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Author Topic: Timescale  (Read 1624 times)

Unbeliever

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Timescale
« on: August 20, 2007, 08:37:53 PM »
I want to do a thread on Nigel Calder's wonderful book Timescale: An Atlas of the Fourth Dimension (Viking Press, 1983; also published simultaneously in Canada by Penguin Books Canada Limited), so we can see the various events since the beginning of the universe that led to our existence. The book is a real treasure-trove of information about the cosmos and the Earth, from the first instant of time to the first re-usable spaceship. I hope to encourage many of you to get hold of a copy for yourselves if you can find it, you won't be sorry!

From inside the front cover:

Quote
Here, from a master of science writing, is a work that will plunge anyone who reads it into a sharpened perception of the universe and the life forces that have made us. A miracle of research and synthesis, this book is the first to combine complete graphic and verbal depictions of our cosmos in time and in scale, from the Big Bang to the space shuttle.

Timescale begins with an overview of exciting new methods of dating events and a look at our conception of time itself, continues with a narrative of what has happend to the world, to life, and to humankind, and culminates in a fascinating index that cross-references important dates of topics and concepts, from abacus and amphibian to work and Zoroastriansm. Beginning with measurements in the billions of years and ending in decades and years, an ingenious "timescale", logarithmically calibrated, runs at the foot of the page, while sixteen pages of specially drawn full-color maps portray the Earth's biography.
"Chronography" is what the author calls the attempt to put in order the significant events between the origin of the universe and the present. The book pulls together data about the past from such diverse fields as high-energy physics, cosmology, astronomy, paleontology, molecular and human genetics, evolution, anthropology, archeology, history, and linguistics. What Mercator was to geography, Nigel Calder is to chronography, and Timescale is our first true chart and guide.

The main part of the book is the timescale itself, which is in two parts, the first a short description of the events of the early universe (pg 98-101):

beginning of time.........................zero
normal gravity.............................10^-43 second
grand repulsion............................10^-38 second
Hot Big Bang; quark era................10^-35 second
weak force weakened....................10^-11 second
proton era....................................10^-6 second
electron era..................................10^-4 second
gamma-ray era; neutrinos loose.....1 second
helium making...............................3 minutes
galaxies seeded.............................10 years
matter predominant........................10,000 years
atoms forming................................300,000 years
transparent universe........................1,000,000 years


Then we have the main timescale, given in millions of years before present (pg 102-191):

