Egypt as a pharaonic town
It is the capital of Egypt, until Muslims conquer Egypt in 641 AD, and move the capital to Fustat, later Cairo.
Babylonians use a trapazoid to predict Jupiter's motion across the sky.
Numbers are inscribed in a clay tablet to calculate the distance Jupiter travels by charting the plantet's motion (velocity) over 60 days. The results form a right-angled trapezoid with a downward slanting top and the area equal to the distance Jupiter travels. See Babylonians Tracked Jupiter with Fancy Math. By Megan Gannon, February 1, 2016: Scientific American.
Aristotle - 380 - 322 BCE
Explanation with rhetoric and logic. While Socrates and Plato use reasoning, Aristotle develops a system of rules and strategies or syllogism.
It is the begining of logical deductive reasoning (as opposed to inductive reasoning). Reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn (validly or not) from propositions (premises) that share an idea not present in the conclusion, for example. Categorical syllogism, uses two premises and a conclusion:
- All humans are vertebrates; no insect is a vertebrate, therefore, no humans are insects.
- All dogs are mammals, all mammals are animals, therefore, all dogs are animals.
- There is a natural order to the world that could be determined with logic without observation.
- Objects would naturally come to rest (without a force acting on them).
- Solid objects would fall to Earth, because that is their natural place to be.
- Believes forces are requird to keep things moving. Had no concept of inertia. See Galileo and Newton.
- Heredity needs a message and material to explain how traits are passed from parent to children to grandchildren and beyond.
- He recognizes Pythagoras ideas need to be extended to include information being passed from the mother and ancesters from both sides of the parents to the baby.
- He claims there is mutual contributions of information to a baby that passes from the male in the semen and from the female in the blood.
Greek philosopher Plato writes about Atlantis in 360 BCE in his dialogues where he describes it as an island city by the straits of the Pillars of Hercules, today the Straits of Gibraltar. Over the years people have searched for this lost city. Recent research suggests it might have been located near Spain.
Image is symbol for Atlantis.
Petra is an acient city carved into rocks by the Nabataeans in the desert of southern Jordan. See - Nova video (53:05)
Nabataeans create an irrigation system for their city's water needs. To do so they solve several problems for water to be moved over a long distance.
- Discover an optimal shape and size of pipes so sediment wouldn't clog the flow.
- Discover how smoothly pipes need to be set so the flow rate delivers appropriate amounts of water. For example, rapid flow creates ripples and reduces water volume compared to a smooth flow.
- They conclude: shape, size, smoothness, and slope of pipes affect flow (2.5 degree slope works best for an efficient water flow).
- Excavations show how the Nabataeans create their water supply system for their desert city. It includes: an artificial oasis, flood controls, multiple dams, storage in cisterns, and water transported in conduits from sources miles away. Source for detailed descriptions of Petra's Water supply and distribution.
The idea of atoms
Democritus (470 - 370 BCE) considers all matter is made of atoms, which are small, invisible particles surrounded by space, that can not be subdivided, and last forever. There is an infinite number of them that make up the physical world. They are different in shape, arrangement, position, and magnitude. He also believes space is a void or vacuum that is infinite. Source
A horseshoe is essential to protect the foot of horses if they are to be used productively for agriculture and transportation. They protect the foot from repeated wear and cracking in dirt, mud, and on rock.
Early protection is created with leather or other materials wrapped around the foot and fastened with thongs. Sometimes metal or other materials were inserted inside the boot shaped material. Literature includes early reports of shoes of bronze, silver, and gold being on horses of important leaders.
The development of iron provides a much better material and along with the idea of fastening it to the foot with nails. Since iron is valuable and could be melted and reused, it makes discovery of it in archaeological digs unlikely.
Sculptures of horses with shoes are rare, but a few are known.
Four bronze horseshoes with nail holes were found in an Italian tomb dated around 400 B.C.E. More on domestication of horses.
Consider the pros and cons between horses, mules, and oxens for what is best based on strength, speed, health, food requirements, care, and ...
Thonis-Heracleion, an ancient island city on the mouth of the Nile River
After Carnac, it is the legitimate capital of Egypt where Pharaohs receive the divine rights to rule. It is a major trading port until Alexander the Great conqueres Egypt and builds Alexandria in 331 BCE and makes it the capital.
Later the Nile changes course, the land liquifies, and the city sinks into the Mediterranean Sea. It is lost to history, until archeologist find its ruins in 2000. The find includes many everyday artifacts, temples, statues of gods and pharaohs, a Stele with a record of tax rates for imports and exports, and over 64 ship wrecks. Source
Hippocrates is a Greek physician regarded as the father of medicine. Around 60 medical writings have survived with his name, many probably not written by him.
- First written information about the flu 412 BCE
- Best known for the Hippocratic Oath, which bears his name, but he may not have written, and the high ethical standards it sets.
- Hippocrates believes mental illness is caused by either something wrong with the brain or factors in the environment.
Plato and Socrates 427 - 347 BCE
Develops a philosophy of education - learning happens when the teacher asks key questions. Socratic Method. Source The Republic. Key beliefs and ideas.
Education is based on interests, abilities, and stations in life.
Utopian ideal is to produce philosopher kings or guardians rule to the State.
Built on Greek rhetoric: the art and process of effective public speaking. First taught by the sophists (480 BCE).
Dialectic reasoning or dialectics (Socratic method, Hindu, Buddhist, Medieval, Hegelian dialectics, Marxist, Talmudic, and Neo-orthodoxy), and modern debate. All involve conversations between two or more people arguing different points of view for the purpose of establishing truth with reasoned argument.
Socrates valued truth as the highest value. Truth discovered through conversation with reason and logic (dialectic reasoning). Logic, not emotion, to discover truth for persuasion and make choices to guide one's life. To Socrates, truth, not art, was the greater good to guide one's life. Therefore, Socrates opposed the sophists and their teaching of rhetoric as art and as emotional oratory requiring neither logic nor proof.
Dialectic method, rhetoric, and debate can have fundamental differences. In theory debate may be considered as unemotional and committed to rational argument. However, in practice debaters can present emotionally charged ideas to suppress rational thought, hoping to persuade others to their point of view. See rhetoric and sophist (480 BCE)
Plato wrote about how all civilizations will fail and includes the destruction of a city he called Atlantis in his Dialogue. Is this Atlantis tale based on history, or is it fiction?
Sophists - 480 - 390 BCE
The first teachers of rhetoric (the art (arte) and process of effective public speaking) in the Greek world is known as Sophists (wise men). They teach by example, skills of civic life and explore a wide range of human experience about Greek culture. Not being Athenians, they often clash culturally and philosophically with Athenians.
Sophists taught that art and thought have the highest value in life. Therefore, it should be used to make choices and to seek it out in all things. To them the artistic quality of a speech or oration is its power to motivate, influence, and please people. Therefore, oration is taught as an art form, used to please, motivate, and influence other people through quality speaking. Maybe the historical basis for Declamations, which are student’s interpretations of famous speeches regiven to demonstrate the student's ability to understand and apply the purpose and power of the speech and skill in public speaking. Samples
Rhetoric is a method or art of speaking or discourse/ conversation to persuade, inform, or motivate an audience. Concepts of rational appeal (logos), emotional appeal, (pathos), and ethical appeal (ethos) are all intentionally used to persuade and convince people of a particular idea or argument. Read more: rhetoric
Parmenides, (515-430BCE) Greek philosopher, is known to use logic with an extended arguments for his views rather than just a view of reality. However, he never systematically studied or formed logical principals, proofs, for valid arguments.
