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This Is What 14,000,000,000 Years of History Looks Like

A designer’s ingenious timeline covers the Big Bang to the Internet

Screenshot from Histography  (Matan Stauber)
smithsonian.com

Everyone struggles with time: historians, scientists and non-experts alike have difficulty understanding the long march of the past. There are many ways to tackle the issue, of course, from specific lists and timelines to interactive graphics. A new project known as Histography combines all of the above, Caitlin Schneider reports for Mental Floss, by uniting Wikipedia articles with an interactive, animated history of time.

The timeline is the work of designer Matan Stauber, who created it as his final project at Israel's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Stauber represents each Wikipedia article as a dot; as a user scrolls, the dots "jumble and then reassemble," Schneider writes, "an effect that makes the past feel like so many puzzle pieces fit together."

Each event features an image or animated GIF, with links to featured videos and related events. If you view the "First Man in Space" dot, for example, it connects to the "Theory of the Big Bang" from 1927, "Einstein Special Relativity" in 1905 and "Darwin Discovers Evolution" in 1859. Stauber designed the timeline to constantly refresh, which means any new information in included in real time.

More adventurous time-hopper can even dig into general subjects, such as literature and inventions, while specific timelines highlight periods from "The Beginning" to "Information Age." The project also features handpicked stories, which are arranged in a spiral tunnel that delves backward in time.

If it's not too overwhelming, you could also just dive into Stauber's swirling history headfirst — and truly experience the overwhelming glory of 14 billion years.

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