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
Acorn Atom Launched
Apple Computers Initial Share Offering
Microsoft Signs Contract with IBM to Create Operating System
Sinclair ZX80 Launched
The Apple III was announced
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus describe genetic mutations affecting the body plan of the fruit fly Drosophila, and identify genes controlling the basic body plans of all animals. These genes will eventually be known as Hox genes.
Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Frederick Sanger share a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Berg cited for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA, and Gilbert and Sanger cited for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids. This is Sanger's second Nobel, the first having come in 1958 for his work on the structure of insulin.
Louis W. Alvarez, Walter Alvarez, Frank Asaro and Helen V. Michel publish their asteroid impact theory of dinosaur extinction. The theory will not gain widespread acceptance among scientists for several years.
Acorn BBC Micro Launched
HP-41 calculator Used In Space Shuttle
IBM announced that it was launching a personal computer using an Intel 8088
IBM introduces personal computer with Microsoft's 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0
Introduction of Osborne portable computer in a suitcase
Sinclair ZX81 Computer Launched
Space Shuttle uses Intel 8086 and RCA 1802
The first portable computer is launched
VIC-20 Released in Europe & US
(no entry for this year)
Commodore 64 Released
Dragon 32 Released
Introduction of Cray X-MP supercomputer
Introduction of Intel 80286 at 6 MHz, with 134,000 transistors
Sinclair launches the ZX Spectrum computer
Sinclair ZX Spectrum Launched
(no entry for this year)
Apple Lisa Launched
Introduction of spreadsheet program 1-2-3 by Lotus,
Microsoft Introduced 2-button Mouse
Microsoft Introduces Windows
The famicom is released in Japan
German paleobiologist Adolf Seilacher suggests that most of the Ediacaran fossils discovered in the 1940s are not related to any modern forms. Calling them vendobionts, he argues that they went extinct after the emergence of large predators. Seilacher's interpretation, however, will remain in dispute.
Apple launches Macintosh 128K
Creation of Dell Computer Corporation by Michael Dell
First ARM Processors Powered Up
IBM and Compaq introduce the IDE interface
IBMs new 3480 cartridge tape system introduced
Introduction of IBM PC/AT based on Intel 80286
Macintosh 512K Launched
Novelist William Gibson coins the term cyberspace
David Raup and Jack Sepkoski publish the controversial claim that mass extinctions are regularly spaced at 26 million years.
Richard Leakey and his team discover Turkana Boy, the most complete Homo erectus fossil yet discovered.
Commodore 128 Released
Cray X-MP Supercomputer Begins Operation
First Commodore Amiga Released
Introduction of Intel 386
Microsoft Windows Launched
Olivetti buy 49% of Acorn Computers
Steve Jobs founds NeXT Computers Inc.
Kenneth Oakley publishes Decorative and Symbolic Uses of Fossils describing, among other things, a hand axe crafted by Homo heidelbergensis featuring a fossil sea urchin, and a fossil urchin set within a bronze locket from a Gallo-Roman temple.
Paleoanthropologists excavate an artifact-rich portion of Cueva de los Aviones in Iberia. Fifty-thousand-year-old perforated and pigment-stained shells from the cave will prompt researchers to argue, 25 years later, that Neanderthals wore both makeup and jewelry.
Acorn BBC Master Compact Launched
Acorn BBC Master Launched
Apple Macintosh Plus launched
First PC virus is released with "Brain"
Microsoft moves to corporate campus in Redmond, Washington
Microsoft stock goes public
Nintendo NES released
Kodak scientists invent the world's first megapixel sensor.
Norman H. Sleep submits a paper calculating the probability of life forms surviving an extraterrestrial impact in the Hadean Period (first 700 million years of Earth's existence). The paper is rejected on the grounds there would have been no life on Earth yet.
Commodore release the Amiga 500 and the Amiga 2000
Macintosh II released
Windows 2 was launched
Allan Wilson and Rebecca Cann announce that all humans share a common ancestor who lived in Africa as recently as 150,000 years ago. Because the discovery is based on examination of mitochondrial DNA, the ancestral entity will be given the popular (and somewhat misleading) name of "Mitochondrial Eve." The controversial finding will be supported by another discovery in 2000.
Jenny Clack finds Acanthostega, the most complete Devonian tetrapod yet discovered. It has evidence for functional gills as well as legs, strongly suggesting that animals evolved legs while still living in the water.
Kansas rancher Charles Bonner collects a plesiosaur mother-and-fetus fossil. Nearly 25 years later, O'Keefe and Chiappe will describe this as evidence that that plesiosaurs gave live birth and might have been attentive mothers.
Dhananjay Mohabey discovers what looks like a simple clutch of dinosaur eggs in India. Twenty-three years later, he, Jeffrey Wilson and colleagues will report that the fossil find includes not just sauropod eggs, but a predatory Cretaceous snake that apparently snacked on hapless sauropod hatchlings.
IBM announces 3 millionth PS/2 personal computer
RISC OS is released
The first worm experience appears
The NeXT (68030 CPU) computer is introduced after two years of research
Unisys takes over Convergent Technologies
Molecular biologist John Cairns describes experiments suggesting that bacteria facing environmental stress can "direct" their mutations to produce favorable adaptations. Directed mutation will remain a controversial idea, but the possibility that organisms mutate at a greater rate (hypermutation) under environmental stress will gain more acceptance.
Apple introduces the Macintosh SE/30
Apple Macintosh Portable Released
ICL introduces DRS model 40 and 45
Tim Berners-Lee toyed with the idea of web pages and hyperlinks
Ned Colbert finally completes his definitive species description of the Coelophysis dinosaurs he found in 1947.
Philip Gingerich finds a fossil whale, Basilosaurus in Egypt. It has tiny legs, just inches long, retaining all five toes. Five years later, he will discover an even more primitive whale ancestor, Rodhocetus, with even bigger hind legs, in Pakistan. Eighteen years later, Hans Thewissen will announce the discovery of another missing link in cetacean evolution: fox- like Indohyus found in Kashmir.
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