London Underground Style Map of Modern Science — 500 Years of Science, Reason & Critical Thinking

If you wanted to “celebrate the achievements of the scientific method through the age of reason, the enlightenment and modernity”, how would you show this? Would you throw a party? Write a Very Long Paper or Book? Or, like Crispian Jago, would you create a map of the past 500 years of science using “Harry Beck’s original iconic London Underground design” as the inspiration?

Jago used underground (subway/metro, etc.) lines to represent the natural and formal science fields of natural philosophy, theoretical physics & quantum mechanics, astronomy & cosmology, natural history, geology & paleontology, micro biology, neurology & medicine, evolutionary biology, genetics, alchemy (closed), chemistry, and mathematics & computing. Each “stop” on the line contains the name of a scientist who has contributed extensively to his or her field, or to science overall. Alternating bands of white and grey indicate each century between the 16th and the 21st.

Subway Map of 400 Years of Science by Crispian Jago at

The blogger writes:

500 Years of Science, Reason & Critical Thinking via the medium of gross over simplification, dodgy demarcation, glaring omission and a very tiny font.

The map of modern science was created to celebrate the achievements of the scientific method through the age of reason, the enlightenment and modernity.

Despite many of the scientific disciplines mapped having more ancient origins, I have restricted the map to modern science starting from the 16th century scientific revolution.

The map primarily includes modern scientists who have made significant advances to our understanding of the world, however I have also included many present day scientists who fuel a passion for, and advances in, science through communication and science popularisation.

I tip my hat to Crispian Jago for his cleverness in using such an iconic image to represent this data set — not only did he have to research and know his science history, he had to visualize a method for representing multiple concurrent timelines. I’m neither a science historian nor a natural or formal scientist, so I cannot speak for his choices of contributors to the respective fields. As an Information Scientist and PhD student, I do give him credit for analyzing, collecting, classifying, manipulating, storing, retrieving and disseminating a large amount of information in a small amount of space (in spite of the tiny font). This subway map of science took no small amount of time to research, create and edit. I think he did a fantastic job.

[Note 1: for those readers who may come across this post later, the author noted that the image of the subway map of science is likely to be changed and updated. For the latest version of the subway map of science, click on the previous link. The versions of the image used in this blog post are current as of 1 September 2010.]

[Note 2: The “subway science” logo and “subway map of science” images are posted on this blog courtesy of C. Jago. All copyrights to this material belong to C. Jago until further notice. (I tried to put this information in the image captions, but it is is not showing up.)]

[Note 3: via CmdrTaco and Slashdot on Twitter on 31 August 2010 @11:45 AM.]

Jewel Ward
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Jewel Ward

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