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Time Scale 9 - The Last Century
Events - < 81
Relativity and quantumtheory:
Late 1800s, early 1900’s
82
Rockets, satellites & lunar landings:
Beginning 1926 AD
83
Television:
Beginning 1935 AD
84
Computers, transistors & silicon chops:
Beginning 1937 AD
85
Jet aircraft:
Beginning 1939 AD
86
Penicillin & other medical advances:
Beginning 1941 AD
87
Dawn of the Atomic Age:
1942 AD
88
DNA structure & genetic engineering:
1953 AD
89
Advanced telecommunications:
beginning 1973 AD
90
The World Wide Web:
beginning 1989 AD
>

Event 81

“IT’S ALL RELATIVE”
RELATIVITY AND QUANTUM MECHANICS
Late 1800s, early 1900s

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921 (age 42).
Credti: Image by Ferdinand Schmutzer, courtesy of Wikipedia.

E=mc2. Most of us have heard of this equation, and may even know that it means “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” But what does this really mean, and why does everyone think what Einstein discovered is so important? Basically, Einstein had realized that energy and mass are not completely different things, but different forms of the same thing, and that huge amounts of energy are contained in each atom (that’s where the “speed of light squared” comes in). Einstein’s famous papers on relativity appeared about 100 years ago (one a little more, the other a little less than 100) and ended up revolutionizing science’s ideas about the nature of space and time.

In his first big paper on the special theory of relativity in 1905, Einstein showed that time and space are not absolute and fixed, but are relative to one another – if something moves faster and faster, it actually is getting shorter and shorter, and a clock moving faster and faster will run slower and slower! It is from this ‘relative’ relationship between space and time that Einstein realized that famous equation. In his general theory of relativity in 1916, Einstein added one more big complication to the puzzle – gravity. He discovered that there was a curvature or bending in space and time. Such curvature affects how things – even light! – move through space - there was an interaction between ‘space-time’ and gravity. Einstein’s discoveries have set forth an entirely new understanding of the universe, especially the nature and behavior of solar systems and galaxies. Einstein’s ideas set forth the modern fields of cosmology (the study of the structure and evolution of the universe) and astrophysics. His ideas laid the foundation for the development of the “Big Bang” theory of the universe.

Another very important understanding was added to Einstein’s concepts, and that is quantum theory. Quantum theory, originally proposed by Max Planck in 1900, quantum theory has been developed and refined by many physicists during the earlier 1900s. It applies to the action of matter at the other end of the scale, not stars and galaxies, but on a microscopic scale looking at the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles and trying to understand the fundamental properties of matter. It deals with a complicated dual nature of both matter and radiation, that is, they behave like particles but also like waves. A number of important fields in modern physics and chemistry, including particle physics, nuclear physics, solid state physics (how its subatomic properties affect the ‘solid state’ of a material), and quantum chemistry have developed from quantum mechanics.

 


 

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

These discoveries about the nature of the physical world have revolutionized scientific understanding about the nature of the universe, the nature of space and time, and the nature of the atoms that hold us and everything else together. They have laid the foundation for the exploration of the greater universe and the probing of the inner workings of atoms. They have had major impact on our lives, ushering in nuclear energy and the benefits and hazards it provides, lasers, the electron microscope, magnetic resonance imaging, and the development of the semiconductor industry (including transistors and diodes) that underlies all of the electronics that surround us today.

 

 


 

 

WEB RESOURCES

This is a PBS review of the theory of relativity and Einstein’s life.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/relativity/

This is a video that explains Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg8rUHqT0LU

This is a Wikipedia page about Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_relativity

 

 

 

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1

"From Nothing to Everything:
The Origins of the Universe,
the Solar System, Earth, and Life"
13.7 billion to 1 billion years ago

.

