It’s often hard to really grasp history in large scales. Our relatively short lifespan doesn’t lend itself to contemplation of billions of years. The fact that we have managed to probe back to the Big Bang and the birth of time itself, is a real tribute to our collective ingenuity. Certainly we don’t know everything about the birth of the universe (yet!), but the fact that we know as much as we do is an achievement that casts a spotlight on our scientific progress.
But it’s still difficult seeing the full picture of historical development and the pattern of interactions (as far as we know them).
A new tool has just come online that presents the history of the universe in an intriguing and attractive way in the form of Chronozoom. This open source project has the ambitious goal of presenting the “history of everything ” through a dynamic multi-media experience that is viewable directly on the web.
The tool, developed in a collaboration between the University of California, Moscow State University, and Microsoft Research, allows you to navigate from the Big Bang up through the formation of the Sun and planets, right up to the development of life and human civilization.
It’s a fantastic way of exploring history and seeing the relationships between large and small scale events. It really makes an impact on your sense of the size and age of the universe and how adolescent humanity is as a race – at the largest scale, human history isn’t even a dot at the right hand side of the screen.
The application is quite resource intensive, but the effect is truly amazing.