Pythagoras lives in Croton, Greece
- Made famous a theorem for the area of right triangles.
- Explained the similarities between parents and children are caused when semen travels throughout a male body, where it absorbs mystical vapor from all parts of the body to create a blueprint to build a baby so when the semen is transported to the mother to provide a message with instructions for the female to provide the matter to build and nourish the fetus. Which he wrongly thought is the only purpose of a female in reproduction. This became known as spermism. See Aristotle
Thales of Miletus (620 BCE - 46 BCE) creates theorems (by exhaustion) as logical proof for general geometric ideas. He visits Egypt and observes Egyptians using geometry while building. He is credited for five:
- A circle is bisected by its diameter,
- Angles in a triangle, which are opposite two sides of equal length, are equal
- Opposite angles, formed by intersecting straight lines, are equal.
- An angle inscribed inside a semicircle, is a right angle.
- A triangle can be determined if its base and the two angles adjacent to the base are given.
Early science experiment with control group
Jerusalem is captured by King Nebuchadnezzar II and some citizens of Judea are rounded up and sent to Babylon as hostages. The young are raised and educated in the King's court. Daniel, among them, a devout Jew, did not want to eat non kosher meat and drink wine. Thus, he asks his overseer, Melzar, for a vegetarian diet and water. Melzar, afraid for his life if David doesn't thrive and learn, did not want to grant this request.
David suggests an experiment: for ten days he and nine others are given a vegetarian diet with water (experimental group) and another group of ten are given the King’s meat and wine (control group). At the end of ten days, if they weren’t healthy he would eat the King’s meat. At the end of ten days David’s group was fairer and fatter in flesh (Daniel 1:15), than the meat group. Thereafter, Melzar allows their diet.
Circle divided into 360 degrees
King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 BC), in Babylon, divides a circle into 360 degrees, because his dynasty used observation and calculation to infer a complete year has 360 days.
The Great Dam of Marin on the Wadi Adhanah watershed, near the ancient city of Ma'rib the capital of Saba (a prosperous trading nation, with control of the frankincense and spice routes in Arabia and Abyssinia) is built in the eighth century BCE may be the oldest dam. Source
1 000 BCE
Adena culture east of the Ohio River build year round villages in North America
It's inhabitants make pottery and develop agriculture. Build burial shell mounds, then earth mounds, then no mounds. Hunt, collect nuts, farm, and grow: sunflowers, pumpkins, squash, goosefoot, maygrass, pigweed, and tobacco. Make pipes, loincloth, jewelry, trade for copper (Great Lakes), shells (Gulf of Mexico), mica (North Carolina), and other trade goods. Their pipes travel from Canada to the Gulf Coast. They thrive till Hopewell culture 300 BCE.
Native inhabitants of Wisconsin craft a canoe out of a white oak tree to use for transportation, trade, and commerce. Source
In the Timna,Valley in the Arava Desert, miners extracted copper from green veins of malachite and chalcocite from some 9,000 mines with vertical shafts sunk into the ground, with miners toiling underground chiseling the greenish ore from rich veins on edge of the valley, hauling the ore to the surface, where other workers load it onto donkeys or their own backs and take it to knee-high charcoal burning clay urn furnaces connected to bellows to increase the temperature and push plumes of smoke up from the mining complex. When smelted, the miners smash the furnace and molten slag flows out, with precious lumps of copper. left in the urns.
1 450 BCE
First artificial hand?
Bronze and gold artifacts that resemble a movable hand are made. Maybe used for rituals. Source
1 500 BCE
North America’s first city in Poverty Point, Louisiana,
Late Archaic people build, what most archaeologists consider, the continent’s first city with 4,000 – 5,000 inhabitants. It has a central plaza, earthen pyramids, concentric platform mounds, and hundreds of houses. They eat clams, oysters, fish, reptiles, pecans, acorns, and walnuts. Had earth ovens, pottery, cooking balls, and fishing nets.
The city is occupied till about 700 BCE.
Water and sewer system
Minoan plumbing, sewer, and storm drainage is well developed and the Minoan civilization flourishes on the Isle of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea, from 2600 to 1600 BCE. Source
First measurement of angles and degrees
Stone tablets in Egypt, are marked with gradients (degrees) to represent the Sun's shadow. Source
1 620 BCE
Volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamies destroy towns in and around the Mediterranean Sea.
- Pavlopetri - sinks into the Mediterranean Sea from multiple earthquake events. 1700-1500 BCE
- Mycenaean is destroyed by an earthquake
- About 1620 BCE a Volcano on Thera, an island in the Mediterranean produced and exported saffron trading with Europe, Africa, Asia. The Thera volcano destroyed all civilization on the island with Pyroclastic flows. It causes earthquakes and tsunamies that severely impacted Minoan settlements in the Mediterranean and
- creates tsunamis that destroy Konos on the Island of Crete. The Konos are the origins of the Minoans who influence the Mycenaean civilization from the 15th to the 13th century BCE throughout the Peloponnese in Greece and the Aegean.
1 650 BCE
The Rhind mathematical papyrus is written by scribe Ahmes (or Ahmose) in Egypt in 1650 BCE and includes algebraic linear equations. Source
Babylonians develop a positional number system, linear interpolations, quadratic and cubic equations, flexible algebraic operations to add equals to equals and multiply both sides of an equation by like quantities to eliminate fractions, factors, many simple forms of factoring, three-term quadratic equations with positive roots, cubic equations (although it is not known if they were able to reduce the general cubic equation) and the Plimpton 322 tablet, created around 1900 – 1600 BCE with a table of Pythagorean triples.
1 754 BCE
King Hammurabi, writes a code to regulate water usage:
- The distribution of water is based on the acres farmed.
- Requires each farmer to maintain the canals on his property.
- Requires the collective administration of the canal by all users.
1 920 BCE
China's Great Flood
China's first Emperor, Yu, is said to have tamed a great flood. Researchers have found evidence of a landslide and flood on the Yellow River around 1920 BCE. Source Finding China's Great Flood New study finds truth in an ancient myth. By Bridget Alex Wednesday, December 21, 2016
2 000 BCE
Iron objects are produced at a variety of sites in Niger around 2000 BCE +- 500 years. Source
2 100 BCE
Corn arrives in western New Mexico and eastern Arizona rock shelters and cooking pits.
2 650 BCE
First dentist Hesy-Re's tomb had panels that describe him as chief of dentist and physicians. Source
2 480 - 3 000 BCE
Stonehenge near Amesbury, UK is built. Source
2 5000 BCE
First bow and arrow in North America is used above the Great Lakes to hunt a variety of game.
2 51o BCE
Three pyramids known as the Giza pyramids, seen often in pictures and videos are built.
- Menkaure pyramid in 2 510 BCE,
- Khafre pyramid in 2570BCE, and
- Khafu pyramid in 2580BCE, being the largest and best built.
2 686 BCE
Egyptians bury dead under six step pyramids built by Djoser south of Giza. Followed by the Bent Pyramid in 2613 built by King Sneferu.
3 0oo BCE
Egyptians bury dead under piles of dirt.