"From Nothing to Everything:
The Origins of the Universe, the Solar System, Earth, and Life"
13.7 billion to 1 billion years ago

View Time Scale >>

1

"The Big Bang"
The Origins of Matter, Energy, Space, and Time
13.7 billion years ago

"The Big Bang"
The Origins of Matter, Energy, Space, and Time
13.7 billion years ago

View Event >>

2

"Great Balls of Fire"
The First Stars
13.5 billion years ago

"Great Balls of Fire"
The First Stars
13.5 billion years ago

View Event >>

3

"Cosmic Alchemy"
The Creation of the Heavier Elements
13.4 billion years ago

"Cosmic Alchemy"
The Creation of the Heavier Elements
13.4 billion years ago

View Event >>

4

"Spinning Wheels"
The First Galaxies
13 billion years ago

"Spinning Wheels"
The First Galaxies
13 billion years ago

View Event >>

5

"Here Comes the Sun"
The Birth of the Solar System, Including the Earth
4.6 billion years ago

"Here Comes the Sun"
The Birth of the Solar System, Including the Earth
4.6 billion years ago

View Event >>

6

"Earth, Wind and Fire"
The First Rocks, Oceans and Atmosphere
4.5 billion years ago

"Earth, Wind and Fire"
The First Rocks, Oceans and Atmosphere
4.5 billion years ago

View Event >>

7

"Just Add Water"
The Origins of Life
3.8 billion years ago

"Just Add Water"
The Origins of Life
3.8 billion years ago

View Event >>

8

"The Great Rust"
The Addition of Oxygen to the Atmosphere and Oceans
3 billion years ago

"The Great Rust"
The Addition of Oxygen to the Atmosphere and Oceans
3 billion years ago

View Event >>

9

"Snowball Earth"
The First Ice Ages
2.2 billion years ago

"Snowball Earth"
The First Ice Ages
2.2 billion years ago

View Event >>

10

"Kingdom of Beasts"
The Rise of Animals
1 billion years ago

"Kingdom of Beasts"
The Rise of Animals
1 billion years ago

View Event >>

2

"All Creatures Great and Small:
The Cambrian Explosion of
Animal Life and its Aftershocks"
1 billion to 100 million years ago

.

"Animal House:
The Cambrian Explosion of Animal Life and its Aftershocks"
1 billion to 100 million years ago

View Time Scale >>

11

"Movers and Shakers"
The First Definite Multicellular Animals
600 million years ago

"Movers and Shakers"
The First Definite Multicellular Animals
600 million years ago

View Event >>

12

"AnimalHouse"
The Cambrian Explosion
543 million years ago

"AnimalHouse"
The Cambrian Explosion
543 million years ago

View Event >>

13

"In Search of the Lost Chordate"
Finding the Ancestor of Vertebrates (and Ourselves)
530 million years ago

"In Search of the Lost Chordate"
Finding the Ancestor of Vertebrates (and Ourselves)
530 million years ago

View Event >>

14

"Get a Backbone"
The Rise of the Vertebrates
525 million years ago

"Get a Backbone"
The Rise of the Vertebrates
525 million years ago

View Event >>

15

"Get out of the Pool"
Early Amphibians
360 million years ago

"Get out of the Pool"
Early Amphibians
360 million years ago

View Event >>

16

"Landlubbers"
The First Reptiles
315 million years ago

"Landlubbers"
The First Reptiles
315 million years ago

View Event >>

17

"The Great Dying"
The Permian Extinction
250 million years ago

"The Great Dying"
The Permian Extinction
250 million years ago

View Event >>

18

"Got Milk?"
Early Mammals and Dinosaurs
220 - 200 million years ago

"Got Milk?"
Early Mammals and Dinosaurs
220 - 200 million years ago

View Event >>

19

"Up, Up, and Away"
The Earliest Birds
145 million years ago

"Up, Up, and Away"
The Earliest Birds
145 million years ago

View Event >>

20

"Flower Power"
The First Flowering Plants
125 million years ago

"Flower Power"
The First Flowering Plants
125 million years ago

View Event >>

3

"The Meek Inheritors: the Dinosaur Extinction
and the Rise of Mammals"
100 million to 10 million years ago

.

