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
On December 20, South Carolina secedes from the union, setting in motion the forces leading to the US Civil war.
Southern Secession South Carolina secedes in December. More states follow the next year.
Herman Hollerith was born 29th February 1860
Emil Erlenmeyer invents the flask.
The Pony Express begins cross-country mail delivery.
Louis Agassiz attacks Darwin's the origin of species, rejecting the idea of evolution of the species and arguing that each species was created separately.
Thomas Henry Huxley (sometimes known as Darwin's bulldog) clashes with Bishop "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce about evolution at the annual meeting of The British Association for the Advancement of Science, in what has come to be known as the Huxley-Wilberforce debate.
Bishop Wilberforce is supposed to have asked Huxley sarcastically whether "it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey." Huxley responded, "If then the question is put to me whether I would rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet employs these faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion, I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape." Or words to that effect.
John Phillips diagrams the progressive but fluctuating diversity of life on Earth based on the fossil record. His work evidences massive extinctions at the end of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, and increased diversity in each subsequent age.
Louis Pasteur becomes significantly involved in biological research with the publication of "Mémoir sur la fermentation alcoolique" in which he showed that alcoholic fermentation seemed to be carried out by yeast, which were themselves living organisms.
Fort Sumter shelled, American Civil War begins.
The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas (the name used by Confederate forces and still often used in the Southern United States), is fought on July 21, 1861, near Manassas, Virginia. It is the first major land battle of the American Civil War. Neither Confederate nor Union troops were ready for battle. Union troops advanced on Confederate troops, almost breaking through, but at the last moment, Confederate reinforcements arrived on the battlefield and carried the day. Union troops were routed. Union civilian spectators, who had come to watch the expected Confederate defeat as entertainment, were forced to run for their lives.
The US flag is modified to have thirty-four stars, reflecting the addition of one new state: Kansas.
United States Civil War Four years of brutal conflict claim 623,000 lives.
Oliver Wendell Holmes invents stereoscope viewer
James Clerk Maxwell presents a projected additive color image of a multicolored ribbon, the first demonstration of color photography by the three-color method he suggested in 1855. It uses three separate black-and-white photographs taken and projected through red, green and blue color filters. The projected image is temporary but the set of three "color separations" is the first durable color photograph.
Congress passes the First Confiscation Act, which prevents Confederate slave owners from re-enslaving runaways.
Between 1861 and 1862, Max Johann Sigismund Schultze (Germany) and Heinrich Anton de Bary (Germany) establish the essential unity of protoplasm in all living cells.
First recognized fossil Archaeopteryx lithographica skeleton is found in the stone quarries of Solnhofen.
In "Mémoires sur les corpuscles organisés qui existent dans l'atmosphère," Pasteur applies heat to bent-neck flasks to show unequivocally that the "organized bodies" (microbes) which drive fermentation originate from "organized bodies" that exist in the atmosphere. In this elegant series of experiments, Pasteur laid to rest the long-held belief in spontaneous generation."
On April 16, Congress abolishes slavery in the District of Columbia.
Otto von Bismarck is appointed Prime Minister of Prussia.
The Battle of Fort Donelson (11-16 Feb) is an early Union victory in the American Civil War, which opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant from an obscure and largely unproven leader to the rank of major general.
The Battle of Shiloh (6-7 Apr). Although the Confederates swept the field on the first day, Union troops under U. S. Grant retook the field on the second day. Combined Union and Confederate casualties (23,746 killed, wounded, or missing) represented more than the total American battle-related casualties of the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican-American War combined.
(no entry for this year)
The US flag is modified to have thirty-five stars, reflecting the addition of one new state: West Virginia. This new state was created when Union sympathizers in the western portion of Virginia seceded from Virginia (then in secession from the US) and rejoined the Union.
Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation takes effect on January 1, legally freeing slaves in areas of the South still in rebellion against the United States.
The Battle of Gettysburg (1-3 Jul) was the battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
The Siege of Vicksburg was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton into the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and placed the city under siege. After more than forty days, with no re-enforcement and supplies nearly gone, the garrison surrendered on July 4. This surrender, combined with Lee's defeat at Gettysburg the previous day, represents the turning point of the war. From then on, military victory for the Confederacy was impossible.
Anti-evolutionist James Hunt, founder of the Anthropological Society of London, gives a presidential address to the society stating that human races were created separately. He further argues that the African species is closer in ability to apes than to Europeans.
Alfred Russel Wallace describes the "Wallace line," the dividing line between Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan fauna, in Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Dominique Alexandre Godron and Charles Victor Naudin (France) independently report experiments in plant hybridization. Naudin confirmed Sageret's work, in general discussed work of the early hybridizers, and reported dominance and segregation in Datura (jimsonweed) hybrids. He did not deal with single characters and reported no statistical observations on the second generation. His theoretical explanation of his facts was a forerunner of Mendel's ideas, but inferred rather than deduced.
T. H. Huxley publishes Man's Place in Nature discussing human and primate paleontology, and showing similarities between humans and other animals.
Father-and-son glassworkers Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka begin making glass models of marine invertebrates. Marine biologists will refer to their exquisitely detailed, accurate models 150 years later while trying to see how many of the depicted species can still be found in the wild.
