I recently finished two excellent books (The Biology of Cancer and The Death of Cancer) that really helped me start to understand the “big picture” of cancer research (in the lab AND the clinic). These books inspired us to piece together a timeline on the history of cancer therapy which ended up being a bit larger than we expected. Click on the image above for a PDF of our Cancer Therapy Poster (3′ x 1′). Below you can find a summary of all the abbreviations and references used for this project.
The history of mathematics can be divided into three periods:
- The Measurement and Shapes period (<77,000BC – 600AD): Mathematics first rose to preeminence with the agricultural revolution, around ~8,000BC, as a “practical tool“ to organize economics and civilization(trade, accounting, taxes, etc.). Only with the Greeks (~600BC) did mathematics become a “pure subject“ which was pursued for the purpose of “understanding”. Unfortunately, the Roman Empire did not share the Greek’s interest in “pure knowledge” and Europe forgot much what it had learned for the next 1000 years.
Science, as we now think of it, only really started about 400 years ago when Francis Bacon unified theory, observation, and experiment in his: “A New Method.” Before this “unified procedure,” science was a patchwork of “lucky guesses” which over-emphasized one tool or another (For example, Aristotle loved reason and hated mathematics whereas Pythagoras believed the world could only be described by pure mathematics).
In addition, quantitative experimentation and the idea of “testing a hypothesis,” only really became practically feasible with inventions of the early Renaissance. Below we give more detail on some these key milestones in the advancement of research, physics, chemistry and biology.
Historical reference points make understanding evolutionary time a lot easier by “calibrating” it. In the figure above we provide three parallel timelines depicting key events in the history of the universe (billions of years), animal evolution (millions of years) and human development (thousands of years). Major extinction events are marked by horizontal red lines. Additional details can be found below.