"The Meek Inheritors: the Dinosaur Extinction and the Rise of Mammals"
100 million to 10 million years ago

View Time Scale >>

21

"Cretaceous Park"
The Later Dinosaurs
95-65 million years ago

"Cretaceous Park"
The Later Dinosaurs
95-65 million years ago

View Event >>

22

"One Extraterrestial Impact Can Ruin your Whole Day":
The Dinosaur Extinction
65 million years ago

"One Extraterrestial Impact Can Ruin your Whole Day":
The Dinosaur Extinction
65 million years ago

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23

"A Warm and Fuzzy Feeling"
The Mammalian Radiation
60 million years ago

"A Warm and Fuzzy Feeling"
The Mammalian Radiation
60 million years ago

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24

"Orogenous Zone"
The Rise of the Himalayas
55 million years ago

"Orogenous Zone"
The Rise of the Himalayas
55 million years ago

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25

"Of the First Order"
The Radiation of the Primates
55 million years ago

"Of the First Order"
The Radiation of the Primates
55 million years ago

View Event >>

26

"The Land Down Under"
The Origin of Australia and its Animals
40 million years ago

"The Land Down Under"
The Origin of Australia and its Animals
40 million years ago

View Event >>

27

"Hey, Hey, We're the Monkeys"
The Rise of Monkeys
35 million years ago

"Hey, Hey, We're the Monkeys"
The Rise of Monkeys
35 million years ago

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28

"Grazing in the Grass"
The Spread of Grasslands and Grazing Animals
Beginning 25 million years ago

"Grazing in the Grass"
The Spread of Grasslands and Grazing Animals
Beginning 25 million years ago

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29

"The Sultans of Swing"
The Rise of Apes
23 million years ago

"The Sultans of Swing"
The Rise of Apes
23 million years ago

View Event >>

30

"Father of Kong"
The Earliest Gorilla-like Forms
10 million years ago

"Father of Kong"
The Earliest Gorilla-like Forms
10 million years ago

View Event >>

4

"Upstanding Apes:
The Rise of Hominids,
the Role of Rock,
and Food for Thought"
10 million to 1 million years ago

.

"Upstanding Apes:
The Rise of Hominids, the Role of Rock, and Food for Thought"
10 million to 1 million years ago

View Time Scale >>

31

"Branching Out"
The Last Shared Ancestor of Apes and Humans
7 million years ago

"Branching Out"
The Last Shared Ancestor of Apes and Humans
7 million years ago

View Event >>

32

"Upstanding Apes"
The Earliest Bipedal Hominins
6 to 4 million years ago

"Upstanding Apes"
The Earliest Bipedal Hominins
6 to 4 million years ago

View Event >>

33

"I am an Ape-Man"
The Earlier Australopithecine
4.0-2.5 million years ago

"I am an Ape-Man"
The Earlier Australopithecine
4.0-2.5 million years ago

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34

"The Big Chill"
The Beginning of Climatic Cooling
3 to 2 million years ago

"The Big Chill"
The Beginning of Climatic Cooling
3 to 2 million years ago

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35

"Our Poor Cousins"
The Later Australopithecine and their Extinction
2.6-1.0 million yeas ago

"Our Poor Cousins"
The Later Australopithecine and their Extinction
2.6-1.0 million yeas ago

View Event >>

36

"The Role of Rock"
The Earliest Stone Tools
2.6 million years ago

"The Role of Rock"
The Earliest Stone Tools
2.6 million years ago

View Event >>

37

"I'm Your Handy Man"
The Emergence of the Genus Homo and Brain Expansion
1.9-1.5 million years ago

"I'm Your Handy Man"
The Emergence of the Genus Homo and Brain Expansion
1.9-1.5 million years ago

View Event >>

38

"Bigger and Badder"
The Emergence of Homo Erectus
1.8 million years ago

"Bigger and Badder"
The Emergence of Homo Erectus
1.8 million years ago

View Event >>

39

"Out of Africa"
The Earliest Eurasians
1.8 million years ago

"Out of Africa"
The Earliest Eurasians
1.8 million years ago

View Event >>

40

"Axes of Power"
The Invention of the Handaxe
1.76 million years ago

"Axes of Power"
The Invention of the Handaxe
1.76 million years ago

View Event >>

5

"Becoming Human (or Just About):
The Rise of Homo Sapiens
and Our Neanderthal Cousins"
1 million to 100,000 years ago

.