3 200 BCE
Newgrange stone chamber is built by Irish farmers in Boyne Valley, Ireland
It is an astronomical site built before Stonehenge and Giza Pyramids. A mound 85 meters in diameter and 13.5 meters high over a 1 acre area. A 19 meter stone tunnel, aligns with the rising sun on the Winter Solstice and leads into a chamber with 3 alcoves. It is surrounded by 97 large stones (kerbstones) some engraved with megalithic art.
3 300 BCE
Cuneiform - writing first appeaars in Uruk later Mesopotamia, in Sumer
The oldest known mathematical problems is written on a cuneiform tablet. It calculates the surface area of a rectangular shaped field.
Bronze (smelted from tin and copper) is made in Sumer
History notes the Bronze age as a historic mile stone. However, different societies learned how to make Bronze at different times:
- Greeks about 3000 B.C.
- British and Chinese around 1900 BCE - 1700 BCE,
- Egypt 1475 BCE
3 500 BCE
Domestication of the Cacao tree
Chocolate is made by the Mayo-Chinchipe in Ecuador by grinding cacao beans into a paste and then combine it with combinations of water, corn, fruit, chili peppers, and honey to make a porridge or beverage. About 1850 Europeans add sugar and cocoa butter and later in 1870 the Swiss added milk powder to make milk chocolate.
Yamnaya, domesticate the horse see 3 700 BCE
1 000 BCE - 4 500 BCE
Genetic history of west Asia and Europe
3 700 BCE
Horse domestication begins on the Kazakh steppe with the Botai, who were mostly hunter gatherers. They create corrals, breed horses, ate their meat, tame them, milk them, put mare's milk in pots to drink, make alcohol from it, ride them, and create bridles with bits.
Bits are designed to apply pressure on a sensitive part of the horse’s mouth to control them when riding.
Shortly after 3000 BCE the Botai seem to disappear and have no human genetic desendents However, the horse's decendants return to the wild and survive today.
Riding horses vastly change human civilization and as humans change the horse genome changes.
- When did humans domesticate the horse?
- How Domestication Altered The Horse Genome
- PBS First Horse Warriors
Later about 3500 BCE the Yamnaya, whose homeland is between the Black and Caspean Seas, are the second group to domesticate the horse, ride them, and use them to draw carts. They range north to the Arctic Ocean and east to Mongolia. Changes in two genes from earlier horses ZFPM1, relates to control of anxiety and aggression, and GSDMC associated with back pain in humans, may have contributed to their domestication.
The Yamnaya, and their genes, also become a significant contribution to present day Europeans. And their language is the base of all European languages. Proto Indo European. May have also spread Black Plague (bacteria from fleas) to Europe.
Horses in North America and Europe are extinct. They may have been hunted to extinction; leaving the only surviving horses on the steppes of Eurasia until they are reintroduced to North America in about 1500. See 24 000 BP.
4 000 BCE
What can be considered a plow, more than a hoe, is made in Egypt and Sumeria. Their use requires hard work to push or pull them through the ground; and they are not able to plow very deep.
- Paintings show several men pulling them and later about 2000 BCE show them connected to oxen horns. Over the years, Egyptians learn better ways to harness oxen, without choking them, to plow better and improve their agricultural yields.
- While the plow makes farming more efficient it requires more strength to plow than hoe. As a result farming becames a more male dominated activity.
- For example, early society in Pakistan, who use a plow, has only 16% of the ag workers being women. In Burundi, where they use hoes, 90% of the ag workers are women.
- John Deere is credited in 1837 to have made the first iron plow.
Egypt and Mesopotamia (present day Iraq and Iran) use flood water from the Nile or Tigris/Euphrates river to water crops.
The Egyptians use a verticle column (Nilometer) and a series of stairs to measure the depth of water. Several still exist and can be seen today. Source Image source: Baldiri (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
3 000 BCE The first reservoir may have been made by King Menes along with dams and canals to diverted water from the Nile into Lake Moeris. Source
4 200 BCE
Cities continually inhabited
While hunters and gatherers stopped and gathered at different places, those places were temporary camps that were revisited from season to season and temporary places for hunting, gathering, trade, social gatherings, and religious ceremonies. Some would be recognized as cities, though not continuously inhabited.
It is interesting people claim to recognize a city, even if it is an ancient city or a city of today. Yet it is more difficult to define what one is in specific terms. Some characteristics of cities: allow for diversification of ideas, continual inhabitation, specialization of labor, social interactions, development of a common culture, language, and experience, more interdependence, creativity, novelty, technology, and a general scaling up until a limit of resources is reached.
Archeologist continue to discover more and earlier settlements and continue to wonder how the domestication of animals and plants and systems to move water and wastes, influence cities and how they become habitable for longer periods of time.
While people settle into larger communities they are not closed. Human historically are mobile seeking trade, ideas, mates, cultural exchanges, and unique experiences.
Some early cities:
- Sosa 4200 BCE
- Faiyum 4000 BCE
- Erbil 4000 BCE
- Kirkuk 1100 BCE
- Balkh 1150 BCE
- Bejing 1045 BCE
4 400 BCE
Cats (Feline) are domestic, as indicated by DNA, began in southwestern Asia through southeast Europe 6 400 years ago.
4 500 BCE
Board games being played
Board game known as the Royal Game of Ur, a two-player strategy game similar to backgammon, is being played in the Mesopotamian city of Ur.
This game or similar will spread from Mesopotamia to India and east into the eastern Mediterranean by about 4 000 BCE. Evidence of flat stones with a carved grid and cup holes, for pieces, is found in a settlement in the Qumayrah Valley, (Oman).
4 6oo BCE
Egyptians bury royalty in underground chambers below structures of mud bricks and stones called mastabas.
See more in Egyptian tombs of Saqqara (the ancient Egytptian burial ground)
5 000 years BCE
Skulls are measured and their ratios of snout height to skull length and cranium height to skull length distinguished them as dogs. Dogs were bred to be large enough to pull a sled, but not too large to overheat. Source
5 5oo BCE
Donkey is domesticated in Northeast Africa
Later, maybe a second domestication in the southern Arabian Peninsula around 2 500 BCE
Later Romans breed donkeys to produce mules to transport more goods. Source
6 000 BCE
Rock art shows domesticated dogs used to hunt. Dogs on a leash are maybe being trained. Source Science
Potatoes are domestic in Peru
It is taken to Europe by the Spanish (1500's) and did not become an important food until 1800's during famines.
Catalhoyuk, Turkey citizens live in houses that are built and supplied in a manner that suggest equality of citizens with no apparent leadership. Artifacts also suggest domestication and use of clay appears to have affected the environment in harmful ways: as evidence of deforestation, extensive burning, erosion and of large-scale grazing are also found. Source
Copper is used in Asia
Wooden skis are being made and used in Russia
In 5200 B.C.E. Scandinavians are making wooden skis and ski-like artifacts.
7 000 BCE
Kennewick man lives in present day Washington state
His DNA relates to today's Native American tribes of the Coville Reservation as suggested by his skeleton found in Washington. A study of his DNA in 2015 finds it is Haplogroup Q-M3, and his mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup is X2a.
Olmec Domesticate maize (corn) in Mexico
Research suggests different varieties of maize are partially domesticated before being traded or spread from Mexico. These partially domesticated seeds, each with sufficient alleles to independently become modern, did so in different locations in the Americas after their dispersal. Source Did Maize Dispersal Precede Domestication. Science. December 14, 2018
Jericho becomes a city
Motza (Israel) is an 80 acre settlement with workshops, public halls, and private homes linked by roads and alleys with evidence of art and trade. Source Discover. Lots o' Motza Jan/Feb 2020 by Bridget Alex
8 000 BCE or 10 000 BP or YA
The Archaic period in North America
Mammoths, mastodons and bison antiques are extinct.
