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
The Civil Rights Act of 1960 is signed into law by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 6. The act establishes federal inspection of local voter registration rolls and introduces penalties for anyone who obstructs a citizens attempt to register to vote or to cast a ballot.
Alister Hardy promotes his Homo aquaticus or "aquatic ape" hypothesis to the British Sub Aqua Club. He will follow up this announcement with several magazine articles.
The Congress of Racial Equality organizes Freedom Rides through the Deep South.
F. Jacob and J. Monod publish "Genetic regulatory mechanisms in the synthesis of proteins," a paper in which the theory of the OPERON is developed.
Martin Glaessner determines fossils in the Ediacara Hills of South Australia (Ediacaran fauna) to be Precambrian in age (approximately 600 million years old), making them the oldest-known multicelled organisms.
On October 1, James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
Human geneticist James Neel develops the "thrifty genotype" hypothesis that human ancestors endured feast-famine cycles that made the human body very effective in storing fat for lean times.
Martin Luther King Jr. writes his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on April 16.
Martin Luther King Jr. is named Time magazine's Man of the Year.
On June 12, Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers is assassinated outside his home in Jackson.
Lantian Man, a 500,000-year-old Homo erectus specimen, is found in Lantian County, China, just north of Xi'an.
Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act and this discrimination in all public accommodations and by employers. It also establishes the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to monitor compliance with the law.
On June 21, civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner are abducted and killed by terrorists in Mississippi.
The 24th amendment to the Constitution, which abolishes the poll tax, is ratified.
Louis Leakey describes Homo habilis, meaning "handy." The new species designation is not well received by the scientific community.
Two deciduous molars, roughly 44,000 years old, are collected at Grotta del Cavallo in southeastern Italy. After an initial classification as Neanderthal, they will be assigned to modern humans in a 2011 study.
Vincent Dethier publishes "Microscopic Brains," an article on insect behavior, in Science. He calls for a more empathetic approach to animal subjects, even tiny invertebrates.
Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21.
The Watts Uprising occurs on August 11-16th. Thirty-four people are killed and 1000 are injured in the five-day confrontation.
N.H. Field publishes "Fossil sea-echinoids from a Romano-British site" describing the centuries-long occupation of a Romano-British settlement in Dorset. Newer buildings have been built upon older ones, with fossil urchins in each.
On June 5, James Meredith begins a solitary March Against Fear for 220 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to protest racial discrimination. Meredith is shot by a sniper soon after crossing into Mississippi.
On November 8, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts becomes the first African-American to be elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction.
On September 15, the Black Panther Party is formed in Oakland, California, by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.
Willi Hennig works on a new approach to assessing evolutionary relationships, known as cladistics. Although it will be hotly debated, this technique will eventually become standard practice in paleontology, botany and zoology.
Harry Whittington begins reexamining Burgess Shale fossils originally identified by Charles Walcott starting in 1909. Over the next two decades, Whittington (with the assistance of his graduate students Simon Conway Morris and Derek Briggs), will eventually overturn some of Walcott's theories and propose that most of the animals left no living relatives.
On July 13, Thurgood Marshall takes his seat as the first African-American justice on the United States Supreme Court.
On June 12, the United States Supreme Court, in Loving vs Virginia, strikes down state interracial marriage bans.
The six-day Newark Riot begins on July 12.
Lynn Sagan (later Lynn Margulis) hypothesizes that chloroplasts originated as cyanobacteria, and that mitochondria originated as bacteria. She suggests that both were engulfed by other cells and began functioning as symbionts.
Graduate student S.B. Misra discovers a well-preserved sea floor with numerous fossils dating from the late Precambrian (later to be dubbed the Ediacaran Period) at Mistaken Point, Newfoundland.
P. S. Martin suggests that fast-moving bands of human hunters caused the extinctions of Pleistocene big-game species.
Richard Leakey finds two fossil skulls, Omo I and Omo II, in Ethiopia. Though initially dated at 130,000 years, the fossils will later be dated (using argon decay) at 195,000 years, and designated as the oldest examples so far found of Homo sapiens.
Daniel Janzen argues that, because they live under "easy" conditions, tropical plants cannot likely survive a wide range of temperature, light, or hydrologic conditions.
On April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In the wake of the assassination, 125 cities in 29 states experience uprisings.
On June 5, New York Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles.
A.G. Cairns-Smith publishes a paper suggesting that the first life on Earth might have been fine-grained clay crystals. He will publish on this topic several more times before his death, but the experimental evidence will remain scant, perhaps in part because sufficient technology doesn't yet exist to test the hypothesis.
Richard Fox describes a Paleocene mammal, Prothryptacodon albertensis, retrieved from a well dug in Alberta, Canada. This find eerily resembles that of another Paleocene mammal recovered from a Louisiana oil well and described in 1932 by George Gaylord Simpson.
Teenaged fossil enthusiast Tadashi Suzuki finds a plesiosaur fossil in his hometown of Iwaki City, Japan. The fossil turns out to be a new species, but it won't be identified as such for nearly 40 years.
(no entry for this year)
R. H. Whittaker proposes to divide all living things into five kingdoms: Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera.
Archaeologist Joachim Hahn pieces together the fragments of the lion- headed man found 30 years earlier the Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave in Germany.
John Ostrom publishes Osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus, an Unusual Theropod from the Lower Cretaceous of Montana — a description of Deinonychus with a frontispiece illustration by Bob Bakker, suggesting that the dinosaur is alert, agile and intelligent.
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.
ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 06 MAR 2017 )
Science Policy & Funding
Big Data & Informatics