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
(no entry for this year)
Charles Lyell's multi-volume Principles of Geology appear (between 1830 amd 1833), advancing the theory of uniformitarianism, i.e., the view that geological formations are explainable in terms of forces and conditions observable at present.
Georg Goldfuss announces that he sees "hairs" on a pterosaur fossil. This outlandish assertion will be supported by later finds.
The first edition of Birds of America, by the painter and ornithologist John James Audubon (1785-1851), appears.
Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia, killing at least 57 whites. Hundreds of black slaves are killed in retaliation.
Alabama makes it illegal for enslaved or free blacks to preach.
In Boston, William Lloyd Garrison founds the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, signaling a dramatic shift in the antislavery movement. In the previous decades, it had centered in the South and favored a combination of compensated emancipation and colonization of freed slaves back to Africa. In the 1830s, the abolitionist movement becomes the dominant voice among antislavery advocates. Abolitionists demand the immediate end to slavery, which they consider to be a moral evil, without compensation to slaveowners.
Nat Turner, a literate slave who believes he is chosen to be the Moses of his people, instigates a slave revolt in Virginia. He and his followers kill 57 whites, but the revolt is unsuccessful and up to 200 slaves are killed. After an intense debate, the Virginia legislature narrowly rejects a bill to emancipate Virginia's slaves. The widespread fear of slave revolts, compounded by the rise of abolitionism, leads legislatures across the South to increase the harshness of their slave codes. Also, expressions of anti-slavery sentiment are suppressed throughout the South through state and private censorship.
North Carolina enacts a statute that bans teaching enslaved people to read and write.
Slave Revolt: Virginia Slave preacher Nat Turner leads a two-day uprising against whites, killing about 60. Militiamen crush the revolt then spend two months searching for Turner, who is eventually caught and hanged. Enraged Southerners impose harsher restrictions on their slaves.
Charles Darwin joins the crew of the HMS Beagle as the ship's naturalist. The Beagle plans a two-year voyage to map the coast of South America. This turns out to be a five-year trip.
Patrick Matthew publishes On Naval Timber and Arboriculture with an appendix describing what Charles Darwin will later name natural selection. After becoming aware of Matthew's hypothesis, Darwin will acknowledge it in a reprint of On the Origin of Species.
Robert Brown published his observations reporting the discovery and widespread occurrence of nuclei in cells.
Independently, Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry discover that electricity can be induced by changes in a magnetic field (electromagnetic induction), a discovery leading to the first electric generators.
Encouraged by Cambridge professor William Whewell, the Royal Society of London commissions reports of manuscripts received. This move will later be cited as the beginning of the peer-review process.
Oberlin College is founded in Ohio. It admits African-Americans. By 1860, one third of its students are black.
Gideon Mantell finds the first fossil Hylaeosaurus, an ankylosaur. He will formally name it the following year, making it the third identified dinosaur species.
The American Anti-Slavery Society is established in Philadelphia.
The British Parliament abolishes slavery in the entire British Empire.
Solicitor André Brouillet discovers a reindeer bone with an engraved illustration of two female deer in Chaffaud Cave. He assumes the carving was made by the Celts. Later research will show the artwork to be about 13,000 years old.
The first volume of the five-volume Recherches sur les poissons fossiles (Researches on Fossil Fishes) by Jean-Louis-Rodolphe Agassiz is published.
The English term SCIENTIST is coined by the philosopher William Whewell (1794-1866 ), during a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
In correspondence, Michael Faraday and William Whewell introduce the terms ELECTRODE, ANODE, ION, CATHODE, ANION, CATION, ELECTROLYTE, and ELECTROLYSIS.
South Carolina bans the teaching of blacks, and slave or free, in its borders.
Based on a vertebrae and other fragments from Alabama, anatomist Richard Harlan identifies Basilosaurus as a fossil reptile. It will later be identified as a fossil whale.
Friedrich von Alberti names the Triassic System. This time period will later by identified with the first dinosaurs.
Mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) shows that the origin of the Earth's magnetic field must lie deep inside the Earth. He makes use of the measurements of the magnetic field made by the physicist Paul Erman in 1828.