Native cultures are still hunters, but hunt smaller prey, deer, rabbits, turkeys, geese, and fish. If available, elk and bison. To supplement these, they ate more seeds, nuts, fruits, and fibrous plants. Inventing grinding stones, the mortar and pestle, and technology to leech acorns.
They travel in small groups of 20-30 and hunt with atlatls and spears. The climate warms, water increases, grasslands and forests grow more dense and about 3 000 BP or YA groups tend to stay in one place and diversify. Where possible they live in rock shelters. Other places, they build simple houses in shallow pits and cover them with log frames, domes, or tents.
9 000 BP or YA
Carved stones of art
A shrine with two large standing stones is carved with human like figures, along with an altar, and a hearth, beside a campsite with multiple full-size desert kites (a kite is a large trap used to capture and slaughter wild gazelles) in eastern Al-Jafr Basin, Jordan. Source
9 500 BP or YA
Copper mining begins
In North America near the Great Lakes. Metal tools: projectile points, knives, axes, fish hooks, awls, and decorative beads and bracelets. Thousands of artifacts are initially made and since their technology doesn't advance to alloys. The use of copper decreases about 3000 BP or YA and returns to the harder stone and bone tools. Only copper awls, superior to bone awls, remain in use. Source Great Lakes people among first coppersmiths Science March 26, 2021.
Early humans in Michigan
have limited resources, hunt caribou to eat their meat, use their sinews as thread, their hides for clothes and tents, and make weapons or tools out of their antlers and bones.
Hunter gatherers before 8 000 BCE or ≈ 10 000 years ago BP or YA-
----------------------------- see 1950 -----------------------------
.01 million (10 000) BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Quaternary Period, Holocene Epoch .01-1.8 mya )
Ice age ends. Measurements of Greenland ice packs show an increase of temperature as measured in the change of hydrogen chemistry.
Melting ice submerges the land between present day United Kingdom and Europe as ocean levels rise by about 120 feet.
10 000 BP or YA
Women participate in big game hunting
Randall Haas and his team find numerous projectile points and stone tools buried alongside the skeletal remains of a woman, who was probably a great hunter between 17 and 19 years old. Astonished by the fact that she had the kit of a hunter they review the published records of 429 burials across the Americas in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene epochs. The team identifies 27 individuals buried with big-game hunting tools. Eleven are female and fifteen male. Therefore, it suggests the female participation in big-game hunting is very likely and non gender labor practices are likely routine. Source
Evidence suggests hunter gatherer societies stumble upon plant and animal domestication only nine places around the world:
- Fertile Crescent,
- Eastern United States,
- Tropical West Africa,
- Ethiopia and
- New Guinea.
History, includes many tales of hunter gatherer societies being driven out, infected, conquered, and exterminated by farming societies where farming is possible. Except the Huns 300-400 and Ghengis Khan 1225.
Hunter gatherers of the Fertile Crescent domesticated wheats, barley, peas, sheep, goats, cows and pigs to become the first farmers and herders, beginning around 8500 BCE. This led to major changes: shorter birth intervals (from four years to one year) political changes (social classes, kings, soldiers, empires, professional armies), and technology (metal tools, writing, ...). These were tools of conquest and allowed them to spread into Europe, North Africa, western India, and central Asia. However, having no other advantages, power shifted to Greece, then Italy, and then to northwest Europe. While human societies in the Fertile Crescent inadvertently committed slow ecological suicide as low rainfall caused deforestation, soil erosion and salinization.
Some advantages and disadvantages of agriculture:
- One calorie seed can grow 50 calories.
- One acre of farmed land can grow 1 000 times what hunting and gathering can provide per acre.
- A 60 lb bushel of wheat can make 70 loaves of bread.
- Early agricultural communities are more malnourished, have more famines, people are shorter, life expectancies decreases by five years, and there are more conflicts and war than hunting gathering tribes.
Source Nature, Jared Diamond
See earlier steps toward agriculture.
West Africa, Niger River Basin is the location of the continent's traditional agricultural crops:
- Yams domesticated in the Niger River Basin betwen eastern Ghana and western Nigeria.
- Pearl millet domesticated north of the Niger River in western Sahara Desert, north Mali and Mauritania.
- African rice domesticated in western Africa in north Mali.
- Sorghum domesticated in East Africa in Egypt.
Source Plant Genomics Unearths Africa's Fertile Crescent. Elizabeth Pennisi. Science, May 3, 2019.
10 400 BP or YA
Sheep are domestic in the Mesopotamian area for: food, clothing and shelter.
Anatolia, Turkey catch small lambs and kids to fatten in their settlements, which lead to the domestication of sheep and goats over time. Domestication provides milk, meat, and wool. 10,400 YA.
The use of wool develops over time as the quality of wool needs to be bred for a more dense fleece, achieved with finer fibers and less kemp. Source Sheep industry fact sheets
10 500 YA
Neolithic hunter-gatherers carve two wild animals, a sharp-horned bull, and two human figures into stone in Sayburc, southern Turkey.
Is it the region’s oldest known example of a story told in art? Or just portraits?
11 000 BP or YA
First Stone Temple?
A temple at Gobekli Tepe, Turkey is where hunter gatherers congregate to share in spiritual celebrations. The artifacts at the site suggest religion predates agriculture and possible permanent settlements built while while humans were still hunters and gatherers. Artifacts carved on the surfaces represent images of foxes, lions, scorpions, vultures, and T shaped pilars that some believe represent humans. Findings suggest early people had beliefs and those beliefs evolved and centered on human's place in nature.
- Humans as spirits in a spiritual world among animals, weather, and other Earthly spirits.
- Humans with nature.
- Humans as master of nature.
- Humans as servants of nature.
- Three skulls were found with red ochre, grooves, circular holes that seem to be cut at time of death or near death as there is no indication of healing. Could have been suspended by cords for ritual situations. Source
11 500 BP or YA
Skull of Luzia Woman dates to around 11 500 years ago is found in a cave at Lapa Vermelha, Pedro Leopoldo, Great Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1975.
An infant is at the Upward Sun River in the Tana River Basin in Alaska. The infant's genetics suggest her ancestors settled Beringia and her descendants headed south into North America. The site is found in 2008. The infant's bones, date to around 11 500 year ago. Science January 5, 2018.
Domestication of grapes
While there is a split in grape species earlier, after glacial episodes 500 000 years ago. A second split happens about 11 500 years ago in Western Asia and north in the Caucasus Mountain area, which is followed by more species variation suggesting domestication and cultivation.
Source Dual domestications and origin of traits in grapevine evolution
12 000 BP or YA
Extinction of Wooly mammoth seems to be the last of the large animals to become extinct. Others include: Columbian mammoth, American mastodon, Beautiful armadillo, Stag moose, Giant beaver, Jefferson's ground sloth, Harlan's ground sloth, Flat-headed peccary, & short-faced bear. Source
Folsom culture follows Clovis in North america. They mainly hunt bison using their new invention, bison jumps. Their culture disappears 10 000 BP or YA.
Humans twist together tobacco leaves, stems, to chew or suck on them and discard the seedson the mudflats of the Great Salt Lake Desert in Utah. Source
13 000 BP or YA & maybe earlier ...