After the Confederate defeat at Chattanooga, President Lincoln promoted Grant to a special regular army rank, Lieutenant General, authorized by Congress on March 2, 1864. This rank had previously been awarded two other times, a full rank to George Washington and a Brevet rank to Winfield Scott. Lincoln then places Grant in charges of all Union forces.
Sherman captures Atlanta, marches to Savannah. Through a series of bloody battles, Grant forces Lee back to Petersburg, Virginia, and then lays siege to the city. Lincoln is reelected, destroying the South's hope for a political settlement to the war.
Ernst Haeckel (Häckel) outlines the essential elements of modern zoological classification.
On February 1, Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States.
The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, passed by the House on January 21, 1865, and adopted on December 6, 1865.
Lee surrenders, US Civil war ends, Lincoln assassinated.
The US flag is modified to have thirty-six stars, reflecting the addition of one new state: Nevada.
The Ku Klux Klan is formed on December 24 in Polanski, Tennessee, by six Confederate veterans. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate cavalry general and slave trader, serves as the Klan's first grand wizard or leader-in-chief.
John Lubbock publishes Prehistoric Times dividing what has previously been understood to be the Stone Age into two parts: the older Paleolithic and the newer Neolithic. In the same book, he also argues that modern Tasmanians and Fuegians are throwbacks to archaic humans.
Franz Schweigger-Seidel and A. von la Valette St. George (Germany) independently prove that a spermatozoon is a single cell and contains nucleus and cytoplasm
Gregor Mendel presents his work on inheritance in peas to the Brünn Natural History Society. The results are published the following year.
Sir John William Dawson of McGill University identifies "shells" of huge foraminiferal protozoans. Known as Eozoön or "dawn animal," this find is used as an argument against evolution because it shows a relatively "modern" animal early in the fossil record. It will prove, however, to be a geologically young pseudofossil formed by heat and pressure on limestone.
Paolo Mantegazza publishes Degli Innesti Animali e della Produzione Artificiale delle Cellule (On Animal Grafts and Artificial Cell Production) describing the results of a series of interspecies animal grafts, such as the transplant of a cockspur onto a cow ear. Grafts described include transplants between dogs, frogs and rodents. Mantegazza reports that some grafts decomposed while others became "pathological tumours."
On June 13, Congress approves the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing due process and equal protection under the law to all citizens. The amendment also grants citizenship to African-Americans.
German zoologist Ernst Haeckel publishes General Morphology of Organisms, the first detailed genealogical tree relating all known organisms, incorporating the principles of Darwinian evolution.
Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (Häckel) hypothesizes that the nucleus of a cell transmits its hereditary information.
Mendel publishes his work on heredity, Versuche über Pflanzen Hybriden.
Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (Häckel) first used the term ECOLOGY to describe the study of living organisms and their interactions with other organisms and with their environment.
The US flag is modified to have thirty-seven stars, reflecting the addition of one new state: Nebraska.
The Alaska Purchase resulted in the transfer of Alaska to the United States from the Russian Empire for a total price of $ 7,000,000. The purchase, made at the initiative of United States Secretary of State William H. Seward, gained 586,412 square miles of new United States territory.
H. S. Bidwell (United States) reports controlled pollination in maize.
Louis Ducos du Hauron patents his numerous ideas for color photography based on the three-color principle, including procedures for making subtractive color prints on paper. They are published the following year. Their implementation is not technologically practical at that time, but they anticipate most of the color processes that are later introduced.
Wallace Clement Ware Sabine becomes the first acoustical engineer and uses acoustic principles to design Boston's Symphony Hall.
The Meiji Restoration in Japan (led by samurai from the western clans of Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa, and Hizen) overthrows the feudal shogunate system and initiates Japan's participation in the modern world.
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, 17th President of the United States, was one of the most dramatic events in the political life of the United States during Reconstruction, and the first impeachment in history of a sitting United States president.
Charles Darwin publishes The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, in which he offers his own theory of heredity, which he called the "Provisional Hypothesis of Pangenesis."
Ernst Haeckel publishes Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, subdividing humanity into 12 separate species. He also asserts that evolution consists of 22 phases, the 21st being the "missing link" between apes and humans.
Thomas Henry Huxley publishes "On the Animals which are Most Nearly Intermediate between Birds and Reptiles," arguing that birds are descendants of dinosaurs. This suggestion will not be taken very seriously for another century.
Three human skulls and other skeletal remains, roughly 30,000 years old, are discovered at a rock shelter called Cro-Magnon (old French for "big hole").
On February 26, Congress sends the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the states for approval. The amendment guarantees African-American males the right to vote.
Transcontinental Rail Service Begun in the United States On May 10th, at Promontory Point, Utah, a golden rail spike was struck, completing the first transcontinental railroad line.
Japan colonizes Hokkaido as part of its new nation state.
The Suez Canal opened to traffic on 17 November. The canal linked the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. It was 103 miles long and it brought Oriental ports 5,000 miles closer to Europe. Work had begun on the canal in 1859, financed primarily by French investors. The canal increased the strategic importance of Egypt to European powers.
Francis Galton publishes Hereditary Genius. In it he describes a scientific study of human pedigrees from which he concludes that intelligence has a genetic basis.
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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