"Becoming Human (or Just About):
The Rise of Homo Sapiens and Our Neanderthal Cousins"
1 million to 100,000 years ago

View Time Scale >>

41

"Big Brains, Big Faces"
Homo heidelbergensis and Probably Language
500,000 to 250,000 years ago

"Big Brains, Big Faces"
Homo heidelbergensis and Probably Language
500,000 to 250,000 years ago

View Event >>

42

"Fearful Symmetry"
Later Refined Handaxes
500,000 to 250,000 years ago

"Fearful Symmetry"
Later Refined Handaxes
500,000 to 250,000 years ago

View Event >>

43

"Bring Out Your Dead"
The Origins of Ritual Behavior
400,000 years ago

"Bring Out Your Dead"
The Origins of Ritual Behavior
400,000 years ago

View Event >>

44

"Get the Point?"
The First Spears
400,000 years ago

"Get the Point?"
The First Spears
400,000 years ago

View Event >>

45

"Chips Off the Old Block"
Prepared Core Technologies
300,000 years ago

"Chips Off the Old Block"
Prepared Core Technologies
300,000 years ago

View Event >>

46

"Light My Fire"
The Controlled Use of Fire
300,000 years ago

"Light My Fire"
The Controlled Use of Fire
300,000 years ago

View Event >>

47

"Almost Human"
Neandertals and Nearly Modern Humans
Beginning 250,000 years ago

"Almost Human"
Neandertals and Nearly Modern Humans
Beginning 250,000 years ago

View Event >>

48

"Welcome to Middle Earth"
The Middle Palaeolithic
Beginning 250,000 years ago

"Welcome to Middle Earth"
The Middle Palaeolithic
Beginning 250,000 years ago

View Event >>

49

"Seashells by the Seashore"
Intensive Exploitation of Seafoods
165,000 years ago

"Seashells by the Seashore"
Intensive Exploitation of Seafoods
165,000 years ago

View Event >>

50

"A Modern Stone Age Family"
The Emergence of Homo Sapiens
160,000 years ago

"A Modern Stone Age Family"
The Emergence of Homo Sapiens
160,000 years ago

View Event >>

6

"The Creative Explosion:
The Rise of Symbolism, Language,
Religion, Art, and Music"
100,000 to 10,000 years ago

.

"The Creative Explosion:
The Rise of Symbolism, Language, Religion, Art, and Music"
100,000 to 10,000 years ago

View Time Scale >>

51

"Points of Conflict"
The Earliest Compound Tools & Points
100,000 years ago

"Points of Conflict"
The Earliest Compound Tools & Points
100,000 years ago

View Event >>

52

"Rest in Peace"
The First Burials
90,000 years ago

"Rest in Peace"
The First Burials
90,000 years ago

View Event >>

53

"Bling-Bling"
The First Personal Decoration
80,000 years ago

"Bling-Bling"
The First Personal Decoration
80,000 years ago

View Event >>

54

"A Roof Over Your Head"
The First Architecture
42,000 years ago

"A Roof Over Your Head"
The First Architecture
42,000 years ago

View Event >>

55

"Blade Runners"
Upper Palaeolithic Blade Technologies
40,000 years ago

"Blade Runners"
Upper Palaeolithic Blade Technologies
40,000 years ago

View Event >>

56

"Brave New Worlds"
The Peopling of Australia and the Americas
40,000 to 12,000 years ago

"Brave New Worlds"
The Peopling of Australia and the Americas
40,000 to 12,000 years ago

View Event >>

57

"Express Yourself"
The First Representational Art & Music
35,000 years ago

"Express Yourself"
The First Representational Art & Music
35,000 years ago

View Event >>

58

"A Stitch in Time"
The First Needles and Sewing
25,000 years ago

"A Stitch in Time"
The First Needles and Sewing
25,000 years ago

View Event >>

59

"Bend Me, Shape Me"
The First Pottery
16,000 years ago

"Bend Me, Shape Me"
The First Pottery
16,000 years ago

View Event >>

60

"Draw Back Your Bow"
The First Bow and Arrow
11,000 years ago

"Draw Back Your Bow"
The First Bow and Arrow
11,000 years ago

View Event >>

7

"From Farm to the City:
The Neolithic and Urban Revolutions
and their Consequences"
10,000 to 1,000 years ago

.