Humans in Americas
- Naia, a teenage girl, explores an underwater cave in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Her skeleton is found and dates to 13 000 years ago. Her DNA indicates she descends from early Native Americans, who likely crossed the Bering Strait. Her ancestry is Asian, from Beringia, haplogroup D. Source
Learn more about Naia on Nova First Face of America February 7, 2018.
- A boy explores in Montana where his skeleton is found in Montana at the Anzick site in 1968. In 2014 his haplogroup is found to be D1, commonly found in South America.
- Arlington Springs Man lives on Channel Islands off the west coast near Santa Barbara, California. Two of his leg bones are found in 1959 and later date to 13,000 BP or YA .
Clovis stone tools are created in the Americas
- Production starts around 13 500 - 12 700 BP or YA and continues until 800 YA.
- Tools have been found in the eastern and central United States, with some of the oldest sites in Texas and northern Mexico.
- Did the Clovis people hunt mammoth or mostly forage for plants, hunt small mammals, and catch fish? Along with Clovis points, scrapers, blades, drills and needles are in their tool kits. Source
- Yellowstone, WY is a source of obsidian (11 000 YA). Obsidian which is mined and distributed across the U. S. Source
Steps toward agriculture
Some humans begin to plant and cultivate plants (farming) rather than a sole reliance on hunting and gathering. The idea farming is superior to hunting and gathering, at this time, is probably inaccurate, since farming requires more work, portrays a lower adult status, and results in worse nutritional conditions, creates poorer sanitation, and more disease. What ever the circumstances, farming causes changes in plants, animals, and human behaviour as they interacted with each other, build cities, and live in them. Source Evolution, consequences and future of plant and animal domestication, by Jared Diamond.
Steps toward agriculture may be caused as the food supply of wild animals is shrinking to an unsustainable point, as 100's of large mammals are hunted to extinction. Source Sapien
- Cooking, grinding, leeching, soaking
- Domestication of wheat, barley, and other seeds with non shattering seed pod or head
- Domestication of goats, sheep, cattle, chicken, and pigs
- Todays chicken DNA traces to rice fields planted by Southeast Asian farmers 3 500 YA. Soon they were moved westward, where they are treated as exotic and culturally revered animals and not as a source of food. The domesticated chicken arrives in Mediterranean Europe around 2800 YA and in Africa 1 100 & 800 YA.
What is the reason some species are not domesticated?
- Is it too difficulty to domesticate them? or
- Are indigenous people who live where the species are native, are not inclined to domesticate them?
13 200 BP or YA
America's oldest footprints
Ancient American West coast dwellers leave a footprint on Calvert Island, British Columbia and fish hooks on Cedros Island, Mexico. Believed to be America's oldest human footprint. Source. On the Trail of Ancient Mariners by Lizzie Wade
Human's are making stone tools in the Chiquihuite cave in the Astillero Mountains, 9000 feet above sea level. Some 1 900 stone points or tools used for cutting, chopping, scraping, or as weapons with advanced flaking skills. More than 90 percent of the artifacts are greenish or blackish stone. Most material dates between 13 000 and 16 600 years BP or YA. The cave may have been used for 10 000 years. Source
13 800 BP or YA& maybe earlier ...
A village is established off the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada on the ancestral grounds of the Heiltsuk Nation. The archaeological evidence supports Heiltsuk oral tradition that claims the tribe lives along the coast in a land that didn't freeze during the ice age. Source
14 000 BP or YA
Humans arrive to the Americas by boat
possibly by island hopping down the west coast. Source. On the Trail of Ancient Mariners by Lizzie Wade
14 300 BP or YA
Humans cook in Paisley Caves, Oregon
Hearths and extinct animal bones are found inside the caves in 1938. Fossilized excrement, (coprolites) are dated to 14 300 BP or YA .
14 400 BP or YA
is made by hunter gathers in Jordan on stone hearths, from wild grains and tubers. Source
14 550 BP or YA
In Page-Ladson, Florida bifacial knives are being used on animals that are extinct today. Source
15 000 BP or YA
Possibly they could have been domesticated earlier, maybe 30 000 YA. Do dogs befriend humans? or Humans dogs? Source
Some suggest all domesticated dogs descend from dogs domesticated in Siberia about 23, 000 years BP or YA and then divided into four groups with the genetic marker A2b. These groups travel with the humans who domesticate them eventually dividing into four groups. One group to North America about 15 000 years BP or YA . Science January 29, 2020
Dog breeding and rock art 8 000 years
16 000 BP or YA
Flake stone blades
Humans at Cooper's Ferry Idaho, North America, use late upper paleolithic flake stone blades similar to those used at this time in northeastern Asia. Suggesting arrival by boat and before Clovis tools (13 000BP or YA ). The blades are not similar to the Clovis tools, which are fluted bifacial stemmed lanceolate points. Source Science August 30, 2019
17 000 BP or YA
Two bison sculptures are created in a Cave at Tuc d'Audoubert, France
Each sculpture is about 24 x 18 x 4 inches with smooth surfaces that have finger marks from being smoothed when wet, hair carved with a tool, and jaw lines cut with fingernails. Both bison are ready to mate. (15 000 BCE)
The cave also includes numerous paintings, engravings, abstract symbols, one anthropomorphic mask and one image of a female vulva. Source
The first musical score & concert
A person may have created a song, scored it on the wall of the cave, to play it in Marsoulas Cave in Magdalenian, France.
Red pigment is placed on a conch shell, which has been crafted to play three notes: C, C-sharp, & D. The pigment on the shell matches red dots and lines on the cave walls that form a bison silhouette. Could it have been a musical score? Was it for entertainment, spiritual requests for a successful hunt, or ...
23 000 BP or YA
Ohalo II agricultural site,
on the shore of Galilee, people clear land, sow wheat and barley and harvest them.
Ehud Weiss and his team collect 150 000 specimens of plant remains from the site and date them to 25 000 BCE. The find suggests human migration to North America is along the coast instead of overland.
24 000 BP or YA
Humans are hunting and butchering horses in the Bluefish Caves of northwest Yukon
Smaller than modern horses, these furry animals likely roam in herds across Beringian and will go extinct about 14 000 YA, likley from human hunting and climate change. Source
28 000 BP or YA
Solutrean stone tools are made in North East America from 19 000 BCE and 26 000 BCE
These stone tools are similar to Solutrean tools made in Spain, Portugal and southern France. How Solutreans arrive and carry their tools across North America is questionable, however, the tools are there and seem to lead to Clovis tool creation later. See 13,000 years ago.
31 000 BP or YA
First known surgical amputation
A young hunter-gatherer in Borneo has their lower left leg surgically amputated and survives.
Skeletal evidence shows a youngster’s lower left leg is skillfully removed and medical care prevents blood loss and infection, while the community provides care for their convalescence and beyond. Source
33 000 BP or YA
Hunter gatherers (Gravettians) congregate in two geographical areas during the ice ages of Europe
- One group in West and Central Europe who live in cave sites in France, Spain and Britain
- A second group in Central Europe and Russia who live in caves or semi subterranean round dwellings arranged in small villages.
Their tools include stone and bone tools, woven nets, and oil lamps made of stone. Tools to kill larger animals such as mammoths, hyenas, wolves, and reindeer. And nets to capture hares and foxes. They develop burial rites and art with jewelry, cave paintings, and small Venus figurines made from clay or ivory.