Texas declares its independence from Mexico. In its constitution as an independent nation, Texas recognizes slavery and makes it difficult for free blacks to remain there.
Southern states expel abolitionists and forbid the mailing of antislavery propaganda.
While serving as scientific officer on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin visits the Galapagos Islands. He observes that the many varieties of finches on the islands seem to have developed from a common ancestor found on the mainland of South America.
Adam Sedgwick names the Cambrian System, recognizing the first rich assemblage of fossils in the rock record. Roderick Murchison names the Silurian System. He believes (not entirely accurately) that the Silurian predates the fossils of land plants, and consequently any economically valuable coal seams. Murchison and Sedgwick will later develop a bitter priority dispute over these systems.
Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis's Mémoire sur les equations du mouvement relatif des sytèms de corps (Memoir on the equations of relative movement of systems of bodies) describes the Coriolis effect: the deflection of a moving body caused by Earth's rotation. The Coriolis effect is important in the study of wind. However, the claim that the Coriolis effect determines the direction water rotates when going down a drain is a myth.
(no entry for this year)
Mappa Selenographica, a map of the moon's surface, is produced by the astronomers Wilhelm Beer (1797-1850) and Johann Heinrich von Mädler (1794-1874). The two will also be the first to map Mars.
Henry Riley and Samuel Stutchbury name Thecodontosaurus, the fourth named dinosaur species.
Elements of Botany, by the naturalist Asa Gray (1810-1888), is published. It is the first botanical textbook.
German biologist Theodor Schwann discovers the enzyme pepsin — the first known animal enzyme. He reports the discovery in Über das Wesen der Verdauungsprozesses (On the essence of digestion).
John Frederic Danielle invents the Daniell cell, the first reliable source of electric current, based on the interactions of copper and zinc.
(no entry for this year)
Charles Darwin formulates the theory of natural selection to explain evolution. Fearful of the reaction his theory will cause, he delays publishing.
Hermann von Meyer names Plateosaurus, the fifth named dinosaur species.
Louis Agassiz presents the theory of the Ice Age at a meeting of the Swiss Society of Natural Sciences. The shocked audience reacts with hostility.
Mathematician Semèon Denis Poisson (1781-1840) publishes Recherches sur la Probabilitè des Jugements. Poisson's book described what is now known as the Poisson Distribution, for the first time.
(no entry for this year)
M. J. Schleiden and T. Schwann develop the cell theory. Schleiden notes nucleoli within nuclei.
Chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848) shows that the presence of iron is what enables blood to absorb as much oxygen as it does.
The word PROTEIN first appears in the chemical literature in a paper by G. J. Mulder. The term, however, was invented by J. J. Berzelius.
La Amistad was a 19th-century two-masted schooner, owned by a Spaniard living in Cuba. It became renowned in July 1839 for a slave revolt by Mende captives, who had been enslaved in Sierra Leone, and were being transported from Havana, Cuba to their purchasers' plantations. The African captives took control of the ship, killing some of the crew and ordering the survivors to sail the ship to Africa. The Spanish survivors secretly maneuvered the ship north, and La Amistad was captured off the coast of Long Island by the brig USS Washington. The Mende and La Amistad were interned in Connecticut while federal court proceedings were undertaken for their disposition. The owners of the ship and Spanish government claimed the slaves as property; but the US had banned the African trade and argued that the Mende were legally free. Because of issues of ownership and jurisdiction, the case gained international attention. Former president John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the slaves when the appeal was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, which eventually determined the Africans to be free men. The case became a symbol in the United States in the movement to abolish slavery.
Czech scientist Jan Evangelista Purkyně (also written Johannes Evangelist Purkinje) coins the word PROTOPLASM to describe the contents of a cell.
Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick name the Devonian System.
The English scientist Michael Faraday concludes from his work on electromagnetism that, contrary to scientific opinion of the time, the divisions between the various kinds of electricity are illusory. He also establishes that magnetism can affect rays of light, and that there is an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.
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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