"From Farm to the City:
The Neolithic and Urban Revolutions and their Consequences"
10,000 to 1,000 years ago

View Time Scale >>

61

"Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
The First Boats
10,000 years ago

"Row, Row, Row Your Boat"
The First Boats
10,000 years ago

View Event >>

62

"Down on the Farm"
The Neolithic Revolution
10,000 years ago

"Down on the Farm"
The Neolithic Revolution
10,000 years ago

View Event >>

63

"Heavy Metal"
The Origins of Metallurgy
8,000 years ago

"Heavy Metal"
The Origins of Metallurgy
8,000 years ago

View Event >>

64

"Easy Riders"
The Development of Ships and Mounted Horse Transportation
6,000 to 5,000 years ago

"Easy Riders"
The Development of Ships and Mounted Horse Transportation
6,000 to 5,000 years ago

View Event >>

65

"We Built This City"
Cities and Complex Societies
5,500 years ago

"We Built This City"
Cities and Complex Societies
5,500 years ago

View Event >>

66

"Write This Down"
The Origins of Writing and Notation
5,000 years ago

"Write This Down"
The Origins of Writing and Notation
5,000 years ago

View Event >>

67

"Big Wheels Keep on Turnin"
Wheeled Vehicles
5,000 years ago

"Big Wheels Keep on Turnin"
Wheeled Vehicles
5,000 years ago

View Event >>

68

"Iron Man"
The Iron Age
3,500 years ago (1500 BC)

"Iron Man"
The Iron Age
3,500 years ago (1500 BC)

View Event >>

69

"Power to the People"
The First Democracy
2,560 years ago (550 BC)

"Power to the People"
The First Democracy
2,560 years ago (550 BC)

View Event >>

70

"What's Your Plan?"
Large-scale Urban Planning
2,210 years ago (200 B.C.)

"What's Your Plan?"
Large-scale Urban Planning
2,210 years ago (200 B.C.)

View Event >>

8

"Ages of Enlightenment:
From the Dark Ages of Superstition
to the Scientific Revolution"
1,000 to 100 years ago

.

"Ages of Enlightenment:
From the Dark Ages of Superstition to the Scientific Revolution"
1,000 to 100 years ago

View Time Scale >>

71

"Fire and Brimstone"
The Rise of Firearms
Beginning 1300 AD

"Fire and Brimstone"
The Rise of Firearms
Beginning 1300 AD

View Event >>

72

"A Reawakening"
The Renaissance in the Western World
Beginning 1400 AD

"A Reawakening"
The Renaissance in the Western World
Beginning 1400 AD

View Event >>

73

"Land Ho!"
Age of Exploration & Exploitation
Beginning 1400 AD

"Land Ho!"
Age of Exploration & Exploitation
Beginning 1400 AD

View Event >>

74

"Hot off the Presses"
The Printing Press and Movable Type
Beginning 1455 AD

"Hot off the Presses"
The Printing Press and Movable Type
Beginning 1455 AD

View Event >>

75

"From Superstition to Science"
The Scientific Revolution
Beginning 1543 AD

"From Superstition to Science"
The Scientific Revolution
Beginning 1543 AD

View Event >>

76

"All Fired Up"
The Industrial Revolution
Beginning 1760 AD

"All Fired Up"
The Industrial Revolution
Beginning 1760 AD

View Event >>

77

"Start Me Up"
Powered Modern Transport
Beginning 1802 AD

"Start Me Up"
Powered Modern Transport
Beginning 1802 AD

View Event >>

78

"You Oughta Be in Pictures"
Photography and Cinematography
Beginning 1826 AD

"You Oughta Be in Pictures"
Photography and Cinematography
Beginning 1826 AD

View Event >>

79

"From a Distance"
Long-Distance Communications
Beginning 1830 AD

"From a Distance"
Long-Distance Communications
Beginning 1830 AD

View Event >>

80

"Bright Lights, Big City"
Electric Light and Power
Beginning 1879 AD

"Bright Lights, Big City"
Electric Light and Power
Beginning 1879 AD

View Event >>

9

"Modern Times: The Last Century,
Laying the Foundations of
the World We Live In"
100 to 10 years ago

.