34 000 BP or YA
The Vogelherd Horse is carved from mammoth ivory in the Vovelherd cave in Western Europe. Source
38 000 BP or YA
Beringia, a the land bridge connects Siberia to Alaska during the last Glacial Maximum
Sea levels are around 400 feet lower than today.
Humans cross it before it sinks into the ocean. See animated map.
- First group about 38 000 BP or YA
- A second group enters 16 500 BP or YA , mix with the local populations and quickly migrate south, all the way to South America.
- A third group possibly enter Beringia 15 000 BP or YA .
40 800 BP or YA
Cave art is created in the European El Castillo cave
The art indicates Homo Sapien & Neanderthals are both capable of artistic self expression. Source Discover Magazine January / February 2013
Other old drawings were found on the island of Sulawesi, in Indonesia. at least 35,400 years old. Source
42 000 BP or YA
Mungo man lives in the dunes of the long gone lake, Lake Mungo in Australia, as indicated by a skeleton found and dated to 42 000 years ago.
43 000 BP or YA
Flute, may be the oldest known musical instrument is created from a bird bone and mammoth ivory and left in a cave in southern Germany 43 ooo YA.
At least five individuals are in the Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria between 43 000 YA to 46 000 YA along with their stone tools, cave bear pendants, bone tools, and other artifacts belonging to these modern humans and Neanderthals.
44 000 BP or YA
44 000 BP or YA
Indonesian cave painting of hunters corraling a dwarf buffalo with ropes & spears is created.
45 000 BP or YA
Cave art of a pig is created in Indonesia
50 000 BP or YA
World's oldest needle
A needle 7 centimeters (2 3/4 inch) long with a hole to insert a thread for sewing is in use where it is found in 2016 at the Denisovans Cave where Denisovans live. Source
The needle is an important techn0logical advancement to enable humans to make clothing by joining animal hides with sinew and make strong, weather tight, and water proof seams.
Humans would not be able to migrate through and live in cold regions on Earth without it.
Neanderthal's use birch sap and a complex process to manufacture a tar to cover tool grips or handles.
54 800 BP or YA
Bow & arrows in Europe
Homo sapiens are living in a cave in the Rhône Valley, France (Mandarin) are likely using archery to hunt horses, bison or deer.
Previously Neanderthals inhabit the cave and reclaim it for 12, 000 more years.
Source Science Advances
64 800 BP or YA
Neanderthals create art in three caves in Iberia, Spain
It dates to 64 800 years ago. The date implies the art has a Neanderthal origin, since humans did not arrive until thousands of years later. Source Science. U-Th dating of carbobate crusts reveals Neanderthal origin of Iberian cave art 2-22-2018
65 000 BP or YA
Humans arrived in Australia
They create stone tools, ground ochre, slabs of ochre, and ochre in crayon form. These artifacts are found at Madjebdebe, Australia and date to 65 000 years ago. Source A find in Australia hints at very early human exit from Africa
50 000 - 700 000 BP or YA or YA
Homo floresiensis (hobbit) is alive as indicated by fossils:
- fossils dating 50,000 years ago found in Liang Bua cave in Indonesia.
- fossils dating to 70, 000 years old found at Mata Menge.
100 000 BP or YA or YA
Homo sapiens Qafzeh lives in caves of Qafzeh, east of Nazareth, Israel. Bones are classified as Homo sapien and dated to 92,000 YA.
Additional remains are found at Skhul, on Mount Carmel, Israel and labeled as Homo sapiens Skhul and date to 115 000 YA. These remains indicate lanky slender bodies adapted to hot moist climates and unsuitable for a cooler ice age that arrives around 75 000 YA, which may have resulted in their extinction. Evidence also suggests Neanderthal, built more stocky, are better able to retain heat and survive through ice ages. While none of these may have met during this time in this area of the world, it does suggest their existence overlapped. Source When Neanderthals Replaced Us by Theodora Sutcliffe.
Blombos Cave South Africa is a red ochre factory
Artifacts incude: grindstones, pebbles dipped in ochre used as a stamp, abalone shells used as containers to mix ochre with bone, charcoal, quartz, and other materials to make paint. And these artifact may be the earliest pieces of art. Ochre is used as a cosmetic, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, medicine, antiseptic, and tanning and preserving hides.
Campfires are lit in a South African cave. Source
Do campfires enable society? As groups can gather around the campfire.
120 000 BP or YA
Homo sapiens are making clothes in a Moroccan cave at the onset of an ice age
Tools are being crafted to shape and scrape hides hides to clean leather, and scrape pelts to make furs. Similar tools are still used today to process hides and fur, and have also been found in more recent archaeological sites. Source
An auroch bone fragment is engraved with six lines at a site in Israel.
Is it art, communication, or doodling? Source
129,000 - 116,000 BP or YA
Average temperature is two degrees C above preindustrial levels
Sea levels rise 20-30 feet as a result of global tempertures, causes changes in Earth's orbit and spin, and melts Antarctic ice.
170 000 BP or YA
Pre humans engineer smoke flow
In Lazaret Cave in southeast France Homo heidelbergensis, or pre-Neanderthals, position their hearths in the center of the cave, which is an ideal spot. The location limits the amount of smoke that fills their cave dwelling so the amount of smoke inhaled is minimal and maximizes the room for social activities, cooking and making tools.
This demonstrates their ingenuity, experience, spatial planning, and planned action.
180 000 BP or YA
Earliest homo sapien outside Africa?
Misliya-1, Homo sapien at Misliya Cave, at Mount Carmel, Israel. An upper jawbone with teeth is found and dated to 180,000 BP or YA . Source
While all of the anatomical details in Misliya-1 are fully consistent with modern humans, some features are also found in Neanderthals and other human groups ... ‚
193 000 BP or YA
Neanderthals occupy Denisovan Cave on and off from 193,000 YA until 97,000 YA. Science May 2017
Also found there are ornaments from bone, teeth, mammoth ivory, and ostrich shell deposits from 43 000 - 49 000 years ago. Science February 2019
200 000 BP or YA
Homo sapiens evolve in Africa about 200,000 BP or YA .
Genetic similarities between Eurasians, Oceanians, and Americans indicate all non-African humans descend from a small population that left Africa about 60,000 BP or YA .
Before that Homo Erectus dispersal from Africa ebbs and flows with the ice ages until an extreem ice age about 200 000 BP or YA confined it to the Kalahari Desert where human kind nearly went extinct. After which its dispersal begins again to ebb and flow along with migrations of homo sapiens out of sub-Saharan Africa. Significant dates include: 50 000 – 45 000 BP or YA and
120 000 – 110 000 BP or YA .
Source Science December 8, 2017
287 000 BP or YA
Denisovans move into the Denisova Cave, Russia
They occupy it off and on from 287 000 to 50 000 BP or YA.
Denisovan artifacts, charcoal, DNA and one bone are discovered. DNA from the bone is found to be a young women whose mother is Neanderthal and father Denisovan. Science February 2019
A lower jaw bone is found on the Tibetan Plateau, dated to 160 000 BP or YA and proteins identify it as Denisovan. Science May 3, 2019.
DNA for later populations 100 000, 60 000, & 45 000 is also found. Science October 30, 2020
300 000 BP or YA
Homo sapiens use middle stone age tools (MSA) at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. Science June 9, 2017
307 000 BP or YA
Pieces of ochre with marks of human alteration and obsidian from about 60 miles away are left at Olorgesailie, Kenya. Indicates humans range further than previously thought and possibly trade with others. Pigment of Our Imagination: The story of human evolution is written in ochre. by Gemma Tarlach Discover April 2018. See also Blombos Cave.