Big Bang................................................................13,500 Myr
galaxies forming.....................................................12,500
oldest quasar..........................................................12,200
element-making boom; many quasars.......................11,000
solar elements (average age)...................................10,000
spiral-arm elements (average age)............................9,000
quarter-size universe (1/4 present size).....................6,700
sterilization of many galaxies....................................6,000
early presolar nebula................................................4,650
solar system............................................................4,550
Earth complete; storm of cosmic impacts....................4,450
half-size universe; life on Earth..................................4,000
cosmic impacts abating; photosynthesis......................3,900
living reefs...............................................................3,500
moon and Mercury defunct.........................................3,000
gold boom................................................................2,900
continent making.......................................................2,800
iron boom.................................................................2,500
supercontinent of Kenora; ice ages..............................2,300
mountain-building pulse..............................................2,200
host cells...................................................................2,100
uranium reactors........................................................2,000
metals from space......................................................1,900
oxygen revolution; purple bacteria...............................1,800
proto-animals.............................................................1,700
blue-green algae.........................................................1,600
supercontinent of Amazonia; proto-plants......................1,500
mountain-building pulse...............................................1,400
plants.........................................................................1,300
Grenvillia hit North America..........................................1,150
seaweed; sex; Mars defunct..........................................1,000
ice ages.........................................................................950
copper boom..................................................................850
supercontinent of Baikalia................................................800
ice ages.........................................................................770
ice ages; animals............................................................670
mountain building; Gondwanaland.....................................650
worms; arthropods; brains...............................................620
early hard animals...........................................................600
many hard animals..........................................................570
Cambrian disruptions.......................................................550
vertebrate animals...........................................................510
Europe hit North America..................................................460
Ordovician catastrophe; ice ages.......................................440
jawed fishes; life ashore...................................................425
insects............................................................................395
Frasnian catastrophe; amphibians; trees............................370
Euramerica hit Gondwanaland...........................................350
winged insects.................................................................330
reptiles...........................................................................313
pelycosaurs.....................................................................310
Siberia hit Europe.............................................................300
ice ages...........................................................................290
coal peak.........................................................................260
therapsids........................................................................256
Permian terminal catastrophe.............................................245
cynodonts.........................................................................240
dinosaurs; flowers.............................................................235
pterosaurs........................................................................225
Pangea.............................................................................220
Norian catastrophe; mammals............................................216
brachiosaurs.....................................................................175
petroleum boom................................................................170
birds.................................................................................150
Kimmeridgian turnover.......................................................145
marsupial mammals...........................................................125
brachiosaurs extinct...........................................................117
floral revolution; modern mammals.....................................114
India quit Antarctica...........................................................100
Cenomanian turnover; preprimates.......................................95
continents flooded; petroleum peak.......................................93
South America quit Africa.....................................................85
coal boom; preprimates.......................................................70
fossil primates.....................................................................69
Cretaceaous terminal catastrophe; dinosaurs extinct...............67
North America quit Europe; early Rockies...............................60
new mammals; early horses..................................................55
Australia quit Antarctica.........................................................50
India hit Eurasia....................................................................45
more new mammals..............................................................40
Eocene terminal turnover.......................................................37
early cats and dogs; New World monkeys................................35
Circumantarctic Current; Japan quit Eurasia; Arabia quit Africa..30
sea-level fall; hanf-nose primates............................................29
whales growing......................................................................25
grass....................................................................................24
apes and monkeys split..........................................................21
Old World interchange............................................................20
early antelopes......................................................................19
Oregon eruptions...................................................................16
Miocene disruption..................................................................15
East Antarctic deepfreeze; volcanic Chorus...............................14
surge in grazing animals..........................................................11
orangutans; Swiss Alps............................................................10
northern glaciers.......................................................................9
Northern American uplifts; modern cats.......................................8
elephants..................................................................................7
West Antantarctic deep freeze.....................................................6.6
Mediterranean dryout.................................................................6.3
modern dogs.............................................................................6.0
Mediterranean normalized...........................................................5.3
Himalayan uplift; apes and apeman split.......................................5.0
Andean uplifts; modern camels, bears, and pigs............................4.5
baboons; apemen.......................................................................4.0
modern horses...........................................................................3.7
Red Sea ocean-like; early cattle...................................................3.5
current ice ages began.................................................................3.25
cheetahs.....................................................................................3.2
American interchange...................................................................3.0
deeper icing; stone tools...............................................................2.4
robust apemen.............................................................................2.2
Homo habilis; scavenging......................................................2.0
Homo erectus; hunting..........................................................1.9
modern big cats; bison; sheep; wild hogs........................................1.8
Homo erectus in Africa; Homo habilis extinct........................1.6
firemaking; apemen extinct; human standstill..................................1.4
mammalian peak; volcanic chorus..................................................1.0
emphatic icing........................................................................800,000 yr
breakout of Homo erectus...............................................750,000
Pliestocene disruption.............................................................730,000
Arctic deep freeze; brown bears..............................................700,000
wolves...................................................................................650,000
Homo sapiens.................................................................600,000
ice age 30..............................................................................550,000
warm interlude; llamas............................................................500,000
ice age 31...............................................................................475,000
warm interlude; huts; fishing.....................................................420,000
human standstill; yaks..............................................................400,000
ice age 32................................................................................350,000
ice minimum.............................................................................340,000
warm interlude..........................................................................330,000
ice age 33.................................................................................280,000
ice maximum.............................................................................250,000
warm interlude......................................................................240,000
archaic Homo sapiens.....................................................230,000
cave bears; goats; modern cattle............................................200,000
ice age 34.............................................................................188,000
Levallois tools........................................................................160,000
wooly mammoth.....................................................................150,000
ice maximum..........................................................................133,000
warm interlude; shellfish collecting............................................128,000
false ice age............................................................................115,000
proto-modern humans; amulet; ritual burials..............................100,000
false ice age..............................................................................95,000
Toba explosion; climatic oscillation...............................................73,000
ice age 35; polar bear.................................................................72,000
lesser ice maximum....................................................................62,000
