21 July 2009


Some ages ago, I assembled time lines. Seeing JG's much better timelines (and with live content, vs. my static listing) reminded me of them. One feature of my approach was to use a set of time lines, each of which was about 10 times shorter than the previous. That number varied widely in practice. But the basic idea was to take a look over time to the present, focusing more and more narrowly towards the present.

I did this so long ago that a number of dates need to be changed -- the universe is 13.7 billion years old, not the 15 that I used, for instance. Still, here's a look at the version of my timelines from 10 years ago, from shortest to longest periods. Maybe I can entice JG to using this idea for his version?

In any case, enjoy. When you see things that are dated wrong, or see important things that should be added, do comment. (There's no question of if; even my casual glances were showing a lot of things in need of update and addition or deletion.)


Anonymous said...

There is a nice chart available from Pan Terra Inc. called "A Correlated history of Earth" that has nice timelines.

jg said...

Thank you for mentioning my timeline project. I will explore ways to add a 1000-, 10,000-, 100,000-, etc., year scales to it, and I welcome any other suggestions. I'll also have to fix my 4.5 giga-year limitation.

One deliberate limition is that I want to tag each event with one or more research papers. My goal, and how I'm making my project different from other charts (like Pan Terra's), is to show the live research going on, to bridge the gap between the public and scientific literaure. Therefore, I'll have contradictions on the timing of events that are still being argued about.

I've been collecting timelines and charts. I believe I bought a copy of the Pan Terra one cited by the first commenter. It's an excellent wall chart.

Alastair said...

I think I have found a mistake. You have placed Baconian science at 1000 ad, but Sir Francis Bacon, who invented the Baconian Method and wrote Novum Organum, lived in the 17th Century.

You may be confusing him with Roger Bacon who invented the scientific method in the 13th Century, but whose ideas were not adopted until the 16th Century at the start of the Renaissance.

Cheers, Alastair.

tidal said...

A little off-topic, but as a cyclist, I was amused to learn that we developed locomotives and thermoelectric plants - amongst other technologies - well before we got around to figuring out how to put pedals on a bicycle. They were powered Freddie-Flinstone-style before that, paddling your feet along the ground. But we had electric motors and lights and trains. Things that make you go hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

That "Crust largely formed" pointer can't be in the right place, can it? Got to be closer to 4 Ga than 2.5 Ga and likely before "Earliest life".

P. Lewis

Robert Grumbine said...

Thanks for the Pan Terra heads up. They didn't show enough for me to know what sorts of details they do or don't show, unfortunately.

Alastair: Definitely one of the things to clean up. Some of the issue is my coordination in getting arrows to line up properly.

P. Lewis: Certainly there was crust by 4 Gya. We have rocks that are over 3.9 Ga. The 2.5ish Gya is a date for some crustal cycling to have been done and to get the middling to older end of extant cratons, if I remember correctly.

Tidal: Such things are one of my interests in the history of technology. One which has always impressed me for its recency is the invention of the hot air balloon. All you need is a fire and a big bag open at one end. The possibility of building one goes back at least to ancient Egypt (once they were making shear fabrics, which seems to have been a long time back). Yet they weren't built and used until 200s AD (according to wikipedia -- Chinese making small signalling lanterns), and first manned flight not until 1700s. Both being far more recent than the ca. 2000 BC that Egypt got going with linen (or the 3000 or more BC that China had silk)

Failed to mention in my original post, but see also _The Timelines of History_ by Bernard Grun. I have the 3rd edition.

S2 said...

Kepler and Galileo were pretty much contemporaries. The International Year of Astronomy is celebrating Galileo's telescope and Kepler's laws - both of which appeared in 1609.

S2 said...

Actually Copernicus is a bit too low as well (sorry, I should have spotted this earlier). De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was published in 1543.