540 000 BP or YA
A Shell with zig-zag etchings is left at a site on the Solo River in Java
It is found by Eugene Dubois along with bones classified as Homo-erectus, Trinil 2 sart.
Is the shell art, doodles, or a means for communicating? Jonathon Keats: in Discover July 2015 also Smithsonian article
780 000 BP or YA
Magnetic poles flip orientation. Source The Spinning Magnet by Alanna Mitchell
900 000 BP or YA
Homo erectus makes big Acheulean hand axes, scrapers, and butchers meat at Olorgesailie, Kenya
A prehistoric site where artifacts are found dating from 1.2 million BP or YA - 499 000 BP or YA and a skull cap to about 900 000 BP or YA .
1.6 million BP or YA
Homo ergaster is thought to be the first hominid with long striding legs. Capable of long sustained walking and running.
1.8 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Quaternary Period, Pleistocene Epoch .01-1.8 mya )
1.8 million BP or YA
Homo Erectus is a territorial savannah predator able to use tools, run long distances, and is social. It's dispersal from the savannah ebbs and flows with the ice ages until an ice age about 200 000 years before present confined it to the Kalahari Desert where humankind nearly went extinct.
Homo erectus intentionally forms stone tools into teardrop shapes such as the Acheulean hand axes. Creation of these tools requires sensory motor control, memory, visualizing an object within an object, hence, planning. Source
Hippo bone hand axe (right) is discovered in Ethiopia and dates to 1.4 - one million BP or YA , which is likely made by Homo erectus. Source
First humans, mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats
1.9 million BP or YA
Australopithecus (southern ape) sediba lives in South Africa
An adult female and young are in a cavern near Johannesburg. Their specimens are found by a 9 year old in 2008. Australopithecus sediba's hands and feet suggest it has grasping ablities to climb trees and the ability to make tools. The remains suggest a direct link to Homo habilis. Source
2 million BP or YA
Homo erectus uses fire to cook meat. Many years before Homo Sapien appears.
2.6 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Miocene Epoch 24 - 1.8 mya)
It appears humans begin to eat meat and use weapons, around this time period as stone tools are found at Gona, Ethiopia and date to 2.6 million BP or YA.
These tools match tools known as the Oldowan, named after Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, where Louis Leakey found similar tools in the 1930's. Those tools are so well knapped that they are believed to have evolved from a less technological tool-making culture.
A strong similarity between marks these tools make and the marks on fossil zebra bones, indicate these stone tools or ones similar were used to butcher animals by at least 2.6 million BP or YA. Humans and food source
Around 2.6 - 3 million BP or YA
Oldowan tool sets are created and used to process hippopotamus in Kenya possibly by Paranthropus.
2.8 million BP or YA
Fossilized jaw found at Ledi-Geraru, Ethiopia dates as 2.8 million years old and classified in the Homo genus.
3.18 million BP or YA
Lucy roams across Ethiopia, Africa
Discovered in 1974 she is classified as Australopithecus afarenis. Upright a terrestrial hunter and gatherer that probable spent some time in trees. It has been speculated that fractures she suffered might have been from falling.
Afarensis is small and completely non-technological. No one has ever argued that they were predatory. They are bipedal, ground-eating apes.
3.3 million BP or YA
Stone tools are at a Lomekwi site near Kenya's Lake Turkana. They are found by Sonia Harmand and her team, and dated around 3.3 million YA. Source
3.3 - 3.5 million BP or YA
Australopithecus deyiremeda is living in the Afar region in Ethiopia. Their hominin jawbones are found, dated, and classified Source & image along with animal bones dated to the same time, 3.4 million BP or YA , suggesting Australopithecus butchered meat. Source
3.6 million BP or YA
First evidence of bipedalism
Footprints are left by three Australopithecus afarensis hominids who walk on volcanic ash at Laetoli near Olduvai. They are preserved and Mary Leakey discovers them in 1978.
3.67 million BP or YA
A hominid skeleton named Little Foot a female Australopithecus afarensis or A. prometheus inhabits the South Africa Sterkfontein Cave. It is discovered in 1997 and exposed over the next twenty years. It becomes the most complete skeleton of its kind found at the time and dates to about 4 million BP or YA.
Australopithecus afarensis is believed to have lived around 2.9 million to 4.1 million BP or YA. Source & images
3.9 million BP or YA
Australopithecus affarensis (Lucy) appears 3.8 million BP or YA.
Australopithecus anamensis appears 4 million BP or YA . Source Stunning skull shakes human family tree. Science August 30, 2019
First sheep, cattle, modern whales, bears, mice, rats, apes, monkeys, dogs, and modern birds appear.
5.3 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Tertiary Period, Pliocene Epoch 1.8-5.3 mya )
23.8 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Tertiary Period, Miocene Epoch 5.3-23.8 mya )
24 million BP or YA - animal agriculture between macrotermitine termites and termitomyces fungi begins
33.7 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Tertiary Period, Oligocene Epoch 23.8-33.7 mya )
54.8 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Tertiary Period, Eocene Epoch 33.7-54.8 mya )
55 million BP or YA Attine ants domesticate fungi and begin animal agriculture
65 million BP or YA (Cenozoic Era, Tertiary Period, Paleocene Epoch 54.8-65 mya )
First deer, cats, pigs, tapirs, and rhinos, elephants, horses, owls, shrews, hedgehogs, and rabbits evolve.
EarthViewer - An interactive application to explore what the Earth looks like at different times. Explore what Earth looks like 250 million BP or YA ? Or 1 billion BP or YA ? Or 4.5 billion BP or YA ?
EarthViewer lets you see continents grow and shift as you scroll through billions of years and explore changes in atmospheric composition, temperature, biodiversity, day length, and solar luminosity over deep time.
Paleozoic era, & Precambrian
Mesozoic era includes three periods
- Cretaceous period - between 65.5 and 145.5 million years BP or YA .
- Jurassic period 144-208 mya, &
- Triassic period 208-245 mya
Paleozoic era about 251 - 540 million BP or YA
- Permian Period 245 - 280 mya
- Carboniferous Period 280 - 360 mya
- Devonian Period 360 - 408 mya
- Silurian Period 408 - 438 mya
- Ordovician Period 438 - 505 mya
- Cambrian Period 500 - 540 mya
Precambrian 540 mya - 4.6 billion BP or YA includes about 90% of the time the Earth has existed.
Summary of change
The Earth itself evolves over a very long time period, compared to human life spans. The millions of years eventually provides conditions and materials for habitats suitable for life to evolve complex organisms: most recently Homo sapien.
- A geological period is a basic unit of geological time in which a single type of rock system is formed.
- A geological era is a time period of two or more periods.
More information on eras, periods, and evolution of life see Earth science Australia
Mesozoic era 65.5 - 250 million BP or YA
66 million BP or YA (Mesozoic Era, Cretaceous Period 65.5 - 145.5 mya )
First snakes, crocodilians, and many flowering plants (angiosperms).
Mass extinction, known as the K-T extinction (Cretaceous - Tertiary extinction) and K-Pg (Cretaceous - Paleogene extinction) ends the Mesozoic Era Cretaceous Period with these mass extinctions. The dinosaurs, ammonites, mollusks are among the 80% of life on Earth that is unable to survive during this time, known as one of the six mass extinctions. Mammals and birds thrive afterward. See PBS and what killed the dinosaur? & The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An asteroid, extinction, and the beginning of our world. Riley Black 2022
It can be labeled as a critical boundary at 66 million BP or YA .