herbal medicine..........................................................................60,000
milder interlude...........................................................................58,000
multiple pigments.....................................................................................50,000
cave-bear cult..............................................................................47,000
mental revolution........................................................................45,000
breakout of modern humans; seafaring; blade tools.......................40,000
calendars...................................................................................35,000
neanderthalers extinct.................................................................34,000
trading.......................................................................................30,000
communities; ceramics................................................................29,000
severe cold; Gravettian heyday....................................................28,000
tailored clothing...........................................................................25,000
bow and arrow.............................................................................20,000
peopling of America.....................................................................19,000
latest ice maximum; cultivation; animals herded........................18,000
Pliestocene overkill; lamps; ropes..............................................17,000
thaw started; fishing gear..........................................................14,000
pottery.....................................................................................13,000
dogs tamed..............................................................................12,000
sheep and goats tamed; accountancy; bureaucracy.....................10,700
wheat; town..............................................................................10,600
ice age ended...........................................................................10,300
fisheries boom..........................................................................10,000
breakouts of the gardeners; rice; water buffalo and pigs tamed.......9,500
cattle tamed; city.........................................................................8,800
weaving......................................................................................8,500
irrigation.....................................................................................8,000
copper smelting; stone buildings...................................................6,500
horses tamed..............................................................................6,400
breakout of the dairymen; animal energy......................................6,000
sharp collong; urbanization..........................................................5,800
taxes; class distinctions...............................................................5,600
wheel; writing.............................................................................5,500
chronic warfare; warrior kings.....................................................5,300
pack animals..............................................................................5,000
breakout of the horsemen............................................................4,900
North African dessication..............................................................4,500
empire.......................................................................................4,400
chariots......................................................................................4,100
chariots to China and India; alphabet............................................3,800
Chinese writing...........................................................................3,500
sharp coolong; rise of the Olmecs.................................................3,250
Amerindian copper smelting..........................................................3,100
iron important..............................................................................3,050
breakout of the blacksmiths..........................................................2,800
rise of the Maya...........................................................................2,750
Greek science..............................................................................2,600
religious surge.............................................................................2,550
Athenian heyday..........................................................................2,480
cast iron in China.........................................................................2,400
water energy...............................................................................2,030
birth of Christ......................................................................2,007 (7 BC)
paper...................................................................................1,900 (AD 100)
Eurasian epidemics..............................................................1,830 (AD 162)
breakout of the Huns............................................................1,696 (AD 304)
moldboard plow; abacus............................................................AD 500
bubonic plague.........................................................................AD 542
Maya heyday...........................................................................AD 600
breakout of the Arabs...............................................................AD 632
printing...................................................................................AD 700
warm episode..........................................................................AD 930
population surge; Islamic science............................................AD 1000
managed economy.................................................................AD 1608
navigational compass..............................................................AD 1115
breakout of the Mongols..........................................................AD 1211
population crash.....................................................................AD 1290
rise of the Aztecs....................................................................AD 1320
Black Death............................................................................AD 1331
gun warfare............................................................................AD 1356
cast iron in Europe..................................................................AD 1380
Chinese naval ventures............................................................AD 1405
population recovery.................................................................AD 1450
printing press..........................................................................AD 1455
breakout of the navigators........................................................AD 1492
Amerindian epidemics...............................................................AD 1520
slaves-and-sugar trade............................................................AD 1560
breakout of the Russians..........................................................AD 1586
imperial companies.................................................................AD 1600
astronomical telescope............................................................AD 1609
Dutch spice monopoly.............................................................AD 1621
imperial nationalism................................................................AD 1640
Manchu China.........................................................................AD 1644
science formalized...................................................................AD 1662
liberalism...............................................................................AD 1690
population boom.....................................................................AD 1690
steam energy.........................................................................AD 1712
carve-up of Asia.....................................................................AD 1727
British bengal.........................................................................AD 1765
oxygen discovered..................................................................AD 1771
revolutionary nationalism.........................................................AD 1776
French revolution....................................................................AD 1789
postagricultural British.............................................................AD 1800
fossil-fuel revolution................................................................AD 1825
breakout of the Americans.......................................................AD 1830
Chinese cowed........................................................................AD 1842
California gold rush..................................................................AD 1849
Marxism..................................................................................AD 1867
telephone...............................................................................AD 1878
carve-up of Africa...................................................................AD 1880
automobile.............................................................................AD 1885
radioactivity discovered...........................................................AD 1896
aircraft...................................................................................AD 1903
Japanese breakout..................................................................AD 1905
electronics..............................................................................AD 1906
nitrogen fixation......................................................................AD 1913
Russian revolutions..................................................................AD 1917
radio broadcasting boom..........................................................AD 1922
global population boom............................................................AD 1930
Arabian oil..............................................................................AD 1932
bomber warfare.......................................................................AD 1936
antibiotics...............................................................................AD 1940
nuclear energy........................................................................AD 1942
computer................................................................................AD 1943
A-bomb...................................................................................AD 1945
Chinese reunified.....................................................................AD 1949
television boom.......................................................................AD 1950
gene structure; H-bomb...........................................................AD 1953
spacecraft...............................................................................AD 1957
African decolonization...............................................................AD 1960
green revolution; manned spaceflight.........................................AD 1961
communications satellite............................................................AD 1965
men on the moon.....................................................................AD 1969
postagricultural world; multiple warheads....................................AD 1970
costly energy; gene splicing.......................................................AD 1973
Mars landers............................................................................AD 1976
smallpox eradicated; outer-planets mission................................AD 1977
optical-fiber links......................................................................AD 1980
reusable spaceship; cancer mutation pinpointed..........................AD 1982
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 05:25:03 PM by Unbeliever »
"Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods....I don't believe in God. I believe in man - his strength, his possibilities, his reason."
Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, in The Seattle Daily Ti