From FDR to the World Wide Web, a sampling of pivotal events and people of the past 100 years as viewed by Colby faculty

Never in the history of humankind has so much happened in so short a time. We began the 20th century as technological infants, having just begun to move beyond the agrarian economies that shaped societies for thousands of years. The distance covered over the next 10 decades was breathtaking.

Scientists revealed mysteries of our universe both large (the cosmos) and small (genetic codes and subatomic physics); engineers gave us grand new inventions that changed our lives but also complicated them (automobiles, television, computers); medicine made extraordinary gains (penicillin and radiation therapies); we traveled to the moon. And there was other good stuff; awe-inspiring people (Ghandi, King), wondrous explorations (both poles, Mt. Everest, Mars), jazz, four guys from Liverpool. Other developments range on a spectrum from evil to merely bad-beyond-precedent: the Holocaust and other genocide, unrelenting poverty, horrific wars, racial and religious hatred, the Edsel, the '62 Mets.

What was important and why? Colby asked the faculty and staff, and this is what they told us.


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