The ESP Timeline (one of the site's most popular features) has been completely updated to allow the user to select (using the timeline controls above each column) different topics for the left and right sides of the display.
New Left Column
New Left Column
New Right Column
New Right Column
Frank Morton Carpenter collects a 2.5-foot wing from a dragonfly-like giant insect that lived in Oklahoma during the Permian Period.
(no entry for this year)
G. W. Beadle and E. L. Tatum publish their classic study on the biochemical genetics of Neurospora and promulgate the ONE-GENE, ONE-ENZYME theory.
K. Mather coins the term polygenes and describes polygenic traits in various organisms.
Anthropologist E. T. Hall excavates the ruins of a dwelling in New Mexico occupied between 700 and 900 AD. He finds two fossil jawbones of Eocene mammals that were deliberately carried to the dwelling by Paleo- Indians.
German paleontologist H. Kirchner suggests that dinosaur tracks in the Rhine Valley might have inspired the legend of Siegfried slaying the dragon Fafnir.
Zuse Z3 machine completed
Ernst Mayr publishes Systematics and the Origin of Species, and Julian Huxley publishes Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. Both books are significant contributions to the neo darwinian synthesis combining elements of natural selection, genetics, mutation, population biology and paleontology.
S. E. Luria and T. F. Anderson publish the first electron micrographs of bacterial viruses. T2 has a polyhedral body and a tail.
The Atanasoff-Berry Computer is completed
Kodacolor, the first color film that yields negatives for making chromogenic color prints on paper. Roll films for snapshot cameras only, 35 mm not available until 1958.
The Colossus Mark 1 computer is delivered to Bletchley Park
The First Computing Journal
Work begins on ENIAC
Theoretical physicist Erwin Schrödinger publishes What is Life? arguing that living organisms store and pass along information, perhaps using something like Morse code. This book will inspire James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, who will share the Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA.
O. T. Avery, C. M. MacLeod, and M. McCarty describe the pneumococcus transforming principle. The fact that it is rich in DNA suggests that DNA and not protein is the hereditary chemical.
First Harvard Mark 1 shipped
S. E. Luria demonstrates that mutations occur in bacterial viruses.
Grace Hopper recorded the first actual computer "bug"
Patent is Filed for the Harvard Mark I
Vannevar Bush publishes his ideas for MEMEX, a proto-hypertext system and forerunner to the World Wide Web
James B. Sumner, John H. Northrop, and Wendell M. Stanley share a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Sumner's discovery that enzymes can be crystallized and for Northrop and Stanley's preparation of enzymes and virus proteins in a pure form.
Genetic recombination in bacteriophage is demonstrated by M. Delbrück and W. T. Bailey and by A. D. Hershey.
J. Lederberg and E. L. Tatum demonstrate genetic recombination in bacteria.
Along the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia, Gulag prisoners discover a nest with three frozen, mummified ground squirrel carcasses. They turn the carcasses over to the Gulag camp geologist, Yuriy Popov, who relays them to other Soviet scientists. Seventy years later, radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis of the ground squirrel mummies will identify their age at over 30,000 years old, and indicate that they are not direct ancestors of modern ground squirrels in the region.
Geologist Reg Sprigg discovers fossils near the Ediacara Hills in Australia. The fossils are of multicellular organisms that predated the Cambrian Period, making them the oldest complex fossils yet discovered. At least some of the fossils are generally assumed to be related to modern cnidarians like jellyfish and corals.
Alan Turing Proposal For 'ACE' Automatic Computing Engine
ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer was announced
Frederick Williams Receives Patent for RAM device
American Museum of Natural History curator Edwin Colbert finds a massive quarry of Coelophysis dinosaurs in New Mexico and concludes from their skeletons that these Triassic dinosaurs were swift runners with a bird- like posture. Later examination of two fossils will lead Colbert to conclude they were also cannibals, but the "last meals of juvenile coelophyses" will eventually prove to be crocodilian.
Rudolph Zallinger completes The Age of Reptiles mural in the Yale Peabody Museum. His image of slow-moving dinosaurs will prevail until the 1960s.
J Lyons executives report on the potential of computers to automate clerical work
The Williams tube won the race for a practical random-access memory
Dennis Gabor invents holography.
Harold Edgerton develops the Rapatronic camera for the U.S. government.
H. J. Muller coins the term dosage compensation.
J. Lederberg and N. Zinder, and, independently, B. D. Davis develop the penicillin selection technique for isolating biochemically deficient bacterial mutants.
Mary Leakey finds the skull of the ape Proconsul, about 16 million years old. Although a very significant find, it does little to bolster Louis and Mary Leakey's meager research funding.
A. D. Hershey and R. Rotman demonstrate that genetic recombination occurs in bacteriophage.
J. V. Neel provides genetic evidence that the sickle-cell disease is inherited as a simple Mendelian autosomal recessive.
French prehistorian André Leroi-Gourhan discovers the Cave of the Reindeer near the village of Arcy-sur-Cure where he will conduct a 15-year excavation. Discoveries at Arcy will suggest to some researchers an artistic sense among Neanderthals, including the collection of fossil mollusk shells and fossil coral. Doubts about ages of objects, however, will leave the subject open to debate.
EDSAC performed its first calculations
EDSAC ran its first programs
EDVAC goes onlline
Jay Forrester Records "Core Memory" Idea
Professor Bill Phillips unveils Phillips Hydraulic Economic Modelling Computer at the LSE
The Contax S camera is introduced, the first 35 mm SLR camera with a pentaprism eye-level viewfinder.
In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.
In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.
Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.
In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.
Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.
When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.
Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.
With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.
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