The boundary of the Mesozoic era results in mass extinctions believed as a result of an asteroid strike, which can be measured by the strong trace of the element iridium it left in rocks and tektites that have been found at sites around the world, both a result of the impact. One recent and site, Tanis, ND part of the Hell Creek Formation, is one site, with some astonishing artifacts.
The asteroid, about 6 miles (10 km) in diameter, crashes in Chicxulub, Mexico creating a crater about 110 miles (180 km) in diameter and 18 miles (29 km) deep. The explosion releases as much energy as 100 trillion tons of TNT, more than a billion times more energy than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
About the same time period Deccan Traps in India erupts releasing significant amounts of volcanic ash over a time scale that extends before and after the Chicxulub impact. These eruptions likely also contributed to the K-T extinction. Source
85 million BP or YA
Australia breaks away from Antarctica
174 million BP or YA
First flowering plants Nanjinganthus dendrostyla (angiosperm)
200 million (Mesozoic Era, Jurassic Period 144-208 mya)
Oceans full of fish, squid, ammonites, the great ichthyosaurs, and long-necked plesiosaurs. Huge plant-eating dinosaurs roam the Earth and eat huge ferns, palm-like cycads, and a type of seed plant, bennettitaleans. Smaller carnivores hunt the herbivores. Vertebrates take to the air, like the pterosaurs and the first birds.
End triassic with volcanic activity in Atlantic Ocean. 80% of species conodont (robbon fish) and reptiles. Ddionosaurs, archosaur, and crocodile relatives thrive.
245 million BP or YA (Mesozoic Era, Triassic Period 208-245 mya )
First mammals, dinosaurs, frogs, turtles, crocodyloformes.
Paleozoic era about 251 - 540 million BP or YA
280 million BP or YA (Paleozoic Era, Permian Period 245-280 mya )
Sail-back reptiles. Amphibians abundant. Synapsids (predicessors of mammals), Podocarps (group of ancient ferns), red pine of New Zealand, Yellowwood of South Africa, corystosperms (seed ferns). Pangaea forms.
Volcanic activity in Siberia creates toxic gases, ash, wildfires, and decreases the ozone layer and the mass extinction of 96 % of all species. Notably, amphibians and synapsids.
Fungus thrives and dinosaurs and mammals evolve.
300 million BP or YA
Both oxygen and ozone levels reach current levels with many different kinds of complex land plants and animals.
360 million BP or YA (Paleozoic Era, Carboniferous Period 280-360 mya)
First reptiles, winged insects, and widespread swamps that will become coal.
- End of Devonian with series of climate changes.
- Possible volcanic activity in Siberia.
- Extinction of armored fish, coral, trilobites.
- Vertebrates under one meter and tetrapods thrive.
408 million BP or YA (Paleozoic Era, Devonian Period 360-408 mya)
First amphibians, sharks, bony fish, ammonoids, and spiders. Many fish.
438 million BP or YA (Paleozoic Era, Silurian Period 408-438 mya )
First insects and vascular plants on land.
443 million BP or YA
End of Ordovician
Climate shifts from cold ice sheets to sudden melting. Sea sponges and brachiopods thrive.
450 million BP or YA
The ozone level is close to its present value as land plants evolve.
Late Ordovician mass extinction of of trilobites, corals, brachiopods. Astronomers believe a Gamma-ray burst (GRB ) happens that creates smog to blanket the entire Earth and start a global ice age.
505 million BP or YA (Paleozoic Era, Ordovician Period 438-505 mya )
First land plants, corals, Nautiloids. Ends in mass extinction.
540 million BP or YA (Paleozoic Era, Cambrian Period 500 to 540 mya )
Evolution of first shellfish, primitive fish, trilobites, corals, mollusks.
Precambrian 540 million BP or YA
The Precambrium (a geologic time) starts with the Earth's formation, 4.6 billion BP or YA and lasts to the beginning of the Paleozoic Era Cambrian Period, 540 mya.
The Precambrian is not considered a geologic eon, era, period, or epoch, it is simply referred to as Precambrian or Precambrian Time. It spans most of the Earth's history (90%).
Oxygen concentration increases to about ten percent of the current level.
Precambrian 900 million - 1 billion BP or YA
A Canadian fungi (Ourasphaira giraldae) evolves. It is .1 millimeters long with branching filaments and bulbous structure with cell walls made of chitin.
Chitin is necesary for insect and crustacean exoskeletons and fish scales.
2.4 billion BP or YA
Bacteria and archaea evolve to use sunlight for energy and produce oxygen as a by product, which is important for the development of life on land, because it protects Earth's surface from too much ultraviolet radiation which is fatal to life.
However, as oxygen levels rise, some bacteria and archaea are burned alive.
3.5 billion BP or YA
The Great Oxidation Event begins when Cyanobacteria, an oxygen-producing organism evolves.
Since there is no protective atmosphere, Cyanobacteria, evolves in the oceans, where they are protected from deadly sun rays.
They use carbon dioxide and water for photosynthesis and release oxygen as a waste product.
Over time, the oxygen they produce accumulates in the atmosphere, where some is converted to ozone, and a protective atmosphere is created. The atmosphere, blocks ultraviolet radiation, which is fatal to life, this enables bacteria and archaea to survive towards the water's surface and on land.
3.9 billion BP or YA
First life on Earth
Microfossils of tiny creatures are locked in different samples of rock in northern Canada. Sample date from 3.8 - 4.3 billion years & 3.95 billion years BP or YA .
Earth cools enough to form liquid water and solid land.
4.6 billion BP or YA
Earth's primitive atmosphere and oceans evolve complex molecules (maybe RNA) that the will evolve into the first living cells.
4.51 billion BP or YA
4.53 billion BP or YA
4.6 billion BP or YA
Birth of our Solar System
13.1 billion BP or YA
First black hole forms
13.8 billion BP or YA plus 3 minutes
The Big Bang creates HeH+ (hydrogen, helium, and traces of deuterium and lithium ions) in three minutes.
13.8 billion BP or YA
Big bang ... Creates the Universe?
Logically creation has three options:
- A cataclysmic creation - most likely
- A non creation - meaning the Universe is always in existence
- A Universe that is an illusion - meaning it doesn't exist as a physical entity.
What are the top inventions of all time?
101 Inventions that Changed the World source Vimeo (1:28:17) by Meghan A.T .B. Reese
- wheel and axle
- printing press
- light bulb with carbon filament
- steam engine
- internal combustion engine
- penicillin Fleming
- water wheel
- electric generator
- mould board plow
- mechanical clock
- cotton gin
- birth control
- eye glasses
- electric motor
- Archimedes screw
- flush toilet
- jet engine
- still camera
- differential gear
- nuclear power
- mechanical reaper
- oil lamp
- digital camera
- I beam
- recording tape
- steam turbine
- arc welder
- bridge suspension
- copy machine
- canal lock
- microwave oven
- light house
- pneumatic tire
- solar panel
- barbed wire
- builders level
- elevator break
- credit card
- movie camera
- screw propeller
- lock and key
- Ben Franklin wood stove
- prosthetic limbs
- wooden peg
Where is pottery, television, toothbrush, writing, mathematics, smart phone, ... other?