“The Time Table of Science and Innovation” by Black and Isdale

  • ©Peter Black and Jerry Isdale



    The Time Table of Science and Innovation

Program Title:

    Demonstrations and Displays


Project Affiliation:



    This comprehensive chronology of the events that produced today’s high technology societies is the first of seven linked hypermedia publications planned by XIPHIAS. It includes thoroughly researched stories on the history of computing, cryptography, television, telephony, time measurement, typography, weaponry, mathematics, aviation, electricity, the role of women in innovation, and many other developments that have enhanced human understanding and capability. 

    The stories are linked to a variety of multimedia effects: 

    • Static images of inventions or inventors from the collections of the Smithsonian Museums, the British Museum of Science. The Deutsches Museum, and over 150 international corporations.
    • Digitized video animations that display moving images of certain inventions and technologies.
    • Atlas button for access to an improved, zoom-in map showing the location of a given event or discovery. 
    • Periodic table button to display information about the elements mentioned in associated stories.
    • Zoom button for visual lift-off from the earth and ascent to altitudes that illustrate aerospace events or space discoveries. 
    • Frequency button to locate particular frequency ranges, such as radio waves or laser light, on the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Prehistory timeline button to show the evolution of life on earth from the Pre-Cambrian
      Era to the present. 
    • First-person button for selection of first-person accounts of important events in the history of science and technology.
    • Bibliography button, which displays one or more citations for sources for each of the document’s more than 6.000 stories.
    • Time cycles button for a view of history from the perspective of Schumpeter, who advanced the thesis that technological innovation is directly related to economic cycles. 

    The Time Table is a CD-ROM hypermedia document for the Commodore CDTV. It is designed to play through an average home television set. Since the document will most likely be used at the end of a long day of work and/or school. XIPHIAS applied a unique approach – «7:30 software” – to produce an educational program that is as simple as Nintendo and as engaging as broadcast or cable TV, yet sufficiently substantive to reassure parents that children are learning as they use it. 

    Each word on the Time Table screen is “hot”. it serves as a button to invoke XIPHIAS’ search technology. For example, a click on the word “China” leads seconds later to a chronological list of all the stories about Chinese technology and scientific discovery. More complex “Boolean And ” search expressions may be used to narrow the realm of search. 

    Over 600 new stories have recently been added to The Time Table of Science and Innovation. This version is current as of 1 February 1991.    

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