"Modern Times: The Last Century, Laying the Foundations of the World We Live In"
100 to 10 years ago

View Time Scale >>

81

"It's All Relative"
Relativity and Quantum Theory
Late 1800s, early 1900s

"It's All Relative"
Relativity and Quantum Theory
Late 1800s, early 1900s

View Event >>

82

"Rocket Man"
Rockets, Satellites, and Lunar Landings
Beginning 1926 AD

"Rocket Man"
Rockets, Satellites, and Lunar Landings
Beginning 1926 AD

View Event >>

83

"You're On the Air"
Television
Beginning 1935 AD

"You're On the Air"
Television
Beginning 1935 AD

View Event >>

84

"Bits and Bytes"
Computers, Transistors, Silicon Chips
Beginning 1937 AD

"Bits and Bytes"
Computers, Transistors, Silicon Chips
Beginning 1937 AD

View Event >>

85

"When You're a Jet"
Jet Aircraft
1939 AD

"When You're a Jet"
Jet Aircraft
1939 AD

View Event >>

86

"Miracle Drugs & Medical Devices"
Penicillin and Other Medical Advances
Beginning 1941 AD

"Miracle Drugs & Medical Devices"
Penicillin and Other Medical Advances
Beginning 1941 AD

View Event >>

87

"The Genie Has Left the Bottle"
Dawn of the Atomic Age
Beginning 1942 AD

"The Genie Has Left the Bottle"
Dawn of the Atomic Age
Beginning 1942 AD

View Event >>

88

"Cracking the Code"
DNA Structure & Genetic Engineering
Beginning 1953 AD

"Cracking the Code"
DNA Structure & Genetic Engineering
Beginning 1953 AD

View Event >>

89

"Can You Hear Me Now?"
Advanced Telecommunications
Beginning 1973 AD

"Can You Hear Me Now?"
Advanced Telecommunications
Beginning 1973 AD

View Event >>

90

"Surf's Up!"
The World Wide Web
Beginning 1989 AD

"Surf's Up!"
The World Wide Web
Beginning 1989 AD

View Event >>

10

"The Age of Connections:
The Past Decade of Innovations
and Their Implications"
The last 10 years

.

"The Age of Connections:
The Past Decade of Innovations and Their Implications"
The last 10 years

View Time Scale >>

91

"Where the Heck Are We?"
Widespread Use of GPS & Satellite Imaging

"Where the Heck Are We?"
Widespread Use of GPS & Satellite Imaging

View Event >>

92

"Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, that Make the Strain..."
Overpopulation & Climate Change

"Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, that Make the Strain..."
Overpopulation & Climate Change

View Event >>

93

"Green Machines"
Alternative Energy

"Green Machines"
Alternative Energy

View Event >>

94

"Who Are You?"
The Human Genome Project

"Who Are You?"
The Human Genome Project

View Event >>

95

"Closer Encounters"
Recent Advances in Astronomy

"Closer Encounters"
Recent Advances in Astronomy

View Event >>

96

"Cellmates"
Stem Cell & Related Research

"Cellmates"
Stem Cell & Related Research

View Event >>

97

"Keep Searchin"
Widespread Use of Search Engines

"Keep Searchin"
Widespread Use of Search Engines

View Event >>

98

"Say Hello to My Little Friends"
The Rise of Nanotechnology

"Say Hello to My Little Friends"
The Rise of Nanotechnology

View Event >>

99

"Here, There, and Everywhere..."
Instantaneous Communication & World-Wide Connections

"Here, There, and Everywhere..."
Instantaneous Communication & World-Wide Connections

View Event >>

100

"Living for the Future"
The Idea of Sustainability

"Living for the Future"
The Idea of Sustainability

View Event >>